Most of us have been stress baking our way through this rough time, and if you’re anything like me you might have found yourself with a plethora of homemade breads.
There are only so many loaves you can use for sandwiches, keep in the pantry and the freezer, give to neighbors, or eat copious amounts of slathered in butter.
The good news is there are plenty of things you can do with excess bread, and aside from making cornbread and bacon stuffing, my favorite is to make homemade croutons! It’s quick, it’s easy, and you can customize it for your own tastes.
How do you make croutons from scratch?
The answer is: easily! You just need to dice your bread into uniform cubes, toss them in oil or butter and seasonings, and then bake.
That’s it! But let’s go into a little more detail about each element.
Pick your bread. Honestly, you can use just about any kind, but I prefer to use a hearty bread like sourdough or some stale homemade white bread. You can choose to leave the crust on or trim it to be without.
Coat in oil or butter. Both will work well, but butter will give you a more… buttery flavor. Shocker, right?
Choose your seasonings. I like to use Italian seasoning because I have it on hand and ready to go, but you can make your own or use any mix of seasonings and spices you like.
To cheese or not to cheese? I love adding grated Parmesan cheese to mine, but you can certainly omit it if you’d like.
You want to be sure you bake them until they’re golden and crisp, but not burned. That’d be like just trying to eat little chunks of cement and that’s not fun for anyone.
Let them cool completely. If you try to store them before they’re cooled, you’re going to end up with mushy croutons, and… well, ew.
How to dry out fresh bread
With homemade croutons, you want your bread to be a bit stale for best results. But if it’s not and you’re jonesing for croutons right now, here’s what you can do to speed up the process:
- Slice the bread into uniform ½″ pieces and arrange on a baking sheet in an even layer. Don’t toss with any oil or butter! We’re drying it out.
- Bake at 350°F for about 15 minutes until it’s dry and a bit toasted – but not browned.
- Let cool, then proceed with the rest of the recipe as listed in the recipe card below!
What to do with your homemade croutons
- Add them to your favorite salads. I like them on my strawberry avocado spinach and steak salad and spring salad with pomegranate vinaigrette.
- Swap oyster crackers for croutons in soups. They’re delicious in my carrot ginger soup, butternut squash soup and corn chowder.
- Add them to anything where you want some more crunch. Shove some in a Caesar salad wrap, or crush them and top some baked fish with it!
After you’ve made this recipe, please consider coming back to share your experience with others by leaving a comment below with a star rating!
Easy Homemade Croutons
- 2 cups hearty bread, diced into ½" cubes
- 1 Tablespoon oil or melted butter
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 teaspoons seasoning of choice, I like to use an Italian blend
- 1 teaspoon ground pepper
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- Preheat oven to 375°F and line a baking sheet with a nonstick silicon mat or parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, combine diced bread and oil (or butter) to coat.
- Add Parmesan, seasoning, pepper, salt, garlic powder and toss to evenly coat.
- Pour onto prepared sheet pan in an even layer and bake for 20 minutes, tossing halfway through for more even browning.
- Let cool completely on baking sheet, then enjoy!