The One Ingredient You Didn’t Know You Needed for the Easiest French Toast

updated Jun 21, 2019
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(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

I pretty much learned how to cook by trying to make the things I love to eat, which means I’ve been making pancakes, scrambled eggs, and French toast for a long time. French toast is my favorite, though. I’m glad we’re all still accepting it as breakfast when it’s clearly dessert.

But that notion alone is what led me to this shortcut: On the days when supreme morning laziness kick in, just melt some vanilla ice cream and use it as the custard base instead. It works! It’s delightful! And just wait until you try it with strawberry ice cream!

Melted Ice Cream Is the French Toast Shortcut You Need

They say necessity is mother of invention, but I’d like to give a shoutout to a night with too many margaritas for this line of thinking. The next morning I needed a faster (but no less delicious) way to make French toast because the classic technique involved work I wasn’t quite up for.

French toast is made by dipping slices of staled bread into a custard base — a mixture of milk and eggs — and then pan-frying them it until golden-brown. How could I skip having to make the custard base? What already served that purpose in my kitchen? Ice cream! Bingo. And this shortcut was born.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

How to Do It

This part is blissfully simple: Slice your bread. Grab some vanilla ice cream from the freezer. (Bonus points if the ice cream was made with a custard base, meaning it contains eggs, which will make it richer.) Add a few scoops to a microwave-safe dish and melt the ice cream in 15-second bursts until completely liquid. Then transfer the liquid to a shallow baking dish and add the sliced bread. Soak on each side for about a minute or two. Pan-fry the slices in butter and oil until golden-brown.

The internet has made it very clear I’m not the first to think of using melted ice cream to make French toast. (The legion of us sometimes-lazy cooks has many members.) But I’m feeling pretty original about using flavors beyond vanilla to make French toast with this trick. Strawberry and pistachio are game-changers!

Have you made French toast with melted ice cream before?