Subtly sweet with a soft, custardy interior and crunchy edges, bagel french toast is a delicious and creative spin on a breakfast classic. Chewy bagels stand in for regular bread or brioche and soak up the custard before a slow bake in the oven. Not only is it a breeze to make, but the result is a delightful rendition of french toast you’ll come back to time and again!
Since this french toast dish comes together in the oven, it’s great as a sweet centerpiece for the table to share. Serve it at scaled-up brunches, bridal showers, holiday mornings or anytime you have a surplus of bagels.
Top it with berries, maple syrup, powdered sugar or whipped cream (or all of the above!), and serve it alongside eggs and other savory breakfast fare to pull balance into any brunch or breakfast spread.
The secret to bagel french toast is baking the bagels and custard mixture together in the oven. It’s a non-traditional method of making french toast, but the longer cooking time allows the custard and bagels to really integrate. The result is a soft and custardy interior, a crispy exterior, and a fool-proof way to make french toast for a crowd.
Before popping the baking dish into the oven, let the bagels soak in the custard for 30 minutes at room temperature. This will help fill every nook and cranny of the bagels with custard and create the perfect texture. It’s an extra step, but totally worth it!
What You Need to Make Bagel French Toast
Bagel french toast comes together with kitchen staples you likely already have on hand, and, of course, bagels! The bagels in this recipe are plain, but if you’d like to use a sweet bagel like cinnamon raisin you are more than welcome to do so.
The custard base is a blend of eggs, milk and brown sugar, but granulated sugar can also be used. If you prefer to use non-dairy milk, opt for one with a thicker consistency like oat milk.
This recipe also calls for vanilla bean paste, but vanilla extract can easily be used in its place.
- Plain Bagels
- Brown Sugar
- Vanilla Bean Paste
- Fresh Berries
- Powdered Sugar
- Maple Syrup
How To Make Bagel French Toast
Cut the bagels in half lengthwise (separating the tops and bottoms), then cut them in half crosswise to create quarters and set aside.
In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the eggs, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla bean paste and whisk until thoroughly combined and homogeneous. Once everything is thoroughly combined, whisk in the milk until fully incorporated.
Grease the bottom and sides of a 2-quart baking dish with butter, then layer the bagels in the baking dish.
Pour the custard mixture over the bagels, taking care to distribute the liquid evenly. Cover the dish with foil and let the bagels soak in the custard mixture at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Set the oven to 350F. When the bagels are done soaking, pop the dish in the oven with the foil still on, and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the bagel edges start to brown.
Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Top with powdered sugar, fresh berries and maple syrup. Serve warm and enjoy!
Can I use stale or day-old bagels?
Yes! Not only can you use stale or day-old bagels, but some french toast purists insist on using old bread. Since bagels are thicker and denser than regular bread or brioche, let the stale bagels soak in the custard for a few hours or even overnight in the fridge for best results.
Are bagel french toast and french toast bagels the same thing?
Not exactly. Bagel french toast (like this recipe) is french toast that uses bagels in lieu of regular bread or brioche. French toast bagels are bagels flavored and topped with cinnamon sugar and served with cream cheese, jam or butter.
Bagel French Toast
- 4 to 6 plain bagels cut in half, then cut into quarters
- 6 eggs
- 2 cups milk
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp grated nutmeg
- 3 tsp vanilla paste
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter
- fresh berries for serving
- powdered sugar for serving
- maple syrup for serving (optional)
- Cut the bagels lengthwise (separating the tops and bottoms) then cut them again crosswise to create quarters and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, mix together the eggs, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla paste and whisk together until thoroughly combined and homogenous.
- Once everything is thoroughly mixed, whisk in the milk until fully incorporated.
- Grease the bottom and sides of a 2 quart baking dish with butter, then layer in the bagel quarters.
- Pour the custard mixture over the bagels, making sure the liquid is evenly distributed.
- Cover the baking dish with foil and let the bagels soak in the custard for 30 minutes at room temperature.
- Set the oven to 350F.
- When the bagels are done soaking, pop the dish in the oven with the foil still on and bake for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes remove the foil and bake uncovered for an additional 10-15 minutes or until the edges of the bagels turn golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes.
- Top with powdered sugar, fresh berries and maple syrup.
- Serve warm and enjoy!
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