Flavored with garlic and Italian seasoning, these crunchy Homemade Croutons are easy to make with your favorite bread. They're a satisfying salad topper, stuffing ingredient, or snack that you can even make gluten-free.
Every crave-worthy munchie has to knock two components out of the park – flavor and texture. These croutons deliver on both! They'll elevate any dish with a beautiful combination of savory goodness and crunchy delight. Plus, they're ridiculously easy to make in less than 30 minutes.
All you have to do is cut up some bread, mix it with olive oil and a simple array of seasonings, then pop it into the oven until each little cube is nice and crispy. Your soups and salads will taste better than ever with a handful of these homemade croutons on top! You'll never go back to your old store-bought ways.
What Are Croutons?
The word crouton is French for "small crust," which is a pretty accurate description on its own. Ultimately, a crouton is a small cube of bread that has been baked or toasted to give it a light and crunchy texture.
If you've been ignoring your love for Artisan-style bread since you can never finish it fast enough, this recipe will change your life! Croutons are intentionally made with stale bread to help them crisp up in the oven.
Here's a list of what you'll need to give your stale old bread a scrumptious makeover. Be sure to scroll to the bottom of this post to see the ingredient amounts in the recipe card.
- Bread: Cut into ¾-inch cubes.
- Olive Oil: This is key for crouton crispiness.
- Garlic Powder: For depth of flavor.
- Italian Seasoning: Made with herbs like basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme and sage, Italian seasoning adds amazing flavor to many things – especially croutons!
- Salt & Pepper: These classic flavor enhancers can be added to taste.
- Grated Parmesan Cheese: Feel free to leave this off if you'd like (or if necessary for your dietary restrictions). I personally love the tangy kick it provides.
What Kind of Bread is Best?
The best thing about croutons is that they can be made with any kind of bread you have on hand! Artisan-style French, Italian and sourdough loaves are ideal. I prefer the ones that you have to slice yourself.
If you want to take these croutons a step further and make them completely from scratch, which I highly recommend, you can't go wrong with Homemade French Bread. This Homemade Rye Bread is another no-fail choice!
Can I Use Gluten-Free Bread?
You absolutely can. Just grab (or make!) your favorite gluten-free loaf, let it get a little stale, then crank out the croutons as directed. There you have it!
How to Make Croutons from Scratch
Let's get down to business and discuss how to prepare homemade croutons. The process is crazy simple.
Prep for Baking: Preheat the oven to 375°F and spread the cubes of bread into a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Season Bread: Drizzle the olive oil over your bread, then sprinkle on the garlic powder, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper and parmesan cheese. Toss until all of the cubes are evenly coated in the seasoning blend (you can season the croutons in a mixing bowl if preferred). Spread the bread back out into an even layer on the baking sheet.
Bake: Bake the croutons for 12-20 minutes, or until they're golden and crispy.
Tips for Success
Describing homemade croutons as easy is an understatement. Even so, I suggest looking over these tips and tricks for good measure.
- Does Size Matter? In my option, ¾-inch cubes of bread make the best croutons. They're substantial, but they're small enough to fit into your mouth with a good amount of salad. If you'd like to make yours bigger or smaller, go right ahead – just remember to adjust the bake time accordingly.
- Coat the Croutons Evenly: There's no shame in using a bowl to season your croutons. This makes tossing easier and prevents a mess in the kitchen. An extra dirty dish is a small price to pay for the convenience!
- Control the Crisp: I find that 16 minutes is the sweet spot for perfectly crunchy croutons, but you can make them as light or dark as you'd like. All ovens are different, so check them early on your first batch just in case.
Whether you want to tailor your croutons to a specific dish or change things up for your snacking enjoyment, you've got plenty of options to choose from.
- Use Another Kind of Oil: Any oil of your choice can be used in place of olive oil. Try making your croutons with avocado oil, garlic oil, or even chili oil! Such a simple way to incorporate added flavor.
- Swap Out the Parmesan: These homemade croutons would also taste amazing with Asiago, Romano, manchego, or Grana Padano cheese. Reach for what you like!
- Switch Up the Flavors: From cajun seasoning to za'atar seasoning, there are tons of different flavor profiles to play around with. If I'm adding my croutons to a Mexican-style soup or salad, I love tossing them with some taco seasoning. Can I get a chef's kiss?
- Get Creative With the Bread: Spice up your croutons from the get-go by using a unique loaf of bread like this Roasted Garlic & Rosemary No-Knead Artisan Bread. If you prefer your croutons on the sweeter side, this Sweet Molasses Brown Bread is the way to go.
How to Serve Croutons
Croutons on their own make a satisfying snack, and they're also a stellar addition to any dish that could use some crunchiness. They're great in stuffing recipes, on top of soups, and of course, tossed into salads.
For a classic side dish that everyone will devour, add them to a Caesar salad along with this Homemade Caesar Dressing. If you need a comforting dinner to calm your senses, whip up this Minestrone Soup and dress it up with your crunchy croutons. Before you know it, you'll be adding them to everything you eat!
Leftover croutons should be kept in an airtight container. No need to make room in your fridge! They'll stay good at room temperature for up to 1 week.
Can I Freeze Homemade Croutons?
Yes – these croutons are completely freezer-friendly. Simply place them into a heavy-duty storage bag, squeeze out the air, seal the bag, then freeze the croutons for up to 6 weeks. Thaw them out before you use them.
More Easy Snacks to Make at Home
Looking for another snack that comes together with ease? The following recipes won't disappoint.
Did you make this recipe?
Let me know what you thought with a comment and rating below. You can also take a picture and tag me on Instagram @houseofnasheats or share it on the Pinterest pin so I can see.
- 4 cups bread French, Italian or sourdough, preferably
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 Tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese optional
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Cut the bread into ¾-inch cubes. Spread into a single layer on a baking sheet.
- Drizzle with the olive oil, then sprinkle and toss with the garlic powder, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and parmesan cheese.
- Spread out into an even layer and bake for 12-20 minutes.
- To Store: Keep croutons in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.
- To Freeze: Place croutons into a heavy-duty storage bag, squeeze out the air, seal the bag, then freeze the croutons for up to 6 weeks. Thaw them out before you use them.
This post was originally published in October, 2021. The photos and content were updated in May, 2022.