Fried Bread

Better Toast: No Toaster Required

Do you need a toaster to make toast? No! Is there a better way to make toast than in a toaster? Yes! Welcome to the old-fashioned life-changing world of "fried bread" which actually isn't fried per se. Instead, Fried Bread is just slices of good bread toasted on the stove in a hot pan until both sides are crisp and golden and buttery. You've never had such good toast ... so easy, so worthwhile.

Fried Bread, for the best toast ever ♥ How to toast bread without a toaster, crisp and golden.

Whole Food, Simply Prepared. "Plain" But Perfect. Breakfast Comfort Food. Mere Minutes to the Table. Makes Great Appetizers and Open-Faced Sandwiches. Year-Round Kitchen Staple. Budget Friendly. Weeknight Easy, Weekend Special. Potluck & Party Friendly. Easy DIY. Vegetarian. With vegan bread and a plant-based oil, Vegan Done Real.

Better Toast = Fried Bread

Birds do it, bees do it, even educated fleas do it. Let's do it, let's fall in love.

~ Cole Porter

So everybody IS doing it, "frying" bread, that is, and loving it too.

Julia Child does it. In the new hit movie Julie & Julia, she sizzles bread in a heavy cast-iron skillet.

Mattie Ross does it. In the Charles Portis novel True Grit (affiliate link), she explains, "The corn dodgers were balls of what I would call hot-water cornbread. … [Rooster Cogburn] sliced up some of the dodgers and fried them in grease. Fried bread! That was a new dish to me."

Uncle Ronnie does it. “I never use a toaster anymore!”

My own dad does it. “I didn’t know anybody in the last 150 years fried bread,” he said just before wolfing down three slices.

And since last year, I do it. Several times a week, just a small slice, maybe two. The toaster gave out before Christmas and really, why replace it?

Like a child prioritizing her plate, I now save the bread for last. Fried Bread is as good as dessert. Often it is dessert.

We do it. Won’t you do it too?

What Is Fried Bread?

This is super-simple.

Fried Bread is just toast – except that instead of being toasted by the hot, dry heat inside a toaster, it's "toasted" in a hot pan with oil or some other fat.

  • Some times, the bread slices are put into a skillet to "fry" in a light coating of hot oil (olive oil, say) or hot fat (like butter or bacon grease).
  • Other times, the bread slices are brushed first with oil or fat, then dropped into a hot pan to "toast".

Fried Bread isn't really "fried" but it is slices of bread pan-toasted until crisp and golden.

I guess you could say that Fried Bread is just slices of bread that are "toasted" and "buttered" at the same time.

Another way of putting it? Fried Bread is the best toast you've ever had ...

Toast vs Fried Bread: What's the Difference?

Q. What do you call a slice of bread popped in and out of a toaster? A. Toast. (Duh.)

Q. What do you call a slice of bread cooked with a little fat in a pan until crispy and golden? A. Fried Bread. Skillet Toast. Pan-Fried Bread. Oh yeah and also "Eye-Rolling Good" and "History" as in Gone-Gone-Gone.

Jokes aside, Toast and Fried Bread are similar. Toast is not Fried Bread but Fried Bread is, indeed, toast, just toast that's been "toasted" in a hot pan on the stove instead of in a toaster, either a single-purpose kitchen appliance or a countertop toaster oven.

Can You Really Give Up Your Toaster?

Well .... it depends. Here's our experience.

We can and did live without a toaster for years and never once missed it.

But then my elderly father came to live with us. Caretakers came in a couple of times a week to help out. I timed their visits to cover breakfast and lunch, giving me whole mornings off.

And dang it, none of them (and over time, there were a bunch ...) could figure out Fried Bread. So I broke down and bought a toaster. We still have it and do use it pretty often, especially for a quick single slice of toast.

But if we're sitting down to breakfast together, even midweek? And especially on weekends? That toaster stays in the cupboard.

Fried Bread, for the best toast ever ♥ How to toast bread without a toaster, crisp and golden.

Which Breads Make the Best Fried Bread?

Once you start making Fried Bread, there's no quitting. Our favorite breads for Fried Bread may be my own homemade breads (usually a few days old My Easy Everyday Bread Recipe) and just-purchased individual whole-grain rolls from Whole Foods.

But we've also toasted all these breads too, with very happy results.

  • Baguettes, sliced either thick or thin on an angle.
  • Sandwich rolls like ciabatta or my own sandwich favorite, Soft Rolls for Sandwiches, usually on the second or third day.
  • Thick-cut breads like Texas toast.
  • Soft rolls like Homemade Butterhorns (Thanksgiving Crescent Rolls) or Homemade Yeast Rolls.
  • Sweet breads, like challah or brioche or Hot Cross Buns or the Finnish cardamom braided loaves called pulla.
  • Banana bread and other quick breads, we love Autumn Pumpkin Bread cut into thick slices.
  • Sweet breads with dried fruit or nuts, like the Italian panettone and my specialty at Christmas, Cranberry Walnut Bread.
  • Bagels! And bialys! Just slice in half and toast the cut sides. Or cut across the bagel, creating long, odd-shaped slices, then toast both sides.
  • Cornbread! Just cut it in slices.
  • Muffins! Just cut in half crosswise.
  • English Muffins! Just break in half.
  • Biscuits! Again, cut in half.
  • Scones! Again, cut in half.

