Homemade Croutons

Homemade Croutons are a crunchy, flavorful way to jazz up your favorite salads, soups, and more. And not only is this crouton recipe easy to make, but it’s also a great way to use up stale bread!

Homemade Croutons with spatula on pan, with text overlay.


 

As the weather warms up, loaded salads become a go-to meal at our house, and we regularly enjoy homemade taco salad, cobb salad, chopped salad, and a variety of pasta salads for lunch or dinner. My family loves a good salad smorgasbord, and I'm always happy to see them upping their veggie intake without the dreaded dinnertime battles. It doesn't hurt that I've figured out one of the best ways to make big, healthy salads appealing to (most) kids is to adorn them with fresh dressings and other homemade additions...like these flavorful Homemade Croutons!

I first made Homemade Croutons as a component for my yummy Caesar Salad recipe, but we quickly determined that leftover croutons are delicious on a variety of other salads (and even soups!) as well.

Ingredients

Aerial view of ingredients to make crouton recipe.

Homemade Croutons require just a few simple ingredients:

  • Bread. This crouton recipe was developed using an approximately 1-pound loaf of French or Italian bread. That being said, you can use pretty much any type of old, stale bread that you'd like to use up.
  • Extra-virgin olive oil + melted butter. I like to use a combo, which allows the croutons to get nice and toasty in the oven (thank you, EVOO) but with extra flavor (thank you, butter). However, you could opt to make these Homemade Croutons with solely olive oil (⅔ cup total) if you wish.
  • Salt + pepper. Don't skimp!
  • Garlic powder. You could omit this if you prefer, but I like garlicky croutons. 😉
  • Dried herbs. Specifically, parsley, basil, oregano, and thyme, although you may swap these out for any herbs you like. It's recommended to crumble the dried herbs in your fingers, so that they are ground into a finer powder for more even distribution. And if you'd like to use fresh herbs instead of dried, that will work, too...see Tips & Tricks below for more details.
  • Grated Parmesan. Optional, but recommended!

How to Make Croutons

You won't believe how easy this crouton recipe is to make:

  1. Preheat the oven and cut your bread into 1-inch cubes.
Cutting bread in cubes for crouton recipe.
  1. In a bowl, combine melted butter, olive oil, salt, garlic powder, and dried herbs.
Mixing oil wiith herbs and seasonings.
  1. Place the bread cubes in a very large (2-gallon) zip-top plastic bag (or a very large bowl with a tight-fitting lid).
Bread cubes on cutting board and in bag.
  1. Drizzle the bread cubes with the butter/oil/herb mixture, seal the bag (or cover the bowl), and shake and turn until the cubes are evenly coated and seasoned.
Crouton recipe in zip-top baggie.
  1. Pour the seasoned bread cubes onto a rimmed 18x13x1-inch half sheet pan and spread into a single layer. Season with freshly ground black pepper, to taste.
Cubes of bread with oil and hebs on baking sheet.
  1. Bake the croutons for 8 minutes. Flip and stir the croutons with a metal spatula, spreading them back into a single layer. If desired, you can sprinkle the croutons with Parmesan at this point. 
Homemade Croutons with Parmesan sprinkled on top.
  1. Pop the croutons back in the oven and bake for 5 to 15 minutes or longer, watching carefully and stirring every few minutes, until the croutons are your preferred shade of golden brown.
Baked pan fresh out of the oven.
  1. Adjust the seasonings with extra salt and pepper, if necessary. Allow the Homemade Croutons to cool completely and then store them in an airtight container.
Crouton recipe in jar.

Baking Time

Be sure to watch your crouton recipe carefully towards the end of the baking time to achieve your desired level of golden brown. My kids prefer less toasty croutons, so I usually keep mine on the lighter side (though they still turn out perfectly crunchy), but feel free to let them bake longer for deeper color.

Customizing the Flavors

It's fun to tweak the herbs to complement the type of salad you plan on serving.

These Homemade Croutons were created with Caesar Salad in mind so this recipe has a garlicky undertone, but they also perfectly complement any Olive Garden-style Italian salad or even a Greek salad.

If you want a plain crouton for a different type of salad, you can simply use parsley in lieu of the blend of Italian herbs.

And if you have fresh herbs available, feel free to include those! Give your croutons a stronger flavor with some fresh minced rosemary...or a summer-y vibe with some fresh minced dill.

Finally, while I often like finishing off my crouton recipe with a shower of Parmesan for even more flavor, that addition is totally optional.

Aerial close-up of Homemade Croutons with garlic and herbs.

Yield

I prefer cutting up a whole loaf of bread to bake a big batch of Homemade Croutons all at once, since they'll stay fresh in a tightly-sealed container for numerous days (up to a week) over multiple salads.

If the croutons stretch further than that, they even freeze beautifully.

