Really Easy Homemade Croutons

Really Easy Homemade Croutons

Homemade croutons are so freakin’ easy to make!

I’m not sure why, but until recently I never really took the time to learn the art of making my own croutons at home.

A fresh batch of homemade croutons are not only really easy to make, but they are also a thousand times better than anything you dump out of a package. Not to mention croutons can easily be made to order depending on what you are using them for. Furthermore, you get to decide what size to make them, how they are seasoned and exactly how crispy you want them to be.

Have you ever grabbed a package of store-bought croutons out of the pantry, added them to your salad and feel like you might break a tooth on them because they are so hard?

Yeah, me too. I hate that!

Or how about this… You meant to buy some and you forgot.

That is exactly what happened to us a few weeks ago. David and I were planning on having my Blonde Italian Caesar Salad with Creamy Caesar Dressing to go along with our steaks. I realized I forgot to buy croutons after I had already driven the 30 minutes round trip to the grocery store and back. No way was I going back out just for croutons.

I always seem to have a loaf of leftover bread in the freezer just waiting to be used. So I made the croutons myself!

Making homemade croutons is the best way to use up leftover bread. You can use croutons to top casseroles (like this Curry Chicken Broccoli Casserole) or to toss into your soups salads. This time of year, they are perfect to have around when all you want is a hot bowl of soup on a chilly day.

After all these years, I feel like I have a homemade crouton recipe worth sharing. So grab a loaf of day-old bread, I’m going to teach you how to make quick batch of really easy homemade croutons!

A loaf of bread with homemade croutons on a board with the mountains in the background.

Ingredients Needed to Make Homemade Croutons:

  1. Bread: Any kind of bread will work. It just needs to be day-old bread or older.
  2. Oil: olive oil and butter are my favorite oils to use in combination. You could use one or the other or any other type of oil you prefer.
  3. Seasonings: Anything your heart desires! For this recipe, I use a hint of garlic with kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper. However, you can use pretty much any kind of seasoning you want. Parmesan cheese is always good, especially with tomato soup!
A bowl of croutons beside a bread knife and a loaf of bread.

Home to Make Homemade Croutons:

Step #1: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Step #2 Cut the bread into cubes.

Using a bread knife cut the bread into uniform bite-size cubes
(or tear the bread with your hands).

Make the cubes any size you prefer, but usually the cubes are bite-size and uniform. Cutting the cubes the same size is crucial so that the croutons bake evenly.

Also, cut off any excess crust from the bread. Heels or end pieces of bread tend to have lots of crust, so if you don’t want extremely crunchy croutons then shy away from using the ends or cut off the crust completely.

Step #3 Toss the bread cubes with oil and seasonings.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and olive oil together. Season with kosher salt and pepper, to taste. Add two cloves of smashed garlic to the seasoned melted butter and olive oil mixture. Simmer until the garlic is fragrant; about 1 minute, but DO NOT BROWN. (Browning garlic makes it bitter.) Remove from saucepan from the heat and allow it to cool slightly. Remove the garlic cloves and discard.

In a large bowl, slowly pour the seasoned oil mixture over the bread cubes. Toss the bread until well combined.

Step #4 Spread the croutons out onto a sheet pan.

Line a sheet pan large enough to spread the croutons out with parchment paper. Turn the croutons out onto the prepared baking sheet and spread the croutons out in a single layer, allowing as much space as possible between the bread cubes.

Step #5 Bake until the croutons are crispy.

Start out baking for 10 minutes. Then give the bread cubes a stir. This will give you an idea of how things are going. Continue to bake the cubes, until dry and light golden brown in color, an additional 5 to 10 minutes. Baking times may vary depending on the type of loaf and the size of the bread cubes.

A closeup shot of homemade croutons in a bowl.

Serve and store any unused croutons.

Serve the croutons immediately for hot soups and casseroles, but allow them to cool before adding to cold salads, or they could cause your lettuce to wilt.

Or let the croutons cool completely and store in a sealed container for up to two weeks.

Freezing croutons for long term use.

Alternatively, you could add them to a freezer bag or freezer safe container and freeze for several weeks to a year! To use from the freezer, heat them in the oven on a sheet pan until they are warm in crisp again.

I hope that this recipe will become your go-to recipe for croutons and possibly save you a trip to the store too!

p.s. If you are looking for flavored crouton recipe ideas, check out these from FoodandWine.com. I’m all over the bacon one!

Making homemade croutons is really easy and the best way to use up leftover bread. Toss croutons in soups or salads or use them to top casseroles. So good!
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5 from 1 vote

Homemade Croutons

Making homemade croutons is really easy and the best way to use up leftover bread. Toss croutons in soups or salads or use them to top casseroles. So good!
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword Croutons, easy, homemade
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 117kcal
Author Debbie Spivey

Ingredients

  • ½ loaf bread about 8 ounces
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 garlic cloves smashed

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Using a bread knife cut the bread into uniform bite-size cubes (or tear the bread with your hands) to make about 3 cups of bread cubes.
  • In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and olive oil together. Season with kosher salt and pepper, to taste. Add two cloves of smashed garlic to the seasoned melted butter and olive oil mixture. Simmer until the garlic is fragrant; about 1 minute, but DO NOT BROWN. (Browning garlic makes it bitter.) Remove from saucepan from the heat and allow it to cool slightly. Remove the garlic cloves and discard.
  • In a large bowl, slowly pour the seasoned oil mixture over the bread cubes. Toss the bread until well combined.
  • Line a sheet pan large enough to spread the croutons out with parchment paper. Turn the croutons out onto the prepared baking sheet and spread the croutons out in a single layer, allowing as much space as possible between the bread cubes.
  • Start out baking for 10 minutes. Then give the bread cubes a stir. This will give you an idea of how things are going. Continue to bake the cubes, until dry and light golden brown in color, an additional 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Serve the croutons immediately for hot soups and casseroles, but allow them to cool before adding to cold salads, or they could cause your lettuce to wilt.

Notes

Make the cubes any size you prefer, but usually, the cubes are bite-size and uniform. Cutting the cubes the same size is crucial so that the croutons bake evenly.
Cut off any excess crust from the bread. Heels or end pieces of bread tend to have lots of crust, so if you don’t want extremely crunchy croutons then shy away from using the ends or cut off the crust completely.
Baking times may vary depending on the type of loaf and the size of the bread cubes. 
Storage and freezing the croutons:
Allow the croutons cool completely and store in a sealed container for up to two weeks.
Alternatively, you could add them to a freezer bag or freezer safe container and freeze for several weeks to a year! To use from the freezer, heat them in the oven on a sheet pan until they are warm in crisp again.
Recipe adapted from StripedSpatula.com

Nutrition

Calories: 117kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 22mg | Sodium: 19mg | Vitamin A: 5.2% | Vitamin C: 0.6% | Calcium: 1% | Iron: 0.7%
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