Deep-Fry Your French Toast For The Best Breakfast Of Your Life

If you've ever had fast food French toast sticks, you may already understand why taking this classic breakfast food and deep frying it is a stroke of brilliance. It's a preparation that takes the best features of beloved pan-fried French toast to the next level. The golden brown exterior of the bread becomes even crispier, and the heightened contrast makes the custardy interior feel all the more fluffy and luscious. 

And while you can find deep-fried French toast on American menus, this treat is said to have roots in Spain as one of the country's most ancient dishes. The fried version is also popular in Mexico, Guatemala, Cuba, and Uruguay. Fortunately, you don't have to travel to South America or Europe for this preparation; you can do this right at home. All you need is a Dutch oven — or even a high-sided saucepan or skillet — along with some oil and a short list of ingredients.

Ingredients and variations

There are several ways to make deep-fried French toast, and you can draw inspiration from its global variations. To recreate the Mexican version known as torrejas, a few ingredients will help ensure authenticity. Typically, rolls called bolillos are used, which are crusty on the outside and have a fluffy interior, but if you can't source these, you can go for a French roll or similar. Torrejas are not served not with maple syrup, but a syrup made from piloncillo, a staple Latin American sugar that is minimally processed and has a complex, molasses-like flavor. The Spanish version of deep-fried French toast, called torrijas, is served with a slightly different spin, relying on cinnamon sugar or honey as the dressing.

Depending on where you find it, this deep-fried French toast can be seasoned with aromatic spices like allspice (which is not a blend, but a ground berry), along with clove, anise, or cinnamon. They're perfect for the breakfast or brunch table, but you can also serve them as dessert. In Spain and Cuba, you can even find versions in which the bread is dipped in red wine or syrup made with vermouth rather than milk. And in Guatemala, orange peel might make an appearance.

If you don't happen to have these extra ingredients on hand, you can also make deep-fried French toast with a simple lineup that includes bread, eggs, sugar, and milk. No matter how you choose to customize this dish, it's guaranteed to be delicious.

Tips for deep frying safely and successfully

If you love the sound of this dish but feel some trepidation about deep frying at home, a few tips will help make this process more approachable. First, select from the best oils for deep frying – choose one with a high smoke point, like peanut or canola  — which won't burn at the temperatures required for frying. The vessel you choose is important, as you don't want to risk spillage and possible injury. If you don't have a Dutch oven, a wide pan with high sides is your best bet. Be sure to keep your fill level no higher than halfway.

When removing food, you'll want an implement that will allow some of the oil to drain as you lift your French toast. A slotted spoon or tongs work, as well as a spider or even a mesh skimmer. To keep your oil in the desired temperature range, a food thermometer is also helpful. Once your French toast is fried to perfection, set your slices on a wire rack over a baking pan, which will help drain off more oil while it cools.

If you're still apprehensive and happen to have an air fryer, you can make this dish in that device as well. No matter your method, this style of French toast is a great motivation to try a new version of this classic.