Homemade Croutons elevate just about any salad to restaurant-level. They’re easier to make than you may think. For the most evenly toasted and crunchiest croutons, use the oven instead of the stove top to make these homemade croutons.
Table of contents
Why This Recipe Works
There are a few key components that make this recipe a sucess. For starters, we use bakery-quality whole-grain bread. Using a nice loaf of bread allows you to tear the bread into large craggy pieces instead of thin cubes like you’re forced to do with sliced sandwich bread.
While we’re on the topic, tearing the bread instead of cubing gives the croutons crispy edges that hold on to the salt and pepper—ideal for a crunchy salad topping.
And finally, we use whole-grain bread because we do things healthy-ish around here and quite frankly, we think whole-grain bread just tastes better.
Ingredients for Croutons
Since this is the main ingredient, it’s important to use something of quality. We prefer a whole-grain bread that has a light and tender interior. Feel free to use any bread you prefer, we just don’t recommend any pre-sliced sandwich bread, as it’s too thin.
We find olive oil to be the best fat for cooking croutons. Melted butter browns too quickly while neutral oils are, well, bland. Use regular olive oil or extra-virgin olive oil, either will work.
In the test kitchen, we like to use Morton Course Kosher Salt because of its grain-size. If you use Diamond Crystal, you’ll likely need to add more.
Since this is the only spice we’re using, freshly ground pepper, as opposed to pre-ground, makes a big difference.
Test Kitchen Tips
- Ovens are rarely up to temperature when they say they are. Preheat the oven for a few minutes longer after it beeps before adding the bread cubes.
- To cut down on dishes, toss the bread cubes and oil right on the baking sheet they’re going to toast on.
- Taste the croutons a few times throughout cooking. Croutons are all about preference. Some like them to have a bit more chew on the inside while others prefer them to be crisp throughout.
- The croutons will crisp up as they cool, so don’t be tempted to keep them in the oven too much longer than the time specified.
How to Use Homemade Croutons
- Use these homemade croutons on our savory Salmon Caesar Salad.
- Add some crunchy croutons to our veggie-packed Green Goddess Salad.
- Top our creamy Squash Soup or Creamy Broccoli Soup with croutons.
- Use them as a dipper for our Edamame Hummus.
- Toss them over sautéed greens and a cheesy fried egg or two in our Breakfast Salad Bowl.
- Use these croutons to make a quick Panzanella Salad.
Croutons can be made up to 1 week ahead of time.
How should I store croutons?
Let the croutons cool completely then transfer croutons to a glass container with a tight fitting lid. Store at room temperature.
Toss the croutons back onto a baking sheet and lightly re-toast at 350ºF for a few minutes.
Absolutely, play around with adding onion powder, garlic powder, dried oregano, dried rosemary, or Italian seasoning.
- ½ pound (8 ounces) whole-grain bakery bread, torn into 1-inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- Heat oven 350ºF (177ºC). Toss bread and oil to coat on a large baking sheet; season with ½ teaspoon kosher salt and ½ teaspoon pepper.
- Spread bread cubes into an even layer.
- Toast croutons until deeply golden brown, crispy on the outside and slightly chewy on the inside, 15–20 minutes, tossing occasionally.
- Cool completely on pan then use as desired.