How to Make French Toast with Orange Zest

Our favourite French toast recipe with orange zest for added flavour.

ricotta on french toast
My favourite French toast topped with fruit sauce and honey orange ricotta.

Also Read: French Toast FingersStrawberry Rhubarb Sauce, Apple French Toast Bake, Honey Orange Ricotta

Want a cute breakfast or brunch idea for someone special? Add some red hearts.

red heart French toast
Double layer of French toast with delicious strawberry jam in the middle.

All you need is a heart shaped cookie cutter and some lovely red jam. For details read on after the recipe.

Recipe for French Toast

ricotta on french toast
Print Recipe
5 from 4 votes

French Toast with Orange Zest

The orange zest adds a special touch. Next time try lemon zest and serve with a little saskatoon or blueberry jam instead of syrup. So good.
Prep : 10 mins
Cook : 15 mins
Total Time: 25 mins
Servings: 4 people


  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup milk or cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp orange zest
  • 1-2 Tbsp canola oil or butter
  • 8 slices thick dry bread*


  • In shallow dish big enough for dipping bread, beat eggs. Whisk in milk, vanilla, cinnamon and sugar.
  • Dip each slice of bread into egg mix just before cooking . For thick, dense bread, let soak for 30 seconds or longer. Give thin, fresh bread just a quick dip on each side to prevent it from getting too soggy.
  • Heat large skillet over medium-high heat with 1 Tbsp of oil or butter. Add remainder as needed while frying the bread.
  • Add dipped bread and cook over medium heat until brown on both sides about 2 minutes per side.
  • Keep cooked French toast slices in 200°F oven until ready to serve.


* Ideally, use thick cut, several day old bread or brioche that will soak up and hold the egg dip without becoming too soggy. 
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Course: Breakfast, brunch
dollop of honey orange ricotta
A dollop of honey orange ricotta and fruit sauce to make French toast even tastier.

Helpful Tips

  • Use dry, old, thick bread. French toast was invented to revive old, dry bread and make it pleasant to eat. If you use fresh, thin bread, it will soak up too much of the egg dip all at once and you’ll end up with soggy French toast – it may even tear as you try to remove it from the egg mix. Of course you can use whatever bread you have access to, just be aware of the difference and dunk fresh, thin bread much more quickly than thick, dry bread. You may even consider drying out fresh bread by dry slices at 275° F for 10 minutes before giving them their first dip.
  • You’ll find the egg to milk ratio differs depending on the recipe you look at.  Do what works best for you! The more milk you use the thinner the batter will be which could lead to soggy French Toast. Add more eggs and you may get complaints that your toast is too eggy. We like 4 eggs and 1 cup milk, what can I say – find your own sweet spot.
  • Skim milk or cream – the difference in fat content will also make a difference in the texture of your final toast. The higher the fat content of your milk, the firmer your toast will be. So if you’re using low fat milk and you want to avoid soggy toast, maybe use a little less or opt for an additional egg.
  • A little sugar in the batter is yummy, but totally optional.
  • We love vanilla, cinnamon and orange zest, but you could also try nutmeg, ginger, cardamom, Grand Marnier, lemon zest, dried herbs (lemon verbena?) or whatever else you love best.
  • My family loves maple syrup, but I love adding fruit and other toppings:
plain French toast
What’s your favourite topping?

Steps to Red Heart French Toast

1.Make a batch of French toast making sure you  have an equal number of slices.

2. Use a cookie cutter to cut hearts out of half the cooked slices. It’s easiest when you cut the hearts out after the toast has been cooked.

cookie cutter and jam with toast

3. On the other pieces of toast, spread your favorite red jam. I used our homemade strawberry freezer jam because it’s just so darn good!

4. Now simply stack them on top of each other, dust with icing sugar and voila – beautiful Red Heat French Toast.

red heart French toast

For more cute, heart shaped foods consider:

Lacy heart shaped crepes – so beautiful, but a little more tricky than these toasts!

Heart apples – great for a lunch box surprise

If you like this post, find the information useful and want to help me be able to provide more helpful tips and recipes, please comment below or share this post on social media. You can reach me on Instagram @getgettys or Facebook @GettyStewart.HomeEconomist.

Getty Stewart is a Professional Home Economist, speaker, frequent media guest and writer dedicated to putting good food on tables and agendas. She is the author of several recipe books on enjoying and preserving fruit, Founder of Fruit Share, a mom and veggie gardener.

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First published in 2014.

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