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These easy french toast sticks for kids are the perfect way for them (or you!) to get “hands-on” with your french toast!
I don’t know about you, but French toast was a staple growing up. Once I learned to make it, I made it constantly. It’s fabulous stuff. I always looked forward to weekends because Saturday or Sunday was always the day I had time to make french toast, which hasn’t changed much over the years. I still make it at home for Mini Chef and me at least a couple of times a month. Nothing beats homemade french toast!
What Are French Toast Sticks?
“French toast stick” is a phrase or term that refers to a dish made from sliced bread that has been soaked in a mixture of eggs and milk, then fried until golden brown. The bread is then cut into thinner slices so that it is easily eaten by hand. It is typically dunked in a sauce or sweetener such as maple syrup. It is the “eat-by-hand” version of regular french toast.
For those of you who eat clean or simply want to keep this recipe healthy, you’ll want to look for 100% whole grain bread with no added sugar. These are not always easy to find at mainstream grocery stores. I have the best luck finding them at health food stores.
For those of you who don’t really care either way, homemade french toast sticks with brioche bread is always good. Challah is always a good option as well.
The Natural Sweeteners
I can’t say enough about using better-quality sweeteners. Things like real honey or real maple syrup. It makes such a major difference! Both in flavor and nutrition. Grant it, sugar is sugar once it’s in your body. But the quality of our food matters. When I improved the quality of the food I ate, I noticed an almost immediate improvement in my health as well. Chemical sweeteners and highly processed sweeteners are terrible for good health. So spend a little extra money in this department if you can. Pure maple syrup is amazing with this french toast.
You can make french toast sticks in a few different ways.
Stovetop French Toast Sticks
These are easy-peasy! Just follow the directions in the recipe below. But if you want to try a different cooking method, read on.
Baked French Toast Sticks Recipe
Yes, you can bake these too, if you don’t want to fry them in oil. It’s easy! Simply place the egg-soaked bread on a parchment-lined baking sheet and put it in a preheated oven at 350 F. Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until it is cooked to your liking. Make sure, however, that the egg gets fully cooked.
Air Fryer French Toast Sticks
French toast sticks were born to be made in an air fryer! But a word of caution. The wet batter will drip down through the basket in your air fryer. So it’s critical to use parchment paper to set the toast on. Once you’ve done that, you can air fry at 375 for 5 or 6 minutes. Pay attention to the first batch and make note of the time it takes to make your french toast sticks to perfection. Not that with repeated batches, you may need to reduce the cooking time by one minute because your air fryer will already be warmed up.
Vegan French Toast Sticks
If you want to avoid the egg in this recipe, you can substitute it with some cornstarch. Simply mix non-dairy milk with cornstarch and soak vegan bread in that. For this recipe, it would be 6 tablespoons to 1 cup of milk.
Making Gluten-Free French Toast Sticks
If you need to make this gluten-free, the only thing you’ll have to make sure of is that your bread and vanilla extract are gluten-free. Easy! (Although, to be fair, I’ve never heard of vanilla extract having gluten in it. But I guess you never know these days!)
Best French Toast Tip
Use older bread! I’m NOT talking about the moldy science experiment at the back of the fridge. I’m talking about bread that is a few days old. French toast tastes best when the bread used is a bit stale. Never used fresh-baked bread for french toast!
If you want to make the more traditional version of French toast sticks with cinnamon and sugar (cinnamon sugar), it’s easy to do as well. To keep this in line with clean eating, all you have to do is make sure you have “clean” bread, and then simply use an unprocessed sugar. Something like Sucanat, coconut sugar, date sugar, or monk fruit sweetener. And if you prefer the sweetener to be powdered, simply run a portion of it through your blender. Use about 1 teaspoon cinnamon to 1 tablespoon sweetener.
Serving Ideas For French Toast Sticks
- French toast sticks with Nutella are amazing. I have a recipe for homemade Nutella here. Give it a try!
- French toast sticks with maple syrup for the “dip” is our go-to version, and what I recommend here.
- French toast sticks with powdered sugar are yummy. As I mentioned before, simply choose a clean, unprocessed sweetener and blend it into powder in your blender. It only takes seconds!
- French toast sticks with strawberries and whipped cream are absolutely delicious. I like to smash the strawberries and fold them into the whipped cream for easy dipping.
- French toast sticks with bacon are always an option. In fact, the best way I’ve seen to do this is to sandwich pre-cooked bacon strips in between two slices of french toast.
- French toast sticks with blueberries are a classic combo. You can serve them on the side, or mash them and blend them into some whipped cream for dipping.
About The Ingredients
Egg – These are large eggs. You can use them chilled or at room temperature. Either will work for this.
Milk – You can use dairy or non-dairy milk. Just make sure that any non-dairy milk is also unsweetened.
Pure vanilla extract – Use the real stuff, not vanilla flavoring.
Whole grain bread – Look for bread with no added sugar and minimal ingredients.
How To Make French Toast Sticks From Scratch
Crack your egg into a large bowl, add milk and vanilla, and mix well with a whisk to make a smooth egg mixture.
This is the critical part. So read carefully. When you dip your bread into the egg batter, do it quickly. Drop it in, flip it over, and take it out again immediately. This (in my humble opinion) is the key to really great french toast. If you allow the bread to really soak up a ton of liquid, you will have to cook it forever in order to avoid eating raw eggs. And at that point, it doesn’t taste very good any longer. You just want to coat the surface of the bread with the egg mixture. Do not soak it.
Using a non-stick pan, or griddle, and a very light coat of olive oil to cook the bread on both sides. Cook till golden brown.
When the toast has cooled slightly, cut it into strips (about 4 strips per slice), and serve with a bit of honey or maple syrup for dipping.
The batter can be stored by itself in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Once the French toast is cooked, it can also be stored in an airtight container, in the refrigerator, for up to 3 days.
Once the French toast is made, it can be frozen. It’s best to freeze these, either in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking pan (you can transfer them once frozen), or in short stacks with parchment paper in between each piece.
From Fridge – Simply reheat in the oven at 350 F. for about 10-15 minutes. Or use an air fryer on the reheat setting. You can also reheat it in a skillet with a bit of oil and on low heat. Flip frequently to keep it from burning.
From Freezer – Do not thaw french toast on the counter or in the fridge. It will end up being super soggy and unusable. However, from frozen, you can air fryer or heat it in the oven. In either case, make sure you pre-heat so that the bread doesn’t go through the warming-up process.
For this recipe, you will need a good skillet, an oil sprayer to keep the oil content under control, and a good bread knife. Click any image to be taken to that product on Amazon. (Affiliate links)
Healthy French Toast Sticks Recipe Card
French Toast Sticks
- 1 Skillet
- 1 Bowl
- 1 Whisk
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup milk (any type)
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 4 slices whole grain bread
- Crack your egg into a large bowl, add milk and vanilla, and mix well with a whisk to make a smooth egg mixture.
- This is the critical part. So read carefully. When you dip your bread into the egg batter, do it quickly. Drop it in, flip it over, and take it out again immediately. This (in my humble opinion) is the key to really great french toast. If you allow the bread to really soak up a ton of liquid, you will have to cook it forever in order to avoid eating raw eggs. And at that point, it doesn't taste very good any longer. You just want to coat the surface of the bread with the egg mixture. Do not soak it.
- Using a non-stick pan, or griddle, and a very light coat of olive oil to cook the bread on both sides. Cook till golden brown.
- When the toast has cooled slightly, cut it into strips (about 4 strips per slice), and serve with a bit of honey or maple syrup for dipping.
This recipe from the Gracious Pantry archives, originally posted on 5/15/10.