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Should French toast be crispy or soggy?

French toast is a popular breakfast dish made by soaking bread slices in a custard-like mixture of eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon before frying them to a golden brown. While this dish is beloved for its sweet, eggy flavor, there is some debate around the ideal texture for French toast. Some prefer a crispy exterior with a soft, almost custardy interior, while others favor French toast that’s uniformly soggy throughout. So which camp has it right when it comes to the perfect French toast texture – crispy or soggy?

The case for crispy French toast

Those who prefer their French toast crispy on the outside and soft on the inside argue that this texture contrast is what makes the dish so appealing. The crispy exterior provides a pleasant crunch and allows the interior to remain pillowy and soaked with custard. Too soggy, and the French toast loses its structure and winds up as an eggy mess.

Crispy French toast also tends to hold up better for dipping in syrup or topping with fruit and powdered sugar. The exterior stays intact rather than falling apart. From a practical standpoint, the crispy shell helps the toast retain its heat better as well. Warm, crispy French toast simply has more textural interest and satisfaction than uniformly soggy slices.

How to achieve crispy French toast

To achieve crispy French toast, there are a few key strategies:

  • Use stale bread – Older, firmer bread will fry up with a crispier crust than fresh, soft bread.
  • Get the pan hot before adding the soaked toast – Starting with a hot, well-greased pan allows the exterior to quickly brown.
  • Don’t overcrowd the pan – Too many slices in the pan will steam rather than crisp.
  • Let it cook undisturbed – Resist the urge to poke or flip constantly so a crust can form.
  • Blot excess custard – Bread soaked in too much liquid will steam instead of frying.

The case for soggy French toast

On the other side of the debate are those who prefer French toast to have a uniformly soggy, custard-soaked texture throughout. For soggy French toast devotees, too crispy of an exterior ruins the soft, tender, almost pudding-like interior that makes the dish so comforting.

Allowing the custard mixture to thoroughly saturate the bread gives French toast its signature sweet flavor and velvety texture. Some even soak the bread overnight in the fridge to achieve maximum sogginess. An evenly soggy slice of French toast simply allows you to better taste and enjoy the custard.

How to achieve soggy French toast

For those who crave soggy French toast, these tips will help:

  • Use very fresh, soft bread – The newer and softer the loaf, the quicker it will soak up custard.
  • Really soak the bread – Let it sit in the mixture for several minutes per side.
  • Use plenty of custard – Be generous when making the dipping mixture so slices soak up more.
  • Cook over low, gentle heat – High heat will quickly crisp the exterior before the interior saturates.
  • Avoid crunchy add-ins – Ingredients like nuts or granola will ruin the uniform softness.

Possible compromises

Is it possible to achieve the best of both worlds with French toast that offers a balance of crispy and soggy? Here are some potential ways to enjoy both crispy and soggy textures in one dish:

  • Crisp the outsides only – Pan fry until just the very exterior develops a crust while keeping the center custardy.
  • Vary doneness within a batch – Cook some slices less and others more to have crispy and soggy options.
  • Top soggy French toast with a crunchy garnish – Soft toast topped with crispy toasted nuts or bacon provides contrast.
  • Serve half classic and half stuffed – Stuff some slices with fruit fillings while leaving others plain to soak up custard.
  • Offer crispy waffled and soggy French toast – Cook up both versions and let eaters choose their preference.

With the right technique and balance of textures, it may be possible to make both crispy and soggy French toast fans happy!

Cultural differences

Preferences for crispy versus soggy French toast may also come down to cultural differences. For example:

Country Preference
United States Crispy exterior, custardy interior
France Evenly soggy throughout
Mexico Crispy, drier texture to dip in syrup
Japan Soft and fluffy, but not overly soggy

French toast recipes and serving styles often reflect cultural and regional norms. understanding these differences in preference can help explain why this food debate remains so heated!

The best French toast is…

At the end of the day, the best French toast texture comes down to personal preference. Crispy French toast offers delightful contrast, stays stable for dipping and topping, and provides appealing texture. Soggy French toast allows you to fully enjoy the sweet, tender custard and brings back childhood memories of plush, eggy breakfasts. And striking a balance between the two creates the quintessential French toast experience.

Rather than arguing whether crispy or soggy reigns supreme, embrace the differences! Understanding others’ preferences provides opportunities to adjust techniques and create French toast with broad appeal. With an open mind to both crispy and soggy styles, there are plenty of blissful French toast breakfasts in your future.


The debate between crispy vs. soggy French toast will surely continue among breakfast enthusiasts. Valid points exist on both sides. In the end, preference comes down to one’s personal taste and cultural upbringing. The preparation techniques can make all the difference in achieving the desired texture as well. With an openness to understand and accommodate both crispy and soggy styles, there are plenty of delicious compromises to be found. As long as it’s cooked with care and enjoyed with delight, French toast remains a cherished breakfast treat no matter your texture preference.