Which Is Better for Fried Bread, Fresh Bread or Day-Old or Days-Old Bread

Well, that depends.

Some times fresh bread works great. When we're having people for dinner, I'll often pick up a roll or two from Whole Foods, slice it thin and then toast to use as the base for an appetizer or a bread alongside a salad or soup.

But for my own homemade bread, when it's fresh, it's just too good as is even if it could be toasted or made into Fried Bread. So we tend to wait to use the last of a loaf homemade bread for Fried Bread.

But not every bread works well for Fried Bread after more than a day or two: baguettes and bagels come to mind, they just dry out too much.

Fried Bread, for the best toast ever ♥ How to toast bread without a toaster, crisp and golden.

Do All Breads Make Good Fried Bread? No.

You might not think of the foods below as "bread" but they do, indeed, fall into the bread category. None of these are conducive for skillet toasting.

  • Tortillas, either flour tortillas or corn tortillas. These may be warmed and crisped up in a skillet but the end product wouldn't probably be called "toast".
  • Crackers. These are already crisp and dry, so no, not good candidates for frying.
  • Popovers / Yorkshire Pudding. We adore Yorkshire Pudding but they just don't have enough flat surface area for re-warming and toasting in a skillet.
  • Waffles. I've never tried toasting waffles in a skillet and my sense is, they're not good candidates. But they do toast well in a toaster, of course!

Are Any of These Fried Bread? NO!

  • Fried dough and deep-fried dough are not Fried Bread, even if, confusingly, some people do call it Fried Bread or Fried Bread Dough or Frybread. So confusing!
  • Deep-Fried Breads or Fried Bread Doughs are not Fried Bread.
  • Pancakes are not Fried Bread.
  • Hush puppies are not Fried Bread.
  • Donuts are not Fried Bread.
  • Waffles are not Fried Bread.
  • Waffles are not Fried Bread.
  • French Toast is NOT Fried Bread. (It is pretty close, but it's different because of the milk and eggs that soak the bread first.)
  • Crostini is not Fried Bread even though Fried Bread is a great substitute for crostini.
  • Cornbread is not Fried Bread but after it's baked, it can be turned into Fried Bread.
  • Pita bread is not Fried Bread.
  • Flatbread is not Fried Bread.
Fried Bread, for the best toast ever ♥ How to toast bread without a toaster, crisp and golden.

For Best Results

For my weekly column in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, I interviewed chefs and translated their restaurant recipes for home kitchens. The most iluminating question? "How can a home cook ensure the same results?" So now I ask that question of myself, too, for my own recipes. Have another question? Ask away, I'll do my best to answer!

Good Bread Makes Great Fried Bread The best breads, I think, have real substance and texture and flavor. No Wonder Bread ... obviously. But even regular white or whole wheat sliced sandwich bread isn't that great for Fried Bread, it's too soft, too thin, too flavorless.

Oh! And good news! The bread may be savory or sweet. The bread may be a yeast bread or a quick bread. If it's bread-y, it's got a good shot of turning out well.

Cut It Thick, Cut It Thin But make a choice. For morning toast, we mostly like it cut thicker, so the toasted edges are crisp and golden but the centers are soft and bready. For a cracker-like piece of bread alongside bowl of soup or a salad, we mostly like it cut thinner.

Choose Your Oil We mostly use olive oil but oh! butter is so good and there are times when bacon drippings are just perfect.

Choose How Much Oil My husband makes the v-e-r-y b-e-s-t Fried Bread and I shudder to contemplate how much oil or butter he uses. Me, I tend to go skimpy and mine would still get an A on its own if a B compared to his. I use less oil by brushing the bread itself with oil (most easily) or melted butter or another fat using a small, soft silicone brush.

Fried Bread, for the best toast ever, here topped with Homemade Ricotta and chopped herbs ♥ How to toast bread without a toaster, crisp and golden.

What Makes Fried Bread So Special

  • Plain and simple, Fried Bread is just better toast!
  • It's extra-wonderful hot toast straight off the skillet, no extra butter or jam or honey.
  • But it also holds, we almost always do a few extra slices to nibble on throughout the day.
  • It can be made just ahead of time. We often serve Fried Bread for company, finishing it just as people arrive, even though we won't eat for an hour or so.
  • It's sturdy, making it a hearty base for an open-faced sandwich. I especially love it with Homemade Ricotta topped with sautéed vegetables or chopped herbs in a little olive oil.
  • It tastes like toast is supposed to taste like, in the way that a homemade cookie tastes so much better than a store-bought cookie.
  • No more toaster! Use a pan you already have, a stove you already know.

Bookmark! PIN! Share!

