The Best French Toast Tips From Celebrity Chefs

Rachael Ray, Martha Stewart, and Tabitha Brown with French toast
Rachael Ray, Martha Stewart, and Tabitha Brown with French toast - Static Media / Shutterstock / Getty

French toast is a favorite among many food fans across the globe. Despite the name, the truth of French toast is that it likely dates back to ancient Rome. And, in fact, in France, it used to be known as pain à la romaine — or Roman toast — although it's now more commonly known as pain perdu. But could you be cooking this breakfast staple better than you do now? And what have celebrity chefs got to say about it?

We've scoured the internet for French toast tips from celebrity chefs. While celeb chefs can sometimes give questionable cooking advice, these tips are the real deal. From Nigella Lawson's cheesy tip for savory French toast to Rachael Ray's boozy addition, we have a variety of pointers from folks in the know. Try them all or pick your favorite — either way you'll learn how to make this popular breakfast food even more delicious.

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Sunny Anderson: Use Pumpkin Purée In French Toast

bowl of pumpkin purée
bowl of pumpkin purée - Alena_Kos/Shutterstock

You can follow in the footsteps of Sunny Anderson by using pumpkin purée in your French toast — as she does in her pumpkin pecan pie French toast recipe. The recipe involves mixing pumpkin purée with other ingredients, including eggs, milk, sugar, and pumpkin pie spice before soaking the bread in it. It's the perfect breakfast for anyone who can never wait for pumpkin spice season to come around. It's also a good choice for people who often find basic French toast too eggy. The pumpkin and spices combine to give it a much more complex and varied flavor profile than regular French toast.

While you could just make French toast with added pumpkin purée and pumpkin spice, Anderson's recipe takes it to the next level. After soaking the bread, you dip it in chopped pecans and cornflakes before frying it to add texture. Sweet, crunchy, and delicious, this is a next-level upgrade. This might not be a tip that you follow every time, but it's great if you're looking for something a bit different. It's an ideal special occasion breakfast for fall and you could even serve it as a Halloween dessert. You can serve it with spiced stewed apples to kick it up another gear.

Nigella Lawson: Dip It In Powdered Sugar — Or Use Parmesan For A Savory Version

Parmesan cheese with grater
Parmesan cheese with grater - Alle12/Getty Images

British celebrity chef Nigella Lawson says she learned to cook from her mother and always has interesting upgrades and additions to classic recipes. Although some, such as her Marmite spaghetti recipe, divide opinion. When it comes to French toast, she has tips for both sweet and savory versions.

Lawson's sweet French toast tip is inspired by her love of doughnuts. The French toast itself follows a fairly conventional recipe, with bread soaked in eggs, milk, and vanilla extract. But after frying, she puts powdered sugar on a plate and dips each slice in it, until completely covered like a doughnut. She says this helps dull her cravings for doughnuts when the shops are shut at night and she doesn't have access to them.

However, she also has a savory French toast tip that will blow you away. This recipe adds finely grated Parmesan to the batter mixture that the bread is dipped into. That said, you could use any Italian hard cheese. The Parmesan crusts a little during frying to create something deliciously crispy, salty, and umami. It's great for a weekend brunch with other savory breakfast foods, but you could also eat it as a light dinner.

Wolfgang Puck: Add Almonds To French Toast

bowl of flaked almonds
bowl of flaked almonds - New Africa/Shutterstock

Wolfgang Puck has an unlikely ingredient he uses for French toast: almonds. In a TikTok video, the celebrity chef cooked up a batch of French toast, revealing this tasty tip to the world. The recipe starts like any other classic one. Bread is dipped in a mixture of egg, milk, and sugar. However, it's after the dipping that the variation comes into play.

Puck presses the dipped bread into a plate of flaked almonds. Wet from the mixture, the almonds stick to the bread. He does the same on both sides before moving on to the cooking step. After cooking the almonds are toasted and slightly crispy, adding both flavor and texture to this dish. It's an astoundingly easy way to take your French toast up a notch.

We love how simple and approachable this tip is. You don't have to change your usual way of making French toast — you can use whatever your favorite go-to recipe is. All you need to do is dip it into almonds before cooking and you have something elevated to enjoy. What's cool is that you could experiment with other types of nuts. Cashews, hazelnuts, walnuts, macadamia nuts — any of these, finely chopped, would make an excellent addition to French toast. When you're done, just finish with syrup, compote, or your favorite topping of choice.

Jet Tila: Make French Toast With Cinnamon Rolls

canned cinnamon rolls
canned cinnamon rolls - JJava Designs/Shutterstock

Jet Tila has the perfect variation on French toast — he makes it with cinnamon rolls. In his cinnamon roll baked French toast recipe, he starts with canned cinnamon rolls and transforms them into a delicious breakfast dish. Since it's a baked recipe, it also takes out the effort of pan frying. Just shove the whole lot into the oven, wait for a while, and serve it up.

