What is the most common mistake in making French toast?

French toast is a delicious breakfast dish that has been popular for centuries. It’s made by coating bread slices with a mixture of eggs, milk, and sometimes sugar or vanilla, then frying the coated slices until they are golden brown. While French toast may seem simple to make, there are some common mistakes that can lead to subpar results.

Using stale bread

One of the most frequent errors when making French toast is using stale bread. Fresh bread is ideal for French toast because it will soak up the egg custard mixture properly. Stale bread does not absorb the liquid well, resulting in slices that are soggy in the center or have uncooked spots. The texture is also less tender and may be chewy. For best results, use a good quality loaf of bread that is no more than 2-3 days old.

Not soaking the bread long enough

Allowing the bread slices to soak in the egg mixture for several minutes is essential to saturate the bread and prevent it from being dry. If the soak time is too short, the interior of the bread will remain somewhat dry. Most recipes recommend letting the slices soak for at least 4-5 minutes per side. For very thick slices or breads like challah or brioche, extending the soak time to up to 10 minutes total ensures the interior is custardy and moist.

Using low-quality eggs

The eggs are a major component in French toast, acting as the glue that binds the bread and milk together. Fresh, high-quality eggs from pasture-raised hens result in richer flavor and better texture. Factory farmed eggs or old eggs where the whites are thin and watery will make inferior French toast. For best results, use grade A or AA eggs no more than 2-3 weeks old from humanely raised hens.

Not whisking the egg mixture well

Properly whisking the egg mixture until homogeneous is vital for even coating and proper rising. If the eggs are not adequately whisked, the bread slices will be inconsistently soaked. Some spots may be soaked through while others are dry. Whisk the eggs thoroughly for at least one minute to break up the proteins until the mixture is frothy and uniform.

Using too much or too little batter

The right ratio of batter to bread is important for properly cooked French toast. Too much batter results in mushy, wet slices. Too little batter leads to dry, crunchy bread. As a general rule, use about 1/2 cup of batter total for 6 slices of bread. Adjust the amount as needed for thicker breads. The slices should be thoroughly coated but not excessively dripping with batter.

Not preheating cooking oil

Starting with properly preheated oil is key for achieving a crispy exterior texture. If the oil is too cold when the batter-coated bread goes in, the exterior will absorb oil and turn greasy instead of browning. Heat your chosen cooking fat like butter or vegetable oil over medium heat until shimmering hot before adding the bread. Properly preheated oil will help the exterior toast to a lovely golden brown.

Cooking at the wrong temperature

Using the appropriate cooking temperature is imperative for the ideal texture. If the heat is too low, the toast will soak up excess oil and be pale and soggy. Too high heat will burn the outside before the interior cooks through. The ideal temperature for most French toast recipes is between 350-375°F. This hot enough to crisp and color the exterior while gently cooking the custardy center.

Not coating all sides of the bread

Many recipes only instruct soaking one side of the bread, but coating both sides leads to more evenly cooked French toast. As the soaked side cooks, moisture is drawn out towards the dry side, potentially resulting in soggy spots. Soak both sides of the bread to allow the custard to penetrate fully and prevent a soggy interior texture.

Flipping too frequently

For optimal browning and texture, resist the urge to move the French toast slices around too much. Let them cook undisturbed for at least 2-3 minutes before gently flipping with a spatula. If the toast is moved frequently, the exterior will not get the chance to properly crisp and brown.

Undercooking the center

Be sure to cook the French toast thoroughly so the center is set and not runny. Depending on thickness, slices may need 4-6 minutes per side to fully cook through. Check for doneness by piercing the center with a paring knife. If wet custard leaks out, continue cooking until the interior is mostly set. Letting it rest after cooking will allow the center to fully set.

Not resting before serving

Allowing the French toast to rest for a few minutes after cooking leads to better results. Resting gives the interior custard time to finish setting while the exterior stays crisp. If you dig into French toast straight out of the pan, the centers may still be runny. Let it rest for 3-5 minutes before serving for ideal texture.

