This stuffed French toast is what dreams are made of – ready in just over 30 minutes!
This stuffed French toast recipe is an intoxicating combination you will have to taste to believe! Thick slices of bread are slathered with sweet cream cheese, layered with sugar kissed strawberries, dipped in a cinnamon laced egg mixture then pan fried until golden, buttery, soft and crispy then dusted with powdered sugar. This cream cheese stuffed French toast is perfect for brunch, special occasion breakfasts or just a fun Sunday morning treat! Best of all, the French toast can be stuffed ahead of time so you’re just a dip and a sizzle away from mouthfuls of heavenly stuffed French toast.
There is nothing quite like French toast to welcome the weekend. We love French toast in all forms from creme brûlée French toast, pecan praline French toast, dulce de leche French Toast, peaches and cream French toast muffins and now this stuffed French toast recipe!
WATCH: How to make Stuffed French Toast with Cream Cheese
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You will love this Stuffed French Toast Recipe
I’m excited to share this stuffed French toast recipe in anticipation of Mother’s Day! It would also be fabulous for Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Easter, brunch or even fun bridal or baby showers – because this recipe is worthy of any occasion. It’s the perfect way to surprise your loved ones and the best way to wake up in the morning. Plus, prep ahead recipes are always the best for you too!
I knew this stuffed French toast recipe was going to be good – I mean cream cheese, strawberries and French toast- what’s not to love? But this recipe isn’t just good, it is INSANELY good! It’s a heavenly mouthful of cinnamon, egg soaked French toast, pan-fried in melted butter until golden brown and slightly crisped on the edges, giving way to luxuriously creamy, sweetened cream cheese and juicy strawberry filling mingled with maple syrup and powdered sugar. Heaven I tell you.
The best thing about this stuffed French toast recipe is that although it tastes gourmet enough to headline any fancy restaurant, it’s easy to make at home and can be prepped ahead! You can stuff the sandwiches with the cream cheese and strawberries and make the egg mixture the night before. When it’s time to serve, all you have to do is dunk the bread and sizzle to perfection for a stress-free breakfast everyone goes crazy for!
French toast origin
French toast, oh how I love thee. Although there are many modern twists on classic French toast like this stuffed French toast recipe, it’s origin dates all the way back to 300-400s AD to the Roman Empire! In the Roman style of French toast, called Pan Dulcis, they would soak bread in a milk and egg mixture, then fry it in oil or butter – sounds a lot like our French toast today!
Since that time, many countries have developed their own versions of French toast from Germany’s arme ritter, to England’s Poor Knights of Windsor, to Spain’s torrijas. The version of French Toast that we’re most familiar with in the US, however, is French’s pain perdu that literally translates to “lost bread.”
Pain perdu refers to reviving stale bread by soaking it in eggs and milk before cooking so it doesn’t have to be thrown out/lost. Pain perdu began being referred to as “French Toast” by the British in the 17th century after visitors returned home to England from France. The recipe and the term “French toast” crossed the ocean with the early American settlers and continues to be a beloved breakfast favorite in America and throughout the world.
What’s the Best Bread for French Toast?
French toast should be soft and custardy on the inside, buttery and golden crisp on the outside and fluffy all over spiked with plenty of cinnamon and vanilla. There are as many choices of what bread to use for French toast as there are breads, so let me narrow down what bread makes the best French toast. Technically, any somewhat stale, thick bread will work, but for the French toast with the best flavor and texture, you have four choices: brioche, challah, French bread and Texas toast. Of these options, I believe brioche makes the best tasting French Toast.
Brioche is a classic French bread that bakes up golden, soft, and pillowy. It can usually be found by the loaf in the bakery section of the grocery store, in pre-sliced loaves in the bread aisle or as buns in either the bakery or bread aisle. For this French toast recipe, use a brioche loaf and slice it into thick slices between ¾ and 1 inch thick. If you can’t get your hands on a whole loaf, then a pre-sliced loaf can also work.
