If you’re looking for a special breakfast recipe during the Christmas holidays, then this panettone French toast recipe is for you. It’s super easy to make; there’s no overnight soaking or crazy ingredients involved.
Panettone bread with its candied fruit and sweetness, gives you enough flavors that you don’t need much more to turn it into a special breakfast meal.
As an Italian, we have panettone every year during the holidays. We’re always on the lookout at the grocery stores once the holidays approach. Typically its served just as itself, along with a cup of espresso or cappuccino.
Turning it into a French toast probably isn’t very Italian, but it sure is enjoyed in our Italian house on Christmas morning! I’m so excited to share this easy and simple recipe with you.
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Panettone French Toast Recipe Overview
To make panettone French toast, the only thing you need that’s different from regular French toast is the bread. It’s a great way to use leftover Christmas panettone bread or to break into a whole new loaf for a special breakfast or brunch.
The process is basically the same as making French toast. This recipe makes a half a loaf, so double the recipe if planning on using all the bread. I like to cut my slices in half to make it easier to cook in the skillet.
However, there are a few helpful cooking tips I’ll share with you, along with my step-by-step recipe instructions to make sure you get the best Italian French toast possible.
What is Panettone
For those who are unfamiliar with panettone, it’s a special Italian dessert bread that is traditionally only sold during the Christmas holidays. The texture is light and airy, making it deceitfully easy to eat way more than you anticipate.
I stand 100% guilty of over indulging every year. You can slice it or just pull it apart to eat. It depends on the purpose and how you’re serving it.
If you’re thinking of making it from scratch, my recommendation is not to unless you have a lot of patience and time. It’s actually very difficult to make, and the process takes days.
I will probably never attempt to make the bread and instead just purchase it at the store or online at places like Amazon.
Last year we bought extra and it stored for nearly a year in our cool and dry basement. We broke it out early to treat ourselves while the rest of the world had to wait till the holidays… hahahaha…
And yes, it was just as delicious!
Here’s the list of ingredients you’ll need to make this breakfast recipe. Exact measurements are in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- Vanilla extract (optional)
- Panettone bread. The bread should be sliced into 1” thick slices.
- Maple Syrup
- Confectioners sugar (optional)
Step by Step Instructions
To make panettone French toast, follow these simple steps.
Step 1. In a large skillet or frying pan, heat the butter over medium heat on the stove. Preheat the oven if baking. See my notes below on that.
Step 2. Meanwhile, use a serrated knife to cut the bread into 1 inch thick slices. Cut them so they are the length/overall size you want for each piece of French toast. This will depend on the size of your pan, or if you’re using a griddle.
Step 3. In a medium shallow bowl or container, beat 3 whole eggs with a fork or whisk, until smooth.
Step 4. Place the bread in the bowl to soak for about 1 to 2 minutes. Then flip and repeat.
Step 5. When the skillet is warmed up and the butter melted, add the egg soaked panettone slices to the pan.
Step 6. Cook for about 2-3 minutes on each side or until golden brown and fully cooked.
Step 7. Using a spatula, remove the panettone from the skillet and place on a plate. Cover with a lid or foil to keep warm while you cook the remaining slices of panettone.
Step 8. Serve warm and top with maple syrup. Also, for an elegant presentation, sprinkle some powdered confectioner sugar.
Prefer to Bake it Instead?
Sometimes using a skillet isn’t practical, especially if you need the stove for other dishes. This is especially true when making a large batch. If this is the case, then follow these steps after Step 4 above.
Step 5. Preheat oven to 375F.
Step 6. Place your egg soaked bread slices in a large baking dish (or whatever size you need). Make sure to lay the slices as flat as possible for even baking. It’s okay if they overlap some.
Step 7. Cook in the oven for 30 minutes or until fully cooked through. You may not get the crispier edges as you would when using a skillet, but it’s a nice alternative method.
There are lots of ways you can prepare and flavor your panettone. Here are some ideas you may want to try.
- Add in a tsp of vanilla extract in the egg mixture.
- Add in a tsp of cinnamon powder to the egg mixture or sprinkle it on top.
- Top your French toast with fresh fruit and berries.
- Serve with a dollop of whipped cream on top.
Remember that the panettone bread already has bits of candied and dried fruit, and has a sweet taste. You don’t need to add too many additional sweets to alter the flavor.
Keep it simple and easy, it’s the best way!
Preparation & Storage Tips
Here are some tips for making in advance and proper storage.
Can Panettone French Toast be made in advance?
Yes, it can. You can soak the bread in the egg mixture in a flat deep dish and cover. Place in the fridge for up to 1 day. I would recommend this only if you are making a large quantity and don’t have the time the morning of to do the prep work.
You can also save time by slicing the bread ahead of time and don’t bother soaking in the egg mixture until the morning of. It only takes a few minutes on each side to soak, so you’re not saving a ton of time by pre-soaking.
How to store panettone French toast?
If you have leftovers, place the cooked French toast in an air tight container and keep in the fridge for up to 3 days. You can also freeze the French toast.
How to reheat the French toast?
To reheat your holiday French toast in the oven, preheat to 350F. Place the French toast in a baking tray or dish and bake for 10 minutes or until heated through.
To reheat your French toast in the microwave, use the Reheat feature for 2 minutes or until heated through.
You can also reheat your panettone French toast using the stovetop method. Heat a skillet over medium heat and add a drop of butter to melt. Once melted, add the slices of French toast and heat for 2 minutes on each side or until heated through.
What to Serve with Panettone French Toast
Since this is a breakfast dish, I recommend serving your French toast with any of the following.
- Bowl of fresh fruit and berries
- Fresh fruit juice
- Espresso or other coffee
- Bacon or sausage links
- Garlic flavored hash browns or roasted potatoes
Additional Breakfast Recipes You May Enjoy
For additional breakfast ideas check out all our Italian breakfast ideas.
This Spinach frittata is an Italian breakfast that is full of Italian cheese and spinach.
Here’s a simple Italian frittata that can be made for breakfast or a brunch.
Enjoy this Italian potato frittata filled with sliced potatoes, egg and Italian flavors!
I hope you enjoy your panettone French toast for breakfast. I enjoy it every year and I know you will too. Let me know in the comments below how you liked it and if you made any changes to make it your own!
Italian Panettone French Toast
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 panettone bread loaf sliced 1" and cut in half.
- 1 tsp vanilla extract optional
- maple syrup as needed for topping
- 2 Tbsp confectioners sugar for topping, optional
- Heat skillet or griddle to medium heat
- Melt butter on cooking surface
- In a shallow bowl or long pan large enough to hold the slices of bread, beat the eggs. Add the vanilla if using.
- Place slices of cut panettone bread in the egg mixture and let soak for 2-3 minutes on each side.
- Place soaked panettone bread slices in the skillet or on the griddle. Let cook for 2-3 minutes on the first side. Then flip and repeat for the second side until golden brown and cooked through.
- Remove from heat and keep covered until ready to serve to keep warm.
- Serve topped with maple syrup and a light dusting of confectioners sugar.
Baking the Panettone French Toast
- Follow the steps above except place the soaked panettone slices in a baking dish and bake for 30 minutes at 375F or until cooked through.
- Experiment with different flavors and toppings such as fresh fruit or flavored maple syrup.
- Adjust quantities as needed. Mine are based on 4 servings of 2-3 slices each. Depending on how many slices you cut will increase the number of eggs. If using the whole bread loaf, I’d double the recipe.