Learn how to make classic French toast, also known as eggy bread, then try our sweet and savory recipe variations for a heavenly breakfast or brunch.
Weekend mornings were made for French Toast – the best thing since sliced bread! What better way to start the day after a lie-in. You may also know it as eggy bread, pain perdu, or the 'poor knights of Windsor'. In essence, it’s bread, often slightly stale, soaked in a mixture of milk and eggs then fried before being topped with something sweet. A glug of maple syrup is always popular and for the classic American breakfast, a bit savory is thrown in, too – usually bacon.
For the ultimate breakfast or brunch spread, you may also want to learn how to make American pancakes as well as traditional English crumpets.
French Toast Recipe
1 large egg, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract or ½ tsp cinnamon
4 thick slices white bread
2 tbsp butter
- Toppings of your choice (such as 2 tbsp maple syrup or honey, or 2 tsp caster sugar)
How to Make French Toast
- In a wide dish, whisk the egg, milk and vanilla or cinnamon together. Coat one side of the bread slices in the liquid, then carefully flip them over and leave them to soak for 1-2 mins. If the bread isn’t very fresh you can leave for a few mins more. You want the eggy milk mixture to be absorbed into the bread but not so much that it falls apart.
- Melt 1 tbsp of the butter in a large non-stick pan over medium heat and add two slices of the soaked bread. Cook for 5 mins or until golden, then turn to cook the other side for another 5 mins. Transfer to a plate and cook the other two slices in the rest of the butter.
- Cut the bread on the diagonal and divide between 2 plates, then add your toppings. A drizzle of honey or maple syrup works well, or a sprinkling of cinnamon mixed with sugar. Add some jam, fruit compote or a few slices of fresh fruit or berries if you like. You can even turn it into dessert with the addition of crème Fraiche or ice cream.
French Toast Toppings
Ricotta & Strawberry French Toast
Make this recipe using the classic French toast method, then heap sliced strawberries, ricotta and honey over the top. Strawberries are available all year round in supermarkets these days, so you can have a taste of summer whenever you feel like it. So simple to make and yet, it looks like a restaurant dish.
Crunchy Almond Panettone French Toast
Panettone isn't just for Christmas anymore, but this panettone perdu makes fantastic use of it if you do have leftovers during the holiday season. The combination of brioche-like bread, rich dried fruit, cinnamon, and fresh clementines will make you feel festive. Greek yogurt cuts through the richness.
Challah Grapefruit French Toast
Another traditional bread similar to brioche is Jewish challah and if you leave it for a day or two, it has the perfect texture for a fluffy French toast. In our recipe, the sharp bitterness from the grapefruit segments cuts through the sweet, buttery richness of the toasted challah. If you can’t find it in shops, try using bagels or thickly cut brioche.
French Toast Bacon Butties
Americans love to mix up sweet and savory when it comes to breakfast and the combination does work very nicely. With this recipe, the British bacon sarnie meets French toast. Or think of it as another twist on eggs and bacon. Make sure you bring out those flavors with a sprinkle of sugar or a drizzle of maple syrup.
Torrijas With Sherry
Raid the drinks cabinet to make this Spanish version of French toast laced with sherry. You would be less likely to have this for breakfast, instead try it as a dessert for a casual dinner with friends. Serve with fruit and ice cream alongside, or leave out the sherry and top with honey and yogurt for a less intoxicating start to the day!