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The Ultimate Ranking Of Chain Restaurant French Toast

French toast with fruit
French toast with fruit - Burwellphotography/Getty Images

Of all the recognized American restaurant breakfast staples, there are few more satisfying than a few sweet and thick-cut slices of French toast. But somewhere in that mix of sugar, syrup, batter, and bread is a wide spectrum of flavors and textures, and some chain restaurants seem to have mastered the art of French toast better than others. Opinions and preferences will differ on this of course, but I have sifted through the maple and powdered sugar and organized a definitive ranking of the major French toast (and French toast stick!) offerings by the major breakfast chains.

This ranking is based on a mix of my own personal and considerable French toast experience, as well as reviews from both professionals and those who are simply in it for the love of French toast. More info on this at the end, but for now, here is our ultimate ranking of chain restaurant French toast.

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11. Wendy's

Wendy's French Toast Sticks
Wendy's French Toast Sticks - Wendy's

Wendy's is a relative latecomer to the fast food breakfast game, and it appears from this review from The Washington Post that it has largely failed to live up to the established gold French toast stick standard set by Burger King. "I don't know what it is exactly, but the funk hits my nostrils like an 18-wheeler filled with maple syrup, wet dogs, and old fryer oil," the reviewer wrote before even taking their first bite of the breakfast concoctions -- not exactly a positive omen of what was to come.

The reviewer lamented how Wendy's French toast sticks lack the snappy, fried chickenesque crunch of their BK forebears. "They're chewier than BK's, like a cross between mochi doughnuts and classic French toast," he wrote.

It's possible that the flash-frying process has been refined since Wendy's first rolled out their own French toast sticks in the summer of 2022. But Wendy's going to need a lot of R&D work in the lab if it's going to perfect the deceptively simple practice of frying bread in batter. For now, Wendy's French toast sticks don't seem to be a morning time treat worth getting out of bed for before Wendy's stops serving breakfast.

10. Carl's Jr.

Carl's Jr. French Toast Dips
Carl's Jr. French Toast Dips - Carl's Jr.

Carl's Jr.'s contribution to the French toast stick craze seems to be distinctly redolent of classic carnival foods, according to one reviewer for Brand Eating: "There's a very light sprinkle of powdered sugar that combined with the deep frying gave these a bit of a funnel cake vibe. I could have used some more powdered sugar though."

Of course, the secret weapon of most French toast sticks is in the provided dipping syrup, and unlike the sticks themselves you can be reasonably certain that the syrup you get is of a consistent level of quality, not contingent upon any kitchen wildcards. "The syrup offered a measured amount of sweetness and an interesting tang. It was pretty thin though," the reviewer noted.

If you're looking for the most Instagram-friendly French toast sticks, Carl's Jr. might be a good bet, with its appealing dusting of white powdered sugar and camera-ready syrup. But for pure flavor and texture, you can probably do better elsewhere.

9. Cracker Barrel

Cracker Barrel French Toast platter
Cracker Barrel French Toast platter - Cracker Barrel

Once upon a time, Cracker Barrel's French toast offering would have propelled it to a much higher ranking on this list. But a merciless post on Reddit reveals that at some point the brand changed its recipe, and seemingly for the worst. One Redditor wrote, "The new recipe is generic, with thinner bread slices, a stronger taste of cinnamon, very minimal to no egg taste, and sugar powder dusting the top."

Other Redditors agreed in the thread, noting the change in the batter's recipe as well as the change in bread. What was once hearty, thick-cut sourdough is now a thinner, more generic bread that some say tastes closer to white bread than sourdough. If you're a regular diner at Cracker Barrel, you already know that breakfast is the chain's particular time to shine, but there might be better options on the Cracker Barrel breakfast menu than Momma's French Toast.

8. Jack In The Box

Churro French Toast Sticks
Churro French Toast Sticks - Jack in the Box

Jack in the Box has been offering various versions of French toast sticks since 2005, bringing them back on and off as a special menu item in the years since. If you like homemade churros, head to you local Jack's to see if Churro French Toast Sticks are on the menu. These handheld bites represent a novel combination of the traditional French toast stick and the churro.

