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Making homemade croutons is so easy and a great way to use up day old bread. They taste so much better than store bought, too and are a perfect addition to salad, soups and more.
Why I Love This Recipe
I’m not sure when I first tried making homemade croutons—it was years ago. But I know from the first taste I was hooked on the flavor!
I know some of my motivation came from the desire to use up some day old sourdough bread that I knew we would likely not finish at the peak of freshness so I thought I’d give it a try. It’s a good way to prevent food waste and is also a lot less expensive than store bought versions.
You can use any type of bread but I find that a firmer bread, like sour dough or a French bread, is really delicious!
I wanted a crouton that had lots of flavor but was not too complicated. I played around with the ratio of ingredients until I came up with this recipe.
Just a few simple ingredients like basil, garlic, olive oil and parmesan cheese are all that are needed and in minutes you’ll have croutons made in the oven tasting better than any store bought version you’ve ever tried!
These homemade croutons really are SO simple and you may already have some of the ingredients on hand! Here are a few tips to help you get started:
Bread – As mentioned, I prefer a firmer bread like sourdough or French bread, but I’ve also used whole wheat sandwich bread, too. I’ve not tried this recipe with regular white sandwich bread as it tends to get a bit soggier with the olive oil but perhaps baking the croutons a bit longer would help.
I bet a specialty bread like pumpernickel or rye would also be delicious!
Olive Oil – I buy olive oil in bulk at Costco since we use so much of it! There are lots of varieties—and price points—it seems but I just go for a basic virgin olive oil (not extra virgin). For recipes like this, a store brand works fine. I will sometimes buy it at Aldi, too.
Dried Basil – You can find this in the spice aisle of the grocery store. Again, store brand is just fine and a lot less expensive too.
Garlic Powder – Just like the basil, you can find this in the spice aisle and I use the store brand as it’s a bit more budget friendly. I use garlic powder in homemade rice sometimes like this Parmesan Brown and Wild Rice Pilaf, French Onion Dip and also in these Gourmet Steak Sandwich with Caramelized Onions recipe. It’s very versatile!
Parmesan Cheese – Go for the real cheese here and not the artificial stuff. The flavor difference is worth it! To save money, I often buy it in a large chunk and use my food processor (affiliate link) to grate it. It lasts for a couple of weeks like that in the refrigerator and even longer in the freezer. Great for topping other things like Homemade Crockpot Spaghetti Sauce or Skillet Stovetop Lasagna.
How To Make Homemade Croutons
This recipe takes only minutes to prep and then the baking is mostly hands off cooking!
Start by cutting the bread into about half-inch cubes. It’s even easier if you’re starting off with pre-sliced bread! (1)
Add the cubes to a large bowl and set aside while you prepare the dressing mixture. In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine the olive oil, Parmesan cheese, dried basil and garlic powder and whisk together until blended (2).
Pour the mixture over the bread cubes (3).
Then toss the oil mixture and cubes to coat the cubes as evenly as possible (4).
Then, you just bake the cubes for about 20 minutes at 375 degrees, tossing every 5 minutes or so until the homemade croutons are toasty and golden brown.
Make Ahead and Storage Tips
Homemade croutons can be made ahead and stored in a cool, dark pantry for up to 5 days. I haven’t really frozen them, but you could given it a try. A reusable storage bag (affiliate link) that is labeled (affiliate link) would work well—just make sure as much air as possible is removed before sealing the bag.
They are delicious to just snack on so that’s probably another reason why I’ve never frozen them…they just don’t last that long around our house!
Easy Homemade Croutons Recipe
- 4 cups cubed bread
- ½ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Start by cutting the bread into about half-inch cubes and place in a large bowl. Set aside while you prepare the dressing mixture.
- In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine the olive oil, Parmesan cheese, dried basil and garlic powder and whisk together until blended.
- Pour the mixture over the bread cubes and toss until well coated.
- Bake the cubes for about 20 minutes at 375°F, tossing every 5 minutes or so until the homemade croutons are toasty and golden brown.
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