Easy Homemade Croutons

October 25, 2013 | How To's Soups & Salads

Croutons.  So simple, yet they provide such a flavor and texture boost to so many different dishes with their different sizes, flavors, and being made from numerous types of breads.  I used to be intimidated by making them from scratch, but after having to make them daily for weeks in culinary school, I was pleased to learn that it is actually quite simple.  There are only a few ingredients needed to make homemade croutons: bread, oil, and spices.

This post is slightly different as it is more of a “guideline” (which recipes should be anyway!) of how to make croutons; therefore, this post has landed itself under the How To’s tab, as well as Soups & Salads — my personal favorites for using croutons.

First, pick your bread.  For traditional croutons, a nice French bread, like a baguette, will be perfect.  You can get adventurous and use a not so traditional bread like marbled rye.  Cut the bread into cubes of your size preference (any bigger than an inch cube can be a bit too much), and put them into a large bowl.  Next, drizzle liberally with an oil of your preference (I prefer pure olive oil).  Sprinkle (also liberally) with the spices of your choice; garlic powder, salt, and pepper are classic choices.  You can also liven the croutons up a bit and throw in some cayenne pepper, or finely chopped rosemary; the choices are really limitless.  Although, I would recommend using spices which will compliment the dish you are adding the croutons to.  Toss the bread cubes, oil, and spices together in the bowl to evenly coat, and spread the cubes onto a baking sheet.  Bake at 350°F until the croutons are golden (approximately 5-8 minutes, depending on the size of the cubes, so when you put them in the oven, don’t walk away from them!).  When you remove them from the oven, be sure to let them cool on the baking sheet, as putting them straight in a bowl to cool/serve may cause them to steam themselves and become mushy.

See?  Easy!  You’ll definitely look like a rockstar at your next dinner party when you put out homemade croutons for your guests to add to their Caesar Salad or Split Pea Soup!

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