Easy French Toast

There are three kinds of people in this world: pancake people, waffle people, and people who like French toast. I’d put myself in the middle category: I’m a waffle person. I like the texture of waffles, I like the little holes that catch the syrup, and I love the way they smell when they’re being cooked.

But I don’t own a waffle iron so I only get waffles when I eat out; which leaves only two options for Sunday morning breakfast: pancakes or French toast. And for some reason, until last week, it was only ever pancakes–buttermilk pancakes, strawberry pancakes–but just pancakes, never anything else. “Why don’t you make French toast?” Craig asked last Sunday when we both said we didn’t want pancakes; I scratched my head and couldn’t come up with a good reason not to. “Ok,” I said. “Let’s have French toast.”

The thing about French toast is that, more likely than not, you have all the ingredients you need already on hand: milk, eggs, sugar, butter, bread. And all you’re doing when you make it is frying bread in butter–bread that’s been soaked in a custardy mixture. Sure, you can vary the bread–for a truly decadent French toast use challah or brioche: that’s what most restaurants do–but simple, plain white sandwich bread will work fine. I used a recipe from “The Joy of Cooking” that was incredibly basic but, also, incredibly satisfying; it yields a French toast with a crunchy exterior, a creamy interior and a subtle hint of vanilla. You’re going to love it.

Easy French Toast

from “The Joy of Cooking” by Irma Rombauer

Yields 8 slices (which feeds 2 ravenous people)


2/3 cup milk or half-and-half

4 eggs

2 Tablespoons sugar or maple syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla or 1 Tablespoon rum (I used vanilla)

1/4 teaspoon salt

8 slices white sandwich bread

Butter as needed

Ok, get ready this is complicated:

(1) Whisk everything together, except the bread and butter, in a shallow pan (I used a pie plate)–make sure to whisk good, though, you want all the eggs broken up and homogeneous;


(2) Heat a skillet on medium/high heat, add 1 Tbs of butter, and as it foams up take a piece of bread, dip it on one side in the mixture, dip it on the other side, wipe off the excess egg, and drop it in the skillet; take one more piece of bread and do the same and then let that bread fry—leaving it alone for 30 seconds or so, adjusting the heat so it doesn’t cook too fast.


Use a spatula, eventually, and take a peak–if it’s golden brown and crusty where it’s cooking, it’s time to flip it over. Cook it on the other side and then put it on a plate. I had the oven at 200 and put the plate with the finished French toast in the oven so I could fry up everything and have it all hot at the same time.

(3) Sift confectioner’s sugar over the top and serve with maple syrup. Watch last night’s Saturday Night Live on Tivo and celebrate the comedy of Kristin Wiig.

That’s what I call a great Sunday morning.

30 thoughts on “Easy French Toast”

  1. I’m definitely a waffle person– I grew up on the waffle recipe from my parents’ edition of Joy of Cooking (it’s sadly not in my newer edition). But I’ve made the French Toast from JoC and love it. If I’m making it just for myself, I’ll freeze the leftovers and use them for a quick breakfast during the week. Just toast it up! When I eat it at work, all of my co-workers get jealous!

  2. Mary (the French toast connosouir!)

    WOW! I never ever thought of putting Rum in french toast! That sounds divine! I mean I dont drink nor am I old enough to buy it (this summer though! Oh the cooking joys to come!)I’m so excited to use this recipe as soon as I can!

  3. Mary (the French toast connosouir!)

    Forgot the last bit!

    I usually just do milk, eggs and cinnamon for my french toast and occasionally if I’m feeling like I want something especially yummy, I add a touch of nutmeg. Very yummy!

  4. I went through a major french toast phase in high school…not sure why I ever abandoned it. Thanks for the reminder that it exists and deserves to be made. Might I suggest a nice glug of grand marnier in the batter and a vanilla bean?

  5. …yum.

    I’m definitely a french toast person myself… I like to add pumpkin to the batter for some seasonal flair.

    Thanks for sharing!

  6. You need to try the Cook’s Illustrated recipe for Challah French Toast, it’s relatively easy, and it’s unbelievable good.

  7. I love this recipe and technique because it is something I might actually be motivated to do bleary-eyed on a Saturday morning. Also, props for refusing to force us to use brioche or challah!

  8. My brother makes his French toast with egg nog (particularly in the winter months when they sell egg nog) but it’s very good.

  9. French toast is something I love and have loved since I was little – my dad made it for us since we were teeny tiny and he uses white bread, not challah (unless it was Rosh Hashana or something).

    The real reason I’m commenting, though, is to discuss the condiments to go on top of the FT. While most Americans go for syrup and powdered sugar, my family east their FT (and pancakes, come to think of it) with sour cream and granulated sugar. It is AMAZING. I’m pretty sure it’s an Eastern European Jewish thing, and it makes me SO happy to eat my breakfast sweets that way. Just wanted to share!

  10. Jenniferjuniper

    I recently discovered that vanilla sugar is really good in french toast. I splurged on real vanilla beans and then put them in a mason jar with white sugar – the sugar takes on a delicious vanilla scent – french toast is the first thing I tried it in where it really stood out.

  11. Haven’t had french toast in ages, being celiac makes it a challenge. But growing up, my Dad used to make us breakfast on weekend mornings, and one of my favorites was french toast using whole wheat bagels. He’d let them soak overnight so they’d get real soft and eggy, then cook them up the same way.

  12. Or there are two types: those who like pancakes and those who like French Toast waffles. Invest in a waffle iron and put the two pieces of soaked bread in there to cook. Ever since I tried that, I can’t go back to regular French toast.

  13. Adam, I love reading your posts!

    I want to suggest that you add a splash of Cointreau or Grand Marnier to the french toast mixture next time! It’s extra super yummy that way.

    Thanks for all the smiles.

  14. There are really FOUR kinds of people in the world!

    I know, I’m part of that group. I like ALL three.

  15. I use one of the lightest settings on my toaster and toast the bread before dipping into the egg mixture. I find the FT holds its shape better, and doesn’t absorb as much liquid which might end up making the French Toast soggy.

  16. Next time you make pancakes, try substituting beer for 1/2 the liquid. My dad taught me this and I get the most amazingly fluffy pancakes. I know it sounds weird, and you do get a hint of the beer flavor, but I won’t make pancakes any other way!

  17. I like my french toast with butter and cinnamon-sugar on top, personally. but I am also crazy about french toast, and really enjoy pancakes, so I think that like Amy, I have multiple breakfast personalities.

  18. I’m not sure where I fit in – I love both french toast and waffles. Anyway, your french toast looks delicious. I’ve been trying to find a new, great recipe and this just might be it!

  19. I had forgot about French Toast! it’s the one dish my mom always got right. Saturday morning, French Toast and the syrup in a bottle, shaped like a lady.

    I needed a food trip down memory lane!

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