One reviewer offered positive notes on the product's texture: "My particular batch of Churro French Toast Sticks appeared to be pretty fresh as they were fairly crispy at the surface, while still remaining moist and fluffy inside." But it also noted an avoidable kitchen oversight that diminished the experience: "I think they just plopped mine in a bed of cinnamon-sugar and didn't bother to roll it as one side was completely bare."

We all know that a bare French Toast Stick is no one's idea of a good time. So keep your fingers crossed that your own batch gets a more attentive rolling in the kitchen.

7. Bob Evans

Bob Evans French Toast
Bob Evans French Toast - Kyle T./Yelp

Many an American road trip has been enhanced by a breakfast at a Bob Evans location just off the interstate. If you're there for one of the chain's almost comically hearty breakfast entrees, you may notice that French toast is not a main dish in the Bob Evans universe, but is instead offered as a side in many of the breakfast platters.

But Bob Evans may be burying the lede by not giving its Brioche French Toast a menu spotlight. The French toast was the highlight of some of my breakfasts at the chain. Sweet and rich owing to its brioche base, it could very well be the star of its own breakfast platter if Bob Evans ever chooses to give it center stage. But for now, it remains a breakfast understudy, and most customers probably opt for the hotcakes instead.

Me? I'd take the French toast over the pancakes (sorry, "hotcakes,") on the vast majority of mornings, and most evenings too, for that matter. Especially at Bob Evans.

6. Denny's

Denny's Strawberry Stuffed French Toast
Denny's Strawberry Stuffed French Toast - Denny's

If you're at all familiar with Denny's shock-and-awe approach to food, an approach that encompasses practically its entire menu up to and including Denny's famous Super Slam Breakfast, you wouldn't expect it just to offer a standard French toast and call it a day. The chain offers not only a Brioche French Toast that is satisfyingly sweet and fluffy, with a smooth texture that soaks up syrup like a delicious sponge, but also a Strawberry Stuffed French Toast that will have your sweet tooth begging for mercy.

If you like strawberries, you're probably already halfway to your nearest Denny's, but the cream cheese filling that gives this Stuffed French Toast the other half of its special oomph sounds pretty good too, with a blend of ricotta, cream cheese, and other sweet stuff. That's an interesting approach to cream cheese filling, and reviewers like The Eliott Fam Eats on TikTok seem satisfied by it, calling special attention to the cream filling and awarding Denny's Strawberry Stuffed French Toast a score of 8.5/10 overall. Adrian Cooking & Food Review, also on TikTok, gave the item high marks as well, clarifying his mostly non-verbal video review with a comment: "So good."

5. Sonic

Sonic French Toast Sticks and syrup
Sonic French Toast Sticks and syrup - Sonic

The fast food breakfast masters at Sonic would naturally have to try their hand at French toast sticks. Sonic's version of the morning treat puts emphasis on the crispy fried coating, and they are crunchy and tasty enough to sit next to all of the chain's other delicious fried snacks. But if you're looking for a French toast stick that closely mimics the light and fluffy texture of traditional French toast, you're probably going to be a little disappointed in the Sonic version.

Still, if you're looking for something hot, sweet, and fast, you could do a lot worse than these. And in a way, the thicker coating works to the advantage of a product that is, after all, supposed to be eaten with your hands and possibly sitting in your car. Just be careful not to get syrup on your steering wheel in between dunks and bites and you should be good to go. Unless, of course, you're unlucky enough to reside in one of the only states without a Sonic location.

4. IHOP

IHOP French Toast
IHOP French Toast - IHOP

It might be the International House of Pancakes, but IHOP boasts a pretty good French toast game too, for those who are in the know. IHOP has a Thick 'N Fluffy French Toast on its menu, and I can tell you from personal experience that it is indeed both thick and fluffy, a wonderful delivery unit for syrupy, sugary sweetness. But where IHOP really shines in the French toast game is in its more elaborate variants on the breakfast classic.

