If you ever want to WOW your brunch guests or “mic drop” a Sunday morning breakfast, this classic dairy-free french toast is sure to do the trick! This recipe was tested multiple times to guarantee all the deliciousness that french toast is expected to deliver: cinnamon-y sweetness, a creamy coconut milk-egg dip for a final souffle-like texture, and of course, crispy edges!
Stack this coconut milk french toast up to any other french toast recipe, and I bet you you will be wondering how it is so much better. It's too easy not to try, so let me treat you to the dairy-free french toast experience you deserve!
Why you’ll love this recipe:
- It has the BEST mouthfeel for a french toast: a decadent souffle-like texture with a crispy outside!
- Minimal prep and cooking time
- Coconut milk imparts richness without overpowering the delicious flavors of cinnamon, vanilla, and honey
- Gluten-free and dairy-free by design, but it will delight all kinds of eaters, including the non-allergen crowd!
This simple gluten-free dairy-free french toast recipe is a wonderful base for tons of toppings that you can customize to your heart's desire! My favorites are melted chocolate drizzle, strawberries, or simply topped with maple syrup.
Ingredients and Substitutions
This cinnamon french toast recipe uses many of the same ingredients as classic french toast. The main substitutions are swapping milk for full-fat coconut milk and butter (for frying) with coconut oil. I recommend other substitutions for these ingredients in the ingredients list below.
To make it gluten–free, you’ll need gluten-free bread. I prefer a white bread variety over multi-grain to bring out all the delicate flavors that you know and love!
If you're not gluten-free, crusty, slightly stale sourdough bread makes an awesome base for this classic french toast recipe.
Using a slightly drier or stale bread is best because it absorbs more of the egg and coconut milk mixture without becoming soggy. But when I only have fresh bread around, that works well too!
Dairy-Free French Toast Mixture
- Eggs - eggs give your basic french toast recipe it's signature taste and texture.
- Coconut milk - full-fat coconut milk will give you the creamiest texture, but you can also use low fat. If using another plant-based milk, I recommend thicker and creamier milk bases like oat milk or cashew milk.
- Honey - you can use maple syrup as a substitute, but if you have both around, I think the combination of the two makes for the best flavor!
- Vanilla - adds that smooth and fragrant flavor we love in a classic french toast.
- Cinnamon - a little oo lala to compliment the vanilla and honey.
- Salt - just a pinch to really draw out those smooth sweet flavors!
- Coconut oil - use as needed for frying, and substitute with dairy-free butter or a neutral oil if you like.
- Fresh berries, maple syrup, a little bit of powdered sugar, and dairy-free whipped cream make amazing toppings for this coconut milk french toast recipe!
How to make Dairy-Free French Toast
French toast comes down to three steps: whisk, soak, and fry!
- First you’ll whisk the eggs, coconut milk, honey, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt together in a medium mixing bowl.
- Next you’ll soak the slices of bread in the mixture. Make sure they soak on each side for 30 seconds.
- Finally, heat some coconut oil in a pan on medium-low heat and add the soaked bread slices to your pan to fry. Flip the pieces after 2-3 minutes, cover with a lid, and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
Okay, I guess there's a fourth step: add your toppings and enjoy!
The beautiful thing about this basic french toast recipe is that you can make it your own!
- Pumpkin Spice - If you’re feeling the autumnal vibes in October (or whenever, we don’t judge), add pumpkin spice and top with pumpkin pie filling.
- Peanut Butter and Jelly: Looking for something different to excite the kids? Top with peanut butter and jelly!
- Churro: You can also add cinnamon sugar as a topping for a churro-themed french toast.
- Chocolate Banana: Drizzle it with chocolate and add sliced banana.
- Cinnamon Apple: Fry some apple slices in your coconut oil and layer them on top.
- Try Savory: If you don't have much of a sweet tooth, leave out the cinnamon, vanilla, and honey and use this theme to make it savory!
- mixing bowl
- baking dish (for soaking bread slices)
- frying pan
- lid for the pan (does not have to fit exactly)
Chef's Tips and Troubleshooting
To get the best texture...
Cover the French toast with a lid after the first flip for a final soufflé-like texture with a crispy outside! The lid does not need to exactly fit the pan. I use a lid from a different pan that nestles into the skillet.
If the inside is soggy or uncooked...
With the quantities and ingredients as listed, there is little chance of the inside not cooking through.
The most likely reason for a soggy inside would be swapping a thinner milk (like low-fat coconut milk or almond milk) for the thicker coconut milk.
Here are 3 ways to fix it:
- Carefully continue to cook the french toast pieces while covered with a lid. You will need to flip frequently to prevent one side from becoming too brown. You also may want to slightly turn down the heat to prevent burning.
- For future french toast pieces, decrease the amount of time they are soaked in the egg mixture.
- Lay the soggy pieces in a single layer on a greased or lined cookie sheet. Bake in the oven at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 3-7 minutes or until cooked through.
Frequently Asked Questions
To make this a 1-2 serving French Toast recipe, halve all of the ingredient amounts.
Non-dairy milk makes an excellent substitution for dairy milk in french toast. Choose rich and creamy textures like full-fat coconut milk and oat milk for best results.
Milk, even if it’s dairy-free, is important for french toast because it adds extra richness and flavor. Omitting milk would make the mixture too thick, and substituting water would make it too thin. Full-fat coconut milk is the perfect texture for a smooth and flavorful classic french toast recipe.
Classic Dairy-Free French Toast
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup full-fat coconut milk liquid but not hot enough to cook the egg
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 6 to 10 slices of slightly stale bread depending on size
- coconut oil for frying
- maple syrup for serving
- 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 slices. Soak the slices of bread in the mixture for 30 seconds per side. The easiest way is to pour the mixture into a large baking dish and lay the bread slices in the mixture several at a time. Flip after 30 seconds to get both sides of the bread.
- Fry the French Toast. 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.
- Flip the pieces and cover with a lid. Flip the pieces after 2-3 minutes and cover with a lid. Allow to cook for another 2-3 minutes before removing from the pan.
- Serve with toppings! Serve with maple syrup, powdered sugar, dairy-free whipped cream, and fresh berries.