Everyone’s been there—the frozen (sometimes freezer-burnt) French toast sticks that go from microwave to mouth just moments before running out the door. No one is immune to their convenience. These breakfast marvels are nostalgic and tasty, albeit nowhere close to as scrumptious as homemade French toast. However, with a few simple steps these Air Fryer French Toast Sticks marry the beauty of handheld breakfast with the fluffy texture and delectably custardy taste of the best French Toast you’ve ever had. This is taken over the edge, of course, by the air fryer’s signature ability to make an impeccably crisp exterior.
How to Make Air Fryer French Toast Sticks
Making French toast in the air fryer is just as easy as making it on the stove. Like any good French Toast, it all comes down to three simple steps: making the custard, soaking the bread, and cooking it through.
1. Making the Custard
Custard is arguably the most important part of a French Toast recipe, ensuring the result is fluffy, decadent, and rich. After testing several iterations of custard, the mixture made exclusively with heavy cream resulted in the most flavorful Air Fryer French Toast Sticks. Because of the heavy cream’s high fat content, it yields a beautiful golden-brown coloring and luscious center, both of which are non-negotiable qualities of the perfect French Toast. The eggs act as a thickener, and the yolks and sugar create a velvety, smooth custard. The balance of these ingredients makes a mixture that slowly sets as the French Toast cooks, resulting in an iconic texture and subtle sweetness.
2. Soaking the Bread
Soaking the bread in the custard is an absolute must. Whatever you do, don’t skip this step! While it’s easy to simply dip and flip, not allowing the bread enough time to soak up the custard prevents the natural pockets of the bread from absorbing it. For standard more delicate loaves like French bread, you will only need to soak briefly in the custard, but if you are using a more sturdy, substantial bread it may take up to 5-10 minutes for the bread to fully absorb the custard. This is an easy way to up-level your French Toast, and will make a huge difference with French Toast sticks made in the air fryer.
3. Cooking the Air Fryer French Toast Sticks
In this recipe, the air fryer acts like an oven to bake the French Toast sticks quickly and perfectly. The air fryer’s convection capabilities circulate heat evenly, setting the interior of each Air Fryer French Toast Stick to create a flawless result every time. It might be tempting to cram the air fryer as full as possible, but resist. Having 1/2 inch of space between each Air Fryer French Toast Stick gives them breathing room for even heat distribution. The sweet spot for cooking time is between 8 and 10 minutes, depending on the power and size of the air fryer.
Breakfast is Served
Before digging in, dust your plate of perfect Air Fryer French Toast Sticks in powdered sugar and orange zest. Powdered sugar is as classic as it gets, adding a subtle sweetness beyond its snowy aesthetic and ability to charmingly cling to the corners of your lips. Orange zest, on the other hand, might feel like a curveball. However, trust in its ability to transform your French Toast sticks into something extra special. The fresh zest is bright and zingy, cutting through the richness of the custard and the heavy sweetness of pure maple syrup (which, let’s be honest, is a topping that isn’t up for debate). In addition to brightening the breakfast, the orange zest adds a warmth of color that makes the plate as beautiful as it is delicious.
Other Delicious Breakfast Recipes
- banana bread pancakes
- Mexcian avocado toast with poached egg
- breakfast charcuterie board
- migas breakfast tacos
- easy homemade bagels
Air Fryer French Toast Sticks
- 6 1-inch slices Country French or Brioche bread*
- 6 eggs
- 1 ½ cups heavy cream
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- Powdered sugar, orange zest, and pure maple syrup for serving
- Prepare the bread by cutting each slice into columns 1-inch wide—this should yield about 4 sticks per slice, or 24 sticks total. In a shallow bowl or pie tin, make the custard by beating the eggs, heavy cream, granulated sugar, salt, and vanilla with a whisk until completely homogenous. There should be no discernible streaks of egg white, and the mixture should run in a smooth stream from the whisk when lifted. Add the bread to the custard in a single layer and flip to coat, then allow it to soak until each slice absorbses the custard.**
- Set the air fryer temperature to 375° Fahrenheit. Spray the air fryer basket liberally with cooking spray and transfer the soaked bread into the basket, allowing any excess custard to drip off. Lay the bread in a single layer, leaving about ½ inch of space between each stick. Depending on the size of the air fryer, you may need to work in batches. Air fry for 8-10 minutes, or until each French toast stick is golden brown and puffed.
- Remove from the air fryer, then dust all over with powdered sugar and zest a navel orange over the top. Serve with a small bowl of warm maple syrup, for dipping.
- Air Fryer
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