I love putting croutons on salads, in soups, and on pasta. They add a wonderful crunch that changes up the texture, and you can make them yourself from stale bread. Don’t toss out that bread just because it’s a little bit stale and hard. Instead, I’ll show you how to make homemade croutons from it.
If you’re looking for a way to add some texture to a salad or another dish that’s a little featureless, croutons are a great way to do that, and you can make them from scratch in about 15 minutes.
How to Make Croutons from Bread
Which kind of bread works best for croutons? Any bread can work, but French bread and Italian bread are probably the best options, partly because they tend to have a little more flavor than regular bread and they can be a little crusty already, even before they go stale.
When making croutons, you’ll want to use thick slices. Try not to use thin sandwich slices, as it will be tougher to make evenly shaped cubes from that. Rye, whole grain, and sourdough bread are all good options because they offer different flavors that can give you a variety of croutons to work with.
- 2 crusty slices of bread
- 1/4 teaspoon of salt
- 1/8 teaspoon of garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Place a paper towel onto a separate plate and set that aside for later.
- A serrated knife works best to cut your bread, and you want to slice it into cubes that are about 3/4 of an inch thick. You could just tear the bread apart with your fingers, making your crouton pieces that way if you’re not as concerned about making them all the same size. From two slices of crusty bread, you should end up with about three cups of cubes.
- Put your cubed bread onto the baking sheet and drizzle olive oil over the top of that. Then, sprinkle on black pepper, garlic powder, and salt. Toss everything gently and ensure that oil has coated all of the pieces. Arrange your pieces in a single layer on the baking sheet.
- Bake for five minutes, then toss the croutons and bake for another 5 to 8 minutes. At this point, the croutons should be golden brown and just slightly chewy in the middle.
- Take the croutons out of the oven and put them onto the lined plate so that the paper towel absorbs the extra oil. When they cool, you can season the croutons with extra salt and pepper if you like.
This method for how to make croutons in a pan uses really simple ingredients and gives you croutons that will last for several days when stored in a bag or airtight container.
How to Store Homemade Croutons
You can store the croutons at room temperature, if you like. They can last for about a week in an airtight container, if they are crispy and dry. Chewy, softer croutons won’t last as long. Croutons will be at their freshest and best tasting within the first couple days. If you want them to crisp more and refresh them, you can put them in the oven for a few minutes before serving them up.
How to Make Croutons from Sourdough Bread
There are tons of different kinds of bread you could use to make croutons, you may want to try some different varieties so that you get other flavors to work with. I showed you how to make croutons in the oven, and you’ll use a similar process when you’re working with sourdough bread and turning those into croutons.
When you’re working with different types of bread, you may want to season it differently. When I’m using sourdough bread, I use a little Italian seasoning to help bring out the flavors of the bread and accentuate them.
So, I only use a few ingredients for this crouton recipe- olive oil, Italian seasoning, salt, and sourdough bread. Just use those two make your croutons according to the recipe above.
How to Make Croutons for Caesar Salad
Which kind of croutons work best when you’re making Caesar salad? I definitely recommend something with Italian seasoning or garlic powder for a more traditional crouton.
White bread is usually best for making Caesar salad croutons, and then you can top them with parmesan cheese for absolute crouton perfection, and they’ll work very well with your Caesar salad.
Remember to use thick slices of bread rather than thin sandwich slices for these croutons.
How to Make Garlic Croutons
If I’m making croutons with a garlic flavor, I make sure to use a bread that will work well with garlic, such as sourdough, French, Italian, or white bread.
I wouldn’t use cornbread or any other kind of sweeter bread to make garlic croutons period to season these, I may use garlic powder as well as a few other seasonings, or I may use minced garlic and sauté it in butter for a few minutes and then spread that over the croutons as they bake.
How to Make Cornbread Croutons
What about if you’re working with a sweeter bread like cornbread and want to make croutons from that? This is already a flavorful bread that’s rich in sugar, butter, and cornmeal.
You don’t have to add a lot of seasoning to it. I keep things simple by baking it with a drizzle of olive oil to coat all the cornmeal pieces and a little bit of salt to bring out the flavor, and that’s it.
How to Make Croutons for Soup
Which kind of croutons work best for soup? Any of the different croutons I’ve listed above will work well, but keep in mind how flavorful your croutons are and how they might work with the soup you’re putting them into. You probably don’t want to use a sweet crouton like cornbread croutons in tomato soup or something else that’s kind of acidic.
Try adding a little parmesan cheese to your croutons and baking them with a sprinkle the parmesan to see how that spruces up a soup.