Basic French Toast Recipe

Do you really need a recipe for French Toast?  I’m not sure.  But this is one of my favorite things to eat for breakfast and I just want to make sure that everyone knows how simple it is to make french toast at home!

The best thing about french toast is that most households have all the necessary ingredients on hand at any given time: bread, eggs, and milk.  Really, that’s all you need!  Of course you can fancy things up by throwing in dashes of cinnamon and/or nutmeg.  You can vary the richness by switching between skim milk, whole milk, or even half-and-half.  And don’t even get me started on all the different types of bread you can use!  The possibilities are endless.

As a kid, we regularly ate whole wheat french toast for breakfast.  On special occasions, it would be sourdough.  But what I really loved was the diner-style french toast made with thick-sliced white bread.  We never ate white bread at home, so when we would go out for breakfast, it was always so hard for me to decide between that white fluffy french toast and a short stack of blueberry pancakes.  The french toast usually won out and it still does to this day!

But now that I’m an adult, I can choose whatever bread I want for my morning french toast.  And sometimes I do buy that thick-sliced Texas Toast style sandwich bread.  But now my favorite french toast is made with stale sourdough bread.  Sometimes it’s my homemade bread or sometimes, like today, it’s made with a crusty levain from my favorite local bakery.

But whatever bread you choose, french toast is always best made with bread that’s stale.  Unfortunately, with all the preservatives they put in grocery store sandwich breads, most of those don’t really ever stale.  But if you leave it out unwrapped overnight, that usually does the trick.  Or you can just dry it out in a low oven for a few minutes.  But in a pinch, you can use fresh bread and I think it works just fine.

The formula is simple.  For each person you plan on feeding, use one egg plus 1/4 cup milk. That will be enough for about three big slices of bread.  You will need a shallow bowl or dish that’s wide enough to fit one slice of bread and deep enough to hold your liquid.  A square baking dish usually works quite well if you don’t have a bowl that will work.

You can beat the eggs and milk right in the dish, using a fork.  At least that’s what I usually do!

Now you need to set up your french toast making station!  Sliced bread on one side, egg mixture in the middle, and a hot pan or griddle on the other side.  Start heating your pan over medium heat as you get everything organized.  It’s also helpful to turn the oven on warm and keep a plate in there to keep the french toast warm if you don’t have people waiting to gobble it up immediately.

Now just soak a couple slices of bread in the egg mixture, making sure to flip them so each side of each slice gets wet.  I don’t like my french toast soggy in the middle so I don’t let them soak too long. But it’s completely up to you how long you want to soak it.  When the bread is ready to hit the skillet, drop a small pat of butter in the pan, swirl it around, and then add your slices of french toast.  Flip the toast when it’s browned to your liking.

See, wasn’t that easy?  Perhaps I’m preaching to the choir here, but I think a big breakfast of french toast is one of the simplest, most satisfying breakfasts around.  I love mine with lots of melted butter and powdered sugar, or sometimes maple syrup.  And of course it doesn’t hurt to add a side of bacon or sausage.  I hope you’ll enjoy this French Toast recipe!

Basic French Toast

2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
6 slices of bread

1. In a wide, shallow bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk.
2. Dip bread slices in egg mixture, one at a time, making sure to soak each side.  Hold bread slice above bowl to allow the excess egg mixture to drain off and then place in the hot, buttered skillet. Repeat with as many slices as will fit in the pan at a time.
3. Cook the french bread over medium heat and flip the slices when they are browned to your liking. When both sides are browned, remove to a warm plate in the oven, or serve immediately.

Recipe Notes: I often add a splash of vanilla and a dash of cinnamon or nutmeg to the egg mixture, depending on which type of bread I’m using.  If I use sourdough bread, I don’t add anything extra.  But the vanilla and cinnamon go really well with other types of white or wheat breads.

For those of you just tuning in this month, I’m happy to say that I’m participating in the National Blog Posting Month challenge. For this year’s edition of NaBloPoMo, I’ve pledged to post a new recipe every single day for the month of November. If you don’t want to miss a recipe, sign up to receive my recipes by e-mail. You’ll only receive an e-mail when I write a new blog post, and your e-mail address will not be used for any other purpose. Interested? Sign up now!

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  1. Peter

    Nicole, I think you should do NAPABLOMO or whatever it’s called all year ’round. You get in a cooking groove and it shows immediately.

    I’m inviting myself over for brekkie…I’ll even do dishes (Shock)!

    2:05 pm  Nov 7th, 2008
  2. Kathy

    Okay, you are definitely in charge of breakfast for Thanksgiving ! That looks so good. I’d go for some sausage to go with it. Nice photos too…

    2:25 pm  Nov 7th, 2008
  3. Alice Q. Foodie

    Good thinking Nicole! A great breakfast and a blog post in one fell swoop 😉 I’ve never tried making French Toast with levain, and that’s what I always buy from B&C, so I wlil definitely have to give this a shot!

    2:29 pm  Nov 7th, 2008
  4. Leaca

    Those look yummy. This is a family favorite so I reserve them for special occasions. My kids love it.

