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Vanilla French Toast

5 stars (5 ratings)

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This vanilla French toast is full of secrets: the hint of cardamom, the double-dip method, and the cast iron pan. Together they add up to a decadently delicious French toast that I proudly serve for special occasions, like birthdays, Mother’s Day, or Father’s Day.

A serving of vanilla french toast with blueberries, bananas, candied pecans, and powdered sugar.

An Easy French Toast Breakfast

With a rich, eggy custard-like texture and hints of vanilla and cardamom this French toast is sure to impress. Once you try it, you’ll never settle for basic French toast again. No one needs to know just how quick or easy it is to get on the table.

Serve with a dusting of powdered sugar or a drizzling of maple syrup, add fresh fruit, candied pecans or a sprinkle of maple granola, or just eat it plain. No matter how you like it, this vanilla French toast is a delicious way to start your weekend off right.

How to Make Vanilla French Toast

Like many simple recipes, the secret to amazing results is having the right ingredients and the right preparation method. When it comes to making French toast some people claim that the most important part is the bread. Others say it’s all about the milk and egg custard. I would argue that while both are important, neither is more important than the preparation method.

The truth is that you have to cover all the important parts: the bread, the custard, the double dip, and how you cook it. Together these four components will help you take your French toast from bland, boring, and run of the mill to decadently delicious.

A serving of vanilla french toast next to a serving plate and bowls of candied pecans, blueberries, powdered sugar, and a banana.

The Best Bread for Custard French Toast

When it comes to the best bread for French toast, my recommendation is to look for unsliced loaves of brioche. Brioche is an eggy, buttery style of French bread that, while rich and flavorful on it’s own, compliments the eggy custard soak perfectly.

While finding brioche in the bread aisle can be hit or miss, I often find it in the bakery section. Can’t find brioche? Look for the following:

  • Something that is sturdy enough to hold it’s shape after the custard soak. It shouldn’t have too fine of a crumb or smush easily when you pick it up. (No standard white breads!)
  • Unsliced loaves are best, but if it is sliced look for thicker slices that are about one inch wide. If it’s too thin the slices will fall apart, while slices that are too thick can absorb too much custard, making them more difficult to cook.
  • IF you want a pillowy soft custard like inside, don’t choose a bread that is super chewy or has a thick crust.
  • It should taste good!
  • Whole loaves of French bread or sourdough are good, sliced Texas toast is good, challah bread is good.

Want to try your hand at homemade brioche? You can use my recipe for brioche rolls and make it into a single loaf of bread, or check out these recipes by Martha Stewart and Epicurious.

Ingredients for vanilla french toast: brioche bread, eggs, milk, cardamom, and vanilla.

Baking Powder – The Key to Fluffy French Toast

Baking powder is not common in French toast, but it’s definitely there for a reason. The baking powder is going to react instantly to the heat of the pan and cause the custard soaked bread to puff up. This is the difference between thin French toast and fluffy decadent French toast. It’s not essential to making French toast, but it is essential to making French toast better.

The Milk and Egg Custard

The batter for this French toast is super simple. Made mainly of eggs and milk, it’s a basic custard French toast. While some recipes don’t add much to it, others, like this one, dial it up a notch with extra ingredients for extra flavor. My recipe is built off of the ratio of one egg and one tablespoon of milk for every two slices of bread. It gives the best results without leaving you with a lot of extra batter.

Sliced brioche next to a mixing bowl and a plate with custard for vanilla french toast.

Soaking vs. Double Dipping

Many, many recipes will tell you to soak your bread in the custard. Please, please, please only do this if you are working with tough, chewy, or stale bread.

When you soak the bread in the custard it gives the bread extra time to soak up more custard. While that may sound great on the surface, it can lead to soggy French toast that is difficult to cook. You’ll need to work with a lower temperature to ensure the outside doesn’t burn before the inside is cooked.

In my kitchen I’m a big fan of the double dip. Not only does it give your bread a chance to soak up just the right amount of custard, it allows the custard the chance to soak into the bread just enough without over saturating it.

To double dip: pour the custard into a shallow bowl or large plate. Place the bread into the custard, wait two seconds, flip it. Repeat it a second time so that both sides are dipped twice.

