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The 10 Best Substitutes For French Bread

What do you do when you want to make French onion soup or bread pudding and don’t have French bread? Stick around, as this article will show you what you can use instead of French bread for those delectable treats and more.

1. Brioche Bread

A homemade brioche loaf with butter and herbs on the side

Brioche can be considered a dessert bread, as it’s much sweeter than most other bread, including French bread. The enriched dough consists of eggs, butter, and sugar, which is “cold-proofed” in the refrigerator for up to 12 hours. This allows you to shape the dough better due to the butter’s temperature.

The bread is better for sweet applications, such as bread pudding, french toast, and other things. Savory dishes aren’t recommended when substituting Brioche bread, unless you want a sweet flavor throughout your dish. 

If you want to make a bread pudding, let the bread stay on the counter for 24-48 hours, as older Brioche bread tends to firm up a little more.

2. Ciabatta Bread

Sliced loaf of freshly baked ciabatta bread

Ciabatta is made from wheat flour, water, salt, yeast, and olive oil, along with a sourdough starter. In fact, most Italian bread starts with the same basic ingredients, with slightly different flavorings and processing methods. 

Because of the baking method used to make Ciabatta bread, it turns out almost identical to French bread, including the crisp outer crust and chewy inner bread. And, because it starts out with basic ingredients, it can be used for savory and sweet applications. 

There’s no need to prepare this French bread substitute for your favorite recipes, as it’s basically the same type of bread.

3. Breadsticks

Various types of bread and breadsticks

Breadsticks are normally thought of as a garlicky accompaniment to lasagna or other pasta. However, depending on the flavoring, they can work just as well in your bread recipes as French bread. 

They’re made in the exact same way as normal bread, but in the final molding stage, they’re rolled out long and narrow to resemble a stick. If you make these ahead of time and know what recipe you want to use them for, you can use flavors that complement your recipe’s flavors.

However, if you have leftover breadsticks from your favorite Italian restaurant, you can use them in your savory recipes like French onion soup, savory bread pudding, or as croutons.

4. Sourdough Bread

A homemade sourdough bread loaf

Sourdough bread gets its name through the pre-baking process of leaving wild yeast, flour, and water sitting on your counter for a few weeks to ferment. This allows the bread to be made without the need to use commercial leavening products. 

Baked sourdough bread achieves a crusty yet airy texture and takes more time than French bread to bake. The bread is wetter and stickier and is flexible when done, with a thick and chewy crust.

Sourdough bread might be a great substitute for French bread in savory recipes, such as soup, casseroles, and other dishes. It would also make an excellent stuffing for your Thanksgiving turkey. Sweet recipes might not go well with this bread, but if you want to make something with a citrus flavor, it might taste pretty good.

There’s no need for any special preparations, as this bread can stand up to anything that French bread can stand up to.

5. Croissant

Croissant sandwich with ham and cheese

Croissants are the darling of the bread world, as they’re flaky, buttery, and simply delicious. 

They’re made by rolling out the dough, then adding cold butter and rolling it out again. Several buttery layers create a flaky, crispy, and creamy bread that can be used for both savory and sweet dishes. 

Croissants can sometimes be soft or firm, depending on the recipe used. 

However, if you want to use them for dishes that French bread is used for, you’ll want to let them sit on the counter for 24-48 hours before you want to use them. This allows the croissants to get slightly stale and firm, so they won’t fall apart in your creations.

6. Bagel

A fried egg buttered bagel tomato coffee breakfast

The bagel has humble beginnings in the Jewish community but has since become a popular breakfast food. Once the dough is made, it’s boiled, then baked in the oven to create a crispy outer shell. This extra process creates a more rigid texture than French bread.

Bagels are an excellent substitute for French bread in many recipes since they have a slightly sweet and somewhat salty taste. 

They do need some preparation first, however, as they might be a little too chewy for some recipes. For example, if you’re going to make bread pudding, prepare the pudding mixture first. Then fold the bagel cubes in the mixture until they’re soaked. Chill overnight to soften the bagels.

Once the bagel chunks are softened, bake according to the recipe directions.

7. Pumpernickel Bread

A stack of sliced pumpernickel bread with one slice buttered

Pumpernickel bread is a high-fiber rye bread that can be rather heavy, but try not to confuse pumpernickel bread with rye bread. While pumpernickel bread is made from rye meal, rye bread can refer to any bread that contains rye flour.

The classic brown color of pumpernickel bread is achieved through the use of molasses, wheat flour, the endosperm of the rye berry, and sometimes, cocoa powder. It can be rather dense, so it’s suitable for recipes that need stiff bread.

You may not want to use this bread for light, savory recipes, as it can overpower the other flavors. However, it should be a great substitution if your recipe calls for heavy spices like cinnamon and ginger. And because it has a similar texture to French bread, it needs no preparation.

8. Raisin Bread

Freshly baked bread loaf with raisins

Raisin bread is made with raisins and various types of flour, such as white flour, oat flour, or whole-wheat flour, and it’s famous for its finished decoration with cinnamon. The bread’s taste and texture are improved by including some ingredients in the recipe, such as honey, eggs, sugar, or milk.

Most recipes for raisin bread include sweeteners that make the final product sweeter than most pieces of bread. Therefore, it’s an excellent option for dessert, considering it’s also a rich source of calories. But please, don’t use it for savory applications, as it might taste like something that came out of the bottom of a dishwasher.

This YouTube video will show you how to make raisin bread with cinnamon:

9. Portuguese Sweet Bread

Portuguese Sweet Bread Loaf

Portuguese sweet bread can be in the form of a loaf or rolls and is a typical delicacy enjoyed during Easter. The bread is lovely, and its recipe accommodates a wide array of taste enhancers such as salt and butter.

Other names for this bread might include:

  • Massa Sovada
  • Hawaiian Sweet bread
  • Easter bread

While you can use this bread in savory recipes, I wouldn’t recommend it. The heavy amount of sugar in this recipe can make your savory dishes taste like a salty and sweet mess. To prepare your bread for recipes, leave it out on the counter for up to two days to firm up a bit.

10. English Muffin

Homemade toasted english muffins with a tab of butter

The English muffin is more popular in the United States than in England, as it was first invented in the US. It’s popular because of the holes inside the bread, as they hold melted butter, honey, or jam perfectly, which creates the perfect blend of deliciousness.

The bread contains lower amounts of calories than French bread.

While English muffins don’t have a lot of flavors, they make up for it with those holes. It also comes in a light brownish color that’s brought by the addition of sugar. 

You can use English muffins in any recipe you choose, even though they taste best when toasted with a little butter and jelly. They have about the same texture as French bread, so you don’t need to complete any special preparations for your recipes.


Here are the 10 best substitutes for French bread:

  1. Brioche bread
  2. Ciabatta bread
  3. Croissant
  4. Bagel
  5. Pumpernickel bread
  6. Raisin bread
  7. Sourdough bread
  8. Portuguese sweet bread
  9. English muffin
  10. Breadsticks

For more, check out The 10 Best Substitutes For Milk In French Toast.