All your crouton questions are answered, because after all, what is a salad—or a soup, for that matter—without them? Learn how to make the best croutons you’ve ever tasted out of leftover bread or baguette, right here.
Not only are they super easy to make and economical, they add big, crunchy allure to everything you add them to. Forget carbs–these are croutons!
What kind of bread works best for making croutons?
If you’re being choosy, look for a bread that is sturdy. Big bubbly air holes in the bread are a good thing; the more texture, the better.
Any bread you have in the house will work, day old or fresh, but generally speaking, the denser the bread is, the harder the finished crouton will be.
Here are just some of the varieties of bread that work well for croutons:
White sandwich bread
Multi grain bread
What you need to make croutons:
How to make croutons:
There are two basic ways to make croutons: in the oven, and on the skillet. Choose your own adventure down below.
But first, you need to break up the bread into bite-sized pieces. You can use a serrated bread knife to slice the bread into even cubes, crust and all. Or, you can break up the bread using your hands for a more rustic assortment of croutons.
There’s no wrong way to do it. It’s totally up to you.
Croutons in the oven:
Using the oven is the best way to make croutons. Not only is it easier and hands-off, but the oven’s ambient heat toasts everything evenly for better results.
Furthermore, if you’re planning to add seasoning to the croutons, use the oven method.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Then add the bread chunks to a big bowl and pour in a nice glug or two of olive oil. Olive oil is the best oil for croutons because it makes them super flavorful and irresistible.
Toss the soft croutons in the olive oil. If needed, add more oil if necessary, until everything is coated with oil. You don’t want the bread soaking in oil, just nicely and generously covered. The oil is what is going to crisp up the bread.
Add any herbs or dry spices you might want. For garlic croutons, zest some raw garlic into the olive oil and toss to coat. You don’t have to add anything though; they’ll still be delicious plain.
Spread the oiled bread out onto a rimmed baking sheet. Make sure the pieces aren’t touching.
Bake at 425 degrees. Pop them in the oven and stay nearby, checking every few minutes, until the croutons begin to toast. Once they begin to brown, give the sheet pan a gentle shake to move them around.
Whatever you do, don’t walk away from the oven! Keep checking, and once they get toasted on all sides, crunchy but with a bit of give, they’re likely done. They will firm up as they cool.
Salt the croutons while hot. Once you take them out of the oven, give them a generous sprinkle of good salt, and move them to a paper towel lined tray to cool. You did it!
To make croutons in the skillet:
Making croutons on the stove is easy, too. No need to toss the bread in oil beforehand; it gets fried in oil and browned right in the pan.
Grab a skillet. Find a skillet that’s large enough to accommodate the amount of bread you have.
Heat up the oil. Next, heat about ¼ cup olive oil over medium heat until shimmering.
Add bread and reduce heat to medium-low. Fry bread, tossing occasionally with a spatula or slotted spoon, until golden brown, 3–5 minutes.
Keep the bread moving. When the bread is completely toasted and brown, transfer the croutons to a paper towel lined plate or baking sheet.
Salt the croutons while hot. As soon as the croutons are removed from the skillet, immediately sprinkle salt over hot croutons and allow to cool.
Above all, eat them right away, but any leftovers can be stored in a sealed container for up to 2 weeks.
If you’re wondering, one cup of plain croutons has 122 calories.
All the delicious ways to eat croutons:
On soups: sprinkled on top of piping hot or chilled soups makes soup a little more special.
On salads: chances are, you’ll be more excited about salads when you make your own crispy croutons.
Over pasta: double the carbs, double the fun. Smash up garlic croutons and sprinkle over your favorite pasta dishes.
All on their own: you did it as a kid, you can do it now. It’s your kitchen!
How To Make Croutons
- 1 loaf bread
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Salt to taste
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees and adjust oven rack to middle position.
- Dice bread into ½ inch cubes.
- Toss bread in extra virgin olive oil to coat. Then sprinkle with salt or other seasonings, as desired.
- On a parchment paper lined baking sheet, spread the bread cubes evenly for baking.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes, until desired brownness.