Try out this fun and elevated Coconut French Toast as a new way to enjoy a classic breakfast. The egg mixture is what makes this recipe so tasty, infused with coconut milk, honey, vanilla, and cinnamon that soaks into the thick-cut bread for a smooth texture and taste.
If the crispy edges and souffle-like texture of this coconut french toast recipe weren't enough, take it a step further by topping them with crunchy toasted shredded coconut, warm syrup, and fruit.
This really is a year-round recipe that is absolutely mouthwatering especially when topped with fresh berries, warm apples, or your favorite fruits and syrups for a truly delectable treat. Using your favorite seasonal fruits offers a variety of options to keep this recipe unique.
My favorite way to enjoy this irresistible coconut milk french toast is to serve it for brunch with a savory southwest breakfast skillet.
Why I love this recipe:
- Texture. Crispy edges, crunchy topping, and souffle-like coconut french toast texture make for an amazing mouthfeel!
- A real delight. A super fun and flavorful recipe using unique ingredients.
- It feels like a special occasion brunch, but it is super easy to make yourself.
- Totally unique! This recipe is an extension of my famous dairy-free french toast but upgraded for a truly wonderful recipe. You won't find another french toast quite like it!
- For all seasons. Makes an excellent summer breakfast with fresh berries or Fall brunch with baked apple slices.
Ingredients and Substitutions
This is a recipe that I've honed in on to get the best french toast I could muster, and I've tried a few ways to make it with similar results. You'll love how simple the ingredients are and how easy making french toast is.
Thick Cut Bread
Choose a thickly sliced white bread for the best texture and flavor. To make gluten-free french toast, I find most gluten-free white breads are on the dry side and work well. Otherwise choosing bread that's a little stale and dried out is a good choice!
Coconut French Toast Mixture
- Eggs - this is the base of any french toast mixture for richness and flavor.
- Coconut milk - full-fat coconut milk has more flavor and is thick which makes for an ultra creamy texture. Alternatively, you could use low-fat coconut milk or another plant-based milk like cashew milk or oat milk. Or, if not dairy-free, heavy cream or half and half would work well.
- Honey - using honey is a great way to sweeten up the mix without added sugar. Maple syrup would also work or a combination of the two.
- Vanilla - is the best aromatic sweet flavor for any french toast recipe.
- Cinnamon - warm spice that tastes great with french toast and any fruit that you may add.
- Salt - adding salt balances the sweetness of flavors.
- Coconut oil - use for frying the french toast pieces. You can substitute butter or a neutral cooking oil.
- Maple syrup and fruit for serving.
- Shredded coconut - Regular shredded coconut is fine because we will toast it up in the oven as the topping on the french toast!
- Coconut sugar - This is a balance for unsweetened coconut without being too sweet and adds to the crunch. Any granulated sugar will work here.
- Cinnamon - Matching the flavors of the recipe with the same spice.
- Coconut oil - We'll toss the coconut and sugar with oil for a deep toasty coconut flavor. Use melted coconut oil to make this step easy! Butter also tastes great here.
See recipe card for quantities.
How to Make Coconut French Toast
Start this french toast recipe with coconut with well-soaked slices of bread that are pan-fried and finished in the oven for a toasty, crispy breakfast with a unique combination of healthy ingredients.
Prep: Preheat the oven to 375° F.
Make the egg mixture: Whisk the eggs, coconut milk, honey, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt together in a medium mixing bowl or baking dish.
Soak the Bread: Soak the slices of bread in the egg mixture for 30 seconds on each side.
Fry one side: Heat some coconut oil in a pan on medium low heat. Add soaked bread slices to the pan, leaving just a bit of room between the pieces. Allow them to cook undisturbed for two minutes on one side.
Flip onto a baking sheet: Flip each piece onto a metal baking sheet with the uncooked side down. Leave a little room between the pieces so the edges cook through.
Coconut Crunch: Combine the coconut crunch ingredients in a bowl and mix. Sprinkle 1 rounded tablespoon of coconut crunch mixture onto each slice and spread evenly across the top.
Bake: Bake on the middle oven rack for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the crisp is golden brown.
Serve with toppings: Serve with maple syrup, dairy-free whipped cream, and fresh berries!
I love this cooking technique for french toast because it ensures a balanced cook on the inside and outside. We soak the bread to absorb all the creamy goodness which takes a little longer to cook thoroughly. So, this dual cooking process crisps out the outside and finishes cooking the inside for texture much like a souffle.
This unique recipe has so many options to make it something you'll want to make again and again.
- Coconut French Toast Sticks- If this recipe wasn't already fun enough, make a kid-friendly version by cutting the bread into sticks and cooking up the same. Make a fruity dip or hazelnut spread for a dunkable french toast stick.
- Caramel Apple Coconut- A recipe that screams Fall weather and flavors is to top this recipe with warm baked apples and a drizzle of caramel sauce.
- Coconut Banana Foster - You might as well call this a dessert with caramelized bananas and a rum-infused sauce. And if it's a dessert, well then ice cream on top is a must!
- mixing bowl or medium baking dish (for soaking french toast)
- non-stick pan
- baking sheet (for baking french toast)
How to store french toast
If you have leftover french toast, store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.
To use leftover french toast, chop into chunks and layer with fresh fruit and yogurt for a parfait. Top with extra toasted coconut for a crunchy addition!
Keep the heat to medium-low.
Cook the french toast at a medium low temperature to prevent the outside from cooking too fast and burning. We're cooking the crunchy coconut recipe in the oven after pan-frying one side, so the uncooked inside will finish off in there.
Use melted coconut oil to make the topping.
While we make the topping similar to a coffee cake streusel topping, you'll want to use melted coconut oil to contain the mess and make it easier!
Frequently Asked Questions
Although it may seem surprising, French toast that won't get crispy is usually a result of too high heat. French toast should be cooked on medium-low heat to prevent a soggy middle. If not cooked through, the french toast won't stay crispy.
French toast should be cooked through in the middle and not wet. If the middle is wet, return the french toast to the oven or frying pan and continue to cook it through. If frying, flip frequently with a spatula to prevent the outside from burning and place a lid over the pan to maintain a uniform temperature.
More Gluten-Free Brunch Recipes to love:
- Amazingly Fluffy Pumpkin Pancakes
- Cozy Spiced Paleo Molasses Cookies
- Showstopper Apple Coffee Cake
- Pumpkin Donuts with Spiced Sugar
- Strawberry Muffins with Chocolate
To ensure french toast is fully cooked, use a cooking thermometer to check for a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C) in the center of each piece.