A Spicy Perspective

Best French Toast Recipe (Pain Perdu)

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How To Make The BEST French Toast Recipe: Perfectly crispy-on-the-outside custard-like-on-the-inside authentic Pain Perdu. Our Easy French Toast Recipe is pure MAGIC!

How To Make Pain Perdu - toast piled high on plate

The Best of France

I have a long-standing relationship with French Toast.

First of all, classic french toast is Lt. Dan’s second favorite food, after steak, so I’ve become very well acquainted with it over the years.

thought I had perfected French Toast. Yet I then had the opportunity to take not one, but three trips to France in a relatively short amount of time.

On these trips, it became quite clear to me that I still needed to learn a few things about How To Make French Toast… The way the French make it!

So now, after a couple of Parisian cooking classes, and a lot of at-home experimentation, my French Toast is now just as amazing as the Pain Perdu we ate in Paris.

You can make it too! All You Need Is:

  • The right ingredients.
  • A better understanding of what real French Toast should taste and feel like.
best breakfast recipe

Why Is This Called Pain Perdu?

French toast (like french fries) is an Americanized version of a classic French recipe.

The original recipe is called Pain Perdu in french, which literally translates as “lost bread.”

Some believe the term refers to using day-old bread that would be thrown out if not repurposed. Others believe it refers to the bread getting lost in the egg mixture when dunked.

Either way, this lost bread is given new life in the best possible way.

homemade breakfast

What’s The Difference Between French Toast And Pain Perdu?

There’s a vast difference between the French Toast most Americans make on the weekends, and what Pain Perdu is meant to be.

In France, Pain Perdu is nearly an art form. It has been perfected over centuries. There’s a method. There’s a ratio. There’s an expectation.

Here in the United States, French Toast is an afterthought. We open the fridge and think, “Great! I’ve got a few pieces of sandwich bread left, and a couple of eggs… French Toast!”

We whisk the eggs with whatever liquid dairy product (or nut milk) we can find, sprinkle it with cinnamon, and dunk the bread.

We don’t measure. We don’t consider the consistency of the egg mixture. We don’t worry about the type of bread or the thickness of the slices.

We know, in the end, we will drown the French Toast in maple syrup and enjoy it regardless.

However, this quick weekend breakfast could be SO much more, with very little effort.

how to make

French Toast Vs Pain Perdu

Let’s take a moment to compare the major differences, so you can make the best french toast you’ve ever tasted, AKA real Pain Perdu!

(American) French Toast tends to be:

  • Eggy
  • Overly spiced
  • Too thin, because we use sliced sandwich bread
  • Dry and bready in the middle, because we didn’t soak the bread long enough (or we used too many eggs)
  • Or too soggy, because our liquid mixture isn’t portioned correctly

Pain Perdu should be:

  • Thick
  • Crispy and golden on the outside
  • Soft and custard-like on the inside
  • Sweet enough to stand alone, without syrup or toppings, yet not cloyingly sweet
  • With a delicate vanilla custard flavor
Brioche or Challah

Is This French Toast Recipe Supposed To Be Soggy?

Why is my french toast soggy? Is it supposed to be like that?

French Toast should never be soggy, but it shouldn’t be bready in the middle either.

A perfect Pain Perdu Recipe should have a pillowy, well-saturated, custard texture on the inside.

That means it will be moister than most Americans traditionally make it.

However, if you turn the heat down and cook it a little longer, the crust will become brilliantly caramelized on the outside, while the inside will puff into a soft custard cloud.

Pain Perdu Recipe Ingredients

Here’s What You’ll Need:

  • Brioche Bread Loaf – Unsliced. You will want to slice it into thick pieces yourself. If you can’t find brioche, challah is the next best bread.
  • Half & Half – Full-fat. This is not the time to be worried about calories or fat. Some recipes call for whole milk and heavy cream in various proportions, but I’ve found buying just one carton of half & half works perfectly and saves money.
  • Egg Yolks – Don’t want an eggy Pain Perdu Recipe? Well then, just take out the egg whites! The silky quality of the yolks will create the perfect custard texture.
  • Sugar – To sweeten the French Toast, making it a stand-alone dish.
  • Vanilla Extract – Just a little splash to create the vanilla custard flavor.
  • Salt – A little pinch does a lot of good, bringing the best flavors to the forefront.
  • Butter – To fry the pain perdu.

How To Make French Toast

Are you ready to make a mind-blowing and easy breakfast recipe? Ok, good!

  1. Preheat the oven. This helps keep the first batches warm, and “finishes off” this recipe’s cooking.
  2. Whisk. Mix the half & half, egg yolks, sugar, vanilla, and salt together in a shallow dish/bowl.
  3. Cut. Slice a brioche loaf into 1 inch slices. The bread can be fresh or stale. Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to use day-old bread.
  4. Prep the skillet. Set a large skillet over medium heat. Add a little butter.
  5. Soak. Soak the brioche in the egg mixture, flipping to coat.
  6. Fry. Gently move the soaked bread to the hot skillet/griddle. Fry the coated bread slices until golden brown.
  7. Keep Warm. Move the cooked bread to the baking sheet and place it in the oven to keep warm.
  8. Repeat. Continue cooking the remaining thick slices of bread until all the bread is cooked.