Vanilla french toast frying in cast iron pan.

Cast Iron Makes Better French Toast

You can make French toast in any frying pan, skillet, or griddle, but if you have cast iron, use it! Just like searing steak, the frying French toast in cast iron just works better.

It does a better job of transferring the heat, meaning your French toast will cook faster and give you those gorgeously delicious sear marks. I don’t have a cast iron griddle, but my 12″ cast iron skillet holds about 3 slices at a time.

A serving of vanilla french toasted with fresh fruit being dusted with powdered sugar.

Vanilla French Toast Recipe

Vanilla French Toast is a decadently delicious way to celebrate with those you love. This simple bread and custard recipe adds a hint of cardamom and relies on the double dip method paired with a cast iron skillet to take it from everyday to gourmet.

Serve yours with fresh fruit, nuts, maple syrup, powdered sugar, or whipped cream.

If you like this recipe, please give it a FIVE-STAR rating, leave a comment, and share it on your favorite social channel!

A serving of vanilla french toast with blueberries, bananas, candied pecans, and powdered sugar.

Vanilla French Toast

Vanilla French toast. Thick slices of brioche double dipped in a rich custard with a hint of cardamom. It's a decadently delicious French toast that will take breakfast from boring to gourmet.
5 stars (5 ratings)
prep: 5 minutes
cook: 15 minutes
total: 20 minutes
servings: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 8 slices thick cut French (challah, or brioche bread)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • butter for frying

Instructions

  • Preheat a 12" cast iron skillet over medium heat.
  • Whisk together eggs, milk, vanilla, cardamom, baking powder, and salt in a medium mixing bowl
  • Working with two slices at a time, pour about 1/4 of the custard mixture into a plate or shallow bowl. Place each piece of bread in the custard, let sit 2 seconds then flip to the other side and let sit two seconds. Flip two more times so that each side is coated twice.
  • Add 1 – 2 tsp of butter to the heated pan and allow it to melt and coat the pan. Place the first two slices of dipped bread into the skillet and fry 2 – 3 minutes, then flip. Cook the remaining side an additional 2 – 3 minutes. The surface will crisp up and turn a medium golden brown. If it's cooking too fast, lower the heat. Adjust the cook time as needed.
  • Repeat from step three with the next two slices until all eight slices have been double dipped and fried.
  • Serve with fresh fruit, nuts, powdered sugar, maple syrup, or whipped cream.

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Nutrition

Serving: 2slicesCalories: 404kcalCarbohydrates: 47gProtein: 16gFat: 16gSaturated Fat: 7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 262mgSodium: 666mgFiber: 2gSugar: 4g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated and is for general information purposes only. For the most accurate information, calculate using your select brands and exact measurements.

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About Renee N Gardner

I'm the recipe developer, food photographer, and mastermind behind Renee Nicole's Kitchen, where I help create kitchen confidence to inspire home cooks to become home chefs. No fancy fads here, just high-quality, homemade recipes featuring seasonal ingredients.

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11 Comments on “Vanilla French Toast”

  1. 5 stars
    Made this for breakfast using your recipe and it came out so fluffy and delicious! Will definitely be making vanilla french toast again for the family now that I have it down. Thanks for the awesome tips!

    Reply
    • Well, that’s an embarrassing mistake. The baking soda is correct. You could use baking powder, but you would need to use three times as much (so 1 1/2 teaspoons) in order to have the same effect as 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda. Thank you for pointing it out so that I could correct it.

      Renee

      Reply
  2. 5 stars
    French toast is the BEST way to start the weekend!! 🙂 It would taste even better with Brioche. I have to make french toast this coming weekend! Making it in the oven would make things even easier!

    Reply
  3. Delicious! I never thought of broiling french toasts in the oven…my husband loves french toasts but I hate standing in front of the stove cooking them hehe…I will be trying this recipe soon! 🙂

    Reply
    • It was one of those “why didn’t I think of this sooner?” moments. The texture is slightly different, but it’s a worthwhile change for that extra hour that I can spend lounging in bed.

      Reply
5 from 5 votes (2 ratings without comment)

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