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French Toast Batter

See how to make French toast batter! This classic recipe uses easy pantry staple ingredients. It works with any bread, from a soft French loaf to Italian bread, Texas toast, artisan bread, brioche, challah, and even regular bread. This French toast custard creates the perfect soft, sweet center with a crisp, caramelized outside.

how to make French toast batter

The best French toast batter recipe

The genius of this French toast batter is that it uses basic ingredients to turn stale bread into a hearty meal. And that’s why I love this French toast custard recipe so much!

It’s easy to go “mmmm” when you bite into a slice of crispy, fluffy, custardy, vanilla and cinnamon-scented French toast. And the best part is that you are only minutes away from enjoying this treat!

This is a long post, packed with lots of information. I’ve cooked many batches to see what works best, and hope this in-depth guide will help you make the best French toast.

You’ll learn the best French toast ratio, how many eggs for French toast you need, what to do with leftover French toast batter, and, of course, the best French toast recipe.

If you don’t have time for a long read, you can skip straight to recipe by scrolling down to the recipe card below or clicking the jump to recipe button at the top of the page.

French toast ingredients

Ingredients

Let’s chat about the ingredients you’ll need to make the most scrumptious French toast batter ever. The list includes cinnamon, vanilla, and butter for that classic French toast flavor. Please see the recipe card below for exact measurements.

  • Whole milk creates richness, softens the bread, and helps with browning. You can substitute dairy-free milk, like almond or coconut. Just make sure that your milk of choice is full fat. You need the fat to create the right mouthfeel.
  • Eggs help to thicken and set the custard. Let the eggs warm up to room temperature so they mix easily into the batter.
  • Sugar sweetens the batter and helps to caramelize the French toast.
  • Flour is my secret ingredient. French toast batter with flour yields an extra fluffy texture and helps to prevent mushy bread.
  • Cinnamon: Adding ground cinnamon to the batter gives the right warmth and complexity.
  • Vanilla extract flavors the batter. I like to use a hefty amount for a bold vanilla aroma.
  • Salt helps to balance the sweetness of the sugar and accentuate the other flavors.
  • Bread: Thick sliced French bread, Italian bread, Texas toast, artisan bread, or sourdough work well. You can also use brioche or challah bread if you prefer a lighter texture.
  • Butter is needed for frying. It gives the French toast a buttery, crispy, and golden-brown outer layer.
French toast egg to milk ratio

How to make French toast batter

French toast is one of the easiest breakfasts you can make. Why? All you got to do is whip up the egg custard, dip the bread, and fry until crispy. Once you try it, you’ll want to make it all the time. Here’s how to make French toast batter:

step 1 mix French toast batter

#1: Mix French toast batter

  • Mix batter by hand. If making the batter by hand, place the flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt into a shallow baking dish and whisk to combine. Then add the milk and stir until smooth and lump-free. Next, add the eggs and vanilla extract and mix until well incorporated.
  • Mix with blender. If you prefer to use a blender, add all ingredients except the bread into your blender and mix until well combined. Then pour the mixture into a shallow baking dish.
step 2 soak bread

#2: Soak bread

  • Dip the bread slices into the batter and leave submerged for 1 minute.
  • Turn around and let it sit for another minute to really soak up all of that goodness.
  • Then lift the bread out of the batter and let the excess mixture drip off each piece of bread.
  • Repeat this process for every slice of bread.
step 3 let batter drip off bread

How long to soak French toast?

The bread has to sit in the batter, so it soaks up the egg mixture, and you get a deliciously soft, custardy in the center. The exact soak time depends on the type of bread. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Sandwich bread and hamburger buns should only soak for 30 to 60 seconds per side. They soak up the custard fast and turn mushy if you let them sift too long.
  • Brioche, challah, and French bread can be soaked for 10 minutes on each side of the bread. They are sturdier and take longer to absorb the custard.
  • Artisan bread, sourdough bread, and baguette need to lay in the batter for at least 15 to 20 minutes on either side so the custard can properly penetrate the bread.
step 4 how to cook French toast

#3: How to cook French toast

  • Heat a large non-stick skillet or frying pan over medium heat and melt 1 tablespoon of butter. Alternatively, preheat a griddle to 350°F / 180°C.
  • Place the bread slices into the greased pan or skillet. Fry for around 3 minutes or until the bottom of the slices starts to become golden brown.
  • Then flip and cook on the other side for 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Repeat this process until all bread slices are cooked. Between batches, use a paper towel and carefully wipe your pan or griddle to remove any brown bits.
step 5 how to keep French toast warm