Cook’s Notes

Perfect French Toast should be golden and crispy on the outside, and custard-like and pillowy in the center… But not raw. 

Placing the pieces of French Toast in the oven under low heat, puffs them up a little and keeps the pieces from getting soggy over time. If you are worried about the French Toast being undercooked in the center, the oven also slowly finishes the French Toast off, so to speak. Don’t skip the oven step!

Get The Full Printable Best French Toast Recipe (Pain Perdu) Below. Enjoy!

brioche French toast

What Do You Put On Top?

The beauty of making this recipe authentic is that it’s sweet enough to serve as-is. No toppings needed!

However, you can feel free to add:

  • Maple Syrup
  • Powdered Sugar
  • Whipped Cream
  • Toasted Nuts
  • Fresh Berries (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries)
  • Chopped Stone Fruit
  • Caramel Sauce
  • Chocolate Shavings
Best Pain Perdu Toppings

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know it is finished cooking?

Perfect Pain Perdu should be golden and crispy on the outside, and custard-like and pillowy in the center… But not raw.

If the exterior seems to be browning too fast, lower the heat to medium-low. This will allow more time for the interior to cook.

Also, placing the pieces of finished toast in the oven under low heat, puffs them up a little and keeps the pieces from getting soggy over time. If you are worried about your breakfast being undercooked in the center, the oven also slowly finishes this recipe off. This is a very important step!

How long should it be kept in the oven?

Really, just a few minutes of “dry time” as you finish cooking the other pieces will do. Around 5-10 minutes, or possibly up to 20 minutes.

Is there a lactose-free option?

Sure! Try using thick canned coconut milk and plant-based “butter”. The thick canned coconut milk helps bring the custard-like consistency instead of using other dairy-free substitutions like almond milk or oat milk. 

How long does this recipe last in the fridge?

This recipe tastes its best when it is freshly made, but if you do end up having extra afterward, leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

authentic pain perdu

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How To Make French Toast

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 24 minutes
How To Make The BEST French Toast Recipe: Insanely delicious Pain Perdu with the perfect texture on both the inside and outside. This easy french toast recipe will blow your mind!
Servings: 10 thick slices


  • 1 loaf brioche bread, unsliced
  • 3 cups half & half
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 pinches salt
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • Possible Toppings: Toasted almonds, fresh berries, powdered sugar, maple syrup, caramel sauce, chocolate shavings


  • Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Lay out a large baking sheet.
  • In a large bowl, whisk the half & half, egg yolks, sugar, vanilla, and salt together. Make sure the sugar is fully incorporated.
  • Use a serrated knife to slice the brioche loaf into 1 inch slices. (About 10 slices.)
  • Set a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1-2 tablespoons butter, depending on the size of the skillet.
  • Soak 2-3 pieces of brioche in the egg mixture for about 30-60 seconds, flipping to coat. The bread should soak just long enough to be fully saturated, without dissolving it.
  • Carefully move the soaked bread to the hot skillet. Fry the French Toast slices for 2-3 minutes per side, until golden brown. If they are cooking faster, lower the heat to medium-low, to make sure the inside is cooked through the middle.
  • Move the French Toast to the baking sheet and place in the oven to keep warm. (The longer it sits in the oven, the puffier it will become.)
  • Wipe the skillet out with a paper towel and add more butter to the skillet. (You only need to wipe the skillet if the butter residue looks dark.)
  • Repeat with the remaining slices of bread until all the French Toast is cooked. Place each batch in the oven to keep warm.
  • Serve warm with fresh berries, maple syrup, or your favorite toppings!



Perfect French Toast should be golden and crispy on the outside, and custard-like and pillowy in the center… But not raw.
Placing the pieces of French Toast in the oven under low heat, puffs them up a little and keeps the pieces from getting soggy over time. If you are worried about the French Toast being undercooked in the center, the oven also slowly finishes the French Toast off, so to speak. Don’t skip the oven step!


