If you’re team sweet when it comes to breakfast, you already know that lines can get pretty blurry between the most important meal of the day and, well, something a nutritionist would probably just call "dessert." So it’s no wonder that healthy breakfast hacks — like last year's baked oats — are a perennial favorite on social media, especially when they’re a riff on something indulgent.
"Yogurt toast" (also known as "custard toast") made with protein-packed yogurt is the latest TikTok trend that millions are getting in on, including Yumna Jawad, who’s known as the "Feel Good Foodie" So far, her yogurt toast video (which was sponsored by Stonyfield) has 1.2 million views and counting. She told me she thinks the trend has taken off because it’s simple and novel at the same time: "You can mix yogurt and egg together, which are universal ingredients that are highly accessible, and create something where the sum is better than its parts."
Indeed, the simplest versions you’ll see online right now rely on just a few pantry staples. You start with a slice of bread, spoon a mixture of yogurt, egg and sweetener like honey or maple syrup into the middle of the slice, top with some fresh fruit, and bake (or air-fry) until the custard sets. In addition to providing some natural sweetness to offset the tart yogurt, the fruit allows for caramelization around the edges of the toast while keeping things silky in the middle.
If this all sounds similar to a breakfast staple you already know and love, that’s because it is. "The topping has a similar taste and texture to the custard used in French toast, so it is like a simpler version without the messy soaking," said Jawad. "I also think it’s a healthier version with the use of yogurt instead of heavy cream or full-fat milk because the yogurt has more protein to make it a filling and satiating breakfast or snack."
Yogurt toast also draws inspiration from sweetened breads found across Asia, from Taiwanese brick toast served as a snack at boba tea cafes, to Shibuya toast you’ll find in Japanese karaoke bars. Made with butter and powdered milk or condensed milk on soft, pillowy bread, they can go from snack to dessert territory quickly when piled high with toppings like Nutella or ice cream (or both). The trend might even be taking a cue from dahi toast, the savory spiced yogurt sandwich that's a childhood staple in India.
But your custard toast doesn’t need to be elaborate to be Instagram- or TikTok-worthy. For an easy spin on the trend, Jawad recommends trying different breads like brioche, ciabatta or challah. As a bonus for our friends with food sensitivities, it’s also very adaptable: Just substitute gluten-free bread or dairy-free yogurts. Or you can get creative with the flavorings. "For more add-in options, try lemon or orange zest, frozen berries blended with the yogurt to give it a different color, chocolate syrup, caramel, peanut butter or even ground coffee," suggested Jawad. "It’s almost like a blank canvas with endless possibilities!"
I couldn’t think of a better way to start the day, so I quickly assembled the ingredients I’d need to make my own yogurt custard toast. In Jawad’s basic recipe (see below) for four pieces, half a cup of yogurt gets whisked with one egg, one teaspoon of honey and a quarter teaspoon of cinnamon (I used a chai spice blend I had on hand). I wanted to know how it would work with different types of bread, so I experimented with both brioche and sourdough.
Using a trick I’d seen in countless yogurt toast videos on TikTok, I tamped down the middle of each bread slice with the back of a spoon so that there would be an indentation for the custard to pool. This turned out to be much easier to do with the soft brioche than the chewier sourdough. I spooned the custard onto each slice of bread and then heaped on more when I saw I had enough custard to make several additional ones. I topped with strawberries and blueberries and put them into a 400-degree oven.
Perhaps I went overboard with the custard ladling, but after Jawad’s recommended 10 minutes of baking time, mine still looked pretty raw. It took a full half an hour for them to get golden and crispy around the edges and set in the middle. But I wasn’t complaining — my apartment was filled with the aromas of a bakery!
I broke a slice in half and aromatic steam wafted into my face. The strawberries looked cute but I liked the baked blueberries better, as they had melted into jammy little pools on top of the custard. The combination of crunchy and creamy makes this actually austere toast feel really luxurious, but you definitely need that fruit for added sweetness. Jawad’s recipe only uses a tiny bit of honey and I found myself drizzling more on top. Hey, it could be cheesecake, you know?
Yogurt Toast Recipe
Adapted from Yumna Jawad
1/2 cup whole-milk yogurt or Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon honey
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
4 bread slices
handful of strawberries and/or other berries, sliced
In a small bowl, whisk together the yogurt, egg, honey and cinnamon until it's well-combined and looks like custard.
Spoon the custard into the toast and top with the berries. Bake in the oven (or air fryer) at 400 F for 10 minutes (5 minutes or more in the air fryer) and enjoy immediately.
Note: Depending on the strength of your oven and the amount of custard you use, you might need to keep it in the oven longer — could be up to 30 minutes.