If you’ve ever had a salad or soup with crispy croutons on top, you know just how much they can elevate a dish. While store-bought croutons are convenient, making your own at home is surprisingly easy and offers endless variations.
Not only are homemade croutons more delicious than packaged croutons, they’re also a great way to use up leftover bread and reduce food waste.
In this article, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about making homemade croutons, from choosing the right bread to seasoning options.
About this Homemade Croutons Recipe:
Flavor: Although flavors can vary based on different seasonings, my favorite combination is Italian seasoning, garlic powder and salt. And of course the bread can add flavor, too.
Texture: The perfect crouton is crispy on the outside and slightly chewy on the inside.
Method: This recipe demonstrates how to make croutons in the oven, however you can also use an air fryer (see instructions below).
Are croutons just stale bread?
Not necessarily. They are lightly seasoned, drizzled with oil and then baked stale bread. And they are delicious.
This recipe is the perfect way to use up stale, day old bread. But if all you have is fresh bread, that will work, too.
What bread are croutons made of?
The best bread is the random buns and sandwich bread crusts that you may have on your countertop or in your freezer. And they are the best because you can put them to use in a delicious way.
Another option is to buy price reduced, day old bread at the grocery store. A heavy French or Italian bread makes good croutons. I also like buying rye bread, sourdough bread or pumpernickel bread to have the color and flavor variation.
There are 5 ingredients:
Olive oil. Oil is important for getting that crispness.
When I took the pictures for this article, I used ½ pound of pumpernickel bread (my favorite bread) and ½ pound of Italian bread.
How to make Croutons at Home
Prepare. Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Season. Cut the bread into 1” cubes. Place the bread cubes in a bowl. Drizzle oil over the top of the bread, then toss with your hands to coat the bread cubes. Sprinkle the seasonings over the top and stir to evenly combine.
Bake. Spread the prepared bread cubes evenly on the baking sheet. Bake for 5 minutes, then stir the cubes. Bake for an additional 5 minutes. Bake until they are crispy on the outside but still slightly chewy on the inside.
Air Fryer Instructions
Mix the bread cubes in a large bowl with the oil and seasonings, just as the recipe states. Heat the air fryer to 400ºF (or as high as it will go up to that point). Add the bread cubes to the air fryer basket and let them air fry for about 4 minutes. Then stir and air fry for an additional 2-3 minutes until they are golden brown.
You may have to do smaller batches if you choose this method.
Use gluten-free bread if needed.
Need seasoned breadcrumbs? You can use this same method with bread crumbs. Just toss in the oil and in the seasonings, then spread evenly on a baking sheet and bake. Watch closely because they will take less time.
My favorite addition is parmesan cheese. Because cheese makes everything better. 😋
Other dried herbs and seasonings options are rosemary, paprika, black pepper, oregano, basil and thyme.
Allow the croutons to cool completely, then store them in an airtight container at room temperature. They also freeze well for up to 2 months.
5-6tablespoonsolive oilplus 1-2 more tablespoons depending on how dry and heavy the bread is
1tablespoondried Italian seasoning
Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Cut the bread into 1” cubes.
Place the bread cubes in a bowl.
Drizzle oil over the top of the bread, then toss with your hands to coat the bread cubes.
Sprinkle the seasonings over the top and stir to evenly combine.
Spread the prepared bread cubes evenly on the baking sheet.
Bake for 5 minutes, then stir the cubes.
Bake for an additional 5 minutes.
Bake until they are crispy on the outside but still slightly chewy on the inside.
Allow the croutons to cool, then store them in an airtight container at room temperature. They also freeze well for up to 2 months.
*Preferably stale or older bread, but any will do. Use white, wheat, pumpernickel, Italian…whatever you choose.Refer to the article above for more tips and tricks.The calories shown are based on the recipe serving 20, with 1 serving being 1/20 of the croutons. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the calories shown are just an estimate. **We are not dietitians and recommend you seek a nutritionist for exact nutritional information. The information in the nutrition box are calculated through a program and there is room for error. If you need an accurate count, I recommend running the ingredients through your favorite nutrition calculator.**