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Torrijas Recipe (Spanish ‘French Toast’)

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Crispy on the outside and custardy soft on the inside, this torrijas recipe, or Spanish ‘French toast,’ is the wholesome and sweet dessert you need when you’re craving comfort food.

With notes of citrus, vanilla, and cinnamon and a wonderfully creamy, moist texture, this dish is another classic example of Spanish desserts at their most simple yet indulgent.

Torrijas / Spanish toast

Torrijas (Spanish ‘French Toast’) Recipe

Torrijas, Spanish 'French Toast' Dipped in Cinnamon Sugar

What is a Torrija?

Known as the Spanish ‘French toast,’ a torrija is typically made from stale bread soaked in a mixture of milk and additional ingredients, which can include sugar, honey, and cinnamon, among others.

Once soaked, the bread is dipped in egg and then fried in oil. It is finished with a sugar and cinnamon coating before serving.

Because of the way the bread is soaked, coated, and then fried, each torrija has an almost pastry-like texture, with a delicious crispy outer coating and a soft center.

Torrijas de Leche vs Torrijas de Vino Dulce

Another variation of this dish is ‘torrijas de vino dulce.’ For this version, the bread is soaked in a mixture of sweet white wine and sugar. And after it’s fried, it’s topped with a wine-honey syrup.

Ingredients

To make my torrijas (Spanish ‘French toast’) recipe, you’ll need the following ingredients:

Ingredients for the Torrijas (Spanish 'French Toast'
  • Baguette – 1 large stale (at least a day old) baguette (about 16 slices, at least one inch thick)
  • Milk – 4 cups milk
  • Vanilla – 1 tsp vanilla
  • Citrus Peel – peel from a lemon and/or orange
  • Cinnamon Stick – 1 cinnamon stick
  • Eggs – 2-3 eggs
  • Sugar – 2/3 cup sugar (1/3 cup for the milk and 1/3 cup for the sugar-cinnamon mixture to coat the bread in)
  • Cinnamon – 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt – a pinch of salt
  • Oil – 1 cup of neutral oil for frying (sunflower oil, vegetable oil, light olive oil, or canola oil are all good options)

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1 – Peel the citrus. We’ll use this to infuse the milk with citrus notes.

Peeling lemons

Try to get just the yellow part of the lemon (or orange part of the orange skin) and none of the white pith.

Lemon peel

You can remove any white bits with a butter knife or a spoon. The white part is what can make the infused milk bitter, so that’s why we want to remove as much of it as we can.

Alternatively, you can use a zester to get the peel.

Lemon peel - removing the white pith

Step 2 – To a pot over medium heat, add the milk, the citrus peel, cinnamon stick, a pinch of salt, and 1/3 cup of sugar. Warm up the milk over medium heat, making sure to stir often so it doesn’t burn on the bottom until it just starts to simmer (it will take about 10 minutes).

Note: Try to use a pot with a thick bottom so that the milk doesn’t burn. If you’re using a pot with a thin bottom, make sure to stir continuously and adjust the heat a bit lower as needed.

Infusing the milk for the torrijas

Step 3 – Remove the pot of milk from the heat and let it cool down until it’s at room temperature or below. Once the milk has cooled, remove the lemon peel and cinnamon stick.

Infusing the milk for the Spanish French Toast

Step 4 – Cut the bread into slices that are at least one inch thick, but you can go up to 1.5 inches.

Slicing the bread for the torrijas

Soak the bread in milk. A good way to do this is to place the bread in a large baking dish or container and pour over the cooled-down infused milk. Let the bread absorb the milk for a couple of minutes. Then, flip them over and give them a few more minutes until they absorb the rest of milk. You’ll be surprised by how much milk stale bread can absorb and how custardy the inside will be.

Sliced bread
Pouring milk over the sliced bread
Soaking the bread in the infused milk

Step 5 – Beat the eggs with a whisk until foamy, ready for the bread to be dipped in the mixture.

Whisking the eggs

Step 6 – To a frying pan over medium heat, add about 1 cup of neutral oil (like sunflower oil or light olive oil). We’ll be shallow-frying the toast in the pan. Very gently dip each bread in the egg on both sides. You’ll want to be very gentle as the bread is now very soft, having absorbed all that milk, and you don’t want it to fall apart.

Dipping the milk-soaked bread in the eggs

Transfer the bread to the frying pan. Repeat with the rest of the bread. Depending on the size of your pan, you’ll likely have to work in 2-3 batches.

Frying the bread
Frying the toast

Fry until golden on one side, and then flip and fry on the second side until golden. This will be about 3 minutes per side.

Shallow-frying the torrijas

Step 7 – Once golden, remove the bread from the pan to a plate with a paper towel on it to absorb any excess oil. Then, immediately transfer them to a bowl with the cinnamon sugar (mix 1/3 cup of sugar with 1 tsp of cinnamon) and make sure to coat all side in the cinnamon sugar. Serve warm.

