We're adding apple butter to our French toast batter for an easy, seasonal spin on homemade French toast! This fall comfort food is ready in 20 minutes and perfect for an autumn or holiday brunch.
Autumn is finally here, which means we're full speed ahead with all things warm and cozy - starting with our new favorite breakfast recipe!
We're adding a fall twist to classic French toast by swirling a bit of homemade apple butter into our batter for a rich, custardy texture and a slightly sweet apple flavor that's perfect for a seasonal breakfast spread.
First, grab your apple butter
This recipe works with both our stovetop apple butter recipe and our slow cooker apple butter. Whip up a fresh pot, or grab a jar from the fridge or freezer if you have some left over from a previous batch.
If you don't have homemade apple butter on hand, grab some store-bought apple butter or applesauce. We also recommend checking local farmers' markets: many farms sell small batch apple butter during apple season!
You’ll need a few fridge and pantry staples (eggs, butter, cream, vanilla, and a pinch of salt) and a soft and fluffy loaf of challah bread for this recipe. We also recommend topping your French toast with some powdered sugar and/or maple syrup!
Bake your own bread with our Simple Challah Bread recipe or grab a loaf at the store to keep things easy. Other breads will work with this recipe too: sourdough, brioche, or regular sandwich bread are all good!
Our Basic Order of Operations
This easy recipe is ready in half an hour or less with just a few main steps:
- Make the batter. Whisk eggs, apple butter, heavy cream, vanilla, and a pinch of salt together in a shallow bowl.
- Dip the sliced bread into the egg mixture and flip to coat both sides. Let the challah soak for a minute or two on each side to help it absorb plenty of the batter!
- Cook! Melt some butter in a nonstick skillet, then add the coated bread slices and cook until golden brown on both sides. You'll likely need to work in batches here - transfer cooked French toast slices to an oven-safe plate and store in the oven at its lowest setting (200° F or below) to keep them warm while you finish cooking all the pieces.
- Serve with maple syrup and a bit of powdered sugar and dig in! We also love topping this French toast with an extra dollop of apple butter, a bit of unsalted butter, or a handful of fresh apple slices.
Tips For Success
This recipe is very forgiving, but here are some extra tips to make the best French toast ever!
- Use slightly stale bread - French toast is a perfect place to use day-old or slightly dried out bread. Not only is this a great way to use up bread that’s a little past its prime, but somewhat stale bread will absorb more of that creamy custard than fresh bread will. More creamy, custard-y batter = more soft and fluffy French toast!
- Cut thick, generous slices - We recommend cutting challah slices about 1 inch thick for French toast. They're a little thicker than traditional sandwich bread slices, but that just means there's more bread to soak up that tasty apple butter batter. Thick slices also prevent your French toast from getting soggy!
- Use butter and a neutral oil for frying (and only use a tiny bit). The solids in butter can burn easily, which results in a bitter taste. To get a buttery flavor with no burning, add a splash of a neutral oil (like grapeseed, canola, or vegetable oil) to the pan along with the butter. Use them both sparingly: You don't need a ton of fat to cook French toast, especially if you use a good nonstick pan - and too much butter or oil can make your French toast soggy.
Riffs and Substitutions
- Mix up the bread. Use thick-cut sandwich bread, crusty bread, brioche, or sourdough in place of the challah here.
- Add your favorite toppings. We topped the French toast in these photos with a pat of butter, a dusting of powdered sugar, and some maple syrup. We also like topping this French toast with fresh apple slices, a drizzle of caramel, or another dollop of apple butter!
- Swap the apple butter for pumpkin puree or pumpkin butter for a different fall spin.
- Add a splash of whiskey or rum to the French toast batter for extra depth of flavor.
Apple Butter French Toast
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 25 minutes
- Yield: Serves 4
- Category: Breakfast
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Vegetarian
This rich and cozy apple butter French toast is perfect for fall!
- 3 eggs
- ½ cup apple butter
- ⅓ cup heavy cream
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
- 8 slices challah bread (about 1” thick)
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 1 Tablespoon canola oil, divided (or another neutral oil)
- Maple syrup and powdered sugar, for serving (optional)
- Whisk eggs, apple butter, heavy cream, vanilla, and a pinch of salt together in a shallow bowl or baking dish.
- Press one slice of challah bread into the egg mixture. Let sit for a minute or two, then turn and repeat to coat the other side.
- Melt a small knob of butter (about 1 teaspoon - you can eyeball this!) with a small drizzle of canola oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.
- Use a fork to lift each piece of challah up out of the egg mixture. Let some of the egg mixture drip off, then place bread in the hot skillet.
- Cook bread 2-4 minutes per side until golden brown. Add more butter and canola oil a bit at a time between batches. Repeat this process - dipping each piece of challah into the batter and cooking until golden - until you've cooked all the French toast pieces.
- Remove cooked French toast to a plate. Top with any remaining butter along with powdered sugar and maple syrup. Serve immediately.
Additions and Substitutions. Use applesauce, pumpkin puree, or pumpkin butter in place of apple butter. Omit the vanilla extract if you don’t have it on hand. Add ground cinnamon or a pinch of ground cloves to the batter if you’d like more pronounced fall flavor (the flavor of this French toast will depend largely on the apple butter you use). Use half and half in place of heavy cream if you like. Top with toasted walnuts, sliced apples, or an extra dollop of apple butter.
What kind of bread should I use? We prefer using a challah or brioche bread for this recipe, but it also works with thick-cut sourdough, crusty white bread, or sandwich bread in a pinch.
Work in batches to cook this French toast (depending on the size of your skillet). To keep cooked French toast warm while you cook the rest of the batches, place on an oven-safe plate or baking sheet and keep in the oven on its lowest setting (200° F or below) while you finish cooking the rest. Be sure to use oven mitts to take the plate in and out of the oven as it can get quite warm.
- Serving Size: 2 slices
- Calories: 627
- Sugar: 45.8 g
- Sodium: 518.9 mg
- Fat: 24.9 g
- Carbohydrates: 88 g
- Protein: 13.1 g
- Cholesterol: 218 mg
Keywords: brunch, entertaining, breakfast, thanksgiving
This is SO. GOOD! It has a subtle apple, cinnamon flavor with a creamy custard like texture. Plus - so easy to make - it doesn't take soaking the bread overnight. Definitely a new go-to for my french toast.
Team Life As A Strawberry
WAHOO! Those are our favorite things about it too!