Brioche is ideal for French toast because it’s extravagantly rich, eggy and buttery, known as a Viennoiserie, which just means it is a baked good made from a leavened yeast dough, like a croissant. These factors result in an extra soft, fluffy bread ideal for soaking up the egg mixture with enough structure so it doesn’t fall apart. Additionally, brioche boasts a sweet, buttery flavor, which only makes your French toast experience that much more fabulous and is what truly elevates it above the rest.
Challah is the second-best option for French Toast. It’s a Kosher loaf of braided bread made of eggs, water, flour, yeast and salt. Challah will be located in the bakery section of your grocery store. Cut the loaf into 1-inch slices.
Challah makes fantastic French toast because it’s loaded with more eggs and butter than your average bread and soaks up the egg mixture very well while maintaining its structure. The reason it’s the second choice for French toast after brioche is it’s not as sweet and also a little denser and drier, still good, just not as good as brioche.
Texas toast is also a good option for French toast. Texas toast, not to be confused with the Texas toast garlic bread that’s in the frozen section at the grocery store, is a thick cut bread boasting slices ¾” to 1-inch thick. If your grocery store carries it, should be in the bread aisle.
Texas toast creates a soft and fluffy French with crispy edges. Its soft texture easily soaks up the egg mixture and its thickness allow it to stay moist and not fall apart while cooking to golden, crispy glory.
A long French Loaf, not to be confused with a thin, long French baguette, is also a good option for French Toast. French bread is hard and crusty on the outside which gives it structure with a light and soft crumb which adeptly soaks up the egg mixture. Because French bread is denser than brioche, you’ll want to soak it for a little longer in the egg mixture so it has time to really soak up the mixture.
French toast made with French bread is missing the buttery sweet flavor and fluffiness of brioche. The end result will be denser and chewier French toast. Still delish, just not as delicious as brioche French toast.
GLUTEN FREE French Toast
You can make gluten free French toast by using gluten free bread! Whole Foods carries Canyon Bakehouse Gluten-Free Bread in the frozen section (thaw first) or on Amazon here. I have also heard good things about Udi’s Gluten Free Bread.
Ingredients for Stuffed French Toast with Strawberries
Stuffed French Toast requires a few simple ingredients in addition to the bread to create the mouthwatering soft, sweet and creamy inside and buttery, crispy outside. Here’s what you’ll need:
THE EGG MIXTURE
- Eggs: 4 large eggs are beaten with half and half to create the egg mixture that soaks and softens the bread.
- Half and half: Is ideal for the egg mixture but you can also use whole milk. Try to avoid skim milk if possible, it will deliver the least creamy French toast.
- Cinnamon: Is a must or French toast! It adds a fabulous depth of flavor.
- Vanilla: Is used in both the egg mixture and the cream cheese filling. Use quality extract for the best flavor.
- For frying: Butter and a neutral oil such as vegetable oil are both used to fry the French toast to create the tantalizing buttery crust. The butter adds the flavor and the oil prevents the butter from burning.
- Cream cheese: Is the “cream” in the creamy filling! You’ll need one 8-ounce block that’s very soft so it mixes up smoothly.
- Powdered sugar: Sweetens the filling. Don’t use granulated sugar or it will taste grainy.
- Lemon juice: Brightens up the filling and compliments the strawberries.
- Strawberries: 8 ounces, or 1 heaping cup for the filling. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but you’ll slice the strawberries thinly so the little becomes the perfect amount.
- Granulated Sugar: Is mixed with the strawberries so they soften and release some of the juices.
HOW TO MAKE STUFFED FRENCH TOAST
This stuffed French Toast recipe has a few components but each of them takes only minutes to whisk together – literally. Here’s how:
Step 1: Macerate the strawberries. We want to soften the sliced strawberries first so they become super sweet and juicy. To do this, simply add a few tablespoons to the sliced strawberries and stir to evenly coat. Set them aside to work their magic, preferably 10 minutes, while you make the cream cheese filling and egg mixture.
Step 2: Make the cream cheese filling. Add the cream cheese, sour cream, lemon juice, powdered sugar and vanilla extract to a large bowl. Beat with a hand-held mixer until smooth, scraping down the bowl as needed.
