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Brazilian French Toast (Rabanada)

Christmas is truly the best time of the year! At my Grandma’s house and many other Brazilian households that means it is time for rabanada(s), fatia dourada, or fatia parida. Huh???  I mean, it’s time for Brazilian French Toast, accompanied by a good cup of coffee. What’s so special about that?  Well, it’s small and thick, round or oval, custardy inside, and crunchy on the outside. It is simple, comforting, goldenlicious… and more!

Brazilian-french-toast, Portuguese-French-toast, rabanada, fatia-dourada, fatia-parida

Brazilian French Toast (or rabanada, as it’s known in Brazil) is different from its cousin, American French toast.  How so?  Well to start, the bread used to make Brazilian French toast has to be stale, usually has either a round or oval shape, and is cut thick. The way it is prepared is also different!  Bread slices are first soaked in milk (or in a milk mixture) and then coated with beaten eggs, fried in oil, and then sprinkled with a sugar cinnamon mixture — instead of being briefly soaked in a milk-egg mixture and cooked in sizzling melted butter, as the standard American French toast is. The result? The Brazilian French toast is much custardier inside, crunchier outside, and overall sweeter than its American counterpart.

Its sweetness may explain why it is served as a dessert or an afternoon snack instead of for breakfast.  If you have never tried this, now is your chance! Your simple ingredients — a French baguette or other round/oval bread, milk, sugar, cinnamon, eggs, and oil — are available pretty much in any corner of the world.

Brazilian-french-toast, Portuguese-French-toast, rabanada, fatia-dourada, fatia-parida

Rabanada makes its first documented appearance in the 15th century, as mentioned by Juan del Encina: ‘…honey and lots of eggs to make rabanadas…‘ evidently referenced as a dish helpful for recovery from childbirth.  This is why it is also known as fatia parida or fatia-de-parida (i.e. slices for the new mom).

The first recipes trace back to the cookbook of Hernández de Maceras (from 1607) and the “Arte de cozina, pastelería, vizcochería y conservería” by Francisco Martínez Motiño (from 1611).  By the beginning of the twentieth century rabanada was very common in the taverns of Madrid where it was served with jugs of wine.  The dish came to be associated with the Lent festival in Spain, while in Portugal it came to be associated with the Christmas feast.

From Spain to Portugal… and then from Portugal to Brazil, which was of course once its main colony.  You may see some designate this treat as Portuguese French Toast while others, like us, designate it as Brazilian French Toast.  Although the Portuguese and Brazilian preparation are essentially the same, there are some variations in the ingredients. In Portugal, their French toast is soaked in milk (flavored with spices and/or orange or lemon zest), wine (Minho province uses vinho verde, red or white), or a sugar syrup.  In contrast, Brazilian rabanada is often soaked in either plain milk or a mixture usually made from milk, sugar, and vanilla.  There are also differences in the way that they are served. In both countries they are often served plain…

Brazilian-french-toast, Portuguese-French-toast, rabanada, fatia-dourada, fatia-parida

…Yet, in Minho province they may be drizzled with a wine syrup, while in my home country, they may be drizzled with honey, sugar syrup or maple syrup (xarope de bordo)…

Brazilian-french-toast, Portuguese-French-toast, rabanada, fatia-dourada, fatia-parida

I can still vividly remember watching my maternal Grandmother, Socorro, standing at her stove as she carefully prepared this treat.  The aroma coming from her kitchen still fills my mind with delicious memories. As an adult, I treasure all of the moments that I spent as a child in her kitchen and in her company — back then so heedless of time and the simple happiness of those moments. I would give anything to go back in time and have her hand me a slice of rabanada with that big smile on her face.

Time can be quite ruthless… that is why I have started my own memories, this time with my own children. From my grandma to me, and from me to my little ones (and hopefully to my grandchildren)… What I truly want to do is to create fond memories with my loved ones and fill them with all the happy, comforting thoughts that will stay with them even when I too have long become a memory.

