This post was updated on June 17, 2014 to include new images and a recipe video.
**Warning:** after reading this post and trying out this recipe, you will likely never go back to buying store-bought croutons again. In fact, you will probably find it hard to believe you ever spent money on store-bought croutons in the first place.
Inevitably, if I have guests over and I make a salad, I get the ‘proverbial eye-rolling’ when they notice my tasty homemade croutons and ask if I made them. I then, of course, get on my soap box about how easy it is to make homemade croutons, though it usually falls on deaf ears. “Sure, Lacey, they are so easy to make” they say as they secretly (actually, it’s pretty much outwardly) hate me for making my own croutons. But, people, it’s so easy….it really is. Please don’t hate me. Please….?
Not only does making homemade croutons allow you to utilize the ends of the loaves of bread you weren’t going to eat anyway, but it also allows you to make delicious, fresh croutons to add to your salads and soups. You will never again experience that disappointing moment when you suddenly realize you forgot to buy croutons at the store and that the salad is now ruined. Sound familiar?
To make croutons, all you need is some bread, oil and seasoning. What bread, oil and seasoning (and any combination) you choose will determine how your croutons taste. My personal favorite is to use a day-old french bread. I also save the ends of the regular sliced loaves of bread until I have a decent amount (about 4-6 slices and/or heels is plenty). Otherwise, you can use as many pieces of bread as you’d like. If the bread is too hard to cut but is still good, just pop it in the microwave, wrapped in a damp cloth, for about 20 seconds to loosen it up.
If you don’t have the time to bake the croutons in the oven, you can also fry them in a skillet on medium-high heat for approximately 10 minutes until really golden brown. This method will leave your croutons a bit more chewy than if you baked them…which is equally as tasty, but don’t store as well.
Toss a few croutons on some Cream of Fresh Tomato Soup from my post earlier this week for a great combination.
Watch this quick video to see the easy steps:
- day-old French bread approximately 1/2 loaf
- olive oil approximately 1/4 cup oil per 1/2 loaf
- kosher salt to taste
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Optional: Parmesan cheese basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, dried herbs , garlic powder
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Using a bread knife, cut the bread into 1/2 inch by 1/2 inch cubes. If you prefer larger or smaller croutons, make your cuts accordingly--just be sure to make your cuts as similarly as possible to help them bake evenly. In a large bowl, toss bread cubes with enough olive oil to lightly coat. Add kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper to taste and any seasonings you prefer. Once cubes are evenly and lightly coated, pour bread onto a baking pan lined with aluminum foil (for easy clean-up).
Bake bread in oven for 20-30 minutes until bread is golden and very crunchy. Toss cubes several times during baking.
Homemade croutons, stored in a plastic container or a plastic bag, last up to two weeks unrefrigerated.
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links for the kitchen item(s) I use 🙂
65 thoughts on “Homemade Croutons”
Great—thank you. I did use a suggestion from another sight that made less mess/dirty dishes. Brush the melted butter with mixed herbs on the bread before cutting. I think this also more uniformally coays the croutons.
Now I know what I’m going to do with all of the bread heels I have been accumulating in my freezer!
I love having these on hand for salads. So much better than store bought.
Yea, they are super tasty and awesome. I’m glad they store so well, too!
Lacey, I adore your website and recipes! I had some leftover homemade focaccia and used your ideas to make the croutons. Yummy! One quick suggestion: When the bread is super hard, it helps to use an electric knife to slice right through. That way, too, the bread won’t get crushed during slicing. Happy eating!
Awww, thanks, Jillian! I’m so glad you enjoy my site. Thanks for the tip on how to cut the bread 🙂
What temperature do you bake these at?
Thank you, very useful,)
The croutons are in the oven now!!
I needed something to go with my pumpkin pie soup. Your crouton recipe was awesome. Instead of savory herbs/garlic, I used cinnamon, allspice and sugar to toss the croutons with. Yummy!
These are wonderful!! I’m making them to go with my homemade French Onion Soup so I used leftover roasted garlic italian bread, s/p, olive oil, minced garlic and parmesan cheese. YUMMY! I keep ‘testing’ them while I’m making the soup. Hope there are enough left for dinner!!
Thanks for the cookbook …I will try the recipes soon…thanks again.
amazing…I tried these out last night and my husband couldn’t get enough! Thank you!
