I made these croutons to go on top of this delicious soup that I made (recipe to come) but I can’t keep my little fingers out of the bag! They’re so good that I can’t stop popping them straight into my mouth. I distinctly remember having this same problem at a restaurant that I worked at where we made our own croutons out of focaccia bread. There would be a big ‘ol container full of big, garlicky, olive oil permeated croutons and I couldn’t stay out of them. I mean, why are people so obsessed with potato chips when croutons exist? And if you make them right, they won’t slice open the top of your mouth like the store bought kind.
Anyway, there are two methods to making croutons: in the oven or in a skillet on the stove top. I usually make them in the oven but when I saw the skillet method I had this crazy idea that it would be easier and less messy. Not true. Stirring those croutons around in the skillet resulted in lots of bits and pieces of bread and seasoning spilling out the sides and unevenly toasted chunks of bread. In the oven everything toasts evenly and it’s just so much less messy.
The pictures and instructions below are for the skillet method but if you want to do it in the oven, simply set your heat to 350, coat the bread chunks in oil and whatever seasoning you’d like and bake them until they’re golden brown and crispy. That’s so much easier, what was I thinking?
Homemade croutons are light, crispy, and full of flavor!
- 1 loaf french bread $1.49
- 3 Tbsp olive oil $0.30
- 3 Tbsp vegetable oil $0.11
- to taste garlic powder $0.05
Slice the loaf of bread into 1/2 inch thick slices. If the bread is really moist or soft, you can let the bread sit out to stiffen and make it easier to cut into cubes. To make this process faster, you can place the slices of bread in the oven on it’s lowest setting until it has firmed up a bit.
Cut the bread into cubes. Heat half of the olive and half of the vegetable oil in the skillet over medium heat. When hot, add half of the bread cubes and stir to coat with oil. Sprinkle the cubes with any seasonings you’d like. Continue to cook in the skillet, stirring every minute or so, until the bread is brown and crispy on most sides. The croutons should have a hollow, toast-like sound to them as you stir when they’re done. This indicates that most of the moisture has evaporated out of the bread.
Transfer the crisp croutons to a tray to cool, add the second half of the oil and the second half of the bread cubes and repeat the process.
After cooling the croutons, keep them in an air tight container for 1-2 weeks.
I used an “everything” flavored loaf of french bread that already had quite a bit of seasoning on top, including salt. If you are using plain french bread, feel free to add any herbs or seasoning you’d like. A simple mix of garlic powder, salt and pepper is always fantastic.
Step By Step Photos
This “everything” french loaf was the same price as the plain and it added a LOT to the flavor of the croutons.
Slice the bread into 1/2 inch slices if you want 1/2 inch size cubes. My bread was super moist so I had to let it dry out a bit before I could successfully cut it into cubes. Soft bread = impossible to cut into small cubes.
Finally I got it all cut… this is really really difficult with one arm in a brace. Dumb broken wrist.
Heat up half of the oil (because you’ll be cooking the bread in two batches) over medium heat… don’t let it get so hot that it’s smoking. I also threw in all of the “everything” flavored bits that fell off the bread as I cubed it.
Place half of the bread chunks in the pan. Stir them around to coat them in the oil then continue to cook and stir until they are all toasted.
Let the croutons cool off before storing in an air-tight container. This also allows any residual moisture to evaporate.
I could eat the whole bowl of ’em…