So, croutons. I’m a crouton girl. Sometimes I eat a salad just so I can put croutons on it. The same goes for homemade ranch dressing. So sometimes I forego the vegetable part all together and just dip croutons in ranch. Cutting out the middle man, ya know? I also love fresh croutons on hot soup. The way that crunchy bread soaks up the hot liquid so it’s soft and buttery on the bottom and crisp and crunchy on top? So beautiful it almost makes me tear up just thinking about it.Making your own croutons at home is so easy and they are so much better than anything from a box. It’s a great way to use up bread that’s still good, but just a tad bit too dry to eat on its own. So enjoy this how-to and put it to the test. You may never go back to store-bought again!
Notes on bread:
Although the recipe below is for sourdough croutons, you can certainly use any type of bread you like. Experiment with different flavors and textures and you’ll have fun finding your favorite. I think a hearty, rustic loaf works best, as opposed to say scraps of wonder bread. A day old baguette would be perfect. Fresh, or slightly dry bread works fine, but skip the super dry, stale stuff unless you’re in the mood to break a tooth. The fresher the bread the more light and airy the crouton.
Notes on herbs:
Play around with flavors depending on how you’re using them. Doing a southwest salad? Try using chili powder and cumin. A little smoked paprika tastes awesome when they top Smokey Bean Soup with Ham and Bacon.
Notes on cooking method:
You can cook croutons on the stove top using a skillet, as well as in the oven. If you just need a few, say one piece of bread for a single or double serving, just bust out a fry pan and cook them on medium heat until golden brown. If you’re cooking a whole batch, like in my recipe below, go for the oven. I personally like the texture and finished product of baked croutons, so I do most of mine in the oven.
Sourdough Garlic-Herb Croutons
Recipe by Our Best Bites
4 C sourdough bread cubes
1 1/2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbs real butter
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp granulated onion/onion powder
1/2 tsp granulated garlic
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried parsley
Optional: 1-2 T crumbled Parmesan cheese
Also an option: scrap all of the seasonings above and just throw on this garlic bread seasoning!
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a small bowl combine salt, onion, garlic, oregano, and parsley and set aside. Melt butter in the microwave until completely melted and then combine it with the olive oil. Place bread cubes in a large bowl and pour the butter/oil mixture over the bread cubes making sure to distribute evenly over the cubes in a small drizzle. Don’t dump it all in one place. If you do that, a few lucky little bread bits will soak up all the buttery goodness and the rest will get hurt feelings from being left out. Immediately use your hands to toss making sure to coat each bread cube with the butter mixture. Sprinkle the herb mixture over the bread cubes, again, making sure to distribute it evenly and use your hands to coat well.
Spread cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet.
Place in oven and cook for 10-20 minutes, stirring and flipping every 5 minutes so they cook evenly. The time is going to vary depending on the type of bread used and the size of the cubes. The croutons should be golden brown. Generally, they will take 15-20 minutes.
When finished, remove from oven and immediately toss with Parmesan cheese if desired. Let cool completely.. Store in an airtight container.