Homemade croutons are just about the easiest thing ever to make, and a million times better than anything you can buy at the store. They’re also easy to customize with whatever seasonings you might be craving, they can be made with any kind of bread that you have on hand (including gluten-free), and they’re easy to make as large or small, soft or crispy, plain or seasoned as you might prefer. Plus, if you’re trying to eat more greens in your life, I’m convinced that having a fresh batch of croutons around is one of the best motivators to toss together a quick salad. Or they’re also delicious for topping a fresh bowl of tomato soup or gazpacho this time of year.
To make homemade croutons, you just need three main ingredients:
Bread: Ideally at least a day or two old, any variety will do.
Olive oil: Or melted butter, if you prefer.
Seasonings: Totally up to you! I always, always add garlic powder to my croutons. Plus salt and black pepper. But any other seasonings are up to you! I often turn to Italian seasoning or blackening seasoning, and will occasionally sprinkle on some Parmesan cheese too.
Dice your bread: Choose whatever size of cubes you prefer, either cut with a knife or torn into small chunks by hand. It’s just important that the croutons be uniformly sized so that they cook evenly.
Toss with oil and seasonings: In a large bowl, drizzle the bread evenly with the oil and seasonings. Then toss until evenly combined.
Spread out on a baking sheet: Turn the croutons out onto a parchment-covered baking sheet, and spread out in a single layer.
Bake until crispy: Flipping the croutons once halfway through baking. Then baking until they croutons reach your desired level of crispiness.
Serve or store: Then serve immediately. Or let the croutons cool until they reach room temperature, then store in a sealed container for up to 2 weeks.
Some of my favorite ways to use homemade croutons include:
Salads: Especially any kind of Caesar salad, or my favorite Everyday Salad.
Soups: Especially hot tomato soup, or authentic Spanish gazpacho (recipe coming soon!)
Stuffings/Casseroles: Especially around the holidays
And of course, anytime you need breadcrumbs, just use a rolling pin or food processor to break those croutons up into your preferred size of breadcrumbs.