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Does it matter what bread you use for French toast?

When it comes to making delicious French toast, the type of bread you use can make a big difference. Though French toast can be made with all kinds of bread, some varieties are better suited for getting the perfect taste and texture. Here’s a look at how the bread you choose affects the final results.

Bread Basics

Before diving into the best bread options, it helps to understand what qualities make for great French toast in general. The ideal French toast bread should:

  • Be thick-sliced. Thin bread will burn and dry out too quickly.
  • Have a dense, sturdy interior crumb. Bread that’s too airy or soft may fall apart.
  • Have a slightly stale, dry exterior. Fresh, soft bread will absorb too much egg mixture.
  • Be neutral in flavor. Bread with savory herbs or sweet fruits may compete with the custard and syrup.

With those key criteria in mind, these are some of the top contenders for making exceptional French toast.

French and Italian Bread

When it comes to authenticity, rich eggy bread dipped in syrup just seems like it should be made with a loaf of crusty French or Italian bread. Baguettes, ciabatta, and focaccia all have an undeniably European flair. The chewy, substantial texture and mild wheaty flavor let the custard shine. Thick slices soak up plenty of the egg mixture while maintaining their shape and absorbing just the right amount. If you want French toast that lives up to its name, French and Italian breads are reliably excellent choices.


Buttery, pillowy brioche is a uniquely decadent option for French toast. Enriched with eggs and butter, it has a soft, tender crumb that collapses into custardy perfection. Brioche makes some of the richest, most indulgent French toast you can find, especially when drizzled with syrup or cream. The golden hue also gives it a delightfully eggy appearance. While brioche is undeniably delicious, the richness can be overpowering for some. But if you want to make French toast feel special, brioche is hard to beat.


For a more rustic, artisanal twist, consider sourdough. It has enough structure to hold up well once soaked in custard. The tangy, complex flavor also balances sweet syrup or fruit toppings. Opt for a levain-style loaf with an open, holey crumb yet sturdy texture. The sourdough’s slight acidity helps cut through and complement the rich custard too. Just be sure to use very thick slices, or the eggy mixture may cause it to fall apart. If you want a beloved San Francisco treat, sourdough French toast is a delightful regional specialty.


On the sweeter side, eggy challah makes delectable French toast with its tender crumb and faint honeyed flavor. Lightly enriched with eggs and oil, it drinks up the custard while retaining its fluffy yet resilient texture. The braided loaf also givesFrench toast pretty presentation and edges with crispy contrast. For best results, use a thicker sandwich-style challah rather than a thin bakery version. Sweet, eggy challah is especially well suited for cinnamon-spiced French toast recipes too.


This Italian yeast bread has an unmistakable holey, uneven crumb yet dense and chewy texture. Pugliese makes for French toast with hefty bites and full egg custard absorption. It maintains its hearty sturdiness once soaked while the irregular holes add pockets for even more syrup. The crust cracks apart with delightful crispy contrast against the soaked custard interior too. For those who like some weight and tooth to their French toast, Pugliese is an excellent alternative to plain white bread.

Cuban Bread

This airy yet sturdy egg-enriched yeast loaf is a natural choice for French toast. Cuban bread has a fluffy interior crumb surrounded by a crackly crust. Thick slices soak up a satisfying amount of custard while maintaining enough structure not to get soggy. The egg and butter in the original loaf also complement the rich custard dip. And the Cuban bread’s hint of salt balances sweet syrup toppings. For an underrated and addictive twist, try French toast made with this puffy, crispy staple.

Hawaiian Bread

The pillowy texture and mildly sweet flavor of Hawaiian bread make it another tempting French toast candidate. Milk and eggs in the original bread recipe enrich it with a softer crumb and subtle sweetness. Thick slices soak up plenty of custard but still hold their shape. And the touch of sweetness pairs beautifully with traditional maple syrup. If you want a tropical twist, spoon passionfruit curd or guava syrup over Hawaiian bread French toast too.