#4: How to keep French toast warm

  • To keep the toasted slices warm, put a wire rack on a baking sheet and transfer the cooked French toast to the rack. Place in a 200°F / 100°C / gas mark 1/2 oven for up to 3 minutes.
  • This is helpful when serving a crowd, but don’t leave the French toast in the oven too long, or it might dry out.
  • I recommend using a wire rack so the air can circulate around the bread and it stays crispy. The bottom can become a bit soggy if you place the toast directly onto the baking sheet.
best French toast recipe

Tips for success

No one likes soggy French toast that’s burned on the outside. Check out these tips for making French toast perfection:

  • Mix the batter thoroughly: Make sure the batter is smooth and the egg whites are fully incorporated. You can strain the batter through a sieve to remove those stubborn white lumps that didn’t mix in.
  • Let the batter rest: This is optional, but allowing the batter to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes to an hour allows the flavors to meld.
  • Slice the bread 3/4 to 1 inch thick: This helps the slices absorb the batter without falling apart, and your French toast will be fluffy on the inside and crisp on the outside.
  • Give your bread a good soak: Be sure to let the bread sit in the batter long enough for the mixture to absorb into each bread slice. It gives the French toast good flavor and delicious texture.
  • Watch the temperature: Cook each slice on medium heat for a few minutes on each side. Too low, and the toast will be soggy. Too hot will char the outside before the inside can properly cook.
  • Cooking time: The cooking time depends on the thickness of your bread and how much batter it has absorbed. It will usually take 2 to 3 minutes per side. To check, press the center of a slice lightly with your finger. The bread is ready when it feels firm and springs up. But if your finger leaves an indent, continue cooking a bit longer.
  • Keep the French toast warm: Place cooked slices in a 200°F / 100°C / gas mark 1/2 oven to keep them warm as you cook the rest. Place them on an oven-safe rack so they stay nice and crisp.
how many eggs for French toast

Flavor variations

This French toast batter is pretty near perfect, but I encourage you to play with the flavor and find out what you like best. Here are a few suggestions to make the recipe your own:

  • Crispy caramel crunch: Sprinkle each side of your toast with cinnamon sugar and fry for 20 to 30 seconds. The sugar will caramelize and create a sweet, crunchy crust.
  • Flavored milk: Instead of plain milk, try chocolate milk, strawberry milk, or pistachio-flavored milk.
  • Coffee: For a delicious coffee flavor, replace some of the milk with a few tablespoons of strongly brewed coffee. You can also try pumpkin spice latte in the fall.
  • Other extracts: Season the batter with almond extract, rum extract, orange extract, or lemon extract. Start with 1/4 to 1/4 teaspoon and adjust from there.
  • Spices: Add a dash of nutmeg or a sprinkle of cloves and allspice. Or substitute pumpkin pie spice for ground cinnamon.
  • Citrus zest: Freshly grated lemon zest or orange zest adds a lovely bright note to the custard mixture.
  • Liquor: Try adding a splash of orange liquor, rum, whiskey, or bourbon to the batter. Most of the alcohol will evaporate, but I still would reserve this addition for adults only.
  • Food coloring: You can add a few drops of liquid food color to the batter to tint the French bread. Try green for Christmas or red for Valentine’s Day.
French toast batter recipe

Tips for the best French toast batter

I’ve made many a batch to perfect my French toast batter recipe and want to share what I’ve learned. You’ll discover options for milk, sweeteners, and the ideal milk to egg ratio for French toast. Let’s go!

What milk to use for French toast batter?

You can use about any milk in French toast. Just keep in mind that the higher the fat content, the creamier the toast will be. I often opt for whole milk because that’s what I always stock in the fridge.

To amp up the recipe, prepare the batter with half-and-half or evaporated milk. Adding a creamier dairy to the recipe makes the toast richer and more luxurious.

French toast egg to milk ratio

A good French toast milk to egg ratio is anywhere from 3 to 4 eggs per cup of milk. For this recipe, I settled on 2/3 cup milk and 4 eggs. It keeps the French toast custardy and moist, but also light and fluffy.

You can adjust this ratio to your liking. Just note that too few eggs and the French toast will end up mushy, while too much egg can make the toast dense and eggy.

Sweeteners for French toast batter

You can use a variety of sweeteners in your French toast batter. Granulated sugar, brown sugar, powdered sugar, coconut sugar, maple syrup, and honey all work great here. The flavor will change slightly depending on the sweetener option you use.