    2:34 pm  Nov 7th, 2008
  5. Mrs. L

    I’ve never made French Toast and it’s been at least 30 years since my mom made it for me for breakfast. So yes, a recipe to get me to make it at home works for me!

    2:48 pm  Nov 7th, 2008
  6. Nick

    Your cast iron skillet looks pretty weathered Nicole – AS IT SHOULD BE.

    I hate it when I go over to a dinner party and someone is cooking something in a pristine cast iron skillet. I want to scream FRAUD, but then I always remember that all cast iron skillets were pristine at one point – just can’t remember a time when mine was.

    Hope you had a mimosa or four to go along with these…

    3:38 pm  Nov 7th, 2008
  7. Lydia (The Perfect Pantry)

    This is one of my favorite things to eat for dinner too, which is what I’m going to do right now! Forget the vegetable soup sitting in the fridge. Now I have a serious craving for French toast.

    3:49 pm  Nov 7th, 2008
  8. pam

    I also don’t like my french toast soggy, so I give it a quick soak. And I agree, it’s better with country style bread. Well…I pretty much agree with everything in this post! Bring on the french toast!

    8:07 pm  Nov 7th, 2008
  9. erin

    I add a dash of vanilla to the egg/milk mixture and it goes over really well! I love french toast…yum!

    10:03 pm  Nov 7th, 2008
  10. Laura

    Yum! My favorite french toast is made with the day-old remains of a homemade loaf of cinnamon swirl bread…as long as there *are* any day-old remains!

    10:12 pm  Nov 7th, 2008
  11. J.R.

    I found this recipe via a google search this morning and it’s exactly what I needed: A “number of items per person” recipe. 🙂 My girlfriend and I had wonderful French Toast thanks to your recipe, so, thanks!

    (I added a sprinkle of cinnamon and a sprinkle of nutmeg to mine. Like Erin above, I normally add a dash of vanilla, but we couldn’t find ours this morning.)

    2:00 pm  Jan 25th, 2009
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    7:39 pm  Feb 6th, 2009
  13. Grandma Del

    Here in New York we use thick slices of Challah. If you do not know what that is, I’ll describe it; it’s a braided loaf made with eggs and yeast. It’s a ‘medium’ light dough, not as heavy as a sourdough. But there’s nothing wrong with a French or Italian loaf, either! With the exception of plain, thin-sliced grocery plain white bread, most any bread cut reasonably thick will be delicious with all the ‘good stuff’ it soaks in. 🙂

    12:15 am  Feb 20th, 2009
  14. Matt

    Good post. I also found via Google. When I was young I used to have French toast at cub scout camp – it was called “Eggy bread” there, and it was only when I was in my thirties that I found out that Eggy bread and French toast are the same thing!

    8:47 am  Mar 8th, 2009
  15. Kaitlyn

    this recipe was perfect, and hit the spot!

    11:51 am  Mar 14th, 2009
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    2:37 pm  May 27th, 2009
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  19. Gary Thison

    My daughter just returned from a visit to her brother’s place in Chicago. She said they made the best french toast she’s ever ::sniff:: had. I know it involved a little cinnamon, but I’m going to check on the other ingredients and I’ll let you know.

    If you want to read my recent article about food additives (I’m a comedian, so don’t expect science), go to The research conducted for this article consisted of a candy bar and a dictionary. 🙂

    6:27 am  Jul 23rd, 2009
  20. lori

    Hi! I really like your site. I tried making french toast with whole wheat bread – the kind with the nuts in it. It was very yummy!

    9:39 am  Sep 19th, 2009
  21. notyet100

    yummy pictorial thnks

    5:32 am  Apr 3rd, 2010
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  24. Sandora

    Umm.. love them. I tried to make this recipe in spanish too 😉

    8:37 am  Oct 17th, 2010
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  26. Silvia

    Here in Brazil we sometimes use coconut milk instead and it tastes amazing!

    5:00 am  Aug 1st, 2011
  27. shellie joseph

    I think this is a great website full of interesting things to make. I love french toast and making the perfect french toast has always been a challenge but using the steps in this website it was easy and fun!

    4:08 pm  Aug 18th, 2012
  28. Mira

    I just discovered your blog, and your recipe list is just outstanding! i can’t wait to cook stuff from it

    4:52 am  Sep 24th, 2012
  29. Marlin

    Hi Nicole, I am from Singapore and I was searching for french toast recipe because the last time I ate french toast was when my mom prepared it for my sandwich box to bring to school. 🙂 Thanks for sharing this recipe!

    10:51 pm  Feb 13th, 2013
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  31. Steph

    I like the point you made regarding the “sogginess” of the bread before frying it. On occasion, when I have had no “stale” bread, I would lightly toast the bread before soaking it in the egg mixture. Although, I have never tried the sourdough, but will try soon! Thanks!

    1:06 pm  Mar 8th, 2013
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    I love simple things like french toasts! They are delicious and you do not have to be a chief to prepare them. Also it is fast.

    4:45 am  Jan 15th, 2016
  36. plasterer bristol

    This sounds really delicious and love french toast. Thank you for sharing this.


    10:24 pm  Mar 23rd, 2016
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