The Best French Toast Is Made From Stale Hot Dog Buns.

“French toast” is so often the answer to the question “What should I do with this stale bread?” but this is your answer to the question “What should I do with these stale hot dog buns?” Stale hot dog buns are spongy, fluffy and tough — perfect for soaking up custard while still retaining their texture. Cut them into quarters for the best French toast sticks you’ll ever taste.

With grilling season approaching, it’s helpful to have a contingency plan for leftover buns, especially since the number of hot dogs you can buy in a package never equals the number of buns you can buy in a package. (This is a scam to get us to buy multiple packs of one or the other and it works!)

Anyway. The procedure for making French toast with a hot dog bun is strikingly similar to making any other French toast. Make a custard, dip bread in it, toast the bread. I cut the buns into quarters to help them cook faster and increase the amount of golden, toasted surface your mouth has access to because that’s the whole point. For frying, I use neutral oil because the oil burns before the inside of the French toast is done, and because frying the sticks in oil gives them a doughnut-like feel. For best results, use one tablespoon of butter per roll and wipe the baking sheet between batches to prevent burnt bits from staining the next row of sticks.

You can technically use fresh hot dog buns, but I highly recommend keeping them open in the fridge overnight so they hold their shape while toasting. You can use any custard recipe you like, but I used the same one I always use and it worked great.

French toast sticks with hot dog buns (for 8 sticks)


  • 2 stale hot dog buns, quartered horizontally
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup half and half
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons neutral oil (such as vegetable or canola)

Whisk everything except the butter and buns in a bowl and heat the butter in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. If your pan is small and can only hold one bun at a time, only heat one tablespoon of oil at a time. Dip each quarter of the bun on all sides in the custard and place on a wire rack over a plate to drain excess fat.

Cut off a tiny piece of the hot custard-dipped bun and place it in the butter. Once it sizzles, your butter is ready. Fry the sticks for a minute or two on each side until they are crispy and golden brown. If you are working in batches, wipe down the pan after each batch before adding the next tablespoon of oil. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve immediately with maple butter for dipping.


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