It offers a delicious Thick 'N Fluffy Strawberry Banana French Toast and a Thick 'N Fluffy Lemon Ricotta Mixed Berry French Toast. These French toast variants don't offer the decadence of Denny's French toast, but they do have strong fundamentals and diverse flavor portfolios that elevate it to a new level. A dietician would probably place these ultra-decadent French toast feasts on a list of things you'll probably want to avoid at IHOP, but one could also argue that breakfast at IHOP is no time to be thinking about nutrition.

From what I've been able to sample, this French toast is good enough to make you forget about pancakes. Even at an International House devoted to them.

3. Burger King

Burger King French Toast Sticks
Burger King French Toast Sticks - Burger King

Burger King French toast sticks are five planks of crispy sweet goodness, and, according to a ranking of the best fast food French toast sticks by Mashed, "One bite and you're transported to a land of fluffy euphoria where the perfect balance of sweetness harmonizes with gentle hints of cinnamon." That sounds pretty good, come to mention it!

Every fast food French toast stick on this list is in one way or another attempting to replicate the success of BK's all-timer contributor to the culture of the fast food breakfast. A taste of Burger King French Toast Sticks, especially when they're hot and fresh, will leave you with few questions as to why that is. The gentle bite of cinnamon spice and the crunchy but chewy texture is a master class in how to translate French toast to fast food, and all the other French toast stick practitioners are at the end of the day just pretenders to the throne. You'll see no more French toast sticks on this list, so in that subdivision you can consider Burger King No. 1,

2. Snooze A.M.

Snooze A.M. OMG! French Toast
Snooze A.M. OMG! French Toast

As an eatery devoted to the manifold pleasures of restaurant breakfast, Snooze A.M. would truly be remiss if it didn't bring French toast across the finish line with assurance and aplomb. Sure enough, its OMG! French Toast is worthy of its emphatic name, just as light and fluffy as Mom's French toast should be, but with an extra decadent layer of sweetness that makes it a special treat.

Part of that special treat comes from the addition of coconut to the proceedings, a brilliant touch that more French toast chefs would be wise to adopt. Then there's the caramel sauce, which just ties everything together and will make you forget all about the traditional maple syrup. Snooze A.M.'s OMG! French Toast is another French toast offering that almost eats more like a dessert than a breakfast, but outside of the field of medical practitioners you'll probably have bad luck finding too many people to state on the record that that's not a good thing.

1. Another Broken Egg Cafe

Cinnamon French Toast with fruit
Cinnamon French Toast with fruit - Another Broken Egg Cafe

I'm lucky enough to live right across the street from an Another Broken Egg Cafe location, but the French toast there is good enough for a trip across town. As good as its standard French toast is though, it's the novel variations on the staple that earn it the No. 1 slot on this list.

What kind of variations? Well, right now it's offering such delicacies as Apple Fritter French Toast and Strawberry Pound Cake French Toast in addition to its Classic French Toast recipe. But on my most recent ABEC visit, I opted for the Cinnamon Roll French Toast, which I'm happy to report is exactly what it sounds like. I'm not sure what kind of baking alchemy makes this hybrid of cinnamon roll and French toast possible, but the result is incredible, and the cream cheese icing and warm rum butter sauce drizzle just drive the whole thing home. I personally would almost be afraid to eat French toast that tastes better than this, or at least sweeter than this.

Methodology

French toast with fruit and syrup
French toast with fruit and syrup - Jmichl/Getty Images

This list was compiled using a combination of online chatter on site such as Reddit, professional reviews, and my own French toast experience over the years. I tried to focus only on currently available French toast and French toast stick selections, and on popular dining chains, although I ended up with a mix of both national and regional chains. I also freely mixed French toast and French toast sticks, even though they are definitely two different culinary beasts. Ultimately, opinions are my own unless otherwise cited.

Static Media owns and operates Daily Meal and Mashed.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.