This is great! I just recently started making my own bread (got so tired of all the junk that is in the store bought bread…and it is so much less expensive)! Anyway, because of the shape of the artisan loaves I always have two big pieces left from both ends. After going through the trouble of making bread from scratch there was NO WAY I was throwing it out. So, this recipe is PERFECT!
My 2 year old is fairly obsessed with croutons and just like with the bread the are full of all sorts of preservative! I am going to feel so good feeding him homemade croutons made with homemade bread!
(Oh, did you hear that clicking sound? Yep, that is me book-marking your blog! I love everything you make)! 🙂
Hi Lacey~I made these croutons and they came out perfectly! I used 2 slices of bread each from 3 different loafs of bread for variety. I used olive oil, kosher salt, pepper and fresh grated parmesean cheese. Everyone loved them! Not greasy at all. Thanks very much. I can see how adding whatever seasoning I’m in the mood for could be used. I might add garlic and parsley next time. Many thanks!
So glad that you enjoyed the croutons, Carol! 🙂
Thanks so much for this, now the only croutons I have are the ones I make. Much less expensive, and was a great for impressing the girlfriend 🙂
Right?!?! You’re very welcome 🙂
OMG these croutons are incredible. If I ever were to buy store croutons again, I think my husband would shoot me. HA!!
Not sure where I saw this but I crumble some croutons (crumbs) and mix with melted butter and rub on boneless skinless chicken breast or thighs and they are amazing. Tender, juicy, they are the best!!!
Oooh, I bet that would be delicious on chicken! Thanks for the idea 🙂
my house is just smelling absolutely tasty!!! i just sneaked a taste and oh my why do people buy store bought and so easy too… i just used for this first try cosher salt, ground black pepper, and italian seasoning blend! it’s wonderful, can’t wait for my salad tonight!!! thank you
oh and also who needs to bake an apple pie to make house smell good lol!!! this is so easy!!! they are ready to eat now and i don’t think will make it into a salad lol… i have another loaf of bread ha ha, and i know what i will be doing with it!!!
Yay! I’m so glad you enjoyed this recipe, Brenda! 🙂
OMG! I just made these and they are amazing! Ive had this page book marked and have been meaning to do it. So glad I did. I will be eating a lot of salads this week!
Thanks for the great recipe and easy instructions!
Hooray!! You are very welcome, Melissa! They keep pretty well in an air-tight container for about 2 weeks too 🙂
I used an Italian Loaf I made yesterday to make the croutons. I put chili powder on mine to kick up the flavor. Even before cooking they tasted great! Another time saver and better than purchased is making your own bread crumbs. Makes it so easy to stuffing quickly.
Thanks for pointing that out, Vickie. I totally agree that homemade breadcrumbs are the way to go (and are so easy!). I’ve never tried chili powder on my croutons — thanks for the idea!
Thanks for putting this recipe out there! Its hard for me to find croutons that will work for our family, with both of my kids being either dairy allergic or intolerant. So many commercial croutons have milk or cheese in the ingredients. My 4 year old helped make them (he added spices to the oil, and stirred), and he was very impressed with the final product. Easy to make, and even easier to eat!
You’re very welcome, Stacy. I’m so glad I have helped you and your family.
I used to make loads of homemade croutons for a conference center I worked at. Had not made them in years, BUT after again being in the states where croutons were at every salad bar and at all stores. I decided to make them again, here in Israel where I live as they are not so easily available, YUMMY recipe, Loved the EASY part of it
Thanks for sharing, Renee! I love the EASY part of it too 🙂
Tried and true… This is the recipe I use every time I make croutons. Thanks Lacey!
You are so VERY welcome, Alex 🙂 Glad I could help!
Found your website while searching for a homemade crouton recipe. I used the remainder of a meyer lemon bread loaf I bought at the Farmer’s market last week. The croutons turned out wonderful. I live in Austin too, so it’s nice to find a local cooking blog. thanks.
Ooh — meyer lemon loaf croutons sound amazing! Thanks for the Austin love 🙂
After going to the trouble to make homemade french onion soup for dinner tonight, I began to panic when I didn’t have any croutons. Found your recipe and they are in the oven. The kitchen smells incredible! I used the parma, italian seasoning, sea salt, fresh pepper, and evoo! Forgot the garlic powder, but will try that next time. Oh, I put a cooling rack on the cookie sheet and placed the croutons on it in a single layer – no need to stir! Thank you.