Lack of toppings

While French toast is certainly delicious on its own, enhancements like fruit, syrup, and whipped cream can take it to the next level. Not topping your French toast means missing out on sweet flavors and textures that complement the custardy bread. Consider fresh fruit like bananas or berries, maple syrup, powdered sugar, warm honey butter or cinnamon crème fraîche to complete your French toast.


Making perfect French toast does require avoiding some common mistakes. With high quality fresh ingredients, proper technique, and ideal cooking temperatures, you can achieve restaurant-worthy French toast at home. Avoid soggy or unevenly cooked slices by using fresh eggs and bread along with ample soaking time. Let the toast properly brown by heating oil sufficiently and cooking at medium heat. Waiting to flip or cut into the toast too soon are also rookie errors. With practice, your French toast will be crispy on the outside with a gently custardy center, just how it should be. Top off your toast with sweet embellishments and you have an indulgent morning treat to satisfy any craving.

Common Mistake Solution
Using stale bread Use fresh bread no more than 2-3 days old
Not soaking bread long enough Soak for at least 4-5 minutes per side
Using low quality eggs Use fresh, grade A or AA eggs
Not whisking egg mixture well Whisk thoroughly until frothy
Too much or too little batter Use about 1/2 cup batter total for 6 slices
Not preheating oil Heat oil until shimmering before adding bread
Cooking at wrong temperature Cook at 350-375°F
Only coating one bread side Soak both sides of bread
Flipping too frequently Flip only once after 2-3 minutes
Undercooking Cook 4-6 minutes per side until set
Not resting before serving Let rest 3-5 minutes after cooking
Lack of toppings Top with fruit, syrup, whipped cream etc.

Using Stale Bread

One of the biggest mistakes when making French toast is using stale, old bread. For the best texture and flavor, you’ll want to use fresh bread that is no more than 2-3 days old. As bread starts to stale, it dries out and becomes firm. Old bread does not soak up the custard-like batter as well, leading to uneven cooking. Parts of the toast may be soggy while other spots are dried out. With fresh bread, the slices will soak up the egg mixture evenly for tender and moist results. Seek out a good quality loaf of brioche, challah or French bread and use it within a couple days for ideal French toast.

Not Soaking the Bread Long Enough

Many beginning cooks do not soak the bread in the French toast batter sufficiently before cooking. But allowing time for the bread to absorb the liquid is crucial for preventing a dry, crunchy texture. Most recipes recommend soaking the slices for at least 4-5 minutes per side, up to 10 minutes for very thick breads. This gives time for the batter to fully penetrate and soften the entire slice. If you soak for only 1-2 minutes, the center of the bread will still be dry and you’ll end up with underdone spots. Be patient and let the bread soak properly for custardy perfection.

Using Low Quality Eggs

Since eggs are the main ingredient in French toast batter, it makes a big difference to use high quality fresh eggs. Factory farmed eggs are not ideal because the whites are excessively watery instead of thick. For the richest flavor and finest texture, seek out pasture-raised eggs from humanely raised hens. Grade AA and A eggs will have bright tall egg whites and rich deeply orange yolks. Older eggs will also lead to diminished results, so try to use eggs that are no more than 2-3 weeks old. Splurging on top quality eggs gives clearly superior French toast.

Not Whisking the Batter Thoroughly

Many recipes tell you to just combine the egg mixture ingredients without specifying properly whisking. But vigorously whisking the eggs, milk, vanilla, cinnamon and sugar is imperative for proper French toast. Whisk the mixture for at least one minute until light, frothy and well combined. This breaks up the proteins in the eggs so they can bind with the bread evenly. Insufficient whisking means uneven coating and bare spots that will cook improperly. A thoroughly whisked batter will coat every inch of the bread slices for superb flavor and texture.

Using Too Much or Too Little Batter

Finding the right ratio of batter to bread is also key for great results. Too much batter will saturate the bread and create a soggy, mushy texture. Too little batter leads to dry, crunchy pieces of toast. Generally about 1/2 cup of batter total is ideal for 6 slices of bread. Thicker slices like brioche or challah may need a bit more batter. Adjust the amount as needed so the slices are thoroughly coated but not dripping with excess. Proper batter ratio gives just enough moisture for custardy centers without making them wet.

