French toast is a tasty, timeless breakfast that no one can resist, but it’s not always compatible with a plant-based diet. This delicious meal is typically made with several ingredients that definitely aren’t plant-based or vegan—eggs, milk and butter. Standard French toast recipes rely on eggs to get that signature melt-in-your-mouth texture, so you’ll need a different recipe that’s designed to be plant-based. In addition, many home cooks make their French toast with tons of butter – you’ll need to skip this as well to keep your recipe plant-based.
So, how do you make French toast without eggs or butter? It’s easier than you might think! We’ve got a stellar vegan French toast recipe for you right here. It’s bound to knock your socks off – no animal products necessary!
Is French Toast Actually French?
Before we get into the recipe, let’s take a minute to get up to speed on what French toast is and how it’s traditionally prepared!
If you’ve never had French toast before, you’re in for a treat! This traditional sweet breakfast dates all the way back to the 17th century, when an early version of the dish was created not by the French, but by the English.
You read that right – French toast isn’t French! If you feel like everything you’ve ever known is a lie, it gets even crazier. Some French cooks do make French toast, but it goes by an entirely different name – pain perdu, which translates to “lost bread.” This might seem like a strange name for a delicious breakfast, but there’s a reason behind it.
In France, French toast is traditionally made using old, stale bread that wouldn’t be used for anything else. To keep this old bread from going to waste, cooks will repurpose it by dipping it in the classic mix of eggs, milk, and spices. That said, we won’t judge you if you choose to use fresh bread in this breakfast recipe.
As breakfasts go, French toast is actually pretty packed in terms of nutrition. You get a decent punch of protein, as well as some carbohydrates to fuel your morning.
Now, without further ado, let’s get into the recipe for the best vegan French toast!
Step One: Swapping Out Those Non-Vegan Ingredients
The traditional French toast recipe calls for eggs, butter, and milk – all of which aren’t vegan-friendly foods. For our recipe, you’ll be using tried-and-true vegan options instead.
Instead of butter, we’ll be relying on coconut oil to give our French toast a crisp exterior—although you could also choose vegan butter. We’ll trade out eggs for a simple mixture of ground flaxseed, cornstarch, and water—aka a flax egg. Subbing out the milk is super easy – just pick your favorite non-dairy milk – anything from oat milk to soy milk to almond milk, and everything in between will work for this recipe!
Step Two: Choose Your Bread!
French toast is made with thick, sturdy slices of bread. However, not all bread is plant-based, and several of the most popular loaves for making French toast contain lots of eggs and butter. These include challah and brioche (unless you specifically choose vegan challah), which you’ll often see recommended for French toast recipes. Instead, we recommend using either ciabatta or sourdough bread.
Whenever possible, go for thick, big slices of bread when whipping up French toast. Using bigger slices allows for maximum absorption of the tasty blend that transforms your plain old bread into spectacular French toast!
Step Three: Assemble Your French Toast Gear
You don’t need a ton of tools or a massive kitchen to make French toast! The best cooks are resourceful, and they work with what they’ve got. For this recipe, you’ll be pulling out the basics of your kitchen arsenal – a wide pan or skillet, a mixing bowl, a whisk, and a spatula. That’s it!
This recipe serves 8, so you can host a group for breakfast or pack some away for the freezer. As for ingredients, you’ll be amazed by how few you need to make delicious French toast! Gather up the following, and you’ll be good to go:
- A cup of non-dairy milk
- 1 tsp of flaxseeds
- 8 slices of sourdough or ciabatta bread
- Cinnamon to taste, but start with a teaspoon
- Sugar-free maple syrup
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- Toppings of your choosing – these can include raspberries and blueberries, more syrup, or just about anything else you’d want to pair with your French toast!
There’s quite a bit of wiggle room with this recipe, especially with the mixture that you’ll use to pan-fry your bread. You can be as liberal or minimal with spices as you want – some cooks find that just a little bit of cinnamon and vanilla goes a long way, while others like more. A good starting point is a teaspoon of each.
However, you may find that you like to make French toast with more or less of these ingredients, or you may want to change it up seasonally. You truly can’t go wrong with French toast made with a touch of pumpkin pie spice or some nutmeg.
Step Four: Get Mixing
Grab that mixing bowl – it’s time to put it to good use!
Once your mixing bowl is set out on the counter and ready to go, pour in your baking powder, flaxseeds, cinnamon, vanilla, non-dairy milk, and cornstarch. Mix all these ingredients together, and you’re on your way.
