My mom has been making the absolute best croutons ever for years. And I am here to share all the secrets for the best homemade crouton recipe ever.
Croutons are the unsung heroes of salads and soups, elevating simple dishes to new heights with their satisfying crunch and flavorful punch.
While store-bought croutons can do the job in a pinch, there’s something truly special about making your own from scratch. In this recipe, we’ll walk you through the steps to create the best homemade croutons, ensuring that each bite is a delightful explosion of texture and taste.
Not only do I love making these for my family, but I also love making them for friends. They make a wonderful gift. Especially for the holidays, when everyone else is giving cookies and sweets, croutons can be a nice change.
This post is all about the Secret to the Best Homemade Crouton Recipe Ever
Special Tools for the Best Homemade Crouton Recipe Ever
Ingredients For the Best Croutons Ever:
- 8 hamburger buns – this is the secret! you must use hamburger buns
- 8 Tbs Butter or oil of your choice
- 1 Tbs Anything Bagel Seasoning (or seasoning of choice)
- Bread: This is where the Magic Happens!! This is the Secret of the Best Croutons EVER! You want to make them with hamburger buns.
- Butter/Oil: I use butter for my croutons. It gives a great flavor that pairs well with the seasonings. A second choice would be olive oil. Choose a good quality extra virgin olive oil. It not only adds a rich flavor but also helps in achieving that perfect golden brown crispiness.
- Seasonings: I used Trader Joe’s Everything Bagel Seasoning. But you can customize your croutons with an array of herbs and seasonings. Classic choices include garlic powder, onion powder, dried oregano, thyme, rosemary, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Get creative and experiment with your favorite herbs to suit your taste.
- Cheese (Optional): Grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano can add a delightful cheesy kick to your croutons. Sprinkle it over the bread cubes before baking for a savory twist. I have used Parmesan many times and they were delicious. The Parmesan adds a nutty flavor.
See Also: The Best French Onion Soup Recipe
Instructions for the Best Croutons Ever:
- Preheat the Oven: Preheat your oven to 325°F (190°C). While the oven is heating up, prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper or lightly greasing it to prevent sticking.
- Cut the Bread: Cut the buns into bite-sized cubes. Ensure uniformity in size for even baking. Aiming for 1/2 – 1-inch cubes is a good starting point.
- Seasoning Magic: In a large bowl, toss the bread cubes with butter/olive oil and your chosen seasonings. Ensure each cube is well-coated, and don’t be afraid to get your hands in there for an even distribution.
- Spread Out and Bake: Spread the seasoned bread cubes in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. This ensures they bake evenly. Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until the croutons are golden brown and crisp. Toss them halfway through baking for a uniform color.
- Cool and Enjoy: Allow the croutons to cool completely before storing them in an airtight container. They will continue to crisp up as they cool. Once cooled, sprinkle these crunchy delights on salads, and soups, or enjoy them as a snack.
How to Store Homemade Croutons
Store homemade croutons in an airtight container at room temperature to maintain their crispiness. Ensure they cool completely on the baking sheet before transferring. If they lose crunchiness over time, reheat in the air fryer or oven briefly. Avoid storing them in the refrigerator, as moisture can compromise their texture.
See Also: The Best Lasagna Soup Recipe
Tips for the Best Croutons Ever:
- Choose the Right Bread: In my opinion, hamburger buns make the lightest, airiest, and crunchiest croutons. Stale bread works best, as it absorbs flavors without becoming overly mushy. But you can use fresh if that’s what you have on hand.
- Even Cube Size: Cut the bread into uniform cubes for even baking. Aim for 1-inch cubes to ensure consistent crispiness.
- Don’t Skimp on Seasonings: Be generous with your choice of seasonings. Experiment with a blend of garlic powder, onion powder, dried herbs (such as oregano, thyme, or rosemary), and a pinch of salt and pepper for a robust flavor profile.
- Use Butter: Opt for good quality butter. It not only adds flavor but also helps achieve a golden brown, crispy texture. Ensure each cube is well-coated for even seasoning.
- Experiment with Cheese: If you love a cheesy kick, sprinkle grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano over the bread cubes before baking. The cheese adds richness and depth to the croutons.
