Coffee French Toast: When bad weather brings good food

Have you ever heard of a French Toast Emergency? I hadn’t until this year, and I have to say when I did learn what it meant, I had myself a good belly laugh. So, are you ready for this?

A French Toast Emergency is when severe weather is predicted and everyone runs to the store to stock up on milk, bread, and eggs. Once the storm has passed, what else can you do with those supplies but make heaps of French toast?

Boston-based website Universal Hub has even created the French Toast Emergency Alert System. It’s a bit cheeky but now that we’ve made it through another winter, we deserve a good laugh. I think even famed New England weather forecaster Harvey Leonard would agree.

Rain, snow, sleet, and gloom of night aside, French toast is one of my favorite foods ever, for breakfast or dinner. There were two memorable days back in 2012 where I ate it for all three meals, in fact. Check out the recipe that inspired that adventure when you get a chance.

As much as I’ve made basic French toast with homemade brioche, it was time to play a bit more. Enter Coffee French Toast. Why not take two favorites and blend them together in a new way?  As one taster put it; “It’s like all the flavors from my favorite diner in one bite.” Who could ask for more than that?

Let’s get started.

Coffee French Toast via @kingarthurflour

Assemble your ingredients for coffee French toast.

For 4 two-slice servings, you’ll need:
1/2 cup cool, strong coffee (this is a perfect time to use flavored coffee such as hazelnut or French vanilla)
1/2 cup cream, half & half, or milk
4 large eggs
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon extra strong flavor of choice (optional)*
8 slices brioche or other firm sandwich bread, slightly stale, about 1/2″ thick
4 tablespoons butter, for frying

*If you’re using flavored coffee, you may not need or want to add extra flavoring. But a little Vanilla-Butternut or Butter-Rum flavor in the batter really steps up your coffee French toast game.

By the way, this technique plays equally well with gluten-free breads, non-dairy milks, and cooking spray to replace the butter.

Coffee French Toast via @kingarthurflour

Dip your bread.

Preheat your griddle or skillet over medium heat. If you need to fry in batches, heat the oven to 200°F to keep your slices warm.

Combine the coffee, cream, eggs, and flavor in a medium-sized bowl and whisk well until you see no traces of yolk. Pour the batter into a shallow pie pan or baking dish.

Why not just whisk right in the pie pan? Well, if you’re neater in the kitchen than I am, go for it. I find if I don’t use a bowl I splash and splatter half of my ingredients all over the counter.

Dip each side of bread briefly in the batter. You want to moisten it evenly, but not soak it to sogginess.


Fry to golden perfection.

Coat your griddle with butter and fry the bread, about 2 minutes per side.

About a minute into the cooking, you’ll really be able to smell the coffee as the edges of the bread begin to brown. It’s not an in-your-face aroma, but a smooth, mellow scent that makes you think of diners, snow-day breakfasts, and the comfort of your favorite pajamas.

Coffee French Toast via @kingarthurflour

Serve your coffee French toast hot with a little extra butter, Vermont maple syrup, or jam. Oh, and of course, a fresh cup of your favorite coffee on the side. Life is good, eh?

Emergency or not, every day is a good day for French toast. If you’re in a pinch, at a crux, or troubled by a turning point, just head to the kitchen and create your own preservation with a morning libation. You won’t look at your cuppa Joe the same way again.

Have you ever tried coffee French toast? What would be your coffee/flavor combo preference? It’s your turn to have the floor, so fill up those comments below.

My thanks to fellow employee-owner Nic Doak and stylist Liz Neily for the photos in this blog.

MaryJane Robbins

MaryJane Robbins grew up in Massachusetts and moved to Vermont 20 years ago. After teaching young children for 15 years, she changed careers and joined King Arthur Flour in 2005. MaryJane began working on King Arthur Flour's baker’s hotline in 2006, and the blog team ...


  1. Alexis

    I love this recipe! I used a half teaspoon of Hazelnut, extract, and added a half tablespoon, of sugar. I put the mix in the fridge overnight, and served it the next day.

  2. reishi ganoderma

    This is a great blog. I live and love your blog. Thank you for your such a valuable and important blog.

  3. John

    LOL, you say: Dip each side of bread briefly in the batter. You want to moisten it evenly, but not soak it to sogginess.

    Somewhere I read about making french toast with a bread pudding / custard like texture. It was fully soaked it and then cooked. I fully understand your thought but, give the other way a try sometime and see what you think. See if it reminds you of bread pudding with syrup instead of sugar.


  4. Newzbugg

    I like to cook French toast in my waffle iron. You just prepare the French toast as usual, then put it into the waffle iron. It gives the French toast extra chewy texture, holds the melted butter and syrup or jam. The French toast is never soggy in the middle.

  5. Elidia

    When I initially commented I clicked the -Notify me when new feedback are added- checkbox and now every time a comment is added I get four emails with the same comment. Is there any approach you can take away me from that service? Thanks!

  6. Margy

    I’m not a coffee drinker, but I have family members who love their coffee. They will love this.
    Wish we had French Toast Emergency in Baltimore. Unfortunately, here the snowstorm triad is bread, milk and toilet paper. It’s such a local joke that even the weather forecasters mention it when they are predicting a storm.

  7. Doug Noordsy

    A related flavor treat for warmer weather is to mix leftover strong, cold coffee with really good vanilla ice-cream for the best coffee milkshake of your life.

    1. MaryJane Robbins, post author

      Oh, yes, that’s a big favorite at our house. I just realized that a scoop of vanilla on top of a stack of the French toast would be nearly the same treat! ~ MJ

  8. Barbara Clay

    I like the idea of coffee in the French Toast, especially a flavored coffee–or a flavored cream could work too.

    I disagree with not soaking the bread completely in the egg/milk mixture. I don’t care to find unflavored bread in the center of French Toast. If it is completely soaked, like bread pudding, the toast puffs and is custard-like. It’s light and lovely. Try it!

    1. MaryJane Robbins, post author

      Vive la difference, right, Barbara? There’s no bad way to make French toast, except not making it at all. Enjoy! ~ MJ

  9. Kristen

    This looks really good. I’m a coffee lover so I have to try this. The photos are beautiful, especially the last one!

    1. MaryJane Robbins, post author

      Isn’t it? Our team of photographers and food stylists just won some pretty outstanding awards from the International Association of Culinary Professionals. Yay, team! ~ MJ

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