French Toast Sticks signal celebration. Ditch the frozen ones in the box, because French toast sticks are easy (and fun!) to make from scratch. Today’s baked version is cut from real-deal bread, coated in cinnamon, and prime for dunking in pure maple syrup.
French toast sticks usher in a certain carefreeness that reminds me of being a kid on endless summer weekends.
Overnight French Toast is delish, but French toast sticks? They feel like an extra treat.
Growing up, we only got the Eggo French toast sticks on special occasions (I was convinced they tasted better than the cheaper store brand my mom usually bought).
When she sprung for the name brand, it was A. Big. Deal.
In my early 20s, whenever I went to visit Ben during his stint with the Peace Corps, his requested celebratory meal was French toast sticks at Burger King (so romantic! The air conditioning at BK was another plus.).
Now, I still have a long-seeded nostalgia for French toast sticks, but I much prefer to make them from scratch.
Homemade French toast sticks are simple to make, and you’ll love that you can control the ingredients.
They taste significantly fresher, and the leftovers freeze and reheat well, so you don’t lose the convenience factor.
Wake up happy with better-tasting French toast sticks that are better for you too!
How to Make French Toast Sticks
Your inner kiddo will be all about creating a from-scratch version of a childhood favorite (and the fact that you can totally eat these with your fingers).
Your prudent adult side will appreciate that these baked French toast sticks are relatively healthy.
French toast can be bad for you if it’s made with excess sugars, refined flour (which doesn’t have the same nutritional benefits as whole grains), and heavy cream.
Frying French toast in butter or oil also can make it unhealthy.
Swap in whole wheat bread for white bread, use milk in place of cream, and bake your French toast sticks in the oven, and you have a more wholesome breakfast that still tastes like a total treat!
As with this lighter take on Stuffed French Toast, your kids (and your personal inner kid) will never suspect your healthy sneaks.
- Thick-Sliced Bread. I prefer to use whole wheat, which is higher in fiber and nutrients. It makes the French toast sticks better for you and keeps you full for longer.
Texas toast—thick-sliced bread that comes in a package—is the easiest choice for French toast sticks because the bread slices come the correct thickness.
That said, I have yet to find a whole wheat Texas toast at a store near me.
If you’d like to make your French toast sticks whole grain but can’t find whole wheat Texas toast, purchase an unsliced loaf of whole wheat sandwich bread from a bakery or more specialty grocery store, then slice it yourself.
- Eggs. A French toast essential! Eggs bind the batter and give French toast its custard-like flavor.
- Milk. You can make French toast sticks with any kind of milk. The higher the fat percentage, the richer the French toast will taste. I used 2%.
- Cinnamon + Sugar. The cinnamon sugar coating on the outside is a crispy French toast stick must-have! I do a light sprinkle and find the French toast sticks are plenty golden and sweet.
- Pure Maple Syrup. For a touch of natural sweetness in the French toast batter, and of course for dunking.
- Orange Zest or Lemon Zest. Optional addition if you’d like to make your French toast sticks “gourmet”. (Is gourmet French toast sticks an oxymoron? I’m here for it.)
- Cut the bread into sticks.
- In a bowl, whisk together the egg batter ingredients.
- Dip each stick into the mixture.
- Place on the baking sheet and sprinkle all with cinnamon sugar.
- Bake the French toast at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes. Flip, sprinkle more cinnamon sugar, and continue baking for 10 more minutes. Enjoy!
If your French toast turns out soggy, it is likely because you dunked the bread in the batter for too long. Make sure you dip all sides of the sticks, but don’t let the bread absorb so much liquid that it can’t fully cook through by the time the outsides are golden.
- To Store. Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container or wrapped in foil for up to 3 days.
- To Freeze. Fully bake the French toast sticks, then let cool to room temperature. Freeze in a ziptop bag for 1 to 2 months.
- To Reheat. Warm the French toast directly from frozen (or from the refrigerator) in the microwave. You can also rewarm refrigerated French toast sticks in a 350 degree F oven.
Meal Prep Tip
Make a double batch, then freeze the rest for fast French toast sticks on demand. You can reheat them directly from frozen.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Baking Sheet. Made with pure aluminum, these are ideal for heat conduction and don’t rust.
- Oven Rack. Dishwasher- and oven-safe, and cleans easily too.
- Measuring Cups. Durable, nonporous glass won’t absorb food odors, flavors, or stains.
Now the only question is: dunk with your fingers or use a fork? (Don’t mind me licking my fingers while we discuss.)
French Toast Sticks
- 8 slices thick-cut 3/4- to 1-inch whole wheat bread or Texas toast*
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon divided
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup milk I used 2%; use whole milk for a richer flavor
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest or lemon zest optional
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- Maple syrup and powdered sugar, fresh berries for serving
- Nonstick cooking spray
- Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. For easy clean up, line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or a silicone baking mat. Place a baking rack on top and GENEROUSLY and COMPLETELY coat the rack with nonstick cooking spray (do not skimp or the French toast will stick).
- In a small bowl, stir together the sugar and 2 teaspoons of the cinnamon.
- Cut each slice of bread lengthwise into 3 or 4 strips depending upon the size of your bread; each “stick” should be about 1-inch wide and 3/4-inch thick.
- In a large, shallow dish or bowl (a deep pie dish works well), add the eggs, milk, maple syrup, vanilla, zest (if using), salt, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon. Whisk to combine.
- Working one at a time, dip each stick of bread into the egg mixture. Coat each stick on all sides, but do not allow it to become completely soggy. Shake off any excess, then place on the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining sticks, ensuring that they do not touch each other on the baking sheet.
- Sprinkle the French toast sticks with half of the cinnamon sugar mixture.
- Bake the French toast sticks for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, carefully flip, then spray lightly with cooking spray. Sprinkle the remaining cinnamon sugar over the top.
- Return the French toast sticks to the oven and continue baking for 10 additional minutes, or until golden and cooked through. Enjoy warm with desired toppings.
- *Make these French toast sticks with whole wheat bread for an additional nutritional boost. It’s hard to find thick slices of wheat bread that are precut, so I recommend purchasing a whole, uncut loaf from a bakery or specialty grocery store (such as Whole Foods), then slicing it yourself.
- TO STORE: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container or wrapped in foil for up to 3 days.
- TO FREEZE: Fully bake the French toast sticks, then let cool to room temperature. Freeze in a ziptop bag for 1 to 2 months.
- TO REHEAT: Warm the French toast directly from frozen (or from the refrigerator) in the microwave. You can also rewarm refrigerated French toast sticks in a 350 degree F oven.
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