Once all the base ingredients are mixed in, it’s time to add some sugar-free maple syrup. This sweet ingredient can really take the flavors of your French toast up a notch, and it’s up to you how much you want to add to your mixture.
We recommend starting out with just a teaspoon of our sugar-free maple syrup, then tasting the combined ingredients to see if you need more. There aren’t any raw eggs or other animal products in this recipe, so you’re free to taste a bit of the uncooked mixture and make sure it’s to your liking!
When you’ve determined that you’ve got the perfect amount of sugar-free maple syrup in your mixture, whisk it in thoroughly with the other ingredients. Now, you’ve got everything you need to fry up a delicious slice of French toast!
Step Five: Pan-Frying to Golden Perfection
Now that you’ve got your French toast batter mixed and ready to go, it’s time to get the stove turned on. Put your pan on a large burner and set it to medium heat. Coat the pan with a little bit of coconut oil, then allow the oil to melt down as the pan heats up. Once the oil has liquified, you’re ready to start frying those delicious pieces of French toast!
Grab a slice of bread and dip it in your mixing bowl filled with batter. We recommend using tongs for this step if you have them – otherwise, things can get a little sticky! Let the bread sit in the batter for about ten seconds. You don’t want it to get totally drenched, so this is the perfect amount of time to get the bread coated without drowning it in batter.
Once your bread is coated, use your tongs to lay it in the pan. You’ll immediately hear a satisfying sizzle as your kitchen fills up with the aroma of spices, syrup, and bread! Let one side of your bread lay on the pan for about three minutes, then flip it over.
When flipped, the underside of your French toast should look crispy and a bit browned. That’s a sign that it’s perfectly cooked! If you’re not satisfied with the texture and appearance of a piece of toast once you flip it, try flipping it back over and giving it 30 more seconds on the heat. Then flip again.
Once both sides of a piece of bread have been fried for around three minutes, use your spatula to set the piece aside, then move on to the next one. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer—but this treat is so yummy that we don’t blame you if you have nothing leftover.
Tips for the Perfect Batch of Vegan French Toast
This recipe is super simple and fun to make, but it can be even more delicious when you put in some extra effort! Follow these tips to level up your vegan French toast.
Add More Oil to the Pan After Each Slice of Bread Is Finished
As you fry up slices of French toast, the bread and batter will absorb quite a bit of the oil in your pan. If you want to keep your slices of toast consistently crispy and golden-brown, try adding a bit more coconut oil to the pan whenever you pull a finished slice of French toast out of it.
Get Creative With Plating!
One of the most fun aspects of making any meal is putting your heart and soul into the presentation. Plating is the art of making food look as appetizing as possible when it’s served, and there are plenty of creative directions you can go when plating French toast!
Try artfully scattering toppings over a perfectly stacked pile of vegan French toast slices – you’re bound to feel like a culinary artist! We think shavings of our Perfectly Pleasant Peanut Butter Chocolate Bar or our Deviously Delicious White Chocolate Bar With Crispy Almond Pieces will do the trick. You can also serve your French toast alongside a tofu scramble or vegan pancakes for the breakfast feast of the century.
Add More Sugar-Free Syrup During Cooking Than Afterwards
While it’s customary to top your pancakes, waffles, or French toast with some maple syrup once it’s on your plate, when you include our sugar-free syrup in your batter, you may find that you don’t even need that extra flavor. Adding enough syrup during the cooking process will save you the extra step when it comes time to serve.
We recommend adding a generous amount of sugar-free maple syrup to your batter, then topping each slice with fresh fruit. Anyone who eats your French toast will be amazed by how fluffy and rich it is!
Adjust the Sweetness to Your Preferences
Regardless of how much sugar-free maple syrup your French toast recipe contains, remember that you don’t need to stick with that number! Everyone prefers a different level of flavor in their food. Because the sweetener isn’t an absolutely vital component of your French toast, you can add however much or little you’d like without worrying about affecting the texture.
Always start with less, and then add more later on if you feel you need more. We think this French toast tastes pretty darn good either way!
Want More Great Plant-Based Recipes?
You’ve come to the right place, whether you’re looking for more vegan breakfast recipes or you want something a little more substantial. Make sure to check out the recipes column in MiiRO magazine, as well as our recipe videos on MiiRO TV, for more inspiration. To go there now, click here.