Step 3: Make egg mixture. Add the eggs, half and half, cinnamon and vanilla to a shallow dish like an 8×8 pan or cake pan. Whisk thoroughly until combined.
Step 4: Assemble: Spread a thick layer of cream cheese filling on one side of sliced bread, leaving ¼-inch border all around. Arrange strawberries in an even layer on top of the cream cheese. Spread another layer of cream cheese on a new slice of bread and place it on top of the strawberries (cream cheese side down) to form a sandwich. Repeat to make 5-6 sandwiches total.
Step 4: Batter: Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat along with a drizzle of vegetable oil. Dip one sandwich into the egg mixture and turn to evenly coat then transfer to the skillet. Repeat with a second sandwich.
Step 5: Pan fry: Cook for 2-3 minutes per side, or until golden brown and crispy on each side. Repeat with remaining sandwiches. Serve warm!
How long should I soak my bread in the egg mixture?
The type of bread, the fat content of your dairy and the staleness of the bread will determine the soak time. No matter the combination you use, soak the French toast soak until saturated but not soggy, just a few seconds for soft, everyday bread and up to a minute per side for stale, dense bread.
- The Bread: Softer, less dense bread or less stale bread, will need a shorter soak in the egg mixture whereas a heartier and/or staler bread will need a little longer. Using stale bread is insurance against soggy French toast, and can be soaked longer than fresh bread.
- The Dairy: Half and half is thicker than milk, so it will take a little longer to soak into the bread, whole milk is thinner, so it will take less time.
How to prep Stuffed French Toast ahead of time
This stuffed French Toast recipe can be prepped ahead so all you have to do is dunk the French toast and cook the next morning:
- Stuff the bread with cream cheese and strawberries.
- Wrap each “sandwich” in plastic wrap and store sandwiches in a single layer (so the filling doesn’t squeeze out) in the refrigerator.
- Whisk up the egg mixture and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator; whisk again before using.
- When ready to make, set the sandwiches and egg mixture on the counter for 30 minutes before proceeding to cook.
How to keep stuffed french toast warm before serving
Unless you have large griddle, you will need to make the stuffed French in batches, but, don’t worry, it’s easy to keep all the French toast warm in the oven until ready to serve – this means you can make a big batch! To keep the finished French toast warm, transfer it to a large baking sheet and place in the oven at 250 degrees for up to 20 minutes before serving.
Tips for making the Best Stuffed French Toast with Cream Cheese
Stuffed French toast is easy to make but there are a few tips and tricks that deliver superior results. Here’s what to know:
- Use stale bread to ensure your French toast is soft and fluffy but not soggy. Soft fresh bread soaks up too much of the egg mixture and becomes soggy quickly. Stale bread gives the bread slices structure so they have the capacity to soak up the egg mixture without becoming soggy. Stale bread also has a superior fried texture, soft yet crispy on the edges; fresh bread will never get crispy because its liquid logged.
- Make your own stale bread in the oven! For the stale bread, you can plan ahead and use 2-day-old unwrapped bread or dry it in the oven by baking the slices in a single layer for roughly 15 minutes at 300 degrees F.
- Use thick bread slices for the best texture. Try and cut the bread ¾- 1″ thick. The thicker the slice, the more egg mixture it can soak in while remaining fluffy, soft and custardy without becoming soggy. It also allows the outside to crisp up without the inside of the bread overcooking, creating a more satisfying contrast between the pleasantly crispy outside and the creamy, custardy inside.
- The higher the fat in the dairy, the creamier the texture. You can use heavy cream, half and half or whole milk for the egg mixture. I find half and half to be the best balance of creaminess without being too rich. Half and half is thicker than milk which means you can soak the bread for longer without it becoming soggy.
- Use very soft cream cheese so your filling isn’t lumpy. This is one time it’s okay to gently microwave your cream cheese, just make sure not to scorch it! Cut the cream cheese into pieces and microwave at 20 second intervals, rotating/stirring as needed until very soft.
