This homemade Baked Sourdough Croutons recipe will have you transforming store-bought sourdough bread into golden nuggets of garlic-infused, Italian-seasoned deliciousness. With a simple process that yields a crunchy and flavorful reward, these croutons are a game-changer for any salad lover. You may never buy store-bought croutons again.
Croutons are the highlight of any restaurant salad and adding croutons is an easy way to elevate your favorite salads at home. Freshly baked sourdough croutons with their irresistible aroma and satisfying crunch will have you eagerly reaching for another bite.
Made from store-bought sourdough bread and transformed into golden bites of deliciousness, these baked croutons are the secret ingredient that will make you look forward to your green dinner salads.
With a fragrant garlic infusion and a delightful Italian seasoning blend, these homemade croutons with butter are all about maximizing flavor and minimizing effort.
The best part? These croutons taste so fresh, you'd think you'd just picked them up from a local bakery. Plus, they're the ideal accompaniment to any salad you fancy, turning a simple bowl of greens into a gourmet experience.
- Sourdough Bread – The star of the show, sourdough bread adds a delightful tangy flavor and great texture. You can substitute it with any rustic bread like French bread, ciabatta or your favorite bread if you prefer, but keep in mind that the sourdough's unique flavor won't be replicated. Feel free to use any sandwich bread you have on hand. Sometimes I will make a half batch with my leftover bread that is about to expire. It's a perfect way not to waste food.
- Unsalted Butter – Butter is used to give the croutons that rich, savory taste. If you prefer a healthier option, you can substitute with olive oil, which also adds a nice flavor. For a dairy-free version, use a plant-based butter or margarine.
- Italian Seasoning – Italian seasoning is a blend of herbs like oregano, basil, thyme, and rosemary. You can make your own blend using individual dried herbs or use a pre-made Italian seasoning mix. Alternatively, experiment with your favorite dried or fresh herbs for a unique twist.
- Garlic Powder – Garlic powder provides an unmistakable flavor. If you prefer fresh garlic, you can substitute it with minced or finely chopped fresh garlic cloves to make authentic homemade garlic croutons. One teaspoon of garlic powder roughly equals one fresh garlic clove.
- Salt – Salt enhances all the flavors. You can use kosher salt or sea salt for a coarser texture or table salt for a finer one. Adjust the amount to your taste preference.
- Pepper – Freshly ground black pepper is recommended for the best flavor. If you don't have it, you can use pre-ground black pepper, but fresh pepper often offers a more robust taste.
See recipe card for quantities.
How to Make Sourdough Croutons
- Use a serrated knife to cut the bread slices into ¾ inch cubes.
2. Melt the butter in a small bowl. Add the garlic powder, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper to the melted butter and stir well.
3. Place the cubed bread chunks in a large mixing bowl and pour the melted butter mixture over the top, making sure it's evenly distributed. Gently stir so that all the bread is coated with the butter and seasonings.
4. Spread the bread cubes evenly on a large baking sheet or pan. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Turn one time in the middle of cooking. Remove from the oven, cool and enjoy!
Hint: Cut the bread into even-sized cubes of bread so the croutons toast evenly without burning.
- Swap the Bread – Instead of sourdough, you can use other types of bread like whole wheat bread, pumpernickle, rye, multigrain, or even gluten-free bread for dietary preferences.
- Make it Vegan – Butter isn't vegan but you can use olive oil, melted coconut oil, or flavored oils like garlic-infused oil for a different taste. Each oil will impart a unique flavor to your croutons.
- Add Cheese – Parmesan cheese adds a rich and savory element to your croutons.
- Swap the Seasoning – You can exchange the seasoning for your favorite blend or try one of these variations.
- Spicy Croutons: Add cayenne pepper or chili flakes and onion powder, or even hot smoked paprika for heat.
- Herb Variations: Try dill, tarragon, cilantro, or sage for unique herbal notes.
- Citrus Zest: Add lemon, lime, or orange zest for a refreshing citrusy twist.
- Add an Umami Booster – Add ingredients like nutritional yeast, soy sauce, or Worcestershire sauce for a savory umami flavor.
How to Store Homemade Croutons
Completely cool the crunchy croutons before transferring them to an airtight container. Store on the counter for several days, in the fridge for several weeks or freeze to store for several months. Frozen leftover croutons can be used directly from the freezer.
If your croutons lose their crunch over time, you can re-crisp them by placing them in a 300 degrees F oven for a few minutes. I like to heat them up if they have been in the refrigerator or freezer. Make sure to keep an eye on them, as they can burn quickly.
Best Cooking Tips
- Start with a good-quality sourdough bread. The better the bread, the better the croutons. You can even use slightly stale bread as it holds its shape and soaks up flavors well.
- Cut the bread into even-sized cubes to ensure uniform cooking. Aim for approximately ½ to ¾-inch cubes for the ideal crouton size.
- If you are using fresh bread, allow the cubes to air dry for a few hours or overnight. This helps the croutons absorb the seasoning mixture better and results in a crispier texture.
- Mix the melted butter and seasonings thoroughly to evenly coat the bread cubes. You can use a large bowl or a resealable plastic bag for this purpose.
- Toss the bread cubes in the seasoning mixture until they're evenly coated. This ensures that every crouton is flavorful.
- Arrange the coated bread cubes in a single layer on the baking sheet. Crowding them can lead to uneven cooking and less crispiness.
- Halfway through baking, give the croutons a gentle flip or stir to ensure even browning on all sides.
- Keep a close eye on the croutons in the oven, especially during the last few minutes of baking. They can go from perfectly golden to overly toasted quickly.
- Line your baking sheet with parchment paper for easy clean up.
- After baking, transfer the croutons to a wire rack to cool to room temperature. This prevents trapped steam from making them soggy.
The best bread for sourdough croutons is, of course, sourdough bread. However, you can also use other rustic bread like French bread, ciabatta, or whole-grain bread. Slightly stale bread works well because it holds its shape and soaks up flavors nicely.
You can use salted butter, but be mindful of the salt content in your seasoning mixture. Adjust the amount of added salt accordingly to prevent the croutons from becoming too salty.
You can use vegan butter or coconut oil as a substitute for dairy butter. Additionally, many stores offer vegan or dairy-free bread options. Just make sure to use dairy-free seasoning and flavorings as well.
Yes, you can use gluten-free bread to make croutons. There are many gluten-free bread options available, and the process of making gluten-free croutons is similar to regular croutons.
Croutons pair beautifully with almost any green salads. I especially like them on top of chopped romaine lettuce with my homemade caesar salad dressing. If you need some more salad inspiration, try my Arugula Salad with Beets and Fennel or my Classic House Salad Recipe. They also make a delicious addition to Spicy Tomato Soup or your favorite soup recipe.
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Homemade Baked Sourdough Croutons
- 24 ounce Loaf of Sourdough Bread
- 4 ounces Unsalted Butter
- 1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning
- 2 teaspoons Garlic Powder
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 1 teaspoon Pepper
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Cut the bread slices into ¾ inch cubes. Melt the butter in a small bowl. Add the garlic powder, italian seasoning, salt, and pepper to the melted butter and stir well.
- Place the bread chunks in a large mixing bowl and pour the melted butter mixture over the top, making sure it's evenly distributed. Gently stir so that all the bread is coated with the butter and seasonings.
- Spread the bread cubes evenly on the pan. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Turn one time in the middle of cooking. Remove from the oven, cool and enjoy!
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