Easy Homemade Croutons will have you questioning why you ever went with store-bought. These crisp and herby bites add tons of flavor and texture to your favorite soups and salads. Choose any fresh bread you like for this crouton recipe, or go no-waste by finishing off a stale loaf.
Croutons are the food equivalent of “out of sight, out of mind.” If you get a salad without them (maybe with the exception of a Panzanella or a Caesar) you may not even miss them.
What’s more, crusty pre-packaged croutons are a perfectly rational choice of salad garnish. Unremarkable. Unnoticeable, even. But after awhile you score fresh homemade croutons somewhere and they become your raison d’etre.
“These are the best croutons ever. How did I ever accept any other crouton? I haven’t lived until now. I’m absolutely going to make my own fresh bread croutons from now on…” And then you proceed to forget about them until your next salad is already in front of you.
The only thing that’s going to help you remember how worthwhile it is to have fresh croutons is by making croutons. So if you weren’t already planning a salad, plan one. Now. If you don’t have bread, get some. Now. (Fresh or stale is just fine.)
Prep the bread cubes with olive oil and herbs, and get them in the oven before you get the rest of your salad fixins together. By the time you’ve got your greens and garnishes chopped and tossed, your homemade croutons are ready to come out of the oven.
Do this a couple times and it just becomes a natural salad prep habit.
What’s the Best Kind of Bread to Use?
This homemade croutons recipe calls for sourdough – we like it because it’s got a bit more bite and a not-too-dense, not-too-light texture that makes for homemade croutons.
But any quality bread is going to yield a quality crouton. Whatever you choose, you’re intentionally doubling down with fresh and dried herbs for bigger flavor, so taste isn’t as important as texture in this crouton recipe.
Does the Bread Need to be Stale?
Nope! Day-old or stale bread will dry out more quickly in the oven, while fresh bread will take a bit longer (since it has a higher moisture content). But both definitely work! That being said, homemade croutons are a terrific no-waste solution to half a loaf or so of bread that isn’t quite up to serving standards anymore, which is why it’s a common choice.
How to Make Homemade Croutons
Homemade Herb Croutons are the quintessential “cherry on top” of any soup or salad. Toss fresh sourdough (or any bread of choice) with olive oil, fresh herbs, and a few simple seasonings, and bake for around 15 minutes to get perfectly golden and crisp croutons. They’re better than any bag!
- Position rack in center of oven, then heat to 375°F.
- Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Toss until bread cubes are evenly coated.
- Arrange in even layer on a baking sheet. Bake 12-15 minutes, tossing every 4-5 minutes, until bread is dry, golden brown, and very crisp.
- Remove from oven and cool to room temperature before enjoying or storing.
- Day old bread isn’t necessary, but it will dry out a little more quickly and have a bit more crunch.
- Fresh bread will take closer to 15 minutes to achieve doneness; day old bread will require a shorter baking time.
- Use a combination of fresh and dried herbs.
- Toss bread with clean, dry hands to ensure the best coverage of oil and seasoning. You can also use a silicone or rubber spatula.
Uses for Homemade Croutons
While salad is the obvious choice (see below for suggested recipes) for homemade croutons, don’t sleep on soup.
You should also feel free to bookmark this recipe for the holidays when stuffing is “in season.”
How Long Will Homemade Croutons Last?
Technically, homemade croutons will last up to two weeks stored in an airtight container but ideally, you want to eat them fresh, within a day or two, otherwise they’re no more special than store-bought croutons.
How do You Store Croutons so They Stay Crispy?
If you think your homemade croutons will stay crispy on their own, think again. Whether you’re storing in an airtight container or ziploc bag, you’ll need to (1) make sure the croutons are completely cooled before storing and (2) line it with a paper towel to absorb any residual moisture.
Best Salads for Homemade Herb Croutons
Did you make these homemade herb croutons? I’d love to know how the recipe turned out! Leave a comment and a rating below.
Homemade Herb Croutons RecipePrint Recipe Rate this Recipe Pin Recipe
- ½ loaf sourdough bread, diced or torn into 1” cubes (about 4 heaping cups)
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley and/or basil
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp fine sea salt
- ½ tsp ground pepper
- Position a rack in the center of the oven, then heat the oven to 375°F.
- Combine bread, olive oil, fresh parsley/basil, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Toss until the bread cubes are evenly coated with the oil, herbs, and spices.
- Arrange the cubes into an even layer on a baking sheet. Transfer to the oven and cook 12-15 minutes, tossing every 4-5 minutes, until the bread is dry, golden brown in color, and very crisp. (Fresh bread will take closer to 15 minutes; day old bread will require a shorter baking time).
- Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature before enjoying.