How do you save and share favorite recipes? recipes that fit your personal cooking style? a particular recipe your mom or daughter or best friend would just love? If this explanation of Fried Bread inspires you, go ahead, save and share! I'd be honored ...

Fried Bread, for the best toast ever ♥ How to toast bread without a toaster, crisp and golden.


Hands-on time: 5 minutes
Time to table: 10 minutes
  • Olive oil (or grape seed oil or another oil, even plain vegetable oil) or for extra decadence, salted butter or bacon drippings
  • Firm, hearty bread, sliced thick, about 1/4” – 1/3”

Heat the oil until shimmery on medium high in a non-stick or cast iron skillet. With your hands or tongs, rub both sides of each slice in the pan's oil. Fry each side for a couple of minutes until crispy and golden brown.

Alternatively, use a silicone pastry brush to brush the oil (or melted butter or bacon fat) evenly all across both sides and then cook until crispy and golden brown on both sides.

Serve hot but great news, Fried Bread keeps fresh and still tastes good later in the day so don't be afraid to either make ahead of time or to make extra for eating later in the day.

"Sure, I'd love another slice, thanks." Nibble on a slice, closing your eyes to give thanks that you're one of the lucky people enlightened to the primal pleasure of Fried Bread.

ALANNA’s TIPS This is a great way to spread one roll a long way. Just a slice or two is plenty to round out breakfast or to serve with a cup of soup or a salad for supper or as a toasted crostini for an open-face sandwich or appetizer. Here, we’re partial to whole-grain rolls from Whole Foods: there's one with raisins and nuts, another dusted with seeds called, lol, seed-uction. Just one roll serves four! Slices of hearty bread from a loaf work too, just cut into halves or quarters before frying. Homemade bread works really well too, I can't even guess how many slices of Our Daily Bread: My Easy Everyday Bread Recipe turned into Fried Bread. At the same time, don't underestimate the pleasure of a lowly hot dog bun toasted in a little oil, just on the flat side. So good! There's a reason burgers on toasted buns are the very best!

FOR MORE INFO If you "skipped straight to the recipe," please scroll back to the top of this page for ingredient information, ingredient substitutions, tips and more. If you print this recipe, you'll want to check the recipe online for even more tips and extra information about ingredient substitutions, best results and more. See .
NUTRITION INFORMATION Will vary widely based on how much oil is used and how much / the kind of bread. This is based on 1 tablespoon of oil used on four ounces of whole-grain bread split four ways: 106 Calories; 4g Tot Fat; 1g Sat Fat; 0mg Cholesterol; 169mg Sodium; 14g Carb; 1g Fiber; 2g Sugar; 2g Protein. Sorry, due to technical issues during a laptop conversion, Weight Watchers points will be updated later.

Starting with Home-Baked Bread? Some Good Candidates.

~ homemade bread recipes ~
Homemade Bread recipes ♥, yeast breads to flat breads, quick breads to crackers, biscuits to muffins.
Our Daily Bread: My Easy Everyday Bread Recipe ♥, the one I make again and again, every few days. It's an easy bread to make often, to fit into small spaces of your cooking life.

How to Make Swedish Rye Bread in a Bread Machine or By Hand ♥, the traditional recipe, slightly sweet, bright with orange, anise and caraway. Recipes, many insider tips, nutrition and Weight Watchers points included.

Best-Ever Oatmeal Bread ♥, a hearty substantial bread, made with oats, pecans, slightly sweetened with molasses. A family favorite!

Shop Your Pantry First

(helping home cooks save money on groceries)

~ more recipes using bread ~

~ All Recipes, By Ingredient ~
~ How to Save Money on Groceries ~

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail, you'll find my current address in the FAQs. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, for more scratch cooking recipes using whole, healthful ingredients, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. If you make this recipe, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below.

© Copyright Kitchen Parade
2009 & 2023

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. I've never thought of doing this, but yum! I bet it has amazing flavor! Must try this!

  2. Dianne ~ I was exactly the same way! It had just never occurred to me. Once you try it, you won't go back!

  3. Alanna,
    Try some other lipids too - I'm fond of duck fat, but lard is good (home-rendered of course) and there's always butter. These aren't as healthy as olive oil, but mighty good as a special occasion. Spread a little artichoke tapenade on the bread fried in duck fat.

  4. That sounds delicious!

  5. Actually, in the movie Julie & Julia, I believe it's Julie (the blogger) who fries the bread. Unless I'm blanking on a different scene when Julia does it too? I just remember this because I LOVED the way that bread looked just before she topped it with the tomatoes for a delicious bruschetta. Really great scene!

  6. I'm not a cook. I hate to cook. But I love to eat. I have a Jewish step-son and for a treat we will pan fry (in butter) leftover challah for Saturday morning breakfast. Yum!!

  7. Fried bread is quite common over here in the UK with a full English breakfast, although most places probably wouldn't use olive oil. It has always seemed really greasy to me. I do however, like the Gashouse Eggs that you posted a while back but spread butter on the bread before cooking them.


Post a Comment

Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna