How to Make Croutons

Learn how to make croutons for best-ever salads, homemade stuffing and more.

Croutons add the perfect crunch to soups and salads. Master the technique of how to make croutons below, and you’ll be able to make them all the time without a recipe. Just season with a flavorful seasoning blend, bake and enjoy!

Choosing the Right Ingredients

As with any good dish, one of the keys to success is picking the right ingredients. While that usually means the freshest ingredients, for croutons we actually want the opposite. Stale bread makes for great croutons.

If you are lucky enough to have a large loaf of sourdough, French boule or rustic Italian that are a few days old, they’ll work best. However, if you decide to make croutons on a whim, and nothing more than a sandwich loaf is available, not to worry. The croutons will still be very tasty, though maybe not as crunchy.

Just as important is a high-quality olive oil and/or butter. Finally, you’ll need fresh garlic, kosher salt and a little bit of onion powder. Ready? Let’s do this!

Homemade Crouton Recipe

Basic ingredients for how to make croutonsJennifer Schwarzkopf for Taste of Home

Ingredients

  • 1 loaf stale bread (approximately 2 cups bread cubes)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions

Step 1: Prep your sheet pan

Preheat oven to 375° F. Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper and set aside. (Foil helps with browning.)

Step 2: Season the bread cubes

Mixing homemade croutons with seasoning and oil.Jennifer Schwarzkopf for Taste of Home

Cut the bread into large 3/4″ cubes. The cubes should consistent in size for even browning. Place in a large bowl.

Rub minced garlic into cubes. Drizzle the olive oil and melted butter over bread cubes. Then, sprinkle with onion powder, salt and black pepper. Mix up the cubes with your hands to ensure even seasoning.

Step 3: Bake

Homemade croutons on pan ready to bakeJennifer Schwarzkopf for Taste of Home

Spread bread cubes on the prepared sheet pan, ensuring all pieces have space around them for even toasting.

Bake for 7 minutes, then remove from the oven and toss. Bake for another 7-10 minutes until all the cubes are cooked evenly and golden brown. Let cool on the pan.

More Crouton Seasoning Ideas

As mentioned above, once you’ve mastered the technique, it’s easy to play around with seasonings. You can test out some of the following ideas, or create your own!

  • Fresh herbs, like rosemary or thyme
  • Italian seasoning with a little bit of shredded Parmesan
  • Crushed red pepper
  • Sesame oil with furikake for an Asian-inspired flavor

How to Use Croutons

Lisovskaya/Getty Images

You’ll want to use your croutons in every way possible. You’ll want to add croutons to fresh green salads, of course. Caesar salads, for example, are a classic option for homemade croutons. But they can also be used to:

  • Add crunch to homemade soups
  • Make stuffing from scratch
  • Top poached fish or baked chicken (instead of bread crumbs)
  • Scramble with eggs, in a twist on matzo brei

Tips for Storage

Though we doubt your croutons will last very long, here are a few tips for proper storage:

  • Store croutons in an airtight container or good quality zip-top bags
  • Keep in a cool place, away from sunlight
  • Keep away from extreme temperatures, including the oven and stovetop

Your homemade croutons should maintain their crispness for up to three days.

Main Dish Salads to Top with Croutons
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Jennifer Schwarzkopf
Half Chilean, half Irish descent and all joie de vivre, I'm a food writer/photographer who loves to share stories about different cultures and the magic that is sharing a meal together. When not doing that, you'll find me working on my culinary degree, hanging with family & friends, and just trying to "live deep and suck out all the marrow of life." Salud!