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Cinnamon-Spiced Brioche French Toast

Tom McKenna's French Toast
Nathan Congleton/TODAY


Cinnamon sugar
  • 4 parts granulated sugar
  • 2 parts ground cinnamon
  • French toast
  • 1 loaf brioche
  • 1 quart half and half
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • To serve
  • Cornstarch, as needed
  • Oil, for frying
  • Bacon, fried until crispy and drained well on paper towels
  • Granny smith apple slices, sautéed in clarified butter until slightly tender and caramelized
  • Powdered sugar
  • Maple syrup
  • Chef notes

    This French toast recipe is me absolute favorite. It gives the toast the most crunchy and crispy outside while the middle is warm and custardy.

    Tom McKenna is the chef at Public Kitchen in New York City. 

    Technique tip: Buy a good, dense brioche Pullman loaf and be sure the bread is completely soaked with egg mix.


    For the cinnamon sugar:

    Mix well and keep in a shaker.

    For the French toast:


    Cut brioche into 1½-inch thick slices.


    In a bowl, whisk the half and half, eggs, sugar, vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon.


    Pour half of the egg mix into a baking dish and add bread. Pour remaining egg mix over the top to ensure that the bread is well covered. Let soak overnight.


    Heat a deep fryer, or pot of oil, to 375°F.


    Remove bread from soak and blot gently on paper towels. Cut in half then coat in cornstarch and tap off excess. Fry until deep golden brown, for 7-8 minutes. Remove from fryer and blot well on paper towels. Dust liberally with cinnamon sugar.

    To serve:


    Arrange French toast on a plate with the apples alongside.


    Top with the bacon and dust all with powdered sugar.


    Serve with room temp maple syrup on the side.