Serving: 1piece, Calories: 369kcal, Carbohydrates: 29g, Protein: 8g, Fat: 25g, Saturated Fat: 15g, Cholesterol: 201mg, Sodium: 327mg, Potassium: 104mg, Sugar: 10g, Vitamin A: 888IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 109mg, Iron: 1mg
Course: Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine: French
Author: Sommer Collier

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37 comments on “Best French Toast Recipe (Pain Perdu)”

  1. This is soo good. I had to sub the half & half for evaporated milk since I’m out of cream, but I’m still in awe of the final product. It’s like an entirely different dessert from the French toast we know. It’s like vanilla custard bread or single-serving bread pudding. So simple and refined. I really thought I’d miss the cinnamon and nutmeg, but I didn’t.
    I will say, this is probably very different from the French toast you’ve been eating your whole life if you grew up in the states, so if you were to serve this to someone else as “French toast”, they’ll either have their minds blown like I was, or be very disappointed and maybe even offput by the creamy center if they’re not used to it. I still have another more “classic” French toast recipe on the back burner using some egg white and spices to achieve a more familiar final texture and taste, but I’m so glad to have this variety now too.
    Also, this does NOT need any syrup in the end, it’s really sweet on its own. I find that, like a regular vanilla custard, fresh fruit works best, to offset a bit of the richness.

  2. Amazing!  Just like all you other recipes.  My favorite still- Better than Cinnabon cinnamon rolls!  Thanks for sharing such great recipes!

  3. Delicious!! Great recipe , so easy and WAY WAY better than the traditional way Americans make it! Whoa!!! I used full fat coconut milk as I try to avoid dairy whenever possible and it came out incredible 

  4. I’ve been trying for over a decade and finally! This is the best French Toast I’ve ever had! No syrup necessary. For those that might not be able to find a fresh unsliced loaf of Brioche. I used the St. Pierre Sliced Brioche Loaf found at Target. 😫AMAZING 

  5. I’ve made french toast before – but never using brioche. WOWZA that made such a delicious difference! Never going back to plain old white bread for this recipe ever again. Brioche is the way to go. Tastes like a restaurant quality breakfast! Thanks.

  6. Delicious! The whole family loved it!

  7. These thick slices of heaven is what my dreams were made of! I am in love with these and will only make this recipe ever again!

  8. So yummy!!! It looks very yummy.

  9. Made this recipe twice since finding it three days ago.   I thought I made great French toast.  Boy  was I wrong.   This is amazing. Thank you. 

  10. So good! Perfect actually 

  11. This was unbelievable! Best French toast I’ve had…such a creamy custard-y inside and a crisp outside. My only issue was it deflated in the oven for some reason but it was still excellent! Can’t wait to have an excuse to make this again 

  12. This looks great! But how long should it be kept in the oven?

  13. Hands down BEST french toast!! Everyone raved about it! The store was out of most breads when I went shopping last night so I used Challah bread instead, best choice of my life. It was almost like a desert. The family requested that I make it for all major holidays haha Thank you so much for this recipe!!

  14. Best recipe I’ve found for adapting to gluten free/dairy free! I have to adapt all recipes now to be as wheat, dairy, and sugar-free as I can make them, which has not resulted in awesome French toast previously, but this time it DID! Better than I remember regular French toast! I think your egg yolk trick is brilliant to make it custardy instead of eggy, just luscious! For those who want to duplicate, you know that all GFCF products are not created equal. I used Canyon gluten-free white bread, Planet Oat Oatmilk extra creamy, 6 packets of Zing organic stevia, and fried using coconut oil cooking spray in a nonstick skillet over medium-low heat to give it plenty of time to both brown on the outside and cook on the inside. Served it with fresh berries and Coco Whip, it was the best French toast I’ve EVER had, my daughter and I thank you so much for this recipe!

  15. Flavor is good however the recipe should specify in step 7 that the toast should finish cooking in the oven vs warming.  

  16. This was a very special and perfect treat and we loved it!  I used challah bread because I couldn’t find brioche bread.  I had extra egg mixture so I used potato sandwich bread which was also delicious.  Thanks so much!  

  17. Made with heavy cream instead. Incredible nonetheless. 

  18. Nice recipe! Is there a lactose-free option?

  19. i wish to tried this recipie French in my breakfast i wants to change

  20. Thank you for all the tips! My French toast turned out great!

  21. Detailed Explanation. This is why everyone likes french dishes. Thanks for sharing.

  22. This was really good! My kids loved it!

  23. I shouldn’t have seen this first thing in the morning. All I dream of is this beauty! :)

  24. This is seriously the best French Toast recipe! Brioche bread is a must, and all of the little things that make it special are perfect!

  25. This is great French Toast recipe – love the crispy outside and the custard like inside! 

  26. This recipe has changed my fresh toast game for sure! So good!

  27. French toast is one of my favorites! Absolutely need to try this recipe, it looks amazing!

  28. This is fantastic!! I can’t wait to make some french toast!! YUMMM!!!

  29. You had me at French toast!

  30. Light & fluffy..love french toast!! Thanks for sharing these great tips to making the best french toast!

  31. This is the best french toast I have ever had! Thank you so much for sharing! 

  32. My favorite breakfast! I am so excited to make this this weekend!

  33. Tried again and working now

  34. Looks amazing but I only get music on the video with a stagnant photo.   Is it just me?

  35. Thank you….you are right, we don’t put enough thought into it; this looks fabulous!