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2 Methods on Making & Using Different Types of Croutons

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In this post I’m going to show you how to make and use croutons using various types of bread, I’m also going to show you how you can use homemade croutons in your cooking, along with some other crouton tips.

Croutons are quick and easy to make and can be make with fresh or slightly stale bread, using pretty much any bread type. 

Croutons are made using a simple process of cutting bread into cubes and then adding fat such as olive oil and seasoning.

Depending on how you plan to use your croutons, you can add other flavors such as garlic, herbs and even cheese. 

You can also experiment with different breads to introduce more flavor and different textures to your crouton recipes. 

Homemade croutons are so much better than the little crispy cubes you get at the supermarket.  Making a larger crouton also helps to get a chewy centre which is crunchy on the outside. 


How to make croutons with white bread – in an oven

This recipe is for a classic white bread croutons which are perfect for soups and salads including caesar salad or gazpacho. 

You can use any white bread for this recipe, but if you do have homemade bread or Sourdough they’ll taste even better!

It’s up to you whether you leave the crusts on the bread, but it’s fine to leave them on or even use the crust ends of the bread. 

It’s a good idea to use the crust because it’s the most flavorsome part of the bread and can add more colour, texture and a rustic look to your croutons.

This recipe quantity makes around a cupful of croutons, to sprinkle into a salad or onto soup.  If you need more or you want to make a batch to last a few days, then double or triple the quantities.  

Homemade croutons can be kept for up to three days (find out more about how to store croutons later in this post).

This method is for making croutons in an oven, find out how you can make them using a pan after this recipe. 


White bread croutons Ingredients

  • 2 slices thick white bread
  • 2 tbs olive oil (you may need a little extra see top tip below)
  • a good pinch of sea salt (Maldon if you have it) & pepper

Recipe info

  • Preparation time
  • 5-10 minutes
  • Cooking time
  • 10 minutes
  • Makes
  • Around a cup of croutons

Equipment

  • Large baking tray or frying pan
  • Wooden spoon
  • Air-tight container for storage

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200°C (fan oven)/390°F.
  2. If you don’t want to use the bread crusts, remove them before you start.
  3. Using a bread knife cut across the bread into around 1cm to 2cm strips (depending on how big you want your croutons).
  4. Then turn the bread and do the same again to make cubes of bread.
  5. Place the bread cubes in to a baking tray, drizzle the oil all over, crunch up the salt over the croutons and season with pepper.
  6. Using two spoons, toss the croutons in the oil so they’re all covered – if they look too dry you might need a little bit more oil.
  7. Spread the croutons out on the tray so they have room to go crispy.
  8. Bake in the oven for around 10 minutes or until they’re golden brown and crispy.
  9. Leave the croutons to cool and then toss in a bowl lined with a few sheets of kitchen roll to remove any excess oil.

How to make croutons in a pan – in less than 10 minutes

Another way to make quick croutons without using an oven is by frying them in a pan. 

This recipe is slightly different to the oven version, because we’re going to use butter to get extra flavor into the croutons.  

This method produces more of an indulgent fried bread style crouton and they’re super fast to make. 

Again, depending on how many croutons you cant to make, you can double or triple the quantity. 

The image below shows how may croutons you can make from two thick slices of bread from a large loaf.

How to make croutons in a pan

Pan fried crouton Ingredients

  • 2 slices thick bread any type will do (I used a seeded loaf for this example)
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 20g butter
  • a good pinch of sea salt (Maldon if you have it) & pepper
  • a few sprigs of fresh thyme (optional)

Recipe info

  • Preparation time
  • Less than 5 minutes
  • Cooking time
  • 5 minutes
  • Makes
  • Around a cup of croutons

Method

  1. If you don’t want to use the bread crusts, remove them before you start.
  2. Using a bread knife cut across the bread into around 1cm to 2cm strips (depending on how big you want your croutons).
  3. Then turn the bread and do the same again to make cubes of bread.
  4. Add the butter and oil to a frying pan over a medium to high heat (using both will prevent the butter from burning).
  5. Once the butter is bubbling add the bread cubes to the pan and stir to cover them with the butter and oil. 
  6. Season with salt and pepper and strip the thyme leaves from the stalk into the pan.
  7. Keep stirring the croutons so they don’t burn and they’re golden brown – this should take around 5 minutes. 
  8. Spoon the croutons into a bowl lined with a few sheets of kitchen roll to remove any excess oil.

TIP: Not sure if you have all the necessary bread baking equipment at home? Check out my recommended picks below (Amazon links):


Top tip – Add a bit more oil if you need to

Because all breads are different and crouton sizes will vary, you might need to add a bit more oil if your croutons are looking too dry. 

You don’t want them to be dripping in oil, but you need enough so the croutons go golden brown and they’ve absorbed the flavor.


How to make garlic croutons

You can make garlic croutons using either the oven bake recipe or the pan fried version (see above) – either will work well.

White or brown bread will work for garlic croutons or try ciabatta if you have some because it goes extra crunchy when it’s made into croutons and works well with garlic- find out how to make ciabatta here.

For garlic croutons I would recommend using garlic salt instead of fresh garlic, normally I’d always use fresh garlic, but because the bread absorbs all the moisture and makes the pan or the baking tin very dry, the garlic could burn and produce an unpleasant flavor.  

Sprinkle about half a teaspoon of garlic salt per 2 slices of bread (depending on how much garlic you like) over the croutons once they’ve been coated in oil and add a tablespoon of chopped fresh parsley (optional) to add a bit of colour. 

Cook using the same method as above, checking the seasoning because garlic salt is salty.


How to make parmesan croutons

Parmesan is a great cheese to use for croutons because it’s flavorsome and because its a hard cheese it won’t make the croutons soggy.

Again, you can use any type of bread to make parmesan croutons, but I would recommend following the oven cook recipe (see above). 

Follow the method above and sprinkle over 20g of parmesan (per one quality) when you toss the croutons in the oil, bake and enjoy!


Everything else you need to know about croutons

Can you use stale bread to make croutons?

You can use stale bread to use croutons and homemade croutons are a great way to use bread which is past it’s best instead of wasting it.

Although it is fine to use stale bread, make sure it’s not too hard and there’s no sign of mould.

Think of it like toast, you would use the dry bread for toast rather than a sandwich and once it’s toasted, you can’t tell the bread was dry.

In fact, with croutons the bread is easier to cut into cubes if it’s a little bit stale and very fresh bread will absorb the oil much faster because it acts like a sponge.

How do you store homemade breadcrumbs?

Once homemade croutons have cooled, they can be stored for up to three days in an air-tight container. 

The crutons should stay crispy in the container providing they are kept at room temperature and out of direct sunlight.

You can freeze croutons, but they may lose their crispiness once defrosted.  I would recommend freezing bread cubes if your bread is going stale and then defrost once you’re ready to bake or pan fry the croutons.   

Ways to use homemade croutons

Croutons work really well in homemade soups and many types fo salads including Caesar salad or gazpacho.  They also work really well as a crispy topping for cauliflower cheese or a pasta bake.   

You might like to try:

The following three-cheese cauliflower cheese recipe uses croutons as a crispy topping, great as a side dish or as a main meal:

Cauliflower cheese and crouton recipe