3 Secrets To Amazing French Toast

Make restaurant-style French toast at home.

Do you use a recipe when making French toast? For most people, it's a dish thrown together on the fly, like scrambled eggs. Beat some eggs, add milk, soak the bread, fry it up, then grab a plate and fork—you're ready for breakfast.

While this method will produce a plate of French toast—even delicious French toast—you can do better. Here are three easy ways to elevate your run-of-the-mill recipe, or, if we're being honest, that set of steps you perform at the stovetop when you're still half asleep.

Baked Buttermilk French Toast
Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Heather Chadduck Hillegas; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

1. Start With a Custard

Whether made by the slice or in an oven-baked casserole, French toast is a pan-fried bread soaked in an egg and dairy mixture. That mixture is actually custard, and it tastes best when you use full-fat dairy (whole milk, half-and-half, or equal parts milk and heavy cream). Ideally, you want equal parts egg and dairy, so aim for one-fourth of a cup of dairy for each whole egg. Whisk them together thoroughly until the mixture is completely blended, with no bits of egg white or yolk visible. Then whisk in a pinch of salt and about half a teaspoon of sugar per egg. Granulated white sugar is acceptable but won't dissolve as quickly as powdered sugar, honey, or maple syrup.

2. Add Extra Flavor

In addition to sweet and salty, stir a few extra ingredients to enhance the flavor and aroma of the custard. Ground spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom (or try a blend like an apple or pumpkin pie spice), extracts like vanilla or almond, fresh lemon or orange zest, or a splash of spirits (like bourbon or rum) are all wonderful options. Soak the bread thoroughly so that it is entirely saturated.

3. Fry in Butter and Oil

Once the bread is soaked through, you'll need some fat and a hot pan to turn it into French toast. A neutral cooking oil like canola has a high smoke point but no flavor. Butter has plenty of flavors but burns at lower temperatures. So combine the two—I like using half oil and half butter—for the best of both worlds: golden, crispy-edged French toast with plenty of richness.

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