- Leave a plain border around the edges of the bread. Don’t spread the cream cheese right up to the edges otherwise it will ooze out while the French toast is cooking. Leaving a border also allows you to use a thick layer of sweetened cream cheese without mess.
- Let the excess egg mixture drip off the French toast before transferring it to the skillet. The purpose of soaking the cream cheese stuffed French toast is so the egg mixture can permeate the inside of the bread and lightly coat the outside. Giving the French toast a couple seconds to drain of excess egg mixture ensures you aren’t left with a thick coating that will only fry up eggy and never crispy.
- Slice strawberries thinly. The strawberries shouldn’t be razor thin, but a little thinner than ⅛ of an inch. This gives you enough strawberry mouthfeel while still allowing the stuffed French toast to seal. To that end, try and evenly slice the strawberries so your stuffed French toast seals evenly.
- Don’t use dripping strawberries. The macerated strawberries will release a lot of juice – which should stay behind in the bowl (you can drizzle it over the stuffed French toast afterwards). The most effective way to remove the strawberries without dripping is to use your fingers and pick out and layer the slices one by one on the cream cheese instead of dumping them on with a spoon and then arranging.
- Use a large skillet. You want a large enough skillet to comfortably fi two stuffed French toasts at a time without touching so they can fry and crisp up without steaming.
- Use butter and oil when pan frying the French toast. Butter can easily burn before the cream cheese stuffed French toast becomes crispy, but a splash of vegetable oil will prevent it from burning.
- Add stuffed French toast to a hot skillet. Preheat the pan completely before battering the bread so you can add the battered French toast directly to a hot skillet. The hot skillet is needed to create the golden crust, a lukewarm skillet won’t fry the bread.
- Don’t turn the heat up higher than medium. You want the temperature to be high enough to fry the outside but low enough that the inside cooks in the same amount of time as the outside. This maybe medium heat, or even medium-low if your stove runs hot.
- Don’t stack stuffed French toast, but line in a single layer on a platter or transfer to individual plates for serving. I stacked the cream cheese stuffed French toast in these photos for purely aesthetic reasons – I do not recommend stacking the French toast or they will steam and you will instantly lose any coveted crispiness you once had.
French Toast Toppings and Variations to Try
French toast can be stuffed with anything! Here are a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing:
- Raspberry or Blueberry Stuffed French Toast: While sweetened cream cheese and strawberries is a classic combination, you can also substitute with blueberries, raspberries, dried cranberries or a combination. You can even line the bread with the corresponding jam or add it to the cream cheese filling for extra berry flavor.
- Toffee Apple Stuffed French Toast: Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet. Add 4 medium, peeled, chopped apples and 2 tablespoons brown sugar and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Prepare the cream cheese according to directions but reduce sugar to ½ cup and add ½ cup toffee bits (like Bits of Brickell). Line the toffee cream cheese filling with apples and top with toasted chopped pecans.
- Pineapple or Mango Coconut Stuffed French Toast: Swap the half and half in the egg mixture for coconut milk and the sour cream in the cream cheese filling with coconut yogurt. Caramelize the pineapple by melting 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet and cooking pineapple until caramelized, about 5 minutes. Line the cream cheese filling with toasted coconut and caramelized pineapple. Serve with coconut syrup like I used in this Hawaiian Waffles recipe (one of the first recipes I ever posted!).
- Peaches and Cream Stuffed French Toast: Replace the strawberries with canned, sliced peaches in juice, drained and chopped, followed by toasted chopped pecans. You can also throw in some blueberries!
- Mascarpone Stuffed French Toast: Substitute the cream cheese for mascarpone; still mix with powdered sugar, sour cream, vanilla. Blueberries are especially delicious with mascarpone.
- Nutella Stuffed French Toast: Swap the cream cheese for Nutella. You don’t need to add any sugar or other ingredients to the Nutella, it’s already as sweet as you need. Line the Nutella with strawberries, raspberries or bananas.
