I know you’re going to want this recipe for French Toast Sticks; they’re dippable, dunkable, and absolutely irresistible at any age. Trust me; I’ve been making them for breakfast almost every weekend since the 8th grade.
If you’ve ever been lucky enough to visit the Crystal Palace at Walt Disney World, this recipe is inspired by their world famous Puffed French Toast. It’s a specialty at the brunch buffet: batter dipped, deep fried, and cinnamon-and-sugar sprinkled Texas toast.
Rather than cutting the bread on the diagonal, I make it fun and easy for little hands to grab by slicing the bread into sticks. More servings per slice, and more crispy batter per square inch.
Think of the best cinnamon donut ever, but without a hole, and dippable. Dip them in syrup, jelly, or butter, then close your eyes and take a bite. To me, it’s as if I’m back in the Magic Kingdom.
Need French Toast Sticks for a hoard of hungry little Mouseketeers? Click and slide the number next to “servings” on the recipe card below to adjust the ingredients to match how many you’re feeding—the recipe does the math for you, it’s that easy.
How do you make French Toast Sticks?
Here’s how I do it: In a small shallow dish I mix together cinnamon and sugar. I keep a shaker of cinnamon and sugar handy at all times for last minute cinnamon toast, so if you have one, that works well for this recipe too.
In another bowl, I make the batter. The batter for French Toast Sticks has more body than the batter for traditional French toast, because it contains flour and baking powder. It’s basically a pancake batter that crisps up around the toast when its cooked.
I whisk the milk, sugar, eggs, salt, and vanilla until smooth. Then I add the flour and baking powder and whisk until all the lumps have dissolved. After that, I’m ready to dip.
I dip the sticks into the batter in batches, about four at a time, then gently place them into the hot oil.
After the sticks are crispy and golden brown, I remove them from the oil and dredge them in the cinnamon and sugar mixture.
How can I tell if my cooking oil is hot enough?
When you don’t have an accurate thermometer to measure the temperature of cooking oil, it can be tricky to know just how hot is enough, and what is too hot for cooking oil. For this recipe, we’re aiming for a cooking temperature of 350 degrees.
If you add food to oil before the oil is fully heated, the food can soak up too much oil and get soggy. But if the oil is too hot, your food can burn without completely cooking though. It can be a delicate balance.
Here’s how to eyeball it: I use the handle of a wooden spoon or a bamboo chopstick. Once the oil has preheated, dip the handle of a wooden spoon (or chopstick) into the oil. If the oil starts steadily bubbling, then the oil is hot enough for frying. If the oil bubbles very, very vigorously, then the oil is too hot and needs to cool down a bit. You can also do this with a drop of batter.
Can French Toast sticks be frozen?
In case you’re wondering, I have made huge batches of these little lifesavers, cooked them, and frozen them in bags for easy oven reheating. Freeze them on a tray until they’re frozen solid, then slide them into a freezer bag to store.
When you’re in the mood for the most delightful breakfast ever, they warm up in 7-10 minutes in a 400 degree oven, or one minute (per stick) in the microwave.
Can you make gluten free French toast sticks?
Yes! If you’re avoiding gluten, you can still make French Toast Sticks with a couple substitutions. Use your favorite gluten-free bread and flour, and you’re good to go!
How do you make crispy French Toast Sticks?
While other recipes for baked French toast sticks struggle with the sag, you don’t have to worry about that with my recipe. All French toast is better with day-old bread, but you can go either way, fresh or stale, with this recipe. The batter ensures that you get the crispy outer shell without any limp. Promise.
I also like to use thick, Texas toast style bread for French Toast Sticks. It holds the batter nicely and slices up like a dream.
Can you tell I’ve been making these awhile?
French Toast Sticks
For the cinnamon sugar topping:
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
For the French toast sticks:
- 2 cups milk
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 8 slices Texas Toast each cut into 4 strips
- 2 quarts vegetable oil or any other neutral oil
- fresh berries for serving
- maple syrup for serving
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil for easy cleanup. To make the cinnamon sugar topping, in a shallow dish, whisk together cinnamon and sugar. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together milk, sugar, eggs, salt, and vanilla until smooth. Add flour and baking powder, stirring to combine until there are no lumps.
- In a large, deep skillet, Dutch oven, or deep fryer, heat oil to 350 degrees. Working in batches (I do 4 sticks a time), dip bread sticks in batter, allowing excess to drip back into the bowl.
- Fry until golden brown on one side, about 2 to 3 minutes. Flip each stick and continue to cook until golden brown on the second side sides. Drain on paper towels and immediately roll in cinnamon sugar topping.
- Transfer to baking sheet and keep warm in the oven until serving time. Repeat with remaining sticks. Serve with berries and syrup if desired.
- Texas toast: Sturdy, thick, and absorbent, this is my favorite kind of bread for French Toast Sticks. Thick slabs of Challah would be a terrific (and decadent) alternative. As with any French toast or bread pudding recipe, day old or semi-stale bread is totally welcome to this party.
- Oil: Opt for a neutral cooking oil with a higher smoke point such as vegetable oil, canola oil, or avocado oil, for frying.