Cinnamon Raisin Bread

For built-in spice and sweetness, you can’t go wrong with cinnamon raisin bread. The swirls of cinnamon sugar cut through the rich custard with a delicious burst of flavor. Plump raisins also add pops of fruity sweetness in each bite. Just be sure to use a loaf that’s sturdy enough to stand up to a custard bath without getting mushy. Choose a commercial bakery loaf over soft homemade versions for best results. It makes excellent French toast, especially when topped with even more cinnamon sugar.

Thick-Sliced White Bread

Sometimes simple is best. Humble white sandwich bread may not be glamorous, but it reliably makes comforting, nostalgic French toast. Sturdy yet squishy, it soaks up ample custard while also crisping up along the edges. The neutral flavor lets maple syrup or other sweet toppings shine too. While it may be boring to some, don’t underestimate the simple pleasure of fluffy white bread French toast dripping with syrup.

Other Options

When it comes to French toast, you’re not limited to just traditional bread options. Try using:

  • Muffins or cinnamon rolls – For built-in flavor and sweetness
  • Stale croissants – Sturdy enough to soak up custard
  • Doughnuts – Soaked in custard then crisped up again
  • Panettone – Sweet Italian bread with fruits and nuts
  • Banana bread – For a popular brunch flavor
  • Pumpkin bread – For fall spice and pumpkin flavor

The possibilities are nearly endless once you think beyond regular bread! Just adjust soak time as needed for thicker or more delicate items.

The Best Bread for French Toast

So what’s ultimately the best bread choice for foolproof French toast? Here’s a quick comparison:

Bread Texture Flavor Overall Rating
French / Italian Chewy, sturdy Neutral 5/5
Brioche Tender, rich Buttery, eggy 4/5
Sourdough Dense, holey Tangy 4/5
Challah Fluffy Slightly sweet 4/5
Pugliese Chewy, dense Neutral 4/5
Cuban Airly, sturdy Slightly salty 4/5
Hawaiian Soft, pillowy Slightly sweet 4/5
Cinnamon Raisin Tender crumb Sweet, spiced 4/5
White Bread Squishy Neutral 3/5

As you can see, classic French and Italian breads are the most versatile and reliable options. They have a great texture and neutral taste that complements sweet or savory additions. Brioche, challah, and other rich egg breads make indulgent alternatives. Avoid thinner or super soft bread that will fall apart. In most cases, anything with some structure and hearty thickness does the trick!

Tips for Making French Toast

Once you’ve chosen the perfect bread, keep these tips in mind for executing delicious French toast:

  • Use fresh thick-cut bread and stale slightly before using.
  • Beat eggs thoroughly and add a splash of milk or cream for a rich custard.
  • Dip bread quickly to soak up some egg mixture while still retaining some firmness.
  • Fry bread in plenty of butter over medium-low heat until deeply golden.
  • Avoid overcrowding the pan, flip gently with a spatula.
  • Serve French toast warm with desired sweet or savory toppings.
  • Leftover French toast reheats well in a 300°F oven to crispy it up again.

Top French Toast Pairings

While French toast is delicious on its own, certain toppings take it to the next level. Here are some heavenly French toast topping ideas:

  • Maple syrup – Warm it up to drizzle over or dip French toast bites
  • Fresh fruit – Bananas, berries, peaches, etc. for a bright contrast
  • Whipped cream and powdered sugar – For an indulgent diner-style treat
  • Butter and cinnamon sugar – Simple but oh so good
  • Nutella, peanut butter, or other spreads – For a creamy, chocolatey or nutty twist
  • Caramel sauce – The sweet, buttery complement French toast craves
  • Crumbled bacon – Savory, salty crunch to balance the sweet
  • Sliced almonds – Pleasant crunch and toasty flavor

Feel free to mix and match toppings or come up with your own creative combinations. The possibilities are endless for customizing French toast!


At the end of the day, almost any bread can be turned into tasty French toast with the right technique. But sturdy, neutral loaves like French bread yield the most consistent and versatile results. Brioche and challah offer indulgent flavor twists. Go wild with unique breads and creative toppings once you master the classic version. With the right batter technique and bread that can soak up eggs without getting mushy, you’ll be whipping up perfect, golden French toast in no time!