Not Heating the Oil Sufficiently

Many French toast recipes instruct adding the batter-dipped bread right into a cold pan then turning on the heat. But preheating your oil first is essential for achieving a crispy browned crust. If the bread hits cold oil, it will absorb more grease, leading to a soft and greasy texture. Instead, heat your butter or oil over medium heat until shimmering hot, about 2-3 minutes. Use a skillet or griddle pan so the oil coats the surface evenly. Adding the bread to already hot oil provides a head start on browning and crisping the exterior for delightful crunch.

Cooking at the Wrong Temperature

Finding the ideal heat for stovetop cooking can take some trial and error but is important for cooking French toast properly without burning or undercooking. A too high heat will overbrown and char the exterior before the inside cooks through. Too low heat produces pale, soggy and oily results. Most chefs recommend a cooking temperature of 350-375°F for French toast. This allows time for the custardy interior to set without scorching the outside. Getting the pan to the right temperature and keeping it steady takes practice. Use a cooking thermometer to check until you gain experience.

Only Soaking One Side of Bread

Many basic French toast recipes direct you to only soak one side of the bread in the batter. While this may seem to save time and effort, coating just one side is a rookie mistake. As the batter-soaked side cooks against the griddle, moisture is pulled towards the dry side and may make it soggy in spots. For evenly cooked French toast, soak both sides in the batter. This allows the bread to fully absorb the custard mixture and prevents uneven texture. Though it doubles your soaking time, properly battering both sides is worth it.

Flipping the Toast Too Frequently

Eager beginner cooks often make the mistake of flipping the French toast slices too often while they cook. But achieving a crisp browned crust requires undisturbed cooking for a few minutes per side. Resist the urge to move the toast around in the pan. Let it cook untouched for at least 2-3 minutes, then carefully flip it over using a thin spatula. If the toast is moved frequently, the exterior will not get the chance to properly crisp and brown. Leaving it alone initially is challenging but leads to superior texture.

Undercooking the Center

Be sure to cook your French toast thoroughly so the center is set instead of runny. Depending on thickness, slices may need about 4-6 minutes per side to cook through fully. To check for doneness, use a paring knife to poke the center of a slice. If wet batter still leaks out, continue cooking until the interior is mostly set with only a bit of moistness. Undercooked French toast will be soggy and messy. Adequate cooking time ensures the interior has firmed up while retaining a luscious custardy texture.

Not Letting It Rest Before Eating

After cooking French toast on the stovetop, it’s crucial to let it rest for a few minutes before digging in. This allows the center to finish setting as the exterior stays crisp. If you immediately start cutting into the toast, steam escapes and the custard will not have firmed up. Let the cooked slices rest on the plate for about 3-5 minutes before eating. During this time moisture distributes evenly for ideal soft and tender texture. A short resting period really takes your French toast to the next level.

Lack of Sweet Embellishments

While French toast is delicious on its own, creative toppings take it to the next level. Going without any sweet fruit, syrup, whipped cream or other adornments means missing out on enhanced flavors and textures. Consider fresh berries, banana slices, warm maple syrup, dusted powdered sugar, honey butter pats, jam swirls or drizzled chocolate sauce as delicious complements to French toast. Even a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar adds interest. Take your toast from boring to brilliant with fun sweet toppings.


Avoiding common mistakes is the key to phenomenal homemade French toast. With attention to ingredients, technique and cooking temperatures, your morning toast can rival any restaurant or cafe. For rich flavor and tender texture, steer clear of staler bread in favor of very fresh loaves. Allow plenty of soaking time for the batter to penetrate fully. Whisk the eggs vigorously for an even coating and use the right amount of batter to avoid sogginess. Getting the pan hot before adding the bread and cooking at the ideal heat prevents issues like too oily or burnt. Resist flipping toast too soon or slicing into it immediately. Topping off your masterpiece with syrups, fruits and cream provides sweet indulgence. With practice, your skill at crafting incredible French toast will continue to rise, delighting family and friends.

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