- Peanut Butter Stuffed French Toast: Swap the cream cheese for creamy peanut butter and combine with the remaining sweetened cream cheese ingredients. Slather the peanut butter bread with jelly or line the peanut butter with strawberries, raspberries, sliced bananas or chocolate chips.
- Brie Pear Stuffed French Toast: Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet. Add 2 tablespoons brown sugar and 4 medium, peeled, thinly sliced pears and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Make the sweetened cream cheese filling according to the original recipe; fold in ½ cup dried cranberries and ⅓ cup toasted, chopped pecans. Layer the bread with sweetened cream cheese, pears and thinly sliced brie from one round (8 ounces) Brie cheese, rind removed. Top with another cream cheese slathered bread.
- Lactose Free Stuffed French Toast: Use lactose free whole milk.
- Dairy Free Stuffed French Toast: Use your favorite dairy free milk such as oat milk, almond milk, soy milk or coconut milk. Note, the egg mixture will be thinner, so just soak the French toast for a few seconds on each side.
HOW TO SERVE cream cheese STUFFED FRENCH TOAST
Cream cheese stuffed French toast is fabulous with just a drizzling of maple syrup or you can serve it with any of these tasty additions:
- Pure maple syrup, raspberry syrup, strawberry syrup or blueberry syrup
- Fresh berries
- Banana slices
- Chopped walnuts or pecan
- Whipped cream
- Ice cream
Storing and Reheating Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast
HOW LONG IS stuffed french TOAST GOOD FOR?
This stuffed French toast recipe should be tightly covered or stored in an aright container. When properly stored, it is good for up to 3 days
Can you freeze French Toast?
You can freeze this stuffed French toast recipe before dipping in the egg mixture or after cooking. To freeze before dipping, make the sandwiches, wrap individual sandwiches in several layers of plastic wrap then place in a freezer size bag and squeeze out excess air. When ready to serve, thaw the sandwiches on the counter for at least 30 minutes, then make as directed.
Freeze cooked French toast in the same manner. Cooked sandwiches don’t need to be thawed before reheating, just add a few extra minutes to the reheating instruction time.
How to reheat Leftover stuffed French Toast
You can reheat leftover cream cheese stuffed French toast three ways:
- Microwave: The microwave is good for instant pleasure and individual pieces but you will lose any crispiness, still yummy though. To microwave, add individual slices to a microwave safe plate and microwave for 30 seconds. Continue to microwave at 20 second intervals if needed to heat through.
- Oven: Reheating leftover stuffed French toast in the oven will yield the best texture. Line French toast in an even layer on a baking sheet and bake at 325 degrees F for 10-15 minutes or until warmed through, flipping half way through.
- Air fryer: Preheat your air fryer to 350 degrees. Cook French toast for 2-3 minutes or until completely heated through.
Stuffed French Toast Recipe FAQs
French toast can be soggy if you use the wrong bread, don’t use stale bread, don’t use thick bread and use nonfat milk instead of whole milk or half and half in the egg mixture. To ensure perfectly crispy French toast on the outside with a dreamy, creamy inside, follow my cooking tips below.
The best French Toast is made with thick slices, about ¾- 1″ thick. The thicker the slice, the more egg mixture it can soak in while remaining fluffy, soft and custardy without becoming soggy. It also allows the outside to crisp up without the inside of the bread overcooking, creating a more satisfying contrast between the pleasantly crispy outside and the creamy, custardy inside.
The most common mistake in making French Toast is using soft bread. Soft fresh bread soaks up too much of the egg mixture and becomes soggy quickly. Instead, use stale bread. Stale bread gives the bread slices structure so they have the capacity to soak up the egg mixture without becoming soggy. Stale bread also has a superior fried texture, soft yet crispy on the edges; fresh bread will never get crispy because its liquid logged.
Tools Used in This Recipe
Stuffed French Toast with Cream Cheese
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Cream Cheese Filling
- 8 ounces (1 pkg) cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar, plus more for topping
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 8 ounces (1 heaping cup) strawberries, thinly sliced
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 10-12 slices stale brioche sliced 3/4-inch thick -see notes (may also use challah, Texas Toast or thick cut sturdy bread)
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup half and half (may sub whole milk)
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, divided
- 6 tablespoons butter, divided
Toppings (any of the following)
- powdered sugar, fresh berries, syrup, whipped cream, etc.
