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Cinnamon Crusted French Toast with Caramelized Apples

August 29, 2023

A must try fall recipe - Cinnamon French toast with caramelized apples

Start your fall morning off right with this seasonal Cinnamon Apple French Toast made with buttery brioche bread covered in cinnamon sugar and topped with tender caramelized apples.

COOK + BAKE   |   Updated August 24, 2023

Slices of cinnamon French toast topped with apples on white plate.

There is no better way to start a crisp fall day than to have a delicious breakfast packed with the flavors of the season.

Whether it is apple, pumpkin, spice or a combination of the three, there are so many options for putting a fall kick to your first meal of the day.

This recipe for Cinnamon Crusted French Toast with Caramelized Apples is one that you’ll want to keep handy this autumn, but is actually delicious year-round.

Thick slices of fluffy brioche French toast encased in a coating of cinnamon sugar. And if that isn’t tempting enough, it is all topped with soft caramelized apples and syrup.

White plate with slices of french toast and apples

READ NEXT: A collection of my favorite cookies, pies, and cakes filled with apples, pumpkin, and spice!

Why You’ll Love Cinnamon Crusted French Toast with Caramelized Apples

French Toast



What’s not to love? But just in case you need a little more convincing:


This is the type of recipe you can turn to on a lazy Saturday morning when you have more time to cook breakfast or you can get some of your ingredients ready the night before to save time before work and school.

  • Mix up your cinnamon sugar crust ingredients and store in an airtight container.

  • Beat your eggs and mix with milk and vanilla and store covered in a 9x13 inch baking dish.

  • Caramelize your apples the night before and then they just need a quick reheat in a saucepan while you are grilling your bread.


If you have prepared your ingredients the night before, making this recipe takes almost no more time in a busy morning than ordinary French toast, aside from a quick toss in the cinnamon sugar mixture. Your brioche slices can soak as you get prepared for the day.


You’re welcome to double or triple the ingredients if you need to feed a crowd this fall. Or, if it is just yourself, you can easily cut the recipe in half and use a smaller dish for soaking your slices of brioche.


You’ll find tips below for making sure that your French toast turns out like we all like it. Tender interior and crisp outside.


There is something about the smell of caramelizing apples and cinnamon on the stove top. Preparing this recipe will fill your house with the scents of the season.

Slices of brioche bread for fall inspired French Toast Apple Cinnamon

What You’ll Need

For your convenience, a full ingredients list, directions for making this Apple Cinnamon French Toast and a printable recipe option appear further down in the article.

granny smith apples - Their tartness and firm texture balance the sweetness of this breakfast dish. Caramelize them with or without their skins.

brioche bread - Substitute any bread that you’d like to use up, but make sure that it is a thicker cut (at least three-fourths of an inch) for best results

unsalted butter

eggs - One of the essentials of making the custard base that gives this French toast its rich and tender interior

milk - Whole milk is recommended, but any white milk will do

pure vanilla extract - adds extra flavor and sweetness

ground cinnamon

granulated sugar

Wondering What Brioche Is?

Brioche is a French bread made with lots of eggs and butter. It is soft and fluffy with a pale-yellow tint and shiny golden-brown crust. Brioche is really a cross between a pastry and bread and gives a nice texture and flavor to French toast and other dishes.

Better bakeries and grocery stores may carry this type of fresh bread. I purchased a packaged pre-sliced loaf from Aldi.

While I highly suggest you searching for this at the store, you can feel free to use whatever bread you typically enjoy as well. The brioche does add a buttery flavor and the thick slices hod up well to being soaked in the egg mixture.

Don’t let the type of bread hold you back from trying this delicious fall breakfast recipe.

Making the Caramelized Apples

STEP 1: Peel, core and slice each apple into 8 slices. If you’d prefer, the skins can be left as most of the vitamins are in the skin and it adds a nice color to the finished French toast.

STEP 2: To make the apple topping, you’re going to combine sugar and water in a heavy sauce pan over medium heat and stir to dissolve the sugar.

STEP 3: When the syrup comes to a simmer, allow it to boil without stirring, but rather brushing down the sides of the pan and swirling the pan occasionally to ensure it cooks, but doesn’t stick. You’ll do this for about six minutes.

STEP 4: Then remove the syrup from the heat and add the apples and butter, stirring until the butter melts.

STEP 5: Place the pan back on the stovetop and cook over medium heat for five to eight minutes until the apples become just tender.

Cinnamon Apple French Toast on white plate with fork

Preparing the French Toast

STEP 1: In a 9x13 inch baking dish, beat the eggs with a fork. Stir in milk and vanilla and mix thoroughly. You want to avoid having unbeaten egg whites separating from the milk.

STEP 2: Cut your bread in slices between ¾ and 1 inch thick. Then place the slices of brioche into the custard mixture and allow them to soak for five minutes, turning them over once halfway through. (If you are using thinner, pre-sliced bread, adjust your soaking and cooking times.)

STEP 3: Meanwhile, heat your griddle over medium heat. It should be hot to ensure the custard starts to cook immediately, giving your French toast a crispy exterior.

STEP 4: Melt two tablespoons of butter onto the pan and then add the brioche slices. Cook for about two to three minutes until golden brown and then flip over for another two minutes until the bread is heated through.

STEP 5: While your French toast is grilling mix the sugar and cinnamon in a pie plate or shallow bowl. When you remove the French toast from the griddle, immediately place it into the cinnamon sugar mixture and turn it to coat the slice completely before placing on your plate.

Serving Suggestions

Slice the French toast in half if you prefer, top with the tender apples and drizzle with a bit of the syrup leftover from caramelizing the apples. Sprinkle with some of the remaining cinnamon sugar and serve immediately.