From my family to yours, MERRY CHRISTMAS!


Print Recipe
Brazilian French Toast (Rabanada)
Brazilian French Toast (rabanada) is a dessert or afternoon snack soaked in flavored milk, coated in beaten eggs, fried, and sprinkled with sugar-cinnamon. It is custardy inside and crunchy outside.
Brazilian-french-toast, Portuguese-French-toast, rabanada, fatia-dourada, fatia-parida
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
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Course Dessert/Snack
Cuisine Brazilian
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 2 minutes
Course Dessert/Snack
Cuisine Brazilian
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 2 minutes
Brazilian-french-toast, Portuguese-French-toast, rabanada, fatia-dourada, fatia-parida
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
Rate this recipe!
  1. Line a large baking sheet with a double layer of paper towel. Set aside.
  2. Divide bread slices between 2 large, shallow baking dishes, arranging them in one single layer each. In a jar or pitcher, mix well the milk, vanilla, and sugar. Pour milk mixture over the bread slices, distributing the liquid evenly over all the slices. Let bread slices soak for about 20 minutes, allowing it to soak up as much of the milk mixture as possible.
  3. In a large heavy skillet, heat about 2 inches of vegetable oil over medium-high until oil is hot enough that it sizzles.
  4. By hand, pick up each one of the milk-soaked bread slices (handling it gently) and dip it into the beaten eggs, coating both sides and allowing the excess to drip back into the egg bowl. Place the bread into the hot oil, and cook until well-browned on one side, about 1 to 1-1/2 minutes. Flip the bread and cook until both sides are golden brown. Carefully transfer rabanadas to the sheet lined with paper towels. Repeat with remaining slices of bread, cooking several simultaneously if the skillet is large enough. NOTE: Cook in batches and do not overcrowd the pan! You may have to lower the heat a bit for the next batches or cook slices in less time since temperature will be higher.
  5. In a medium bowl, mix sugar and cinnamon together. Dredge all sides of the bread slices into mixture. Any excess cooked eggs threads can be removed before dredging bread slices into -sugar cinnamon mixture. Brazilian French toast can be served either warm or at room temperature, by itself or drizzled with honey or maple syrup. I garnished mine with berries. In Brazil, it is served as a Christmas dessert or an afternoon snack, but it can be enjoyed any time of the year! INACTIVE TIME: 20 minutes



23 Responses to Brazilian French Toast (Rabanada)

  1. Raymund December 8, 2015 at 2:35 am #

    Now I dig it, looks like I need to visit Brazil soon because of all of these amazing sweet dishes, you guys know how to please people with sweet tooth, just look at that beauty of a French Toast

    • Denise Browning December 8, 2015 at 8:29 am #

      Thanks, Raymund! Yep, we got a very sweet tooth. 🙂 Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  2. Amy December 8, 2015 at 5:11 am #

    Oh, I like this, we just got a new recipe for breakfast.

    • Denise Browning December 8, 2015 at 8:27 am #

      Thanks, Amy! Although this a traditional Christmas dish from my home country, I made it for the first time for my 9-and-7- year-old children and they loved it. They have already requested it several times so I will be making for Christmas day again. I hope your family and you enjoy this treat. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Mi Vida en un Dulce December 8, 2015 at 12:19 pm #

    Well, December is the time for food, I never eat as much as I do in this time of the year. And here in the south side of the world is not the best thing to do because it’s beach season 🙂

  4. Cristina December 8, 2015 at 12:26 pm #

    Minha mae sempre faz rabanada na epoca do natal… ela sempre usa vinho e fica uma delicia! Um pouquinho diferente da tua receita… mergulha o pao no vinho com agua, depois na na outra mixtura. Fica uma maravilha coberto com acucar e canela!
    Mas muito obrigada por postar essa outra versao q eu nao conhecia.
    Feliz Natal!!!

