Rabanadas are a classic Brazilian holiday recipe that we serve as dessert or breakfast. Easy to make and fun to eat, this deep fried French toast recipe is made with sweet condensed milk and topped with a crispy cinnamon-sugar on the outside.
Rabanadas are a traditional Brazilian French toast recipe that was introduced to us by the Portuguese. They’re made with stale bread that is soaked in sweet milk, fried and then, rolled into a cinnamon sugar mixture.
And because it’s fried until golden they can also be named, fatia dourada (golden slice)!!
They’re crispy on the outside and soft and sweet on the inside, almost like a bread pudding, and tend to make their appearance for the festas de fim de ano end of year holidays.
But, they’re so effortless to make, who’s to say you can’t be making them all year long?
In fact, in our family, we make them for Christmas, New Year’s Day, Easter and other holidays throughout the year.
Rabanadas are similar to other French toasts variations all over the world, like the American French toast, the traditional pain perdue in France, Torrijas in Spain etc… and they all have differences in the way they’re made, how they’re served and when they’re eaten.
In Brazil, we typically serve them as a dessert, an afternoon snack, and sometimes for breakfast, too, and particularly around the holidays.
They’re wonderful by themselves. But, you can also serve them with fruit jams, dulce de leche or with some fresh berries or fruits that can cut through some of the sweetness.
I hope you love this recipe as much as I do!
- Sliced French Bread — dried bread, at least a couple of days old.
- Sweet condensed milk — this adds sweetness to the mixture the bread slices are dipped in.
- Whole milk
- Vanilla extract — adds amazing aroma and ensures your rabanadas don’t have an eggy flavor.
- Granulated sugar — also known as white sugar, this is what we coat the deep fried French toast in!
- Ground cinnamon — the other ingredient necessary for the coating. There is no substitute!
- Oil for frying — we like to use a neutral oil to fry in, like vegetable oil, corn oil or canola oil.
How to choose the perfect bread for rabanada Brazilian Deep Fried French Toast
In Brazil we have a specific bread called pão de rabanada to use in this recipe. But unless you are in Brazil, you’ll need a substitute.
Considering all breads are different sizes and densities, it’s hard to say exactly how much bread you’ll need to buy.
That said, here are some tips for choosing the best bread to make this recipe:
- You want a wide and light bread (as opposed to thin and dense which yields very tough rabanadas).
- Choose a bread with with a flaky crust.
- Use stale bread. Not rock hard, a few days old bread is what we are after. This will ensure the bread will soak up the sweet condensed milk mixture without completely falling apart.
- Do not use the heels of the bread. (Save the heels to make Homemade Bread Crumbs Farinha de Rosca.)
- You need the bread sliced into 1.5-2″ thick rounds. And you’ll need about 16 or so sliced pieces.
For reference, in the US I use about two loaves of the Safeway Select Fresh Baked Signature Artisan French Bread – it’s perfectly wide, fluffy and light inside and has a flaky crumbly crust. In comparison, the European Style one is too thin and crusty.
Tools to make this recipe:
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How to Make Brazilian Cinnamon Sugar French Toast
Slice the bread. The bread can’t be too thin, otherwise, it’ll fall apart. Also, it shouldn’t be too thick, either, because then it won’t absorb the right amount of liquid. I recommend 1.5″ to 2″ thick as the ideal thickness.
Then, we start with setting up a few other steps of the recipe.
Basically, we want to have things in order because once you dip the bread into the milky eggs mixture, you don’t want it to sit wet for too long. It needs to go almost immediately from that mixture to the frying pan… so get your things in order!
Prep the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Toss it together and then reserve it so it ready for you when you’re done frying.
This needs to happen in a container wide enough for you to drop a couple pieces of bread in there…
Combine the eggs, the condensed milk, the milk and the vanilla in a large bowl or a casserole dish. Whisk until smooth and set aside.
Dip the bread slices in the milk mixture until they absorb liquid, then gently squeeze the bread to remove excess liquid and place it on a plate.
Do this to all pieces of bread, working gently yet quickly to not oversoak the bread.
Frying the Rabanadas
Heat up the oil in a frying pan over medium heat. You’ll need about 1.5″ of oil in your pan to where your condensed milk french toasts can fry.
The most important thing to do is to control the oil temperature while cooking your French toasts.
Add the bread pieces from the milky egg mixture straight into the frying pan, and fry until golden brown on both sides.
When they’re perfectly golden, scoop them out of the oil with tongs or a slotted spoon onto the paper towel just to drain excess fat.
Quickly move your rabanadas to the cinnamon sugar while they’re still hot so the mixture sticks well.
Gently move the French toast around the cinnamon-sugar until until all sides are coated.
Serve your rabanadas immediately!
Any leftovers are great for breakfast, but they’re so easy to make, you can whip up a new batch of fresh ones in the morning.
Tips for frying this Brazilian Deep Fried French toast recipe:
- Keep an eye on the oil temperature. (A thermometer is helpful!)
- Be sure to not crowd the pan when cooking. If you do, the oil temperature will change, and you’ll have to end up frying the bread for longer, which could result in your rabanadas absorbing too much oil and turning greasy.
- If there are too many in there, they can also burn unless you are comfortable working quickly to fry everything consistently.
- If the oil is too hot, they can also be raw on the inside and burned on the outside.
How to store:
Store your rabanadas condensed milk french toasts in airtight container on the countertop at room temperature for no more than a day or two.
If there is any leftover cinnamon sugar mixture, it’s a great idea to put that at the bottom of the container. Humidity can cause the sugar in the rabanada to turn sticky quickly, so keeping it in the sugar mixture helps.
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Rabanada Recipe – Brazilian Deep Fried French Toast
- 1-2 French bread* sliced 1.5 inches thick, should yield about 16 or so pieces
- 1 14oz can of sweet condensed milk
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup of whole milk
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup ground cinnamon
- oil for frying
- Slice the bread into 1.5" thick rounds and set aside.
- In a deep dish, add the sugar and cinnamon. Whisk to combine, and set aside. This is the coating for the deep fried French toasts.
- In a medium deep frying pan, add enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan and about 1.5" up the side. Set aside.
- Line a large plate with paper towels and set aside. We will drain our rabanada here.
- In a medium bowl, measure in the condensed milk, the milk, the eggs and the vanilla. Whisk to combine.
- Dip the bread slices in the milk mixture until they absorb liquid, then gently squeeze the bread to remove excess liquid and place it on a plate. Do this to all pieces of bread, working gently yet quickly to not oversoak the bread.
- Place the oil pan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, fry a few pieces of the French toast at a time until golden brown on both sides.
- Place the fried bread on the line paper towels to absorb excess oil.
- Roll the bread in the cinnamon sugar mixture while still hot. Don't forget to coat the sides, too!