Ree Drummond's Favorite Way To Make Toast Isn't In The Toaster

Everyone knows that toast comes from the toaster, right? Not necessarily! Ree Drummond (aka the Pioneer Woman) is here to set us straight when it comes to the best toast ever, at least when it comes to that favorite treat of weekends and afternoon snack time, cinnamon toast. For most of us, making cinnamon toast is one of the simplest possible kitchen tasks there is. Just pop sliced bread into the toaster until browned, spread it with butter, then add a sprinkle of cinnamon blended with sugar. You can even buy premixed cinnamon sugar in the spice aisle so you don't even have to do the work of creating your own mix if you don't want to. The result of this limited effort is a sweet piece of toast with lots of crunch from the sugar crystals.

But as the Pioneer Woman points out, to simply add butter, cinnamon, and sugar to the top of a piece of toast is to miss out on cinnamon toast's true delicious potential. That's why Drummond skips the toaster and instead makes this treat, whether for her kids, the ranch hands, or herself, in the oven. 

Melt that sugar for truly superior cinnamon toast

A toaster does a fine job of toasting and browning bread. However, Ree Drummond shares on her website that for the best cinnamon toast, you have to get the butter and sugar toasted and browned as well. Of course, these ingredients can't go in the toaster as they would make a huge burnt mess. Instead, Drummond makes cinnamon toast in the oven. 

To do this, she mashes softened butter with cinnamon, granulated sugar, and a splash of vanilla, then spreads a thick layer of the mixture over the entire surface of fresh, sliced bread. Arranged on a baking sheet, the bread goes in the oven for about 10 minutes, ending with a quick flash under the broiler. When the toast comes out, the surface is transformed: the sugar is melted and caramelized into a crackling crust on the surface of the bread. The heat deepens the flavor of the butter while the baking sheet browns the bottoms of the bread slices. 

This method is perfect when you want enough cinnamon toast to feed a big crowd; instead of cooking just two at a time in a toaster, you can fill a large baking sheet with slices to make a big batch that's all ready at the same time.

Ree Drummond's method is the old-fashioned way to make cinnamon toast

For those of us who grew up only making cinnamon toast one way — crunching through a layer of raw cinnamon sugar on buttered toast — this oven method may seem completely new. But oven-baked cinnamon toast has been around for quite a long time. And this makes total sense when you know a few historical facts about this sweet snack. 

The first mention of cinnamon toast can be traced back to an Italian cookbook published in the 1400s. Yes, cinnamon toast is a medieval treat! Back then, cinnamon and sugar were layered over bread with mozzarella cheese before being toasted to melt and caramelize everything. 

Cinnamon toast is so old that electric toasters are relatively new in comparison. Although invented in 1906, electric toasters didn't become an everyday appliance until the 1920s. Before this innovation, toast was made over an open flame or in an oven. And as long as you had that oven nice and hot anyway, why not make cinnamon sugar-topped slices with a crisp, caramelized topping instead of plain old toast? So, making cinnamon toast in an oven may be new to you, but at one time, it was standard. 

And if you're going to start making cinnamon toast the old-school way, why not take some more advice from the past? While Drummond builds her cinnamon toast on untoasted slices, a recipe from "The Good Housekeeping Cookbook," published in 1942, instructs cooks to first toast plain bread slices in the oven before spreading the slices with butter, cinnamon, and sugar on top and toasting it again. These two old-fashioned tips combined create a super delicious, super crispy version of this enduring classic snack.