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Foolproof French Toast

Let’s hear it for French toast! The best French toast is seared golden on the outside, tender in the middle, lightly sweet and deliciously custard-y. This French toast recipe meets all of those qualifications with flying colors.

This recipe bypasses all of the common French toast downfalls. Perhaps your previous attempts have yielded soggy, falling apart, eggy toast—never again! I’ve studied French toast techniques and this recipe will not let you down.

French toast, known as pain perdu in France, is one of many brilliant uses for stale bread. It’s true that French toast turns out best when made with stale bread. However, you can absolutely make French toast if your bread is still fresh. The trick is to quickly dehydrate sliced bread in the oven so your French bread doesn’t turn out too soggy—I’ll walk you through this step below.

This French toast is perfect for a special brunch at home. Make some for Mom tomorrow? (Here are more Mother’s Day recipes.) The recipe is simple enough to make on a regular weekend as well. Let’s make some!

French Toast Ingredients


So many options here! My favorite bread for French toast is a fluffy locally made whole grain sourdough. Challah or brioche will yield extra indulgent, fancy restaurant-style French toast. Sandwich bread works as well—ideally thick cut, but regular slices will be fine.


Whole milk is ideal here because it yields rich results. Two percent milk will work as well. Or try a thick non-dairy milk, like homemade cashew milk or Forager’s brand cashew milk.

Egg Yolks

That’s right, we’re using the yolks only. Egg whites are responsible for the sulfurous, “eggy” flavor that sometimes overpowers French toast. I learned this tip from America’s Test Kitchen, and it’s true!

Uses for leftover egg whites: You’ll have three leftover egg whites, which you can turn into a single-serving egg white scramble, or add five more eggs to make four servings of scrambled eggs.


We’ll mix melted butter directly into the custard. This way, the butter permeates the bread for extra richness and nutty, seared butter flavor. We do not need to butter the skillet while we’re cooking the French toast, as butter tends to burn against the skillet. There’s plenty within the batter, even if you’re cooking on stainless steel or cast iron.

Maple Syrup

Real maple syrup naturally sweetens our batter. You can also use brown sugar. Two tablespoons of sweetener yields lightly sweet French toast. Serve your toast with additional maple syrup so everyone can make their French toast as sweet as they’d like.

Vanilla Extract

One whole tablespoon of vanilla extract really makes this French toast taste like a treat. Don’t worry, it’s not too much.

Cinnamon & Salt

Ground cinnamon is the perfect complement to the vanilla custard, and salt amplifies all of the other flavors.

How to Make French Toast

You’ll find the full recipe below. Here are three key tips before you get started:

1) Stale bread is key.

If your bread is soft and fresh, it will be difficult to work with and will produce soggy French toast. We don’t want that! You can easily dehydrate sliced bread at a low oven temperature (300 degrees Fahrenheit) in under 15 minutes. See step one for details.

2) Soak to a depth of 1/4-inch.

Simply dunking your bread in custard will yield dry, spotty results, and soaking the bread too long will yield soggy, floppy slices. Stale bread needs a minute or three to absorb some of the mixture. Pour the custard into a 9 by 13-inch baking dish and you can float multiple slices at once.

The key is to let the slices rest until the custard has soaked in to a depth of about 1/4-inch, then flip and repeat for the other side. Ideally, you want a thin layer of unsoaked bread in the middle, which helps retain the bread’s structure.

3) Work in batches.

French toast really isn’t fussy to make if you have a system in place, and it’s even easier if you have a kitchen helper. Soak a batch of bread as described above, then transfer the soaked bread to a rimmed baking sheet while you preheat the skillet or griddle.

Cook up your first batch, then start soaking the next batch. Or, if you have a helper, they can work on soaking the next batch while you’re cooking.


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