How to Make Homemade Croutons

Learn how to make homemade croutons! They’re crunchy and rich, with a delicious garlic flavor. You’ll never get the store bought kind again!

Homemade Croutons

Who doesn’t love croutons? They add texture and complexity to creamy bowls of soup, bulk up light summer salads, and make just about any meal more fun. Do you want croutons on that? Yes, please!

Luckily, homemade croutons are incredibly easy to make. All you need is good crusty bread (tip: the better the bread, the better the croutons), garlic, olive oil, plenty of salt, and a little dried parsley. Yep, this crouton recipe is that simple, and the results are fantastic. The homemade croutons are crunchy, rich, and garlicky – far better than any you’d find at the grocery store. Once you learn how to make croutons at home, you won’t look back.

Cubed bread on a cutting board

How to Make Croutons

This method for how to make croutons is super easy! It takes under 30 minutes, and most of that is hands-off baking time. If I’m making croutons for a specific soup or salad, I like to pop them in the oven first and prep the rest of the meal while they bake. Here’s how I make them:

First, cube the bread. You want good-quality country or French bread for this recipe, but don’t worry about it being super fresh. Day-old (or days-old) bread is fine – the goal is to get it nice and crispy, so leftover bread has a head start! Cut it into 3/4-inch cubes. Try to get them as even as you can so that they cook at the same rate in the oven.

Drizzling oil over croutons on a baking sheet

Next, make the garlic oil. Many garlic croutons are seasoned with garlic powder, but I prefer the sharp, complex flavor of fresh garlic in this recipe. To achieve it, I make an infused garlic oil. Heat two smashed garlic cloves in 1/4 cup of olive oil for about a minute, until the garlic is fragrant. Allow the oil to cool slightly before drizzling it over the cubed bread.

How to make croutons

Next, toss. Toss to coat the bread with the oil and a few big pinches of salt. When everything is evenly coated in the oil and salt, spread the bread cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet.

Finally, bake! Pop the homemade croutons in the oven and bake until they’re golden brown and crisp, 10 to 18 minutes. The time will depend on the freshness of your bread and how crispy you like your croutons. The longer you bake them, the crispier they’ll be. Remove them from the oven, and sprinkle them with a little dried parsley. Enjoy!

Homemade croutons on a baking sheet

Crouton Recipe Variations

  • Grill them! In the fall and winter, baked croutons are my go-to. But in the summertime, I often make grilled croutons instead. They’re slightly less crisp than the baked kind, but they have a delicious charred, smoky flavor. To make them, drizzle thick slices of country bread with olive oil and grill them for a few minutes per side, until char marks form. Remove the grilled bread from the heat, and rub it with the cut side of a halved garlic clove to infuse it with garlic flavor. Then, cube the bread. That’s it!
  • Swap the seasoning. I love this simple garlic and dried parsley seasoning, but feel free to customize this crouton recipe to your tastes. For a more intense garlic flavor, toss the bread with garlic powder before you bake it, or toss the baked croutons with grated fresh garlic as soon as they come out of the oven. Replace the dried parsley with another dried herb like oregano, dill, or chives, or sprinkle the croutons with dried Italian seasoning. Let me know what variations you try!

Grilled bread slice and cubes on a tray

Homemade Croutons Serving Suggestions

I wouldn’t blame you for eating the rich, crunchy homemade croutons straight off the baking sheet, but make sure to save a few for topping onto salads and soups! I especially love homemade croutons in green salads. Add them to my Homemade Caesar Salad, Italian Chopped Salad, or Bright Spring Salad recipe, or toss them with your favorite greens and any of these flavorful dressings to make a simple side salad:

They also add delicious crunch to creamy bowls of soup. I love sprinkling them over gazpacho in the summertime, and in the fall and winter, I often serve them with these soup recipes:

If you have leftover croutons, store them at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Homemade crouton recipe

Homemade Croutons

rate this recipe:
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 15 mins
Serves 8
These easy homemade croutons are perfect for piling onto your favorite soups and salads! I like to make them in the oven in the fall and winter and grill them in the summertime, but feel free to choose whichever method sounds best to you. Both are delicious!

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed or halved
  • 8 thick slices country bread, about 4 cups cubed
  • Sea salt
  • Dried parsley or desired seasonings

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a small saucepan, gently heat the olive oil and smashed garlic until aromatic, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat.
  • Cut the bread into cubes and place them on the baking sheet. Remove the garlic from the saucepan and drizzle the garlic oil over the bread. Sprinkle with sea salt, toss to coat, and spread the bread in a single layer on the baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 18 minutes or until golden brown and crisp. The timing will depend on your bread and how crispy you like your croutons. Sprinkle with dried parsley.
  • For grilled croutons: Drizzle whole bread slices with olive oil and grill until lightly charred. Use the cut-side of a halved piece of garlic to rub garlic onto the hot bread. Slice the grilled bread into cubes.

2 comments

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  1. Courtney
    08.11.2020

    5 stars
    I baked a loaf of no knead bread thinking that I was going to use it the next day, but that didn’t work out. So the next day while I’m thinking of what I’m going to do with my day old loaf of bread, I checked your blog and as it sometimes happens in the magical world of food bloggers, you had posted the perfect way to make something wonderful out of my day old bread just that very day. These croutons were so amazing. I didn’t have cucumbers to make your tomato and cucumber salad with them, unfortunately, but I put them over some hand torn raw kale, and dressed that with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and Parmesan cheese, and it was the perfect salad. Then, I turned on the Food Network, and Alton Brown was food processing some garlic croutons into crumbs to make a meatloaf, and I had also just bought some ground beef and vegetables at the farmer’s market, so tonight I made a riff on his meatloaf with leftover croutons, and it was so blissful. Sorry, I know you don’t eat meat, but I still wanted to tell you how you were the reason I had two blissful dinners in a row thanks to this recipe! You are awesome as always. I would not be able to eat as well without your expertise. You saved my day!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      08.30.2020

      Hi Courtney, I’m glad to have posted the recipe at just the right time! 🙂

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Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.