Part of what make croutons so simple to make is their versatility. All it takes is three simple ingredients that can be switched, mixed, and matched to your heart’s content.
Any kind of seasoning works for these yummy little morsels. This recipe calls for Napa Valley Bread Dip, but we’ve also tried out:
- Ranch Dip Mix
- Cajun Seasoning Blend
- Herbs de Provence
- Two Trees Blend
- Garlic Powder with Parmesan Cheese
- And a classic mix of Pacific Flake Salt and Four Peppercorn Blend
Any kind of bread works for this homemade crouton recipe:
- Whole wheat
- French baguette
- Wheat Bread
Use the bread you like! If you’re shopping specifically for bread for croutons, think about how you’ll be serving your croutons. Caesar Salad croutons are best made from a white bread. Croutons for soup are best made with a more rustic hearty bread. Croutons for a composed salad would be delish with a sourdough bread. The customization continues with how you cut and prepare that bread–make them large or small and soft or crisp.
The final ingredient is a really tasty extra-virgin olive oil. We especially like Arbequina Olive Oil for it’s sharp peppery flavor. But again, versatility is key as croutons made with butter are also delicious.
The technique for this recipe is easy peasy. When dicing your bread, it is important all the croutons are about the same size so they crisp up evenly.
Choose a large bowl for tossing your bread cubes with the oil and seasoning so you have plenty of room to evenly combine the ingredients.
You may be tempted to eat your bread at this point–and we 100% support that decision! Croutons can wait. Oh, this is a crouton recipe–no, no, don’t eat the bread yet, we need to bake it first!
Tip. Save that bowl after you place your croutons on the baking sheet. Use all that leftover oil and seasonings to retoss your hot fresh out of the oven croutons. The hot croutons will soak in more of that yumminess–just like hot popcorn soaking in melted butter.
Another tip to consider is baking vs stovetop toasting. It is possible to create croutons on the stovetop. We like to use the oven as it is easy, but a heavy frying pan on your stove also works. Keep the heat low. Be sure to not overcrowd your frying pan. Stir often to avoid burning!
Homemade Crouton Recipe
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a large bowl, evenly drizzle the olive oil over the bread cubes. Sprinkle the Napa Valley Bread Dip over the bread. Toss gently until well-combined.
Spread evenly over a sheet pan in a single layer.
Bake until golden and crispy (25-30 minutes), turning once halfway through cooking in order to brown all sides of the croutons*
Remove from oven, and let cool completely. Use immediately, or store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
*Many crouton recipes call for baking croutons 15-20 minutes. We've found that 25-30 minutes is a better range for really crispy croutons. If you don’t mind softer croutons, than check your croutons at 15 minutes to see if they work for you.
Keep in mind, they will continue to crisp up as they cool down.
These croutons are especially delicious served as a topping for Creamy White Bean Soup.
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