Cinnamon toast is the best breakfast food out there, period.
I love cinnamon sugar things in all their forms but I especially love the comfort and coziness of cinnamon toast. Soft, yet crisp toast slathered with buttery cinnamon sugar fills a deep void in my soul. Everything just feels alright whenever I eat cinnamon toast, no matter what. There’s something about cinnamon, butter, sugar and the contrast between toast’s golden brown outsides and fluffy, soft insides.
I love the magic of toasting bread. I feel like toast is on a completely different level than plain old bread. I almost feel bad for bread and it’s lack of crispy edges. When I see loaves of bread, I’m forever thinking, “Imma toast you and you’re going to be so much more than what you are.” Toasting is to bread what going to the gym is for people. They/you go into the toaster/gym: pale, fluffy, and kinda doughy. They/you emerge: hard bodied, golden, toned and firm. Everyone wins! Ultimate deliciousness. And of course, it’s the toast version of hot girl summer!
How to make cinnamon toast
There are so many ways to make cinnamon toast, it’s almost like I could write a dissertation on it. There’s bread choice, then cinnamon to sugar ratio, method, so many options! The four most common ways are:
- Toasting first: Toasting, buttering, sprinkling on cinnamon-sugar.
- Toasting middle: buttering, toasting, sprinkling on cinnamon-sugar.
- Toasting last: buttering, sprinkling on cinnamon-sugar, toasting.
- Compound butter: Making cinnamon-sugar butter, buttering with cinnamon-sugar, toasting.
I have made it all four ways and #4 is my preferred way.
My standard method was always #1 but then I had cinnamon toast at Trouble Coffee in San Fransisco. Cue new obsession with how to make better cinnamon toast. I did a deep dive and we did side by side taste tests and my ultimate version is: cinnamon sugar butter on bread, in a warm pan on the stove until the butter, cinnamon, and sugar caramelizes, then a quick flip for a light toasting on the other side. The sugar is crackly and cinnamon-y and the bread is crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside. SO GOOD. The truth is though, cinnamon toast is good no matter how it’s made, am I right?
What is the best way to make cinnamon toast?
All toast is good toast but we still went ahead and did a double blind toast taste test because I love bracket competitions. The winner of the cooking method, in order of first to last place was:
- pan toasted
- toaster oven
- air fryer
In reality, we should have done a matrix of tests with the different cinnamon-sugar application methods and different kinds of bread, but by the time we ate all the slices we were all toasted out for the day. We shall have to stringently re-test another day! Let me know in the comments if we should update this post.
For me, cinnamon toast needs cinnamon sugar butter. When you sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top of plain buttered toast, the cinnamon sugar stays on the surface. Clearly cinnamon sugar butter is superior because the butter helps the cinnamon sugar seep into every nook and cranny of the bread. Making cinnamon sugar butter is as simple as mixing together room temp butter with cinnamon and sugar, in a 4:4:1 ratio: 4 parts butter, 4 parts sugar, 1 part cinnamon sugar. In regular tablespoons, that’s 2 tbsp butter, 2 tbsp sugar, and 1/2 tbsp cinnamon.
Once you have your cinnamon sugar butter, all you need to do is spread it from edge to edge of your bread of choice (I like shokupan, brioche, or challah) and then go ahead and toast it up.
Pan-toasted cinnamon toast
This was the toast with a caramelized cinnamon top and perfect texture contrast between the crisp outsides and fluffy moist insides.
To pan toast: Place in a cold non-stick frying pan and turn the heat to medium. Toast until the sugar melts and caramelizes, about 2-3 minutes. Flip and lightly toast the other side of the bread.
Toaster oven cinnamon toast
This was moist and fluffy on the inside and light and crisp on the outside.
To use a toaster oven: Place the cinnamon sugar coated bread in a toaster oven and toast on your desired doneness setting, or until the top of the toast is bubbly and caramelized.
Oven baked toast
This is a slightly drier toast, because it spends so much time in the oven, perfect for those who hate soggy bread.
To oven bake: Heat the oven to 350°F. Place the toast on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, then broil for 1 minute until golden.
Air fryer toast
A moist and somewhat dense toast, good for people who like it more pastry-like.
To air fry: Preheat the air fryer to 400°F. Air fry the toast for 4-5 minutes or until golden and crisp.
The best butter for cinnamon toast
When there are only four ingredients for your cinnamon toast, you better believe that every ingredient matters. Go for good butter. Unsalted or salted is up to preference. I prefer unsalted so I can add a bit of flaky salt on top of the toast if I feel like a burst of contrast. Kerrygold is a solid butter with slightly more fat content than regular butter (82% butterfat).
My all time favorite butter is from Iceland, called Smjör and it is seriously the most amazing butter I have ever tasted (even though it’s only 80% butterfat). The milk used for Smjör are from special Iceland cows that are grass fed. It’s really amazing, so much so that I brought some home with me after our Iceland trip.
What kind of cinnamon for cinnamon toast?
Not all cinnamons are created equal. There are two kinds of ground cinnamon in the world: Ceylon and cassia. And from there, there are different subtypes. Both are from the bark of trees but the way the bark is harvested and taste are vastly different. The most common is cassia cinnamon and that’s the one you probably know and love. It’s the one I love actually. There are three subtypes of cassia: Indonesian, Chinese, and Vietnamese/Saigon. From these three, I love Vietnamese cinnamon because it’s intensely fragrant and flavorful.
Ceylon cinnamon is what people call “true cinnamon” and it’s not as common at regular grocery stores. It’s also a lot more mild, delicate, and subtle. It’s not the kind of thing you’re going to want to use on your supermarket bread for cinnamon toast, but if you’re looking for the ULTIMATE cinnamon experience, seek it out. You can find it easily online.
Whew. It’s clear I really, really, really love cinnamon toast. If you made it this far, cinnamon hugs!
Bonus: I also wanted to mention the viral NYT way: melting butter in a pan, adding the bread, sprinkling on cinnamon sugar, flipping, and sprinkling on more cinnamon sugar. This is also an amazing method!
Cinnamon toast is the best breakfast food out there, period.
- 2 tbsp butter room temp
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1/2 tbsp cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp vanilla extract optional
- 2 slices bread
Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat 110
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat 7.4g46%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.