So, how do you transform cinnamon rolls into French toast? The recipe begins with two cans of cinnamon rolls. Each roll is cut into chunks and laid in a casserole dish. The next step is to make the custard mixture by beating together eggs, milk, cinnamon, and vanilla extract. Finally, you pour the egg mixture over the rolls and bake them. In Tila's recipe, he also whips up a quick cream cheese frosting, but you could top these with anything you might use to top classic French toast.

The resulting dish has a gooey custardy texture that's on par with the best cinnamon roll centers, which is objectively the best part. It's super cinnamon-y thanks to the cinnamon rolls plus the extra cinnamon in the recipe. Frankly, it's a perfect breakfast. Yes, it might not be classic French toast, but it's a tip you won't be forgetting any time soon.

Martha Stewart: Use A Lot Of Fat To Cook French Toast

butter melting in pan
butter melting in pan - Kalashnikov Dmitrii/Shutterstock

The major tip we've learned from Martha Stewart's French toast recipe is to use a lot of fat. In an average French toast recipe, you might find 3 or 4 tablespoons of butter used for cooking. However, if you do it Martha's way, you'll need 3 tablespoons of butter and 6 tablespoons of oil. This might seem like a lot, but boy does it make for delicious French toast.

This approach is more like a shallow fry than a sear or pan fry. She calls for the toast to be drained on a wire rack lined with paper towels before serving, so you can tell that it's greasier than average. But there's a reason why fried foods are so popular — they taste great. Stewart doesn't go as far as deep frying this French toast, but this amount of butter and oil makes for a crispy exterior and an incredible flavor.

Aside from the extra oil and butter, Stewart's recipe calls for orange zest, freshly squeezed orange juice, and orange liqueur. This brings some acidic brightness to a dish that could otherwise feel stodgy. Though, of course, you could lose the orange and use her extra fat tip with your existing favorite French toast recipe.

Rachael Ray: Add Bourbon To Your French Toast

bourbon pouring into glass
bourbon pouring into glass - Liudmila Chernetska/Getty Images

Want a boozy breakfast? Rachael Ray suggests adding bourbon to your French toast. It's a simple piece of advice but one that could elevate your meal. There are often only small differences between a recipe that is good but not memorable and one you'll be thinking about for months, just waiting for the next opportunity to make it.

For the most part, Ray's recipe is a fairly basic French toast. However, she adds 1 ½ ounces of bourbon into the mix. This isn't enough for the recipe to taste overwhelmingly alcoholic, but it adds sweet and smoky notes that beautifully cut through the richness of the custardy egg mixture. In addition to this bourbon, Ray's version is nicely spiced, with cinnamon and nutmeg added. It's a real treat of a recipe that's worth trying. Although you can serve it any way you want, one of Ray's suggestions is with fresh berries, which works well with the bourbon flavor.

Tabitha Brown: Use Raisin Bread To Make French Toast

raisin loaf
raisin loaf - Yipengge/Getty Images

While she might be better known as an actress and TV personality, Tabitha Brown is a keen vegan chef and recipe developer. And with 4.4 million Instagram followers, her recipes have reach. Brown shared a French toast recipe on Instagram with a simple tip: use raisin bread instead of French bread or other sliced white bread.

The beauty of using raisin bread is all that extra flavor. Naturally, it's full of juicy raisins, but it also often contains cinnamon or other sweet spices and may throw some candied peel or orange zest into the mix, too. This makes it a perfect vehicle for French toasting. Raisin bread aside, Brown's recipe called for Just Egg instead of regular eggs, as she's a vegan cook. It's fun to branch out and try new ingredients, so why not give Just Egg a whirl? However, you can simply take your go-to recipe and use raisin bread in place of your usual bread. Brown also puts cinnamon and nutmeg in her French toast, and we're always down for extra spices.

We love how easy it is to transform French toast just by using different bread. Raisin bread is widely available in grocery stores, so you won't even have to go out of your way to find it. It's a simple alternative next time you're in the mood for a change.

Gordon Ramsay: Turn It Into A Sandwich

stack of French toast with apple
stack of French toast with apple - JeniFoto/Shutterstock

Gordon Ramsay isn't exactly known for his subtlety. So, it might make sense that Ramsay's French toast tip is to turn it into a full on stacked sandwich. The French toast itself is a pretty classic recipe. It calls for eggs, cream, and sugar to form the custard. It's when it comes to assembling the dish that things get different.

Part of the recipe involves cooking chunks of apples with cream, sugar, and cognac until caramelized. When the toast is cooked and ready to serve, you layer it into a triple-decker sandwich by spreading the bottom slice with crème fraîche thimbleberry jam, adding caramelized apples, putting another slice of French toast on top, and repeating the process so you have three slices sandwiched together. It's a decadent breakfast but one that's worth the time and effort it takes to make.