Fresh maple syrup pairs well with the cinnamon and apples or eat this breakfast dish as is.

Thanks to the thick slices of bread and apple topping, this dish is really a meal itself for breakfast. But I have also served it for dinner and added a side of bacon or sausage.

It really makes a nice presentation with the addition of the apples and “syrup” created from caramelizing them.

Stack of cinnamon french toast with caramelized apple slices


Start your fall morning off right with this seasonal Cinnamon Apple French Toast made with buttery brioche bread covered in cinnamon sugar and topped with tender caramelized apples.

Makes two to four servings


  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 Granny Smith apples – peeled, cored, and cut into 8 slices each
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 thick slices of brioche bread – cut to a thickness of 3/4 to 1 inch
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon


STEP 1: To Caramelize the Apples -  Combine ½ cup of sugar with ¼ cup water. Heat in a large heavy sauté pan over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves and the syrup comes to a simmer. Allow the syrup to boil without stirring, but rather brush down the sides of the pan and swirl the pan occasionally to ensure it cooks evenly and doesn’t stick. Do this for about 6 minutes or until it begins to turn golden brown. Remove the pan from the heat and add the apples and 3 Tablespoons of butter, stirring the mixture until the butter melts. Return the pan to the stove top and cook over medium heat for 5 to 8 minutes or until the apples become just tender.

STEP 2: To Make the French Toast - Beat the eggs with a fork in a 9x13 inch baking dish. Stir in the milk and vanilla. Place the slices of brioche bread into the eggs and allow them to soak for 5 minutes, turning the slices over once halfway through. Heat your griddle over medium heat while the bread is soaking. Melt two Tablespoons of butter onto the pan, then add the brioche slices to the hot pan. Cook for two to three minutes or until golden brown, and then flip the slice over for another two minutes until the bread is heated through.

STEP 3: To Make Cinnamon Sugar Crust - While your French toast is grilling, mix 1/4 cup of sugar with 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon in a pie plate or shallow bowl. When you remove the French toast from the griddle, immediately place it into the cinnamon sugar and turn it to coat the slice completely. Transfer the slice to your plate.

STEP 4: To Serve - Slice the French toast in half if you prefer, top with the tender apples, and drizzle a little of the sugar and butter syrup the apples were cooked in over the fruit and French toast. Sprinkle with some of the remaining cinnamon sugar and serve immediately

Recipe Variations

There are so many ways that you can change up this already delicious recipe to make it more your own:

  • Add Nuts: A little sprinkle of walnuts, pecans, or almonds on top would be a tasty addition while adding a nice texture to the breakfast

  • Top with Whipped Cream: Pile it on top of the apples

  • Add More Spices: While this recipe is written with just cinnamon, feel free to add any fall flavored spice that pairs well with apples like cloves, allspice or nutmeg. Try adding them when caramelizing the apples for a flavor boost.

  • Different Apple Variety: Don’t like Granny Smith apples? Try another variety, but look for one that will stay crisp. This recipe is an easy way to use up apples that might be going bad or when you have an abundance of fresh apples you want to use up.

  • Try Another Fruit: Caramelized pears would be incredible topping for this French toast recipe, too. (Martha Stewart has a quick tutorial about caramelizing pears.)

Frequently Asked Questions


The texture of your French toast depends on whether you have over or under soaked your bread. Undersoaking results in a dense and dry textured French toast, whereas oversoaking the bread for too long gives you soggy French toast.

You want to have bread that is between ¾ and 1 inch thickness so that they are thin enough to soak up the custard, but thick enough to get that crispy exterior when cooked.

The temperature of your grill pan also makes a difference. It needs to be preheated well so that the butter melts and the custard immediately begins to cook when it hits the pan. This will get you the crispy exterior you are looking for.


Making French toast is a great way to use up leftover bread before it goes stale. You can use any bread that you have on hand.

Aim for slices that are between ¾ and 1 inch in thickness for best results. You’ll have to adjust your soaking and cooking time for thinner slices.

Sourdough, challah and French bread are great alternatives to brioche.


I hate buying a different ingredient for a recipe without knowing how I can use the leftover. It seems so wasteful to just throw good food away.

So if you're like me, rest assured brioche can be used for numerous other things. Some ideas are:

  • Grilled cheese sandwiches
  • BLT
  • Croque Monsieur (fancy name for a French ham and cheese sandwich)
  • Homemade croutons
  • Bread pudding
  • Stuffing
  • Ordinary French toast


If there is leftover French toast, you can reheat it the next day on a hot grill pan for a few minutes on each side. Nothing is as good as fresh, though, so it is recommended you cut down the recipe to the serving size you’ll need.

White platter of Apple Cinnamon French toast sitting on a bread board

Looking for More Tasty Breakfast Recipes for Fall?

French toast is a classic breakfast dish that is simple to make and takes only a few ingredients. But the addition of cinnamon and caramelized apples really puts it over the top for an ideal fall breakfast your family will love.


Now, be sure to visit each of these bloggers below to have a look at the delicious fall-inspired breakfast recipes that they are sharing today.

Click here to see all of my previous Tastes of the Season posts.

Delicious Coffee Cake by Ella Claire & Co.  ||  Apple Pie Crepes by Tidy Mom  ||  Apple Cranberry Baked Oatmeal by Inspired By Charm

Baked Pumpkin Maple French Toast by Freutcake  ||  Cinnamon Apple French Toast by anderson + grant  ||  Granola Brunch Baked Apples by Handmade Farmhouse

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