I mean, why toil over croutons every few days when you can make them once and enjoy them for a good while? Although let's be honest here...they're pretty effortless either way. 😉

Other Serving Options

Once summer salad season ends and the cooler weather sets in, I can't wait to float a handful of these croutons in a big bowl of Tomato Basil, Butternut Squash, or Split Pea Soup! Or heck, they'd even be delicious floating atop Gazpacho during the summer months.

Homemade Croutons are an easy way to add a special touch to a variety of meals. Hope you enjoy! 🙂

Close-up of Homemade Croutons on pan.

Tips, Tricks, & Special Equipment

  • If it's your preference, you may slice the crust off of your bread before cutting the bread into cubes.
  • If using minced fresh herbs, do not add them to the butter/oil/garlic powder mixture. Instead, sprinkle them over the croutons after the first 8 minutes of baking time (along with the Parmesan cheese, if using).
  • If you make a big batch of Homemade Croutons, all of them probably won't fit on one rimmed baking pan. In that case, you may divide them between two pans and bake the pans one at a time. Just keep in mind that if the croutons are more spread out with extra room on a baking pan, they will probably brown more quickly...so be sure to watch them closely.
Crouton recipe on sheet pan with metal spatula.

More Sensational Salads

Homemade Croutons recipe in white bowl.

Homemade Croutons

Homemade Croutons are a crunchy, flavorful way to jazz up your favorite salads, soups, and more. And not only is this crouton recipe easy to make, but it’s also a great way to use up stale bread!
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 24 servings (1 serving = approximately ⅓ cup croutons; recipe makes approximately 8 cups of croutons total)
Calories: 99kcal
Print Pin Rate

Ingredients

  • 1 (approximately 1-pound) loaf French OR Italian bread, fresh or somewhat stale
  • cup butter, melted
  • cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¾ teaspoon salt, plus additional to taste
  • ¾ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon dried parsley, crumbled
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil, crumbled
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan, optional

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Cut the bread into ¾-inch cubes, to yield about 10 cups.
  • In a bowl, combine the melted butter, olive oil, salt, garlic powder, parsley, basil, oregano, and thyme. Place the bread cubes in a very large (2-gallon) zip-top plastic bag or a very large bowl with a tight-fitting lid. Drizzle the bread cubes with the butter/oil/herb mixture, seal the bag (or cover the bowl), and shake and turn until the cubes are evenly coated and seasoned.
  • Pour the seasoned bread cubes onto a rimmed 18x13x1-inch half sheet pan and spread into a single layer (initially, the bread cubes will be tightly packed, but as they bake, they will shrink and there will be more space for them to spread out on the sheet pan). Season bread cubes with freshly ground black pepper, to taste.
  • Bake the croutons for 8 minutes. Flip and stir the croutons with a metal spatula, spreading them back into a single layer. If desired, the croutons may be sprinkled with Parmesan at this point. Return the croutons to the oven and bake for 5 to 15 minutes or longer, watching carefully and stirring every 5 minutes or so, until the croutons are light golden brown (or as dark as you prefer them).
  • Carefully taste a crouton (blow on it first, as it will be hot!) and season the pan with additional salt and pepper, if desired. Allow croutons to completely cool and then store them in an airtight container for up to a week.

Video

Notes

  • If desired, you may slice the crust off of the bread before cutting your bread cubes.
  • Crumbling the dried herbs in your fingers will grind them into a finer powder for more even distribution on the croutons.
  • Feel free to change up the herbs.
  • If using minced fresh herbs, do not add them to the butter/oil/garlic powder mixture. Instead, sprinkle them over the croutons after the first 8 minutes of baking time (along with the Parmesan cheese, if using).
  • If all of your croutons won't fit on one rimmed baking pan, you may divide the croutons between two pans. I'd recommend baking the pans one at a time...just keep in mind that if the croutons are more spread out with extra room on a baking pan, they will probably brown more quickly...so be sure to watch them closely.

Nutrition

Calories: 99kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 8mg | Sodium: 212mg | Potassium: 25mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 89IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 20mg | Iron: 1mg
Made this recipe? I'd love to see on IG!Mention @FiveHeartHome or tag #FiveHeartHome!

Post originally published on June 13, 2016, and updated on July 8, 2021, and May 5, 2022.

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Recipe Rating




4 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I knew this was the recipe I was supposed to try! They turned out so good and are now my go-to! Thank you!

  2. 5 stars
    These wonderful croutons are the reason my family will eat salad! They are absolutely delicious and so simple to make! My favorite bread to use is a par-baked Italian loaf from Aldi. It takes a little longer to bake the croutons, but they're SO yummy. I freeze the extra croutons in a freezer-safe Ziploc and they keep well. I also make sure I always have a loaf or two of "crouton bread" in the freezer for crouton emergencies - we don't ever want to be without them!

  3. These look yummy! We try to do more salads in the summer too, and these will make them more exciting. I don't know how I missed the Olive Garden dressing recipe, but that is a must try. It's my oldest favorite place she could live on their salad and bread sticks 🙂