    • Denise Browning December 8, 2015 at 7:26 pm #

      Cristina: Que surpresa boa ver uma brasileira aqui. Com vinho deve ficar uma delícia também. A minha avô materna era de decendência portuguesa e sempre fazia a dela embebida no leite — é muito comum em Pernambuco também. Essa minha receita é bem parecida com a dela. A única diferença é que eu misturo um pouco de açúcar e essência de baunilha com o leite para dar um gosto melhor. O pão amanhecido suga essa mistura de leite e dentro fica bem molhadinho e gostoso. A minha avô servia sem mel por cima mas aqui na minha casa adoramos das duas maneiras. Espero que você possa experimentar! Vale a pena. As minha filhas gostaram tanto que já pediram pra eu fazer de novo. Um abraço!

  5. Deb|EastofEdenCooking December 8, 2015 at 12:27 pm #

    Fantastic Denise! I always sprinkle cinnamon on my French Toast! I can just imagine all the sweets memories you are making with your daughters!

  6. marcela December 8, 2015 at 5:34 pm #

    oh wow! sounds great! My Brazilian friends are gonna love it!

  7. Jasline (Foodie Baker) December 9, 2015 at 1:18 am #

    Oooh I love the fact that it’s more custard-y! I always soak my french toast for a loooong time before pan-frying it so that the inside is really custard-y. I definitely have to give yours a try!

  8. John/Kitchen Riffs December 9, 2015 at 10:52 am #

    Wow! This looks great. Love French toast, and this looks much better. Gotta try it! Thanks.

  9. Amira December 9, 2015 at 11:40 am #

    What an interesting recipe, I bet kids and adults will be thrilled to try this delicious toasts. I have a feeling that it will be super hard to pick up the toast pieces and dipping them in the egg… any tips on that?… Sharing this on FB this now:)

  10. All That I'm Eating December 11, 2015 at 6:49 am #

    This sounds absolutely delicious, what a nice twist on a classic.

  11. Asha December 12, 2015 at 12:27 am #

    This is an amazing recipe for Christmas morning. The kids and adults would love love this.
    I love the custardy toast. Pinning for sure to make it sometime.

  12. Hadia December 13, 2015 at 8:01 pm #

    Such a wonderful recipe, Denise. My son is coming back home frome college. I will definitely surprise him on Christmas with your awesome Rabanada. There is nothing better than sharing foods and memories of grandmas. Wish you and your family a merry Christmas and a very happy new year! Xo Xo…Hadia

    • Denise Browning December 14, 2015 at 7:58 am #

      Hadia, thank you! I hope he enjoys as much as my family and I do. Merry Christmas and a marvelous 2016 for you and your family.

  13. Little Cooking Tips December 23, 2015 at 2:57 am #

    What a sweet post…!:) Both due to the recipe as well as the memories! After all, why do we do this? Why blog if we can’t share some memories, some experiences with others. It’s what make the recipes unique to each and every one of us, right? We wish you will share this exact recipe with your grandchildren one day Denise! We know they’ll cherish both the recipe and their grandma:)
    Thank you for the delicious treat, the cultural context and the memories!
    MERRY CHRISTMAS DENISE! May the new year bring joy, health and happiness to you and your family!
    Lots of hugs from both of us!

  14. Logan September 11, 2016 at 1:40 pm #

    Thanks for the family recipe. I lived in a Rio for a couple years, 16 years ago and I’ve been missing rabanada. Your recipe popped right up and I look forward to trying it. Regarding the above mentioned wine modification (in Portuguese) could I just dip the milk soaked bread into a 1:1 ratio cooking red wine : water, then dunk in egg and fry? Muito obrigado!!!

    • Denise Browning September 12, 2016 at 8:16 am #

      Hi, Logan!!! Absolutely!! You can replace the vanilla-flavored milk for a good red or white cooking wine. Either one will give flavor to the French toast in the soaking process. Then you dunk the soaked bread in eggs and fry according to the recipe instructions. I don’t recommend the use of water for the soaking process because it won’t flavor the bread. I hope this helps. Enjoy!!!


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