Cap’n Crunch French Toast

Cap’n Crunch French Toast

Rich and decadent Cap’n Crunch French toast is the perfect way to elevate your weekend brunch lineup. Reminiscent of the ‘90s due to this iconic cereal, this dish yields an unctuous breakfast option that is sure to be a crowd pleaser for kids of all ages, particularly with its cereal-flavored whipped cream topping. 

I was first introduced to this epic French toast in Baltimore, MD, back in the late ‘90s at a lovely hole-in-the-wall breakfast spot, The Blue Moon Café. At that time, my family and I would make our annual trek down from New Jersey to visit Johns Hopkins for my cardiac checkups, which were as much fun as they sound. While in the area, we would make a point to stop here to get their amazing French toast. It was honestly THE highlight of our visits. I should have known then that I was destined for a culinary career.

Celebrated in the area for its iconic dishes that are innovative and adventurous, the café’s aesthetic is just as delightful with its funky artwork, playful spirit, and diner vibe. The owner, Sarah Simington, opened the first location in Fells Point with her mother, Sherri, in '96 and then a second, Blue Moon Too, in Federal Hill in 2015. According to their site, Sarah’s inspiration for her restaurants was growing up surrounded by diner food and falling in love with breakfast, which shines through in the menu, particularly her French toasts.

The Trick to Making Great French Toast

The trick to making great French toast boils down to these four crucial components:

  1. Using the right bread
  2. Not over-soaking the bread in the custard
  3. Using a nonstick skillet
  4. Cooking the French toast over medium-low heat

Use the Right Bread for the Job

The best type of bread for French toast depends on the type of French toast that you’re making. If you’re making a basic French toast, regular white bread is perfect. But, if you’re making a heartier French toast that will need to hold its shape and not buckle under pressure, like this Cap’n Crunch French toast or a cream cheese-stuffed French toast, a thicker, denser bread like brioche or challah is your best choice.

Don’t Oversoak the Bread In the Custard

If you leave the bread in the custard for too long, it will ruin the structure of the bread when you go to cook it, leaving you with a soggy inside. Nobody wants a soggy, undercooked piece of French toast.

Use a Nonstick Skillet

A nonstick skillet provides for more even cooking and allows the French toast to release easier when flipped. I did two tests when developing this recipe: one batch was made with a regular skillet and a second identical batch with a nonstick skillet. The regular skillet tended to burn the bottom of the French toast. The regular skillet also made flipping the French toast without tearing it apart a real challenge. In the nonstick skillet, on the other hand, the French toast became golden brown within three minutes on each side and was very easy to flip. The bread cooked through thoroughly and there were no burnt sections.

Cook Over Medium-Low Heat

As someone whose impatience screams at me to put my burner on high heat and cook whatever I’m making fast, French toast makes me take a beat and sit in the moment. This is to say, when cooking French toast, low and slow is your friend. In this case, medium-low. Any temperature higher than that and you run the risk of burning the outside of your French toast and having an undercooked center. If you’re like me, it may take a moment to adjust to this slower pace of cooking, but it’s well worth it.

Butter or Oil?

It comes down to your preference and/or what you have on hand. I prefer butter when making my French toast, as the milk solids brown in the pan and add a richness to the flavor. 

If you don’t have any butter on hand, you can replace the butter with a neutral oil or shortening. Make sure to use just enough to coat the bottom of the pan.

Tips for Making French Toast

  • Set up your dredging station so that you can easily create a production line. From left to right: sliced bread, custard, crushed cereal, and then your stove. This allows you to easily dip your slices of brioche in the custard, transfer them to the crushed cereal to coat, and then move them to the nonstick skillet to cook.
  • Don’t let the bread sit in the custard for longer than 30 seconds per side. Otherwise, the bread will become mushy and will fall apart during cooking or won’t cook through all the way, leaving you with a soggy, uncooked piece of sad French toast. Nobody wants sad French toast.
  • Use a nonstick skillet. You may be tempted to use a regular skillet, but I would advise against it. Nonstick pans have a coating that allows for easier release of the food from the pan. That way you don’t destroy your end product when trying to flip it. If you don’t have a nonstick skillet, I highly recommend investing in one. Not sure where to start? We’ve done the legwork and tested and reviewed our top favorites in this article.
  • Depending on the size and shape of your brioche, you might be able to fit two slices of French toast in a 12-inch nonstick skillet. This will speed up the cooking time.
  • Do NOT use metal utensils on your nonstick cookware. It will scratch the protective coating. Instead, use a high-heat silicone spatula or a silicone flipping spatula.
  • Make sure to add a tablespoon of butter in between cooking each slice of French toast. This will help with the flavor, and ensure the French toast doesn’t burn on the bottom.

