Thank goodness for brunch! I try to practice gratitude every day and brunch is always on the list of things I’m so happy to have in my life. In fact, I’m especially grateful for this brown butter French toast. It’s supreme. I might never be able to have French toast any other way!
The first time I tried this recipe, I had it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. In the same day. No shame!
And I can even brag and say that it’s is chef-approved. My sister’s boyfriend (the chef) loved it, and he told me he’s not even a brunch fan!
You don’t even have to be a chef to appreciate just how good this is. I mean, it’s thick slices of Brioche, flavored with brown butter, and layered with cinnamon sugar and custard. If that doesn’t get your mouth watering, check your pulse please. Also, stay seated, because I haven’t even told you the best part yet.
We make it in the oven! No dipping, flipping, or frying.
You’ve probably had a French toast bake before, but this version is unlike any other. Not only is brown butter the special sauce, I’ve got a few other little tricks up my sleeve that make this dish super indulgent and unforgettable!
Ingredients for Brown Butter French Toast
We’re working with a short and simple ingredient list:
- Dark brown sugar – We’re making a cinnamon sugar mixture and dark brown sugar is the best option because of its almost caramel-like taste.
- Ground cinnamon – For the cinnamon sugar
- Unsalted butter – Browned on the stovetop for a rich and nutty taste. I’ll get into how to properly brown butter down below.
- Brioche bread – I always use the brioche bread slices by the St.Pierre brand. In my opinion, this is the best bread for French toast.
- Eggs – Five large eggs are used for the custard.
- Vanilla extract – For a splash of extra flavor.
- Evaporated milk – I love using evaporated milk in any French toast recipe because it’s creamier and a little richer than whole milk. I wouldn’t suggest substituting this.
How to bake brown butter French toast
- Whisk together cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl and set aside. In a separate bowl, mix together eggs, milk, vanilla, and a pinch of salt; set aside.
- Pour browned butter into a 9 x 13 baking pan. Place six slices of bread in the pan. Sprinkle half of the cinnamon sugar mixture over the bread. Then, place another six slices of bread on top. Pour the egg-milk mixture evenly over bread, then sprinkle the rest of the cinnamon sugar on top.
- Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. If you’re in a pinch and can’t let it sit for that long, keep it in the fridge for at least an hour.
- Bake in a preheated 350 degree F oven until golden brown and slightly puffed, at least 30 minutes.
How to brown butter
Making brown butter is super easy! It just requires attention.
Here is a simple step-by-step breakdown:
- Slice your butter into squares and let it rest for about 30 minutes at room temperature to soften slightly.
- On the stove top, set a light colored sauce pan to medium heat (it’s important to use one with a light color so you can monitor the color changes in the butter). The butter will melt; stir gently.
- The butter will start sizzling and foaming. It will slowly get darker in color. Soon, you’ll see little golden brown specks appear at the bottom of the sauce pan. Stir a bit more, and watch as the butter goes from dark yellow to golden brown. It will smell very nutty, rich, and strong.
- Immediately transfer the brown butter, including the little specks (that’s where all the flavor is!), to a heat-safe container. If you leave it in the hot sauce pan, it will burn from the residual heat.
I love to use Land O Lakes unsalted butter for all my recipe needs.
French Toast troubleshooting
It’s common to run into a few problems while making French toast. Consider me your breakfast aficionado to help prevent fails.
Q: Why is my baked French toast soggy?
A: You can run into this issue whether you’re making it in the oven or the stove top. This is usually a result of using the wrong kind of bread. You’ll want to use a thick type of bread that can support the custard, like brioche, Challah, or Texas toast. Make sure your slices are 3/4 inch to 1 inch thick. You’ll also want to use stale bread.
Q: What is the best bread to use?
A: Like I said, a nice thick bread that can support the custard, like brioche or Challah.
Q: How long should I soak the bread?
A: Preferably overnight, but if you’re short on time, please let it soak, covered in the fridge, for at least an hour.
Q: Why is my French toast dry?
A: It’s probably over baked! Watch your time carefully and remove it from the oven once it’s golden brown and slightly puffed up.
Topping ideas for brown butter French toast
Fun topping ideas for your French toast include:
- Fresh fruit
- Caramelized pears
- Whipped cream
- Salted butter
- Ice cream
- Powdered sugar
- Maple syrup
Trust me, you’re gonna have a hard time having any leftovers with this recipe. But if you do miraculously find yourself with some leftover, cover with plastic wrap and keep in the fridge for up to 2 days.
I’m pretty picky about day old food, but this French toast bake reheated pretty well in the microwave.
Other breakfast recipes
Brown Butter French Toast
- 2/3 cup dark brown sugar packed
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter softened and cubed
- 12 slices stale Brioche bread
- 5 large eggs room temperature
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 and 1/2 cups evaporated milk
- Set a light colored sauce pan to medium heat on the stovetop. Place softened butter cubes in the pan, allowing them to melt and sizzle. Stir gently and frequently. Cook until the butter has a strong nutty aroma, has darkened in color, and you see little brown specks at the bottom of the pan, about 8-10 minutes. Immediately transfer to a heat-proof container to prevent burning.
- In a small bowl, mix together the cinnamon and sugar. Set aside. In a larger bowl, make the custard by beating together eggs, vanilla, and evaporated milk; set aside.
- Pour the browned butter into a 9×13 baking pan. Place six slices of bread in the pan, then sprinkle half of the cinnamon sugar mixture over the bread. Then, layer with another six slices of bread. Pour the custard evenly over the bread, then sprinkle bread with the remaining cinnamon sugar. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 350 F. Bake the French toast until golden brown and slightly puffed up, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve warm.
- Adapted from Food.com
- Nutrition facts are only an estimate.