Savory french toast on the skillet

Savory herby French toast

In the morning, I don’t normally want to eat something sweet. Instead, I want something filling, nourishing, and savory. Savory, herby French toast is one of my go-to recipes for a quick brunch or lunch. It’s got the main ingredients of traditional French toast, bread, eggs, and milk, but instead of sugar, I opted for salt, pepper, mustard, and herbs to give the eggy custard a savory kick. I’ve made this recipe for myself, my boyfriend, and even entertaining friends, and I’ve always gotten amazing responses from people. Many of them being surprised and delighted when they dig into the dish. 

Savory French toast with arugula salad

Is French toast supposed to be sweet? 

French toast is typically a sweet dish made with a custard that is flavored with sugar, honey, agave, maple syrup, or warming spices like cinnamon and cloves. It’s also traditionally garnished with syrup, jam, berries, nuts or other toppings. But it can also be a savory dish – depending on your preference. Different ways you can make French toast savory include adding herbs, cheeses, salsa, bacon, vegetables, and spices. There are other savory breakfast dishes that are similar to savory French toast.

  • Monte Cristo sandwich: This American dish consists of two slices of French toast filled with ham, cheese, and turkey, and then dipped in batter and fried again. It is often served with powdered sugar and maple syrup.
  • Shakshuka: This North African dish consists of eggs poached in a tomato sauce with spices, herbs, and vegetables. It is often served with bread or rice, and sometimes with a side of French toast.
  • Croque madame: This French dish consists of a grilled ham and cheese sandwich topped with a fried egg. It is often served with a side salad or French fries.
  • Strata: This Italian dish is made with layers of bread, eggs, milk, cheese, and meat or vegetables. It is often baked in a casserole dish and served for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

What's the origin of French toast?

Like French fries, French toast was not invented in France. The earliest known recipe of "French toast" was discovered in a 4th-century Roman cookbook by Marcus Gabius Apicius. The recipe called "aliter dulcia," which translates to "another sweet dish" and is described as pieces of crustless white bread that are soaked in milk and beaten egg, then fried in oil and coated in honey -- sound familiar?

Since then, variations of French toast have spread or been discovered throughout Europe. For example, in medieval England, a recipe similar to French toast was called "poor knights" because it was a cheap and easy way to use up stale bread. We also see a similar recipe in France with the dish "pain perdu," which translates to "lost bread," which also uses up old bread.

But the French toast we know and love today America hails from New York. In 1724, an Albany innkeeper, named Joseph French brought the dish to America. He intended to name his creation "French's toast," but accidentally left out the apostrophe and the letter S. The name "French toast" caught on after it first appeared in print in 1871, in the Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink.

Recipe: Savory herby French toast

Yields: 1 serving (2 slices of French toast) 

Prep time: 10 minutes | Active cook time: 10 minutes 


Savory herby French toast

  • 2 large eggs (room temperature) 
  • 4 tablespoons of milk (whatever milk you want, I used 2%) 
  • 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped herbs (parsley, basil, dill, thyme, green onions) 
  • 2 slices of multigrain bread (or any bread that you prefer, generally day old is better for soaking)
  • 2 tablespoons of grated cheese (I used a mixture of parmesan, asiago, gruyere) 
  • Salt and pepper to taste 
  • 1 tablespoon of avocado oil (for frying up the French toast)

Arugula salad 

  • 1 cup of arugula 
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon of sunflower seeds (optional, can sub for pumpkin seeds) 
  • ½ tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil 
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon juice 
  • 1 teaspoon of sliced red onions
  • ½ avocado 
  • Salt and pepper to taste


1. Whisk eggs, milk, salt, pepper, and mustard into a custard. Once the custard is well combined add in your chopped herbs and give everything a light mix. 

Savory egg custard with milk and mustard

2. Add your bread 1 slice at a time into the custard, making sure to soak the bread for at least 30 seconds to a minute on each side. 

Bread soaking in custard batter 

3. You should have enough custard to fry up two slices of bread. If you want to make more, double the recipe. 

French toast soaking in custard

4. While the bread soaks up the herby custard, heat your pan to medium-high heat on the stove. Once the pan is hot, add in your avocado oil to help fry up your French toast.

French toast frying up in the pan

5. When you add your French toast to the pan, the bread and custard should start sizzling. I like to put a lid on the pan because the steam helps cook the custard in the bread more thoroughly. Fry up each side of the bread for about 1 to 2 minutes, until each side is golden brown. 

French toast golden brown from frying in the pan

6. Once you have crisped up both sides, add your cheese on top of the slice and turn down the heat on the stove.

Cheese added to French toast after it has been toasted

7. Let the cheese melt and remove from heat. Repeat with your second French toast slice. 

Melted cheese on savory French toast

8. While the French toast cools a bit, I make a very simple arugula salad to add on top. I think it helps complete the meal and adds more fiber and flavor. 

Arugula salad mixture with herbs, avocado, and sunflower seeds

9. Add arugula, parsley (or whatever herbs you want) to your bowl. Dress the leaves with extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, sliced red onions, and sunflower seeds. Toss everything together, and add your avocado to the salad. 

Savory French toast topped with arugula salad

10. Give your salad one light mix and then spoon it over your savory French toast and serve your dish right away. 

Taking a bite of savory French toast with arugula salad

    If you tried this recipe, let me know by leaving a comment. Thank you so much!

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