How to Make French Toast as Good as Your Favorite Breakfast Diner

Bring on the brunch and bubbly with this easy-peasy guide to making diner-style french toast—including a vegan option!

If you're looking for a special breakfast to make on the weekends, an impressive brunch recipe, or a breakfast-for-dinner dish to shake up your weeknight meals, French toast is our easiest go-to dish. Since you're starting out with already baked bread, much of the work is done for you. And unlike homemade pancakes and from-scratch waffles, the batter for a good French toast recipe is much simpler (ours is just four popular pantry ingredients).

Learning how to make French toast is almost as easy as making regular toast. Whisk together a four-ingredient egg batter for a super simple French toast that cooks to a luscious golden brown in minutes. Once you've mastered the basics, you can move on to learning how to make stuffed French toast and kid-friendly French toast sticks for even more impressive breakfasts. We'll take you through the four-step process for basic French toast, plus a few fun variations like cinnamon French toast and French toast without eggs (yes, vegan French toast does exist!).

Choosing the Best Bread

Although you can make simple French toast using almost any kind of bread, some slices produce superior results. Turn to buttery-rich egg breads, such as challah (a traditional Jewish bread) or brioche. They are light, airy, and soak up just enough of the egg mixture without getting soggy. Toasting bread and English muffins both have a slightly coarse texture that also holds up well for French toast. Sliced French bread is another good option. Try using day-old bread for French toast, since it is a bit drier and helps prevent gumminess. We stay away from thin-sliced basic white and whole wheat breads because they can be dense and end up gummy. For challah, brioche, or French bread, cut your loaf into 1/2-inch-thick slices.

french toast

1. Dip the Bread in Egg Mixture

For four servings of French toast (two slices each), whisk 4 eggs in a medium bowl until lightly beaten. Whisk in 1 cup milk, 2 tablespoons sugar, and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Using tongs, dip half the bread slices (four pieces) into the egg mixture, coating all sides. For challah, brioche, or French bread, let each bread slice soak in the egg mixture about 10 seconds per side. With the tongs, hold each soaked bread slice over the bowl of egg mixture to let the excess mixture drip off.

Tip: The egg mixture is flexible—you can use any kind of milk or even half-and-half. Brown sugar can be substituted for granulated sugar. If you like, add 1/2 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel or orange peel. If you want to make cinnamon French toast or French toast with nutmeg, add 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon or 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg to the egg mixture. If you want to know how to make French toast without vanilla or cinnamon, just leave those ingredients out of your batter.

french toast

2. Prep a Skillet or Griddle

In a 10-inch skillet or on a griddle, melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat. Using tongs, add the four coated bread slices to the hot melted butter. If you're using a smaller skillet, work in smaller batches (like just two slices at a time) to avoid crowding the pan.

french toast

3. Cook Until Golden Brown

Cook the French toast for 2 to 3 minutes or until golden brown on the bottom. Using a wide spatula, flip the slices over and cook 2 to 3 minutes more or until golden brown. Transfer the cooked French toast to a platter; cover to keep warm. Dip the remaining four bread slices in the egg mixture. Melt another 1 tablespoon butter in the skillet and repeat the cooking directions with the remaining coated bread slices.

Vanilla French Toast

4. Serve the French Toast

Serve the French toast warm. Maple syrup is probably the most classic French toast topper, but you can get creative and top your slices with fruit-flavor syrup or sauce, sliced fresh strawberries or blueberries, or any other chopped fruit. Another tasty option is to spread on a little additional butter and drizzle with melted seedless raspberry jam or cherry jelly.

Tip: If you're serving your French toast with syrup, try heating the syrup in a saucepan or in your microwave until warm. This way, it won't cool the French toast when you pour it on.

Tasty Variations

  • Choose-a-Bread French Toast: Prepare as above, except substitute sliced cinnamon bread or banana bread for the bread slices.
  • Crispy-Coated French Toast: Prepare as above, except after dipping bread slices into egg mixture, coat both sides with shredded coconut, ground pecans, or crushed cornflakes.
  • Orange-Spiced French Toast: Prepare as above, except stir 2 teaspoons orange liqueur, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg into the egg mixture.
Banana-Stuffed French Toast

How to Make Stuffed French Toast

Once you've tried our basic French toast recipe, it's super simple to dress it up even more as stuffed French toast. The main difference is that you'll want to use a thicker bread like French bread or challah, so you can cut a decent pocket for stuffing. Before dipping your bread in the batter, cut a pocket into each slice. Starting from the top-crust edge, cut almost to the bottom edge. Then, spoon in your desired filling—we recommend trying this mascarpone-stuffed French toast—and place the bread slices in a baking dish. So none of the filling spills out during dipping, you can pour the egg batter over the bread instead. For the best stuffed French toast, cover and chill the bread slices for 2 to 24 hours to really let the egg batter soak in, turning the bread slices once or twice as they soak. Then, follow our steps above for skillet-cooking your French toast.

Get the recipe: Banana-Stuffed French Toast

Baked French Toast Strips with Apricot Dipping Sauce

How to Make French Toast Sticks

If you'd rather dunk French toast sticks finger food-style, you have a few options for making French toast into strips instead of slices. One of the easiest ways is to follow our instructions above for making simple French toast, then cutting your slices into sticks after cooking (and once they've cooled down a little). You can also cut your bread into strips before dipping it into the egg batter. Just keep an eye on your French toast sticks as they're cooking; smaller strips will cook faster than full slices. Finally, you can try our recipe for baked French toast sticks, which is one of the easiest ways to make a big batch of strips all at once.

Vegan Stuffed French Toast

How to Make Vegan French Toast

Eggs and milk are two of the main ingredients in our French toast batter, so learning how to make French toast without milk or eggs requires a completely different batter. Our recipe for vegan French toast does use almond milk, but it's completely dairy-free. To make this batter free of animal products, combine 1/3 cup of aquafaba (that's the juice you'll find in a can of chickpeas) with 1/2 cup of almond milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg. From there, you can dip and cook your bread just like you would for regular French toast (but use 1 tablespoon coconut oil or vegetable oil in place of the butter).

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