First off, homemade french onion soup sounds divine. Love the cooling rack idea!
Just made the croutons with left over Focaccia bread. turned out great! Since the bread is already “flavored”, I just added the olive oil, salt and pepper. Another idea, look for specialty breads in your grocery day old bread shelf!!
Yum! I love making croutons with left-over garlic bread, too 🙂
My son is gluten sensitive, so I used gluten free bread that I make. I couldn’t believe how well these turned out. I always feel guilty for throwing away the ends of the bread, now I have a good use for them now.
Yay, Michelle! I’m glad to know it turned out well with gluten free bread, too. Thanks for sharing!
I am making these out of my homemade vegan bread for tonight. My husband is
going to go nuts!
Yay! Enjoy, Rachel!
Fantastic! I love it when I can “wow” the husband. Next up, the tomato soup. Keep those recipes coming! Big thanks!
Yay! “Wowing” is always fun 🙂
I just made some with salt, garlic, pepper and parmesan…OMGNESS!!! I will NEVER buy croutons again…thank you..thank you..thank you!!
Yay! So glad you enjoyed the croutons! Thanks for sharing 🙂
Like every other commenter here, I made these and I will never go back to store-bought! I used extra-virgin olive oil, Italian seasoning, sea salt, crushed black pepper and parmesan cheese. The perfect addition to my tossed salad with dinner. Thanks for the recipe, Lacey!
No problem, Cory! So glad the croutons turned out well! Another homemade croutons convert!! 🙂
I made these tonight and they are FABULOUS! So crunchy and the taste is beautiful! The French bread was on sale for $1 and I had the rest of the ingredients onhand.
I will never buy crutons again!
Thanks so much.
Yay, I’m so glad you liked them, Steph, and that you will continue to make homemade croutons! Woohoo!
I just made these homemade croutons – talk about fabulous! I will never go back to store bought again. You are correct in that they were so easy and I love the customization option…I used three day old sourdough bread, olive oil, Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Seafood Magic seasoning, parmesan cheese and kosher salt and pepper. So tasty!! Love your site – thanks K
Hi Kathleen! I’m so glad you enjoyed the croutons! Your version sounds delish!
I am doing some research for a post that I’m doing on making homemade croutons… this was the second post I came across on google, and I’m in love with your site.
Thanks so much!!
I’m so glad you found me, Lindsay! Good luck with your research. 🙂
These sound absolutely delicious! I am for sure going to make them to enjoy with my next salad.
Thanks, Karen! I hope you like them 🙂
I think I am going to try these to put in my Thanksgiving stuffing. But I need to make them sage & onion. I’ll make them now and freeze them for Thanksgiving. I’m trying to be more ingredient conscious and need to create a replacement for the Brownberry Sage & Onion I usually use. I’m thinking of seasoning with celery seed, parsley, dried minced onion, and sage. Maybe minced garlic and poultry seasoning too. Lots of decisions 🙂
Hi Lindsey! I think that is a great idea. Your stuffing sounds like it will be delicious! I don’t use these croutons in my stuffing, but I will be posting my stuffing recipe in the weeks to come as well in case you’re interested. Thanks for sharing!
I cant wait to try these tonight!!! I am going to use Italian seasoning I think… but I might also add some butter. I am totally insane, I know.
If that makes you insane, Amanda, I don’t wanna be sane! Love the Italian seasoning and butter idea. Sounds good to me! 🙂
I like to throw the “heals” of bread in the fridge to keep them softer before I have enough to make a batch of croutons. Also, something I do is I like to infuse my butter or olive oil with real garlic. Crush it and just heat it over a low temp on the stovetop. Ohhhh my biscuits does this turn out extra ‘licious!!!! Thanks for getting the word out about how EASY this is!!!! I’m a sucker, no store bought croutons for me!!!
Hi Christina! Thanks for sharing that tip for your garlic-infused butter or olive oil…I will have to try that soon for my croutons. I have made rosemary-infused olive oil before, but your garlic idea sounds super tasty on croutons. Thanks for visiting! 🙂
It’s a great idea to make your own croutons. The bread was too hard the last time i was gonna make these, i will get to it this week. I’m gonna check out the rest of your blog.
Hi Gianna! Thanks for commenting. I hate when I wait too long and the bread is just too hard to cut–even for croutons. I hope you like the rest of my site.
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