Homemade Croutons

posted by Andrea | 07/23/2019

Homemade croutons are one of those things that SOUNDS really intimidating… until you actually make them and realize they are SOOOOOOO ridiculously simple to make, you really don’t even need a recipe. 

Dave’s mom has made homemade croutons for a long time, and although I’ve made croutons before, Dave and I have mostly eaten store bought croutons for the majority of our married life. 

This all changed when I started making my own bread (and had MANY loaves of bread that didn’t turn out).

I couldn’t bare the thought of wasting all that time and effort… so instead of tossing the slices of stale and “dense” bread, I cut them up into bite-size pieces and stuck them in freezer bags for later. 

I used these bread chunks for quiche, baked french toast, stuffing, and croutons (recipe links for all of these below). 

Thankfully, I don’t have many unsuccessful loaves of homemade bread these days, but even if a few slices of bread just start to get a little stale (or if we don’t want to eat the crusty ends), I chop them up and put them in the freezer for later. 

When I’m getting low on croutons, I defrost some of my bread chunks, mix them with olive oil, add some seasonings, and bake them with whatever else I’m baking that day. 

Making a batch of these croutons takes almost no extra time or effort on my part as I usually use a bowl I already have out for mixing other foods, and I bake them at the same time I’m baking something else.

In my opinion, there is absolutely NO reason to “waste” bread — unless it’s growing mold! There is almost always a way to salvage not-so-great bread, and homemade croutons are one of my favorites! 

Homemade Croutons

Homemade Croutons

Homemade croutons are a quick, easy way to use up stale or not-so-great bread... you can add whatever seasonings or flavors you like, and you really don't have to follow a strict "recipe" for them to turn out!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • any type of bread, buns, rolls, etc. cut into bite-size pieces
  • olive oil or melted butter
  • salt
  • spices and/or seasonings of choice
  • Parmesan cheese (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375º
  2. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil (or grease it well)
  3. Dump as many bread chunks as you want into a large bowl
  4. Drizzle with olive oil or melted butter and stir well to coat
  5. Sprinkle with a generous pinch of salt and several shakes of your favorite seasonings and/or Parmesan cheese (see notes below)
  6. Spread seasoned bread chunks out on baking sheet
  7. Bake in preheated oven for 20-30 minutes, stirring and checking for crispiness about half way.
  8. Let cool completely, then store in an air-tight container (or freeze for later)

Notes

I know it will bother some of you that I don't have specific measurements listed above -- but it's nearly impossible to list specific measurements as it all depends on how much bread you use and how seasoned you like your croutons to be.

As an example, if I use 3 cups of bread chunks, I'd probably use 2 T. olive oil, 1/4 t. salt, 1/4 t. garlic powder, 1/2 t. Italian seasoning and 1 T. powdered Parmesan cheese.

HOWEVER, if you like your croutons very seasoned, you'd want to use more seasonings... and if you don't like Parmesan cheese, you can leave that out.

As for the baking time and temperature -- this is very flexible as well!

I usually bake these with whatever I'm already making that day. Sometimes this means the croutons are in the oven for 45 minutes at a lower temperature. Other times, it means they are in for 15-20 minutes at a higher temperature. Just give them a quick stir and taste test one to see if they are crunchy enough for you!

I might struggle to get our kids to eat traditional lettuce salads… but boy do they love my croutons! They even request them for a “snack” at times! 

I’ve gotten into the habit of freezing any bits of bread we don’t eat to repurpose later in a variety of ways. 

Here are a few other ways I use up stale bread…

Hearty Egg Casserole

Overnight French Toast 

Blueberry Stuffed French Toast Casserole 

My Favorite Sausage Stuffing

I love how quick and easy these croutons are, I love that they taste better and are more nutritious than store bought croutons, and I love that I can use up every last crumb of bread without wasting any!!! 

What is your favorite way to use up stale bread?

Visit my virtual recipe box for more simple, delicious, family friendly recipes!

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7 comments

  1. Vickie

    07/23/2019

    I do these on top of the stove in a cast iron skillet and finish browning them under the broiler. Never tasted any bought croutons as good as homemade!!!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    oh that’s a good idea! Thanks for sharing!

    [Reply]

  2. Tamaira

    07/23/2019

    I only make homemade croutons. We like being able to control the ingredients plus the price of store bought always seems outrageous when you realize it is barely a slice or two of bread lol! My oven recipe is very similar to yours but I also have a microwave recipe that I frequently use. I don’t have a link to the recipe because it came from an old recipe booklet put out by our local electric company years ago but I did email you a photo. Hopefully it works!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Tamaira! and yes… I got your email with the recipe. Thanks so much!

    [Reply]

  3. Michelle

    07/23/2019

    I usually make homemade breadcrumbs out of our stale bread. I just bake the slices until dry and pulse them in my food processor then use them in recipes calling for breadcrumbs.

    We also make toast out of our slightly stale bread. You can’t tell, once toasted, that the bread is just past it’s prime.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yup, I do bread crumbs too — but I really dislike washing my food processor (stupid, I know) so I sometimes just use a zip-top bag and rolling pin 🙂
    And yes, we make lots of toast, french toast, and grilled sandwiches with our semi-stale bread too! So yummy!

    [Reply]

    Liane Reply:

    You can make panko also. For regular crumbs I use the metal blade but for panko use the coarse grater. Apply medium pressure. We are gluten free 99% of the time but a little panko goes along way.

    [Reply]