- Preheat the Oven: Ensure your oven is preheated to around 375°F (190°C). A properly preheated oven promotes even baking and a consistent crunch.
- Single Layer on Baking Sheet: Spread the seasoned bread cubes in a single layer on the baking sheet. Overcrowding can result in uneven baking, so give each cube enough space.
- Toss Halfway Through Baking: To achieve an even color, toss the croutons halfway through the baking time. This ensures that each side gets exposure to the heat.
- Cool Completely Before Storing: Allow the croutons to cool completely on the baking sheet before transferring them to an airtight container. They will continue to crisp up as they cool.
- Repurpose Stale Bread: We always have hamburger buns left over. This is the perfect way to make sure they don’t go to waste.
- Customize with Unique Flavors: Get creative and experiment with unique flavors. Add a dash of paprika, cayenne pepper, or even a hint of lemon zest to create your signature proprietary crouton blend.
- Store in an Airtight Container: Keep your homemade croutons fresh by storing them in an airtight container at room temperature. If they lose their crunch, reheat them in the oven or air fryer for a few minutes. I typically store mine in a mason jar.
- Revive Stale Croutons: If your croutons lose their crispiness, revive them by briefly toasting them in the oven or air fryer. This can bring back their delightful crunch.
- Use Gluten-Free Bread if Needed: If you have dietary restrictions, you can make gluten-free croutons by using your favorite gluten-free bread. Ensure it’s dry for optimal flavor absorption.
- Enjoy Creatively: Sprinkle your homemade croutons on salads, and soups, or enjoy them as a standalone snack. They add texture and flavor to all your favorite dishes.
See also: The Best Cucumber Salad Recipe
FAQs: Making the Best Homemade Crouton Recipe
- Can I use any type of bread for making croutons?
While you can use various types of bread, I recommend using hamburger buns. Stale bread is ideal as it absorbs flavors without becoming too soggy. But honestly, I’ve used fresh buns with great success.
- Can I make croutons without butter?
Butter adds flavor and helps achieve the desired crispiness. However, you can experiment with alternatives like olive oil or other cooking oils for a different taste.
- How do I prevent my croutons from becoming too hard or burnt? Keep an eye on the baking time and temperature. Oven temperatures can vary, so start checking your croutons around the 15-minute mark. Stirring them halfway through ensures even baking.
- Can I make croutons ahead of time?
Absolutely! Once cooled, store your croutons in an airtight container. They should remain crisp for several days. However, if they lose their crunch, you can revive them by briefly toasting them in the oven or air fryer.
- What herbs and seasonings work best for croutons?
I typically use Anything Bagel seasoning from Trader Joe’s. But classic choices include garlic powder, onion powder, dried oregano, thyme, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Feel free to get creative with your favorite herbs or spices to suit your taste preferences.
- Can I add cheese to my croutons?
Yes, grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano can be sprinkled over the bread cubes before baking to add a savory and cheesy dimension to your croutons. I have made them with grated parmesan and they were great. But they are equally delicious without the parm. And in this economy, you may want to skip the high-priced cheeses.
- How do I avoid uneven seasoning on my croutons? Toss the bread cubes in a large bowl with the seasonings and olive oil to ensure an even coating. Using your hands to mix can help distribute the flavors more uniformly.
- What’s the best way to use homemade croutons? Homemade croutons are versatile! Sprinkle them on salads, soups, or use them as a crunchy snack. Get creative and experiment with different dishes.
- Can I freeze homemade croutons? While freezing may affect the texture, you can extend their shelf life by freezing them in an airtight container. Reheat in the oven for a few minutes to restore their crispiness.
- Can I make gluten-free croutons? Absolutely! Use your favorite gluten-free bread, and follow the same steps for seasoning and baking. Ensure the bread is dry for better flavor absorption.
See Also: 50+ Best Winter Salad Recipes
You can easily half or double this recipe. The ration is basically 1 Tbs butter for each bun you use.
This same recipe will work for any type of bread. But hamburger/hot dog buns yield the lightest croutons.
This post was all about the Secret to the Best Homemade Crouton Recipe Ever.
Making the best homemade croutons is a simple yet rewarding kitchen task. With just a few ingredients and a bit of creativity, you can transform a humble hamburger bun into a crunchy, flavorful accompaniment that takes your salads and soups to the next level.