Easy homemade garlic + herb croutons are the perfect addition to soups and salads. Make it your way with simple pantry ingredients and your favorite bread.
Garlic and Herb Homemade Croutons
She’s going to hate me for saying this, but my sweet friend says that ‘croutons are a waste of calories’ and never uses them. That’s fine. More for me. (BTW, this same gal goes gaga over caesar salad. Now tell me…how can you get the full caesar experience without those crunchy croutons?)
Why should you make your own croutons when store-bought croutons are so easy and rather benign? Because it’s a great way to control the ingredients, flavors, and to use up leftover bread. And, it’s such an easy recipe!
This homemade crouton recipe means you can have fresh baked herb and garlic croutons on demand to top your favorite salads and soups! So, next time you reach for a bag of croutons at the grocery store, remember that you can whip these up with simple pantry ingredients in just a few minutes!
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Homemade Crouton Recipe Ingredients
- Bread — you can really use any type of bread…
- Day-old bread
- Fresh bread
- French bread!
- Italian bread
- White bread
- Whole grain or whole wheat bread
- Rye or pumpernickel
- Extra virgin olive oil — this is going to add flavor and help your herbs and seasonings stick to the surface of the bread cubes.
- Dried herbs — rosemary + thyme.
- Seasonings — garlic powder, onion powder, kosher salt, black pepper, and sugar.
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How to Make Garlic + Herb Croutons
- Combine herbs + seasonings — mix together dried herbs and seasonings. I like to pop these into a spice grinder, mini food processor or mortar and pestle to create a finer blend that can stick to and nestle into all the nooks and crannies (similar to my homemade popcorn seasonings).
- Season the bread — in a large bowl, toss together the bread cubes, olive oil and seasoning blend until everything is well distributed.
- Bake until crisp — spread the croutons in a single layer across a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes at 400°F until light golden brown. Give them a toss halfway through.
Now you have yummy crispy croutons to enjoy on tomato soup or your next salad. These would be delicious on Beet + Baby Greens Salad, Curried Butternut Squash Soup and Chorizo Black Bean Chili, too. Of course, you can also just nosh on them right off the sheet pan!
Helpful Recipe Tips
- The right knife for the job — cubing soft, fresh bread is a little more difficult than cutting into a hearty, crusty bread, but a sharp serrated bread knife will make both jobs easier.
- Size matters — I recommend 1/2 inch cubes for bite-sized pieces, but cube your croutons any size you like. Keep in mind that larger croutons may require a bit longer in the oven to reach your desired crunch level.
- Stand back — be careful when you open the oven door to toss the croutons during their bake. Moisture trapped in the bread is floating around your hot oven and wants to escape. A steam facial is nice, but maybe not what you had planned.
- Storing croutons — transfer cooled, leftover croutons to an airtight container (a reusable vessel or zip-top bag) and store them at room temperature for up to 5 days (maybe longer).
- Freeze croutons — make a big batch and freeze some for later. They’ll last a couple months in the freezer if stored in an airtight container. Thaw and reheat before using.
- Reheat to re-crisp — if your croutons lose a little crunch before you use them up (or you need to refresh frozen croutons), pop them in a 300°F oven for about 5 minutes.
Customize Your Croutons
Here are a few substitutions and variation ideas to customize this recipe:
- Use dried Italian seasoning blend in place of individual herbs, or any of your favorite herbs (like sage, dill, etc.)
- Use fresh herbs instead of dried. As a rule of thumb, use 1 tablespoon of fresh for every 1 teaspoon of dried called for in a recipe. No need to use a spice grinder, because fresh herbs may gum up your blend. Instead, finely chop fresh herbs with a knife.
- Add a couple teaspoons of grated parmesan cheese to your spice mixture. You might consider reducing the amount of kosher salt since the cheese will impart a salty taste.
- Make gluten-free croutons by using gluten-free bread!
Croutons Aren’t Just for Salad
Use your croutons in a variety of ways to add some crunch and flavor!
Stock Up On More Homemade Basics
- Taco Seasoning
- Rosemary + Sea Salt Crackers
- Vietnamese Dipping Sauce
- Chipotle Honey BBQ Sauce
- Potato Chip Seasonings
- Dumpling Sauce
- Tomato Salsa
- Easy Hummus
- Homemade Mayonnaise
- Buttercream Icing
Homemade Garlic + Herb Croutons
- ½ tsp dried rosemary
- ½ tsp dried thyme
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- ⅛ tsp onion powder
- ⅛ tsp black pepper
- ⅛ tsp sugar
- 4 oz bread fresh or day-old, any variety
- 1½ tbs extra virgin olive oil
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Combine the seasonings in a spice grinder, mini food processor or mortar & pestle to create a finer mixture. (see notes)
- In a large bowl, toss the bread cubes, olive oil and seasoning together until well distributed.
- Turn the cubes out onto a sheet pan in an even layer. Bake for 10-12 minutes until crispy, giving them a toss partway through. Cool completely.
- It isn’t necessary to grind the herbs, but smaller bits will have an easier time sticking to your croutons.
- While I recommend cutting the bread into 1/2-inch cubes, you can cut them into any size. Keep in mind that larger croutons may require a bit longer in the oven to reach your desired crunch level.
- Be careful when opening the oven door as evaporated moisture from the bread may create a cloud of steam.
- Store croutons at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
- Freeze croutons in an airtight container for up to 2 months. Thaw before reheating.
- Reheat croutons at 300°F to crisp them up.
Nutritional values are estimated and provided as a general guideline only. I earn a commission from Instacart from qualifying ingredient purchases.