French Toast Donuts

French toast donuts on a turquoise plate
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These French Toast Donuts are made with thick slices of fluffy challah. Each slice is dipped in custard, deep-fried, then covered in cinnamon sugar.


For the egg wash:

  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil

For the custard:

  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 1/4 cup honey heated in microwave 30 seconds
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Pinch grated nutmeg

For frying:

  • Vegetable oil for frying


The day before:

Make the challah dough. Use my honey vanilla challah recipe to make the challah dough. Let it rise.

Braid the dough. Punch the dough down, divide it into three pieces, then roll each piece out and braid the dough. Braid tightly – you don’t want any gaps. When you finish braiding each side crimp the tapered ends together, then tuck them under.

Heat the oven and do the second rise. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.  Place the braided dough in a 9x 5 loaf pan for the second rise. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise until almost doubled in bulk, 30 to 40 minutes.

Add egg wash. Just before the rising time has finished whisk together 1 egg and 1 teaspoon of olive oil, this is going to be the glaze for your bread. Gently brush the dough with a thick layer of it.

Bake. Place the dough in the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the bread is a deep golden brown and sounds hollow when you thump it on the bottom.

Transfer to a baking rack to cool. Allow to cool completely before slicing.

Slice and leave out. Cut the cooled bread into thick slices, then leave out on baking sheet, uncovered, overnight. This will allow the bread to dry out.

The day of:

Make the cinnamon sugar. In a medium bowl combine the sugar and cinnamon, stirring well with a spoon. Pour onto a plate and set aside.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place a wire rack on top.

Make the custard. Mix custard ingredients thoroughly in a medium bowl and pour into a 9×9 baking dish.

Add the bread. Soak dried bread slices in custard 2 slices at a time, for about 2 minutes per side. Set the soaked bread on the drying rack to sit. Sprinkle each slice with a pinch or two of cinnamon to taste.

Heat the oil. In a large Dutch oven or heavy-duty pot, heat 5 inches of vegetable oil to 345F – 350F degrees F. (Use a candy thermometer attached to the side of the pot to judge the temperature. Dutch ovens are best since they regulate the temperature better than regular pots.) Keep an eye on the temperature and adjust the heat of your stove accordingly. You don’t want to temperature to rise above 350F or the donuts will burn. Likewise, you don’t want the temperature to drop below 345F or the donuts will not cook through.

Line a second baking sheet with paper towels. Place a clean wire rack on top. Make sure it is not plastic because we are going to put hot, just fried donuts on it to drain.

Fry until golden. When the oil reaches 345 – 350 degrees F, fry the bread slices, two or three at a time. Fry until they are light golden brown on both sides, about 1-2 minutes. Keep an eye on the temperature and adjust the heat as you go. Make sure the donuts don’t overcook. If they are dark brown, they are overdone.

Drain. Once each piece of challah bread is golden, remove it from the oil with a metal spoon and place it on the wire rack to drain while you fry up the rest of the dough.

Add cinnamon sugar. Press each side of the fried dough into the cinnamon sugar, making sure to coat each side. Add the cinnamon sugar while the donuts are still hot (use tongs to prevent burning your fingers).

Serve! These donuts are fantastic with a cup of hot coffee or tea.


Keywords: french toast donuts, cinnamon sugar french toast, challah donuts