This popular Spanish torrijas recipe is a family favorite! A cross between french toast and bread pudding, it’s a simple Spanish dessert that has gotten me my fair share of compliments over the years. There are as many torrijas recipes as people in Spain, but this one is a keeper.
I first heard about torrijas from a student I was teaching during my first year in Spain.
He was a professional chef, and he taught me a lot about Spanish cuisine that year. I asked him about Spanish Easter traditions and he told me about some traditional Easter sweets.
See also: Spanish foods for Lent
What are torrijas?
When I heard him describe torrijas as a sort of Spanish French toast covered with honey, I was intrigued. It sounded so good!
I soon learned that torrijas are actually made in a variety of different ways. I’d call them more of a cross between French toast and bread pudding.
Torrijas Recipe: Step by Step
Steps 1 & 2: You always start with day-old bread that is slightly stale. Then it’s usually soaked in a liquid — I like to soak it in milk infused with spices. Some people use sweet red wine or sweet sherry, others use milk, and some add different liquors.
Steps 2 & 3: Next, it is battered in beaten egg and fried in olive oil until browned.
Steps 5 & 6: Once browned, rest the torrijas on paper towels to absorb extra oil.
Steps 7 & 8: Finally, torrijas are often topped with cinnamon and sugar, though others are covered in sweet syrup, like honey or simple syrup. Some are even dipped in chocolate (not traditional, but delicious).
Obviously, I started sampling torrijas as soon as possible. In Seville, most of the versions that I tried were thick and sweet, slightly eggy, covered in honey, and always served cold. They were a delicious treat I would enjoy with my afternoon coffee.
Here in Madrid, I’ve also tried different torrijas recipes each Easter season, one made with a bit of sweet red wine and another covered with milk and cinnamon. Both were delicious.
The following is a torrijas recipe I came across on a Spanish recipe blog I often read: Mercado Calabajío. The torrijas come out perfectly every time. I took their suggestion and used some cardamom seeds, which really add something special.
Whether or not you would consider torrijas a Spanish version of French toast isn’t important—these are a delicious snack or dessert either way!
More delicious Spanish dessert recipes
- Spanish rice pudding recipe
- Tarta de Santiago recipe
- Spanish cheesecake recipe
- Crema Catalana recipe
- Spanish flan recipe
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Torrijas: Spanish Style French Toast with Cinnamon and Honey
- 4 large eggs
- 1 liter (about a quart) of whole milk
- 1 cup of sugar (200g)
- 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
- 3 tablespoons of honey
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil (good quality)
- 1 strip of lemon peel
- 1 strip orange peel
- 1 teaspoon of cardamom seeds (optional)
- 1 star anise (optional)
- A thick bar of slightly stale French bread or any other bread of choice. Use what you’d normally use to make a thick French toast.
- Bring the milk, ½ cup of sugar, lemon and orange peel, and spices (cardamom seeds and star anise) to a slow simmer.
- Cut the bread in thick slices.
- When the milk mixture has been simmering for about 15 minutes, turn off the heat and soak the slices of bread in this mixture. Be careful not to completely wet them to the point that they will break apart, but try to get them to absorb as much milk as possible.
- Let the slices of wet bread rest and cool (some liquid may be lost).
- Beat the eggs in a shallow bowl and dip the bread slices in the egg mixture. In the meantime, heat up about ½ an inch of the olive oil in a deep, heavy pan on medium-high heat.
- Fry the slices two by two, flipping them halfway so that both sides are nice and crisp.
- Let the torrijas rest on paper towels to absorb excess oil. In another bowl mix the remaining sugar (1/2 cup) with the cinnamon.
- Cover the slices in the cinnamon sugar mixture and reserve.
- Finally, make the syrup. Take the remaining cinnamon and sugar from coating the torrijas and add it to a medium-sized pot. Add a bit more sugar to completely cover the bottom of the pot if necessary.
- Add 2 cups of warm water to the sugar and bring it to a boil.
- Add the honey (you can add more or less depending on preference).
- Allow the syrup to simmer for about 30 minutes until it reduces to a syrup-like consistency. It won’t be a very thick syrup, but it shouldn’t be too watery.
- Take the syrup off of the heat and after about 15 minutes spoon it over the French toast. The torrijas should be completely soaked in syrup. Allow them to completely cool before putting them into the refrigerator.
- Refrigerate the torrijas for at least 4 hours, but preferably overnight.
- Enjoy within two or three days for best quality! (I doubt they’ll last that long anyway!)
Update Notice: This recipe was originally published on March 31, 2012 and was republished with new photos and text on February 15, 2021.
So what do you think—are torrijas a Spanish-style French toast or something completely different? If you’ve tried a torrijas recipe, do you prefer them with milk, wine, or honey?