Buttery brioche bread is the perfect base for a decadent French toast. This easy recipe yields a brioche French toast that is golden brown on the outside and custardy on the inside. Adding brown sugar to the simple egg custard gives the French toast a slightly sweet flavor that’s not too overpowering for maple syrup or your other favorite toppings.
If you want a few restaurant-worthy brunch recipes in your back pocket, you can’t go wrong with an ultra-decadent French toast. And that starts with a flavorful enriched bread like brioche.
This recipe is simple enough for a weekday breakfast, but it’s also perfect for a Sunday brunch or special occasion.
Brioche French toast makes a great base for showcasing fresh fruit, berries, or unique compound butters. For a sweet-savory contrast, serve with a side of sausage or some extra creamy grits — or make fried chicken and French toast (the lesser-known sister dish of chicken and waffles)!
About this recipe
We did several taste tests to make sure you had the best French toast recipe. We experimented with using fresh bread vs. stale or dried out bread, using different amounts of brown sugar, adding sugar to the outside of the toast, and adding flour to the custard (as seen in some recipes).
Our final selections yielded a flavorful French toast recipe that’s golden brown on the outside and custardy on the inside. It’s sweet enough to be flavorful on its own but not too sweet to add syrup or powdered sugar on top. The balance of eggs to dairy and use of richer half-and-half in the custard gives the French toast a creamy final texture that’s neither eggy nor soggy; almost like having dessert for breakfast. Yum!
Making Perfect Brioche French Toast:
Expert tips and tricks
Where to find brioche
I look first for brioche in my grocery store’s bakery section, but I have recently found brioche in the commercially-made bread aisle as well. Sara Lee’s Artesano series and Natures Own’s Perfectly Crafted have brioche options.
Preparing your brioche
- Slice it thick. If your brioche isn’t pre-sliced, make sure you cut thick Texas toast sized slices between 3/4″ and 1″ thick — twice the typical thickness of sandwich bread.
- Check for paper. Sometimes store-bought brioche has a layer of paper on the bottom. Be sure to check for this and peel it off!
- Let it stale or dry it out. The best brioche for French toast will be slightly stale, but you can dry out a fresh loaf by leaving the slices out uncovered at room temperature for a few hours or sticking them in the oven at 200 degrees for about 20 minutes. Stale bread holds up better when dredging in the custard.
If you can’t find brioche at your local grocery store, challah bread is the most similar option, if it’s not topped with something savory like salt or everything bagel seasoning. Both brioche and challah are enriched breads containing sugar and eggs, but brioche is loaded with plenty of butter while challah is typically made with oil.
Other options: If you can’t find brioche or challah, you can make delicious French toast with just about any type of bread! Croissants are another ultra-decadent option, sliced in half like you’re going to make a sandwich. You can also use thick-cut regular bread or even sourdough. French bread slices make beautiful little French toast medallions.
Use a flat bowl. Mix your custard in a flat-bottomed bowl, shallow dish, or even a brownie pan or food storage container — anything that has room for your bread slices to lay down completely flat without curving. This will allow your custard to permeate the bread evenly and quickly.
Medium low heat is key. Cooking on medium or higher heat will overcook on the outside before the custard is fully cooked through on the inside, leaving your French toast burnt and soggy at the same time.
Keep it warm. Arrange your French toast slices in a single layer on a baking sheet and store in a warm 200 degree oven while you finish cooking the rest.
I prefer my French toast simply flavored with vanilla and brown sugar but you may add 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon or nutmeg if desired.
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Easy Brioche French Toast Recipe
- 8 slices brioche bread thick-cut
- 2 eggs
- 2/3 cup half-and-half or equal parts milk and cream
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon butter for cooking, more as needed
- Prepare your bread. Slice and dry it out if it's not already stale! If your brioche is already sliced and slightly stale, great! You can move onto the next step. If not, cut some thick slices and bake them in the oven at 200 degrees for about 20 minutes. This will dry them out slightly without toasting them, giving them more structure so they hold up better when you soak them in custard.
- Mix your custard. In a shallow dish or bowl with a flat bottom, whisk together eggs, half-and-half, brown sugar, vanilla extract, and kosher salt.
- Prepare your pan. Preheat a large skillet or griddle pan over medium heat, then reduce to medium low once it's preheated. Melt butter in the pan.
- Soak and cook your brioche. Take each slice of brioche bread and lay it in the egg mixture for about two seconds on each side, long enough to fully permeate the bread but not so long that the bread starts wanting to fall apart. Remove the bread and let excess custard drip off. Place each slice in the preheated pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes per side until golden brown and cooked throughout. Add more butter to the pan as needed for additional slices.
- Serve and enjoy! Store cooked slices in a single layer on a baking sheet in a warm 200 degree oven while you finish cooking the rest of the French toast. For an elegant presentation, cut two slices diagonally and arrange triangles overlapping on a plate. Top with fresh berries and whipped cream or with butter and a dusting of powdered sugar. Warm maple syrup is always a classic addition to homemade French toast!