- Strawberries: Add sliced strawberries to a bowl and stir in 3 tablespoons sugar. Let stand for 10 minutes or so to macerate (soften and release their juices).
- French toast: Add eggs, half and half, cinnamon and vanilla together in a shallow dish and whisk until thoroughly combined; set aside near the stove.
- Assemble: Spread a thick layer of cream cheese filling on one side of sliced bread, leaving ¼-inch border all around. Arrange strawberries in an even layer on top of the cream cheese. Spread another layer of cream cheese on a new slice of bread and place it on top of the strawberries (cream cheese side down) to form a sandwich. Repeat to make 5-6 sandwiches total.
- Cook: Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large nonstick skillet or well seasoned cast iron skillet over medium heat along with 1 teaspoon vegetable oil. Dip one sandwich into the egg mixture and turn to evenly coat (see notes on soaking times), let excess drip off then transfer to the skillet. Repeat with a second sandwich. Cook for 2-3 minutes per side, or until golden brown and crispy on each side. Repeat with remaining sandwiches.
- Serve immediately with desired topping such as powdered sugar, syrup and fresh berries.
- To dry out bread: You can plan ahead and use 2 day old, unwrapped stale bread or dry it out yourself. To do this, fit a wire rack inside a rimmed baking sheet. Place the bread in a single layer on the rack. Bake for about 15 minutes, flipping halfway through until dry to the touch on both sides.
- Soak time: The type of bread and the fat content of your dairy will determine the soak time. Half and half is thicker than milk, so it will take a little longer to soak into the bread, whole milk is thinner, so it will take less time. Softer, less dense bread or less stale bread, will need a shorter soak in the egg mixture, just a few seconds, whereas a heartier and/or staler bread will need a little longer, up to 1 minute. No matter the combination you use, soak the bread until saturated but not soggy.
- Recipe variations: You can stuff French toast with anything! See post for all sorts of recipe idea.
- How to keep stuffed French toast warm before serving (so you can make a big batch): Transfer cooked French toast to a large baking sheet and place in the oven at 250 degrees for up to 20 minutes before serving.
How to store and reheat
- To store: Store for up to 3 days tightly covered or in an aright container in the refrigerator.
- To reheat in the microwave: The microwave is good for instant pleasure and individual pieces but you will lose any crispiness, still yummy though. To microwave, add individual slices to a microwave safe plate and microwave for 30 seconds. Continue to microwave at 20 second intervals if needed to heat through.
- To reheat in the oven: Reheating leftover stuffed French toast in the oven will yield the best texture. Line French toast in an even layer on a baking sheet and bake at 325 degrees F for 10-15 minutes or until warmed through, flipping half way through.
- To reheat in the air fryer: Preheat your air fryer to 350 degrees. Cook French toast for 2-3 minutes or until completely heated through.
How to freezeYou can freeze this stuffed French toast recipe before dipping in the egg mixture or after cooking. To freeze before dipping, make the sandwiches, wrap individual sandwiches in several layers of plastic wrap then place in a freezer size bag and squeeze out excess air. When ready to serve, thaw the sandwiches on the counter for at least 30 minutes, then make as directed. Freeze cooked French toast in the same manner. Cooked sandwiches don’t need to be thawed before reheating, just add a few extra minutes to the reheating instruction time.
How to Prep AheadThis stuffed French Toast recipe can be prepped ahead so all you have to do is batter and cook the next morning. To prep ahead, stuff the bread with cream cheese and strawberries and wrap each “sandwich” in plastic wrap. Store in a single layer (so the filling doesn’t squeeze out) in the refrigerator. Whisk up the egg mixture and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator; whisk again before using. When ready to make, set the sandwiches and egg mixture on the counter for 30 minutes before proceeding to cook.
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