I also tried French toast without sugar and didn’t love the results because the unsweetened toast tasted pretty plain. Sweeter is better when it comes to French toast, so don’t skimp out.

Dairy-free French toast batter

I have tested this recipe using various dairy-free milk alternatives with great success. It’s delicious using coconut milk, almond milk, and oat milk.

The flavor will change slightly based on the type of milk you use. For example, coconut milk will give the French toast a hint of coconut aroma, which is delicious.

French toast batter without eggs

It’s quite simple to make French toast batter without eggs: simply omit the eggs from the recipe. I recommend using half-and-half or evaporated milk and a little more flour to give the toast richness.

And if you want to prepare vegan French toast, opt for one of the dairy-free milk alternatives we discussed above.

the best bread for French toast

All about the bread

Bread is the other component you want right for perfect French toast. I have listed my best tips in the following sections. If you have struggled with soggy, mushy French toast, give it a read, and you’ll be all set for success!

What is the best bread for French toast?

The bread your using can make or break your French toast. It should be thick-sliced and sturdy enough to handle soaking in the French toast batter. Here are some of the best breads for French toast:

  • White bread is something most of us have at home, and it works great. It’s often precut in thin slices, so don’t soak it as long to avoid a mushy texture.
  • Texas toast is a great option for French toast. The bread soaks up lots of custard and bakes to puffy perfection.
  • Italian or French loaf is an excellent bread for soaking because it has a sturdy crust. Grocery stores use different names for this type of bread, but look for a loaf with a firm crust and sturdy texture.
  • Challah or brioche: These egg-based breads give you a fluffy, custardy texture and are a wonderful choice if you love soft French toast.
  • Sourdough bread has a naturally firm texture and slightly tangy flavor that contrasts nicely with the sweet batter.
  • Artisan bread: You’ll find this type of bread at bakeries and in the bakery section at your grocer. Avoid very seedy whole grain loaves for this recipe.
  • French baguette: You could even use French baguette, although I find the texture a bit too chewy.
  • Quick bread: Have banana bread that is past its prime? Slice it up, dunk it, and fry it until golden brown. A great way to revive leftover quick bread!

How do I avoid mushy French toast?

Making French toast is easy, but you can follow a couple of tips and tricks to give you the best results. Follow this advice to avoid mushy French toast,

  • Buy bread with texture: Great bread is the best way to ensure a full-textured French toast. You need thick slices that can be soaked in the batter for a few seconds without falling apart.
  • Use stale bread: Day-old bread that is a bit stale soaks up more custard and tastes better than freshly baked bread.
  • Toast fresh bread: If you only have fresh bread or thin, pre-sliced sandwich bread, toast it lightly in the oven or toaster before soaking.
  • Add flour to the batter: Adding a little flour to the recipe helps to bind the liquids and turns the custard into an actual French toast batter. Doing this helps to avoid soggy bread and yields extra fluffy French toast.
  • Correct cooking temperature: Make sure to fry your bread over medium heat. Cooking at a higher temperature will burn the outside while leaving the inside undercooked and mushy. If the temperature is too low, the batter will spread into the bottom of the bread and create feet.

Do I really have to use stale bread?

Day-old, slightly stale bread is preferable for French toast but not absolutely necessary. You can also dry out fresh bread by toasting the slices in the oven at 350°F / 180°C / gas mark 4 for 8 to 10 minutes.

simple French toast recipe

Storage & make-ahead

Make French toast batter ahead of time

You can mix up the custard 1 to 2 days ahead of time, depending on the freshness of your ingredients. Store the batter in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use.

When it’s time to cook, let the batter warm on the counter for 30 minutes to an hour and give it a good whisk. Then continue with the recipe as described.

The flour will absorb liquid as it sits. If you find the batter has thickened too much, thin it out with a little extra milk.

Can you save French toast batter?

Yes! You can store leftover French toast batter in an airtight container in the fridge. If it’s only a small amount, soak 1 to 2 slices of sandwich bread or a hamburger bun to use it up.

How long does French toast batter last?

Leftover French toast batter will last up to 2 days in the fridge. Remember to keep the storage container tightly sealed so the batter isn’t exposed to air and well refrigerated.

How to store French toast

Leftover cooked French toast will stay fresh in the fridge for 2 to 3 days. Pop it in a warm skillet or griddle for a few minutes to get it soft and crispy again.

Freeze French toast batter

For longer storage, pour your French toast batter into a freezer-friendly container and freeze for up to a month. Allow to defrost in the fridge overnight before using.

