Skip to Content

Why doesn’t my French toast get crispy?

If you love French toast but struggle to get it crispy on the outside, you’re not alone. Many home cooks find that their French toast turns out soggy instead of crispy no matter what they try. However, with a few simple tricks and techniques, you can easily make restaurant-quality French toast with a crispy exterior at home.

Common reasons French toast doesn’t get crispy

There are a few common culprits behind soggy French toast:

  • Not soaking the bread long enough
  • Using too much egg batter
  • Not getting the pan hot enough
  • Overcrowding the pan
  • Not cooking long enough per side

To get crispy French toast, you need to avoid these pitfalls. Soaking the bread sufficiently, using the right amount of egg batter, preheating your pan adequately, cooking the toast in batches, and searing each side long enough are all key to getting that delightful crispy exterior.

Tips for crispy French toast

1. Soak the bread properly

One of the most important steps for crispy French toast is soaking the bread in the egg mixture properly before cooking. If the bread doesn’t soak up enough of the egg batter, it won’t get as crispy when cooked. Here are some tips:

  • Use thick sliced bread – Thin bread will oversaturate and fall apart too easily. Thick slices of sturdy bread like challah or brioche work best.
  • Let it soak at least 5 minutes per side – Quick dips don’t allow the bread time to fully absorb the egg mixture. Soaking for 5-10 minutes per side is ideal.
  • Use shallow dish for soaking – This allows the bread to soak evenly versus just the bottom getting saturated.
  • Press down while soaking – Occasionally press the bread down into the batter to help it thoroughly soak in.

2. Use the right amount of batter

Too much batter will lead to soggy, not crispy, results. Follow these tips:

  • Use a ratio of about 1 egg per slice of bread
  • Add just enough milk or cream to thin out the batter – Around 1/4 to 1/3 cup per egg
  • The batter should coat the bread, not drown it
  • Gently shake off excess batter before cooking

3. Get the pan hot enough

One of the biggest secrets to getting French toast crispy is preheating your pan or griddle to the right temperature. You want it hot enough to quickly sear and brown the exterior.

  • Use a flat pan or griddle – This provides more direct contact for crisping versus a bowl-shaped pan.
  • Preheat on medium-high for several minutes – Test the pan by sprinkling on drops of water. They should sizzle and evaporate immediately when the pan is ready.
  • Use a thermometer to check the temperature – 360°F is ideal for French toast.

4. Don’t crowd the pan

Too many pieces of French toast in the pan at once cools down the pan surface and prevents crisping. Fry in smaller batches for best results.

  • Cook just 2-4 slices per batch
  • Give the pan time to reheat fully between batches
  • Fry individual slices if possible for maximum crisping

5. Cook each side sufficiently

Finally, be sure to cook each side of the French toast long enough to get crispy. Here are some guidelines:

  • Cook the first side for 2-3 minutes until deep golden brown
  • Flip and cook the second side for 1-2 minutes
  • Check that both sides are crispy before removing from the pan
  • Avoid poking or prodding too much while cooking

Helpful cooking equipment

Having the right cooking equipment can also help you achieve crispy French toast:

Equipment Reason
Flat griddle pan or skillet Provides maximum contact for browning and crisping
Instant-read thermometer Helps preheat pan to ideal temperature of 360°F
Metal spatula Thin, rigid edge helps get under toast to flip crispy
Wire cooling rack Allows air circulation to keep fried toast crispy

Flavor additions

While technique is paramount for crispy French toast, you can also add flavor in the batter or toppings:

  • Batter additions: Cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, citrus zest
  • Mix-ins: Fresh or dried fruit, chocolate chips, nuts
  • Toppings: Powdered sugar, maple syrup, fruit compote, whipped cream, nuts

Putting it all together for crispy perfection

Follow these steps and tips for guaranteed crispy, restaurant-quality French toast:

  1. Start with thick, sturdy bread – brioche or challah work great
  2. Whisk together eggs, milk or cream, and flavorings for batter
  3. Soak bread slices well in batter, around 5 minutes per side
  4. Heat a flat pan or griddle to 360°F
  5. Fry bread in small batches to prevent crowding
  6. Cook each side for 2-3 minutes until deep golden brown
  7. Drain on a wire rack to maintain crispiness
  8. Serve hot with desired toppings


If your French toast still comes out soggy, look for these common problems:

Issue Fix
Bread feels greasy Batter is too thin – use less milk/cream
Bread won’t soak up batter Let soak longer; press down into batter
Toast seems pale Pan isn’t hot enough – increase heat
Only bottom is crispy Not cooking second side long enough – flip sooner
Eggs burn in pan Cooking over high heat – lower temperature

Common French toast FAQs

What bread makes the best French toast?

Thick slices of bread with a dense, sturdy texture work best, like brioche, challah, Texas toast, or French bread. Avoid thin breads.

Can you use regular bread for French toast?

Yes, you can use regular sandwich bread like white or wheat. It may not get as crispy as thicker bread, but soaking well in the batter helps.

What milk is best for French toast?

Whole milk or heavy cream works best as it provides more fat and moisture. For a lighter option, you can use 2% milk or half-and-half.

Should you soak French toast overnight?

No, there’s no need to soak overnight. Just 5-10 minutes per side in the batter is sufficient for the bread to fully absorb it and cook up crispy.

How do you keep French toast crispy after cooking?

Drain fried French toast on a wire rack instead of paper towels. This allows air circulation to keep the crust crispy as it cools slightly before eating.


With the right techniques and a little practice, you can achieve diner-level crispy French toast at home. Soaking the bread fully, using the correct batter ratio, preheating your pan adequately, frying in small batches, and cooking each side sufficiently are the keys to crisp, golden perfection. Master these simple steps and say goodbye to soggy French toast forever.