Gorgeous, golden-brown slices of Pumpkin French Toast are the best autumn breakfast ever! The family will devour this wholesome, hearty, sweet treat.
A Perfect Autumn Weekend Breakfast
This pumpkin French toast, you guys… it’s a must-have for Fall. Once the killer heat of summer is over, I am so excited to fire up the oven and get started on baking, and also to make all of our favorite autumn breakfasts! A lot of the time, summer is just too hot for standing over the stove making stacks of pancakes or French toast. But in the Fall? It’s a joy!
Thus, I decided to combine my love for sweet, syrupy breakfast classics with that unbeatable fall flavor: pumpkin spice. 🙌
For this recipe, real pumpkin puree is added to the traditional egg custard mixture, along with vanilla extract and pumpkin pie spice. Extra cinnamon tops it off for a perfectly warm, cozy breakfast that’ll start your weekend off right. And, hey, just because it’s technically a breakfast dish doesn’t mean you have to stick to the A.M. Make this for dinner, or even a fun lunchtime treat. I sure DO!
What You’ll Need
What do you need to make pumpkin French toast? Basic pantry staples, a good loaf of bread, plus a can of pumpkin. Nothing to it! Here’s the full list:
- Eggs: Large, whole eggs bring the custard mixture together.
- Milk: I use 2%, and this recipe is delightfully rich – but if you want something even more indulgent, feel free to go with whole milk or even half and half.
- Pumpkin Puree: Make sure to get real pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling. The cans look very similar a lot of the time (insert eyeroll here) but pumpkin pie filling has a lot of added ingredients that won’t work in this recipe. Pumpkin puree has just one ingredient: pumpkin! Then – just a thought 😉 – but you can use all that leftover pumpkin puree to make my very popular Pumpkin Muffins!
- Brown Sugar: Just a little bit of sugar sweetens the egg mixture, and helps the French toast caramelize in the pan.
- Vanilla Extract: Pure vanilla extract gives this dish an amazing depth of flavor.
- Pumpkin Pie Spice and Cinnamon: I like to use pre-mixed pie spice and an extra shot of cinnamon, but you could tweak the spices to suit your tastes here!
- Bread: Typically, I like Brioche for making French toast, but you can also use Challah or Texas Toast.
- Butter: For the skillet, and for serving.
- Maple Syrup: For serving.
What Kind of Bread Is Best for French toast?
You can make tasty French toast with all kinds of different bread, from basic sliced sandwich bread to fancy artisan loaves from your local boutique bakery. Each kind of bread brings something different to the table, so you can choose a bread to suit your tastes. I like to emphasize the buttery richness of French toast by using a buttery, rich bread like brioche or challah. Texas toast is also great. One thing that a lot of cooks swear by is using slightly stale bread. That’s because stale bread has had a chance to dry out a little, allowing it to absorb your custard like a sponge.
How to Make Pumpkin French Toast
Making French toast is a little bit of an art, but it’s not hard to learn. The two main things you want to watch for are temperature – no scorched toast please – and keeping your pan nicely buttered so that the slices don’t stick.
- Preheat Your Skillet (or Griddle) and Make the Custard. To start, get your skillet heating up to medium heat. You can also make this on a griddle, if you have one. While that’s heating, get out a big mixing bowl and lightly whisk the eggs before adding the milk, pumpkin, sugar, vanilla, and spices. Whisk again to combine.
- Soak the First Slices and Fry Them. Butter your heated skillet, and start making your soaked bread slices. Be sure to rotate each slice in the custard mixture so that it gets nicely soaked. Then lay each one on the buttered skillet. Cook for 2 – 3 minutes per side, until golden brown.
- Set Aside, and Fry the Rest of the Slices. Set aside your cooked French toast slices on a clean plate, and cover lightly with a clean tea towel or paper towel. Soak and fry the rest of the slices, working in batches as needed.
- Enjoy! Serve your pumpkin French toast warm, with butter and maple syrup.
Tips for Success
Now that’s an easy recipe! As you can see, upgrading regular French toast to pumpkin French toast is a cinch. And it’s even more of a cinch with these helpful troubleshooting tips:
- Mixing: When you whisk the rest of the custard ingredients into the eggs, make sure you whisk thoroughly to make a smooth mixture. This way, you won’t get streaky toast with blobs of egg white.
- Heat: The butter should sizzle, and maybe even brown a bit as the slices come and go, but you don’t want to burn the butter or scorch the toast. The golden (see what I did there?) standard here is that you can cook the toast for several minutes per side, without burning it. Instead, it should be a perfect golden brown.
- Add a Little Oil: If you are struggling to keep the butter from scorching, you can add a little oil to the skillet with it. A neutral oil like vegetable oil handles heat better, and gives you a little more wiggle room, temperature-wise.
Yummy Ideas for Serving
Serve this recipe with all of your favorite breakfast or brunch recipes! A few of our very favorites are listed below, for inspiration:
- Bacon: Ultra-crispy bacon is easy to make with everyone’s favorite new appliance, the air fryer! Check out this tutorial for Crispy Air Fryer Bacon, and enjoy.
- Eggs: A savory egg-based dish like this Easy Bacon and Spinach Frittata is a great addition to the menu. It’s healthy and full of flavor!
- Coffee: Okay, so this isn’t a side dish. But is any indulgent breakfast really complete without coffee? I think not! A steaming hot cuppa is perfect with French toast, but if you want to dial up the luxury, you’ve got to try this ultra-easy, ultra-creamy Whipped Coffee Recipe (Dalgona Coffee).
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
- Leftover pumpkin French toast will keep for up to 3 days in the fridge, if properly stored.
- Make sure to cool the slices before storing them in airtight containers (or zip-top bags), in your refrigerator.
Can I Freeze This?
- Yes! Pumpkin French toast makes a great freezer stash, because you can pull out a slice or two and literally warm them up in the oven for a quick breakfast.
- To freeze these, place the slices on a baking sheet and freeze them for half an hour, or until frozen solid. Then transfer the bread slices to freezer bags, and store in the freezer for 1 to 2 months.
- Reheat directly from frozen.
Pumpkin French Toast
- 4 large eggs
- ⅔ cup milk, I use 2%
- ½ cup pumpkin puree, NOT pumpkin pie filling
- 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅙ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 10 to 12 slices brioche bread, you can also use Texas toast or sliced challah bread
- 2 tablespoons butter, for the skillet
- powdered sugar, optional, for serving
- finely chopped pecans, optional, for serving
- maple syrup, optional, for serving
- Preheat a griddle or a nonstick skillet over medium heat.
- Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl lightly whisk the eggs just to break up the yolks.
- To the eggs, add the milk, pumpkin puree, brown sugar, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice, ground cinnamon, and nutmeg; whisk until thoroughly combined.
- Butter the skillet.
- Dip the bread into the egg mixture and rotate to coat all sides. Let the pumpkin mixture soak into the bread. Allow excess to drip off.
- Transfer the bread slices to the skillet or griddle and cook for about 2 minutes per side, or until golden brown.
- Remove from skillet and transfer to a plate; keep covered while working with the remaining bread slices. Do not forget to add more butter to the skillet, as needed.
- Top with powdered sugar and chopped pecans, if using, and serve with maple syrup.
- Nutritional Facts do not include the optional ingredients: powdered sugar, pecans, and maple syrup.
Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.