To freeze cooked French toast, let the slices cool completely. Store in a freezer-safe bag or container and freeze for up to 3 months. Reheat in a skillet, toaster, or for a few seconds in the microwave.

easy French toast

Topping ideas

For this delicious easy French toast recipe, I like to keep the toppings simple. A drizzle of maple syrup, a dusting of powdered sugar, and a knob of butter are all you need! But if you are feeling a little fancier, try these gourmet French toast topping ideas:

  • Fresh fruit + berries such as strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, or raspberries
  • Fruit sauce + compote like strawberry sauce, blueberry sauce, nectarine compote, or raspberry compote
  • Whipped cream
  • Chocolate chips, chopped chocolate, butterscotch chips, or peanut butter chips
  • Chopped nuts like pecans, walnuts, or sliced almonds

Reasons to love this French toast batter recipe

  • Restaurant-worthy: No more slices of soggy, sad fried bread! With this recipe, your French toast will taste like the stuff you get at your favorite diner. A crisp, golden exterior and a fluffy, melt-in-your-mouth interior.
  • Simple ingredients: You’ll only need a handful of basic ingredients that are easy to find at any grocery store, and you might already have in your pantry.
  • Ready in less than 30 minutes: Whether you want to make this easy French toast batter recipe for a Sunday brunch or a busy morning before school, it’s ready in less than 30 minutes.
  • Easy to freeze: You can easily freeze French toast batter and cooked French toast for a quick breakfast option during the week.
easy French toast recipe
French toast batter

French Toast Batter Recipe

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

See how to make French toast batter! This classic recipe uses easy pantry staple ingredients. It works with any bread, from a soft French loaf to Italian bread, Texas toast, artisan bread, brioche, challah, and even regular bread. This French toast custard creates the perfect soft, sweet center with a crisp, caramelized outside.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup / 30 g / 1 oz all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup / 50 g / 1.8 oz granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup / 160 ml / 5.3 fl oz milk
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 8 thick slices of bread

Instructions

  1. Prep. Heat a large non-stick skillet or frying pan over medium heat and melt 1 tablespoon of butter. Alternatively, preheat a griddle to 350°F / 180°C.
  2. Mix batter by hand. If making the batter by hand, place the flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt into a shallow baking dish and whisk to combine. Then add the milk and stir until smooth and lump-free. Next, add the eggs and vanilla extract and mix until well incorporated.
  3. Mix with blender. If you prefer to use a blender, add all ingredients except the bread into your blender and mix until well combined. Then pour the mixture into a shallow baking dish.
  4. Soak bread. Dip the bread slices into the batter and leave submerged for 1 minute. Turn around and let it sit for another minute to really soak up all of that goodness. Then lift the bread out of the batter and let the excess mixture drip off each piece of bread. Repeat this process for every slice of bread.
  5. Fry and flip. Place the bread slices into the greased pan or skillet. Fry for around 3 minutes or until the bottom of the slices starts to become golden brown. Then flip and cook on the other side for 2 to 3 minutes.
  6. Repeat. Repeat this process until all bread slices are cooked. Between batches, use a paper towel and carefully wipe your pan or griddle to remove any brown bits.
  7. Keep warm. To keep the toasted slices warm, put a wire rack on a baking sheet and transfer the cooked French toast to the rack. Place in a 200°F / 100°C / gas mark 1/2 oven for up to 3 minutes. This is helpful when serving a crowd, but don't leave the French toast in the oven too long, or it might dry out.
  8. Serve. Serve with your favorite sweet toppings such as maple syrup, honey, cinnamon sugar, powdered sugar, whipped cream, fresh fruit, and bacon. Enjoy!
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 343Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 189mgSodium: 540mgCarbohydrates: 52gFiber: 2gSugar: 19gProtein: 14g

More French toast recipes

French toast is the best part of any breakfast. If you’d like to play with other French toast recipes, we’ve got you covered! All of these recipes are easy and oh-so-yummy!

Other breakfast recipes to try next

Of course, there’s no reason to stop at French toast when there are so many other delicious breakfast options. Here are a few more of our favorite brekkie and brunch ideas:

Ashley

Thursday 20th of July 2023

This came out great! I made a vegan version with plant based egg replacer, plant based milk, and I substituted munk fruit sugar for the table sugar. My boys devoured it!! Thanks for the recipe!

Cyna | Country Hill Cottage

Thursday 20th of July 2023

Thank you so much for this kind review, Ashley! And thank you for sharing your substitution tips - they will be very helpful for other readers.

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