Make Ahead

If you’re looking to save time the day-of, make the whipped cream the day before and keep refrigerated until ready to use. Or for more flavor, start the cereal cream the night before and keep refrigerated until ready to strain and whip.

“An excellent spin on a classic breakfast meal, perfect for when you want the nice sweet taste of your favorite Cap’n’s cereal but would prefer a more sizable meal. Definitely leans far on the dessert breakfast scale but easily worth the calories.” —Noah Velush-Rogers

Two slices of golden brown French toast topped with a mountain of whipped cream A Note From Our Recipe Tester

Ingredients

For the Cap’n Crunch Whipped Cream

  • 1 cup heavy cream

  • 1 cup Cap’n Crunch cereal

  • 2 teaspoons confectioners' sugar

For the Cap’n Crunch French Toast

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1 cup whole milk

  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1 pinch ground or freshly grated nutmeg

  • 1 pinch fine sea salt

  • 4 cups Cap’n Crunch cereal

  • 6 (1-inch-thick) slices brioche bread

  • 6 tablespoons salted butter, for cooking

  • Optional toppings: confectioners' sugar, maple syrup, Cap’n Crunch whipped cream, and/or fresh fruit

Steps to Make It

Make the Whipped Cream

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients to make Cap'n Crunch whipped cream

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  2. In a medium bowl, combine heavy cream with Cap’n Crunch cereal. Let sit while you prepare and cook the French toast. This will allow the flavor of the cereal to soak into the heavy cream. You can also start soaking the cereal the night before for even more flavor.

    A bowl of Cap'n Crunch cereal soaking in heavy cream

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  3. Once the French toast is cooked and is warming in the oven, finish making the whipped cream. Pour the heavy cream through a fine-mesh strainer into a medium bowl. Discard the cereal.

    A strainer with soaked Cap'n Crunch cereal

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  4. Using a hand mixer with the beater attachments or a balloon whisk, beat the heavy cream and powdered sugar at low speed to start, about 30 seconds. Then increase the speed to medium, continuing to beat until stiff peaks form, 3 to 4 minutes.

    A bowl of whipped cream with a whisk

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

Make the French Toast

  1. Gather the ingredients. Preheat the oven to 200 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

    Ingredients to make Cap'n Crunch French toast

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  2. In a wide, shallow baking dish, create the custard. Whisk together the eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt until combined, 30 seconds. This will act as the first part in your dredging station.

    A shallow baking dish filled with custard

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  3. Next, place the Cap’n Crunch cereal inside a gallon-sized freezer bag. Remove as much air as possible and seal. Using a rolling pin, crush the cereal until it looks like coarse cornmeal.

    A rolling pin and a freezer bag filled with crushed Cap'n Crunch cereal

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  4. Pour the crushed cereal into another wide, shallow baking dish. This will be the second part in your dredging station.

    A baking dish filled with crushed Cap'n Crunch cereal

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  5. Working from left to right towards your stove, take two slices of brioche and soak them in the custard, 30 seconds per side. You know you’ve soaked them well when you pick up a piece by the corner and the opposite corner slightly weeps without the bread’s shape losing integrity.

    Two slices of bread soaking in custard

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  6. Transfer the two pieces of bread to the dish with the crushed cereal and coat both sides evenly.

    Two pieces of soaked bread coated in crushed cereal

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  7. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat and add 2 tablespoons of salted butter until melted and slightly bubbly.

    A large skillet coated with bubbling butter

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  8. Cook 2 pieces of French toast at a time until golden brown, 2 to 4 minutes per side.

    Two pieces of French toast cooking in a skillet

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  9. Transfer the cooked French toast to the parchment-lined baking sheet and keep warm in the oven while you finish cooking the rest. Continue with the remaining bread, adding another 2 tablespoons of butter to the skillet before cooking each slice, allowing the butter to melt and turn bubbly before adding the bread to the pan.

    A parchment paper lined baking sheet with two pieces of French toast

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  10. Once all six pieces have been cooked, plate them and garnish them with your choice of toppings.

    A stack of Cap'n Crunch French toast topped with whipped cream and berries

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

How to Store

Refrigerate any leftover pieces of French toast in an airtight container or individually wrap each piece in foil for up to 4 days. To reheat, warm the slices in a nonstick skillet over medium-low heat until both sides are warmed through, 2 to 3 minutes each side.

Recipe Variations

If you’re feeling adventurous and want to play around with this recipe, try using other types of cereal. Below are a few cereals to consider:

  • Cocoa Puffs
  • Waffle Crisps
  • Reece's Peanut Butter Puffs
  • Count Chocula
  • Sprinkle Spangles
  • Berry Berry Kix
  • Apple Jacks
  • Fruity Pebbles

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