In this post: Using store-bought gluten-free bread, these homemade croutons are easy and delicious! Learn how to make croutons here. 


A while back I mentioned that even halfway homemade is better than preservative-laden pre-packaged foods. This is why I love these melt-in-your-mouth, crunchy homemade croutons. I used a few slices of store-bought gluten-free bread and made some pretty healthy and quick croutons – perfect for Caesar salad.

homemade croutons from scratch in a white bowl beside salad greens

What Kind of Bread Should I Use?

Stale bread is perfect for making croutons, as is any crusty, hearty bread, like sourdough or French bread. 

If you don’t have any stale bread you can fake it by toasting the bread in a toaster or baking it in the oven to dry it out. 

Why You’ll Love These Homemade Croutons

  • They’re quick and easy to make.
  • You can season them any way you like! 
  • They can be made dairy and gluten-free with some very simple ingredient swaps. 
  • You can use up stale bread or bread crusts that no one would otherwise eat. 
  • They add great flavor and crunch when added to soups or salads. See below for some recipes to pair with these homemade croutons. 
how to make homemade croutons

Homemade Croutons Ingredients

  • Bread – Use stale bread or hearty, crusty bread for the best results. 
  • Butter – Adds the best flavor, helps any seasonings stick, and helps the bread crisp up. 
  • Garlic – Lends the BEST flavor to croutons in my opinion! 

More Crouton Seasoning Ideas

  • Italian seasoning with olive oil instead of butter
  • Garlic and onion
  • Sprinkle with parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast when done cooking for a cheesy flavor
  • Lemon zest
  • Rosemary
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Sesame seeds
  • Parsley
  • Thyme
  • Cumin
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper
how to make croutons - detail of croutons in white bowl

How to Make Croutons

How to make croutons in the oven

Prep the bread. Cut the bread into small cubes and place them in a large bowl. Melt the butter and pour it over the bread cubes or drizzle olive oil on top. Toss to coat. 

Season the bread. Season with fresh garlic (or garlic powder) and other seasonings as desired. 

Bake bread slices. Lay spread the cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake in a 375-degree F oven for about 15 minutes or so. 

Toss and bake again for about 10 minutes or until golden brown.

Let cool. Remove from oven and let cool before serving. 

How to make croutons in an air fryer

Follow the steps above for seasoning your bread. Then simply cook in your air fryer at 350 degrees F for 8-10 minutes or until they are a perfect golden brown. Shake or mix halfway through to dry them out well. 

How to make homemade croutons on your stovetop

You can make homemade croutons on the stovetop. This will work best with stale bread. Here’s how: 

  1. Chop the bread into small cubes. 
  2. Heat 1-2 tablespoons of butter or olive oil in a large skillet. (You may have to do steps 1-8 in batches, depending on the size of your pan and how many croutons you’re making.)
  3. Add the bread cubes and stir to coat. 
  4. Add your seasonings of choice to the melted butter or oil and bread. Gently stir to combine. 
  5. Then allow your croutons to cook without stirring for a few minutes, until the underside is lightly browned. 
  6. Once one side is golden brown, stir or flip the croutons. 
  7. Repeat steps 5 and 6, cooking each side of the croutons to a nice golden brown. 
  8. Once the croutons are mostly golden brown, remove them from the pan and allow them to cool before serving. 

How to Make Croutons with Less Oil

Adding oil or butter makes for nice crisp croutons. But if you want to use less oil, spray it on rather than pour it on before baking. Just be sure to toss the bread to evenly coat it. 

Also, in order to require less oil while still preventing sticking, place a piece of parchment paper on your baking sheet before adding the croutons. 

Serving Suggestions

  • Top salads like caesar salad and soups like tomato soup or cream-based soups with croutons. 
  • Add croutons to the top of casseroles like butternut squash mac and cheese
  • Run the croutons through a food processor to make delicious breadcrumbs for use in your favorite recipes. 

Tips for the Best Homemade Croutons

  • Use stale bread if possible. 
  • We keep a Ziploc in our freezer for the crusts of our gluten-free bread. As we use a loaf we add the crusts to the Ziploc. Then we use the crusts to make either croutons or stuffing
homemade croutons from scratch in a white bowl beside salad greens

FAQs

Are croutons just stale bread?

While you could simply use stale bread in place of croutons, croutons are often baked and seasoned. 

Do I have to use stale bread to make croutons?

Nope! You can use any bread you like and simply dry it out in a toaster, oven, or air fryer. 

How do I store homemade croutons?

Homemade croutons should be stored in an airtight container on the counter or in the cupboard. But make sure they are completely cooled before you put the lid on! 

Can I freeze homemade croutons?

Yes! You can freeze homemade croutons in a freezer bag for a couple of months. To use, bake in a 350 degree F oven until thawed and crunchy again. 

How long do homemade croutons last?

If stored in a sealed container they will last for about a week. 

How do I keep homemade croutons crispy?

Store your baked, cooled croutons with a paper towel to absorb any moisture. Or you can simply re-crisp any softened croutons by baking them in the oven for a few minutes!

Dietary Considerations

  • Make these homemade croutons dairy-free by using olive oil or a non-dairy butter substitute
  • Cook up some gluten-free croutons by using delicious gluten-free bread instead of sourdough or regular stale bread. 

Recipes to Top with Croutons

Have you ever made your own croutons?

how to make homemade croutons

Homemade Croutons

Yield: 4 -6
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Using store-bought gluten free bread, these halfway homemade croutons are easy and delicious!

Ingredients

  • 3 or more slices of bread
  • 1-2 tbsp butter, butter substitute, or olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, cut in half (optional)

Instructions

    1. Prepare the bread. Cut the bread into small cubes and place them in a large bowl. Melt the butter and pour it over the bread cubes or drizzle olive oil on top. Toss to coat. 
    2. Season the bread. Season with fresh garlic (or garlic powder) and other seasonings as desired. 
    3. Bake bread slices. Lay spread the cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake in a 375-degree F oven for about 15 minutes or so. 
    4. Toss and bake again for about 10 minutes or until golden brown.
    5. Let cool. Remove from oven and let cool before serving. 

Notes

  • Homemade croutons should be stored in an airtight container on the counter or in the cupboard. But make sure they are completely cooled before you put the lid on! 
  • Make these homemade croutons dairy-free by using olive oil or a non-dairy butter substitute
  • Cook up some gluten-free croutons by using delicious gluten-free bread instead of sourdough or regular stale bread. 

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 128Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 23mgSodium: 107mgCarbohydrates: 4gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 1g

This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily via Nutrifox.

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