This apple French toast recipe from Ramsay caused people to make fun of him when he posted a video of it on YouTube. Why? Because he said it needed about a tablespoon of sugar when he clearly added way more. Folks started wondering if he had a comically oversized tablespoon at home. But the recipe as posted online calls for a ¼ cup of sugar, which seems more accurate.

Carla Hall: Use Fresh Herbs In Savory French Toast

fresh dill
fresh dill - Jurga Jot/Shutterstock

French toast is seen as a sweet recipe, but it doesn't always have to be. In fact, savory versions of this dish are a great addition to a hearty brunch plate with classic breakfast foods, such as eggs and sauteed mushrooms. All you need to do to adapt most recipes is to leave the sugar out of the custard mixture. But this might leave you searching for some savory French toast tips.

One of our favorites comes from Carla Hall. In her savory French toast recipe, she uses fresh herbs to add extra flavor to the custard, and it's an addition we can really get behind. Her recipe uses half a bunch of dill and half a bunch of parsley, which gives a wonderfully fresh and aromatic twist to a dish that can end up heavy if you aren't careful. There's also arugula in her recipe, which brings a peppery hit. These fresh greens are blended with egg, milk, and seasonings to create the custard.

Once cooked, Hall pairs this toast with a salad of arugula, sliced apples and peaches, and crumbled feta. This gives you pops of sweetness contrasted with the saltiness of the feta. It's a well-balanced dish that we'd be thrilled to be served up for breakfast or brunch.

Rachel Khoo: Make A Compote In Advance To Go With French Toast

cherry compote
cherry compote - Angelika Heine/Getty Images

The tip we got from Rachel Khoo's French toast recipe isn't so much about the dish itself but what goes with it. We all know that half the fun of this breakfast favorite is choosing delicious toppings. Homemade compote is a god-tier addition, but who has the time to make compote from scratch when they're also making French toast? Well, Knoo's suggestion is to make the compote ahead of time and store it in the fridge until it's ready to use.

Khoo's compote consists of frozen pitted cherries, powdered sugar, and a more surprising ingredient: fresh basil. The basil brings a complexity that might be unexpected but works beautifully. It's simple to make — just simmer the ingredients together for around 15 minutes and it's good to go. Then it's time to store it so you have it ready for when you need it. Khoo says it will stay fresh in the fridge for several days in an airtight container. When you're ready to use it, you can just gently heat it in a pan or in the microwave.

Robert Irvine: Stick To Challah Or Brioche For French Toast

challah bread
challah bread - Halbergman/Getty Images

Robert Irvine's French toast recipe is one of his most popular. While he has more than 1,000 recipes on Food Network, it's this one that's ranked number one and is littered with favorable reviews. It's a real crowd-pleaser, but what's his secret?

In this Food Network recipe, Irvine recommends using challah or brioche instead of the French bread or classic sliced white that's more typical in French toast recipes. Both these breads are made using enriched doughs. This means they have eggs added to them, which accentuates the egginess of this classic dish. Challah and brioche also both have a softer crumb and a good amount of sweetness to them. They're almost part-way between bread and cake. Again, this pairs nicely with the other flavors of French toast.

If you've ever thought that the egg custard part of the dish was too sweet for the bread part, then switching to brioche or challah might change things for you. Is it the most unique twist out there? No. We've come across other recipes made using brioche or challah. But it's still a French toast tip that we love and Irvine is a trusted name in the food world, so we know that the recipe passes muster.

Giada De Laurentiis: Cook It In Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

olive oil being poured
olive oil being poured - Fcafotodigital/Getty Images

As an Italian cook, it's expected that Giada De Laurentiis is going to use a lot of olive oil in her cooking. But there's one place you might not think it would turn up: in French toast. Before you say it, this isn't a savory version — where using olive oil makes more sense — it's classic sweet French toast but with a Mediterranean twist.

In an Instagram video, De Laurentiis makes French toast with Olivia Tiedemann. While Tiedemann originally reaches for the butter — the classic fat used for cooking French toast — De Laurentiis has other ideas, insisting that it's cooked in extra-virgin olive oil. Using this oil instead of butter brings a richness with a slight savory edge. So, if you like sweet and salty or sweet and spicy combinations, you might just love this French toast.

De Laurentiis's use of olive oil doesn't stop there, either. In the video, she also adds olive oil to the raspberry mixture she makes to top the toast. Plus, she uses it as a finishing oil, drizzled over the finished toast, with the aforementioned raspberry mixture plus a pistachio-mascarpone cream. This isn't your parents' French toast. This is next-level and we're totally here for it.

Read the original article on Mashed.