Homemade croutons can brighten up so many dishes. There’s something about the rustic texture and the hearty taste that can bring instant comfort to almost any soup or salad dish.
Croutons are also a great hack to create more shelf-life for the bread in your pantry, making your kitchen a little bit more sustainable. You can use literally any kind of bread to make croutons, and I find that stale or nearly-stale bread make some of the best.
Something I’ve started doing lately, when I notice a loaf that’s about to expire or starting to dry out, is sticking my leftover bread in the freezer. The cold temps keep the bread from molding or becoming to hard (which happens over time if you keep bread in the fridge). Then, I can just pull out some slices when I want to use them, and let the oven do the magic of bringing the bread back to life.
The secret to croutons is cutting your bread into roughly the same size chunks (so it all toasts evenly) and tossing the pieces in a little bit of fat, like oil or melted butter, before toasting them. You’ll want to bake them on a moderate temp, like 350F, rather than cranking your oven up, or broiling them. That way, they can get nice and crunchy throughout, without burning too quickly on the outside.
So simple, so yummy, and such a great way to use up all your bread!
Flavor it up!
My Garlic Parmesan croutons are even more special, because they pack and extra flavor punch. Tossed in extra-virgin olive oil, fresh grated parmesan cheese, a little salt and some garlic. Then toasted in the oven to perfection. The cheese gets nice and bubbly, taking on a deep, lovely nutty flavor. And the garlic soaks into the oil and all over each chunk of bread.
I love love love to eat them in homemade soups, like my Late Summer Vegetable Soup. But they can even add a comforting touch to a can of chicken noodle or tomatoe soup. They’re also a fun mix-in for any kind of salad you’re tossing together. Heck, you could even crush them up and throw them over a bowl of pasta to take your dinner to the next level.
You can’t go wrong with Parmesan Garlic Croutons
This recipe starts with whatever bread your heart desires. For the recipe, I used whole grains bread that was past its prime, that I had stored in the freezer.
Stack the bread slices, grab a serrated-edge knife, and cut the bread into about 1-inch chunks. You can really cut them in any size you like, but I find that this makes for the perfect little bite-sizes piece.
Next, toss the bread in a mixing bowl with a splash of olive oil, along with some salt and granulated garlic powder. Then, through in about a quarter cup of grated or shredded parmesan cheese (however you like to buy it at the store will work just fine). It all gets tossed together, making sure all the bread pieces get coated in the oil and cheese.
Once the pieces are nice and tossed, lay them all out on a lined baking sheet. Make sure everyone as plenty of space to toast, so clumps don’t form in the oven. Also make sure to scrape out any leftover cheese that may be left in your mixing bowl and sprinkle it over your soon-to-be croutons.
Finally, bake them up for about 20-25 minutes in a 350F oven. You’ll know they’re done when they turn deep golden brown and the cheese is bubbling. Take out the croutons and let them cool and get even crunchier. And there you have it! An easy, tasty little treat to spruce up any dish.
Let me know if you give these Parmesan Garlic Croutons a try! I love to hear from you in the comments, or tag me on instagram @eat.think.live and let me see your creation! Plus, you can check out the rest of my recipes HERE.
Garlic Parmesan Croutons
- 4 Slices Bread*
- 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 Tsp Salt
- 1 Tsp Garlic Powder
- 1/4 Cup Shredded Parmesan
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Slice the bread into 1-inch cubes and add to a big bowl.
- Drizzle olive oil over the pieces, and add the salt, garlic powder and parmesan. Toss it all together until all the bread cubes get coated.
- Spread the mixture out on a lined baking sheet.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes until the croutons are browned and the parmesan is bubbling.
- Remove from oven and let cool slightly before serving.