Coating the torrijas in cinnamon-sugar

You can serve two per portion. Or more, as you wish.

Cinnamon-sugar Torrijas (Spanish 'French Toast')
Cinnamon-sugar Torrijas (Spanish 'French Toast')

However, if you’re feeding a party or large number of people, you can stack them like I did below. Your guests can then get their hands in there and take as many as they like!

Spanish 'French Toast'

Milk-based desserts are a bedrock of Spanish cuisine, and torrijas are a wonderful way to make a sweet treat out of some leftover bread you may have at home.

Torrijas (Spanish 'French Toast')

Recipe Card

Torrijas (Spanish ‘French Toast’)

5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Additional Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Author: Doina Johnson
Course: Desserts
Cuisine: Spanish
Servings: 16 slices

Ingredients

  • 1 large stale baguette about 16 slices at least one inch thick
  • 4 cups milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • peel from a lemon and/or orange
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 eggs
  • 2/3 cup sugar 1/3 cup for the milk and 1/3 cup for the sugar-cinnamon mixture to coat the bread in
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup of neutral oil like sunflower oil or vegetable oil for frying

Instructions

  • Peel the citrus. We’ll use this to infuse the milk with citrus notes. Try to get just the yellow part of the lemon (or the orange part of the orange skin) and none of the white pith. You can remove any white bits with a butter knife or a spoon. The white part is what can make the infused milk bitter, so that’s why we want to remove as much of it as we can. Alternatively, you can use a zester to get the peel.
  • Infuse the milk. To a pot over medium heat, add the milk, the citrus peel, the cinnamon stick, a pinch of salt, and 1/3 cup of sugar. Warm up the milk over medium heat, making sure to stir often so it doesn’t burn on the bottom until it just starts to simmer (it will take about 10 minutes), see note 1.
  • Cool down the milk. Remove the pot of milk from the heat and let it cool down until it’s at room temperature or below. Once the milk has cooled, remove the lemon peel and cinnamon stick.
  • Soak the stale bread slices in the cooled infused milk. Cut the bread into slices that are at least one inch thick, but you can go up to 1.5 inches. Soak the bread slices in the infused milk. A good way to do this is to place the bread in a large baking dish or container and pour over the cooled-down infused milk. Let the bread absorb the milk for a couple of minutes. Then, flip them over and give them a few more minutes until they absorb the rest of the milk. You’ll be surprised by how much milk stale bread can absorb and how custardy the inside will be.
  • Beat the eggs with a whisk until foamy, ready for the bread to be dipped in the mixture.
  • Shallow-fry the milk-soaked bread that's been dipped in the eggs. To a frying pan over medium heat, add about 1 cup of neutral oil (like sunflower oil or light olive oil). We’ll be shallow-frying the toast in the pan. Very gently dip each bread in the egg on both sides. You’ll want to be very gentle as the bread is now very soft, having absorbed all that milk, and you don’t want it to fall apart. Transfer the bread to the frying pan. Repeat with the rest of the bread. Depending on the size of your pan, you’ll likely have to work in 2-3 batches. Fry until golden on one side, and then flip and fry on the second side until golden. This will be about 3 minutes per side.
  • Coat in cinnamon-sugar. Once golden, remove the bread from the pan to a plate with a paper towel on it to absorb any excess oil. Then, immediately transfer them to a bowl with the cinnamon sugar (mix 1/3 cup of sugar with 1 tsp of cinnamon) and make sure to coat all sides in the cinnamon sugar. Serve them warm.

Recipe Notes

Note 1: Try to use a pot with a thick bottom so that the milk doesn’t burn. If you’re using a pot with a thin bottom, make sure to stir continuously and adjust the heat a bit lower as needed.
Did you make this recipe?Mention @nomadparadisefood or tag #nomadparadisefood!

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Cinnamon-sugar Torrijas (Spanish 'French Toast')

Authors

  • Doina Johnson is a recipe developer and writer. Doina has been cooking for most of her life, and her style draws from many different influences. She cooked with her mother and grandma growing up in Eastern Europe, before adding modern, western influences to her style when living in the United States for about a decade. Then, she traveled full-time for several years, trying food in Europe, Asia, and South America, and bringing those influences into her own cooking. She strives to introduce passionate homecooks to world cuisine, generally by trying the food herself abroad and then recreating it at home and, at times, enlisting the help of local foodies and chefs.

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  • Hey there! We are Dale and Doina, the founders of Nomad Paradise. We traveled full-time for over three years, and while we now have a home base in the U.K., continue to take trips abroad to visit new places and try new cuisines and foods. Our food guides are curated with the guidance of local foodies, and their contribution is indicated under each article. We also cook the foods we try abroad, and you can discover how to make them in our 'recipes from around the world' category.

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