Recipe :: Incredibly Simple French Toast

Dec 12, 2011 by

When I was a kid, my dad would make french toast for us on Sunday mornings, if we asked veeeerrrrry nicely.  It was my favorite breakfast, besides egg sandwiches (which is still my favorite breakfast).  One year my elementary school was putting together a cookbook for a fundraiser, and I asked my dad for his french toast recipe to contribute.  He stared at my blankly.  My father is one of those sloppy genius chefs who never measures anything.  I remember sitting in the kitchen, painstakingly moving step by step, as my father tried to figure out exactly how much of what he used to make french toast, and I wrote the system down in what we hoped would be a fashion reproducible to other humans.

When I lived in Chicago, I had access to french toast coated in coconut, stuffed with marscapone, plated with flowers, and every other kind of fancy deliciousness you can imagine.  But here, this morning, I am feeling a little lonely and a little homesick, and all I want to eat is simple, ingredients-barely-measured egg-soaked toast.

fresh eggs!

I have consulted with my dad and the internet on this, and here follows my conclusion.  Nothing has ever been easier.  Or made this borrowed kitchen smell more like home.

This recipe assumes you’ll be serving 4, which each person getting 2 slices.  I realize that’s a highly unrealistic expectation, because who’s EVER eaten only 2 slices of french toast, but there you have it.  Also, I firmly believe that the key to good french toast is all in the bread.  Challah makes the absolute best ever, but if you’re in rural Virginia and can’t find challah, get the heartiest, thickest-sliced bread you can, and look for some without high fructose corn syrup and a bunch of chemicals inside.

Incredibly Simple French Toast

cane syrup is the best


  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 tbsp of cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract (never, ever imitation!)
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 8 slices of thick bread, better if slightly stale
  • 2-3 tbsp butter
  • For serving: Maple or cane syrup
  • Optional: Fresh berries, powdered sugar


  • Melt butter.  If you’re doing this in the microwave, be sure to melt it in short bursts.  Butter scorches easily.
  • Beat eggs, milk, vanilla, and cinnamon into the melted butter. Whisk until well blended.  If using, add fresh fruit and mix until just blended. Pour into a shallow bowl.
  • Dip each slice of bread into the egg mixture, allowing bread to briefly soak up some of the mixture. Melt some butter (or use olive oil) over a large skillet on medium low heat. Add as many slices of bread onto the skillet as will fit at a time.  Make sure every piece is able to lie flat in the pan.
  • Fry until just brown on both sides, flipping when necessary.  Remove from the skillet and dry on a paper towel.
  • Serve hot with maple or cane syrup, optionally dusted with powdered sugar, and if you have them, fresh berries.  Note: Some people put additional butter on their french toast before serving, but I think this recipe has enough butter and sugar that you won’t need it.  At a certain point, it just becomes gilding the lily, you know?

Also, just a tip, french toast batter keeps better than french toast, so if you find you’ve made enough and you’re going to have leftovers,  just pop the rest of the batter in an airtight container and put in the fridge.  The next morning, all you have to do is take out the bread and fire up the skillet.

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