No one enjoys dealing with a sticky situation—especially for breakfast. When you slide in your spatula, and your French toast won’t lift, or worse, tears in half, it can ruin your entire morning.
If this always happens when you’re making French toast, there are a few things you might be doing wrong. Luckily, we’ve got some possible answers to the universal question: why is my French toast sticking to the pan?
French toast sticks to the pan generally because of pan issues or skimping on oil or butter. In this article, we’ll discuss this in detail.
1 – Choosing Bread That Isn’t Thick Enough
Don’t get us wrong; we’re not trying to slice-shame bread here. The truth is, while they’re more readily available, thin pre-sliced bread is just more likely to stick to the pan than thick ones.
If you want your French toast to keep its form and come off in one perfect golden piece, you’re better off with a firm, dense bread like challah, brioche, or baguette. This ensures the bread has time to cook without getting greasy or falling apart.
2 – Not Scraping off Excess Batter
Another thing that could leave you with a sticky, burnt mess is letting too much batter drip into the pan with the bread.
When the batter hits the hot pan, the eggs start to cook and set. But if there’s too much batter, the cooked eggs can’t hold everything together, and the batter will slip and slide around the pan.
Of course, you should still soak your bread slices all the way through. Just make sure to scrape off the excess on the sides of the bowl before you cook them.
3 – Skimping on the Oil and Butter
Don’t be afraid to add a little extra butter or oil to the pan. This will help to create a barrier between the bread and the pan and prevent the bread from sticking.
You should use about one tablespoon of oil and one tablespoon of butter for every two slices of French toast, but cooking spray also works. Then, swipe the pan clean between batches to keep the butter from burning and the pan from getting too hot.
Alternatively, If you’re thinking of skipping the oil completely and using only butter, you may want to use ghee or clarified butter instead. Regular butter contains a lot of water that not only evaporates quickly, making it burn faster but also likes to splatter on its way out.
4 – Having Some Pan Problems
Sometimes, the answer to your problems is looking you right in the face as you scrape away the remnants of stuck bread, milk, and eggs that failed to reach your plate. That’s right; we’re talking about the most likely culprit for your French toast sticking: your pan.
Here are the two most common pan problems that could be costing you your breakfast treat:
The Pan Not Getting Hot Enough
Understandably, most people don’t want to burn their toast, so they start at a lower heat and go from there. However, to prevent sticking, it’s important to have your pan at a high enough temperature when you put in your French toast.
A hot pan essentially “pre-cooks” the bread with the egg mixture before it even touches the bottom of the pan. Otherwise, the batter will remain liquid long enough to seep into and cling to the pan’s surface.
Here are some tips to make sure the pan stays hot enough:
- Preheat the pan over medium heat for no more than 30 seconds, especially if you’re using a non-stick pan.
- If you’re using butter, gently swirl it around the pan during the preheating, and then add the bread.
- If you’re using oil, wait for it to streak and slightly shimmer before putting in the bread.
- Try not to flip your toast right after it hits the pan. Allow it to brown and crisp up at the edges before you pick up the spatula.
Using the Wrong Pan
You may be able to make buttered toast on a stainless-steel pan, but French toast is a little less forgiving. The added milk and eggs make it much more delicate and prone to sticking.
A non-stick pan like Teflon, cast-iron, or ceramic is best for handling this type of cooking. As for size and shape, you can get away with an 8-inch round skillet for personal use, but a bigger, rectangular pan or griddle will make cooking for groups a lot faster.
If you’re going for something in the middle, opt for sloped sides for easier spatula access and faster browning.
French toast is a delicious breakfast dish, and there are a few things more frustrating than going through all the prep work only to have your French toast sticking to the pan.
Hopefully, though, now that you know the potential issues to look out for, you’ll be able to save yourself the grief and enjoy your morning treat.
I have a bachelor’s degree in Film/Video/Media Studies, as well as an associates degree in Communications. I began producing videos and musical recordings nearly 15 years ago. I am a guitarist and bassist in Southwest MI and have been in a few different bands since 2009, and in 2012 I began building custom guitars and basses in my home workshop as well. When I’m home, I love spending time with my three pets (a dog, cat, and snake) and gardening in my backyard.