This Recipe for Croutons is the best use for stale bread and will make you realize you never have to buy them from the grocery store again! They add the perfect crunch and boost of flavour to any soup or salad and when they’re this quick and easy to make, it’s almost a crime to not add ’em in!
Have some leftover stale bread lying around? Well, the stars could not be any more aligned because this Recipe for Croutons calls for exactly that! No need to ever buy pre-packaged croutons from the grocery store ever again when they’re this simple and quick to make yourself at home. And you can even season them however you like! They’re crunchy, flavourful and versatile! Use them on salads, soups or for straight up snacking, these homemade croutons are the best thing since sliced bread 😉
Who would ever really think of needing a recipe for croutons? I mean, is that something the average person thinks to make? Well, it should be! Because I know (and believe me, you’re not the only one) you have some leftover bread lying around on the counter you bought a few days ago that you don’t know what to do with. And it needs using up. Fast.
Say hellllllo to homemade croutons! Aka your new favourite way to use up that extra loaf. You already know they’re a match made in Heaven for the good ol’ Caesar Salad. And a best friend to certain soups or broths (Exhibit A: This Roasted Garlic Butternut Squash Soup). But hey, these little chunks of bread are even good eaten as is. One after the other. Like a bag of potato chips. But shhh…that didn’t come from me.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED TO MAKE THESE HOMEMADE CROUTONS
To be totally honest, you could realistically get away with skipping out on the olive oil and spices and just slicing up a day or two old loaf of bread into chunks, throwing it into the oven until toasted, and calling it a day. However, because we’re big on flavour over here and have a spice collection bigger than what most people can even fit into their cupboards, you know I gotta have at least *some sort* of seasoning associated with this recipe for croutons.
- The Bread: As already mentioned, stale bread, day or two old bread and bread that needs a-usin’ is what’s gonna work best for this recipe. I mean, fresh bread would work too, if that’s all ya got. But, it might have to cook a little longer in the oven to achieve the same kinda toastiness. I like using anything from a baguette, to a French or Italian loaf, to a classic sourdough.
- The Olive Oil: For extra flavour – coating the bread chunks helps make the spices stick easier. Also helps the croutons crisp up in the oven. As always, good quality, extra virgin works best here. You can also use butter or a different oil such as avocado instead, if you prefer.
- The Spices: For a herb-y and garlicky crouton, I decided to go with a little bit of garlic powder, Italian seasoning and salt and pepper. (If you’re feeling adventurous, try making your own homemade Italian seasoning from scratch following this easy recipe.) But of course, the options are endless! You can really do whatever spice combination you’re after! Making an Indian Style soup? Try tossing the croutons in curry powder. Making a Summer salad? Toss them in rosemary, thyme, parmesan cheese or lemon zest instead. You get the idea. Annnd a chopped fresh parsley garnish for a pop of colour and last bit of flavour. But again, it’s totally optional.
HOW TO MAKE HOMEMADE CROUTONS (PRO TIPS)
- Try and cut the bread into as even chunks as possible. This ensures they all cook in the same amount of time. EXTRA TIP: When I know I’m using the croutons for soup or broth, I like making them a little bigger. The bigger croutons are able to soak up more of the broth/soup (aka pure deliciousness). When I know I’m using them for salads, I make them a little bit smaller so they’re easier to eat. They don’t soften up as much in a salad as they do in a soup. So, in other words, you can make these croutons as big or as small as you want, depending on what you’re using them for!
- If you opt to use spices and oil to flavour and coat the croutons (recommended), make sure you toss them really well. You can do this either in a large bowl or right on the sheet pan to save on dishes. I like using my hands to ensure all the chunks of bread get nice and evenly coated.
- Line your baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil for easy clean up.
- It’s okay if the croutons are touching a little bit but don’t pile them on top of each other and don’t overcrowd the baking sheet. In order to cook as evenly as possible, the croutons must be in an even single layer. If needed, work in batches or use two rimmed baking sheets as overcrowding of the pan will cause the croutons to steam and become soggy rather than to bake and become crispy.
- Flip the croutons and rotate the pan halfway through baking to ensure even browning/cooking on all sides.
- Since cooking time will depend on your oven and the thickness of the cubes, keep a close eye after the first flip to ensure they don’t burn.
- Allow the croutons to cool completely before using or transferring to a container to store.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Croutons are best made with stale, leftover bread since they’re crisping up in the oven anyway. In terms of the type of bread, you can really use any kind you want including whole wheat and gluten free. I usually go for a classic French or Italian loaf, a round of sourdough or a baguette. You can even use leftover hotdog or hamburger buns!
No, homemade croutons are best kept on the counter at room temperature. Putting the croutons in the fridge will give them access to moisture and humidity which in turn will completely eliminate their crispness and make them soggy.
These homemade croutons will be good in an airtight container on the counter for at least 1 week (but probably closer to 2).
Some of my favourite ways to use homemade croutons are in salads (especially a good caesar salad), in thick and brothy soups or simply just for snacking. Homemade croutons are also great for comforting casseroles such as that traditional Thanksgiving stuffing. I also like dunking them into sunny side up eggs or classic dips like Tzatziki Sauce or this Dill Pickle Chip Dip.
PRO TIP: If you need breadcrumbs in a pinch, just throw some of these homemade croutons into a food processor or ziploc bag and crush ’em into your desired breadcrumb size. And voilà, quick and easy homemade breadcrumbs you can use in any recipe!
- 1 Loaf of Bread, cut into 3/4-inch cubes*
- 1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1 tsp Italian Seasoning*
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1/2 tsp Pepper
- 1/4 tsp Red Pepper Flakes (optional)
- Fresh Parsley, chopped, for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 375° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Cut the bread into 3/4-inch cubes. Try and get them as uniform as possible to ensure even cooking. Add them to a large bowl. (Alternatively, add them straight to the rimmed baking sheet at this time).
- Drizzle the olive oil and spices over top then use your hands or a spoon to toss and coat.
- Spread them out in a single layer on the baking sheet. It's okay if they touch a little but but don't overcrowd the pan and definitely don't pile them on top of each other.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes, tossing halfway through and keeping a close eye after the first 10 to ensure they don't burn. Cooking time will vary based on your oven and the thickness of the bread. The croutons will be a nice golden brown colour when they're done. Remove from the oven and let cool completely. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley, if desired.
If you’re feeling adventurous, try making your own homemade Italian seasoning from scratch following this easy recipe.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 417Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 811mgCarbohydrates: 63gFiber: 4gSugar: 7gProtein: 11g
Nutrition is only an estimate and calculated using Nutritionix.
SOUP RECIPES THAT’LL LOVE THESE CROUTONS
CLASSIC FRENCH ONION (Replace the bread with these!)
CROCKPOT ITALIAN WEDDING (Replace the meatballs with these for a Vegetarian version!)