I had some soup the other day that needed a little crunch. I also had a two day old loaf of bread. That means crouton time! It couldn’t be easier: toss some bread + olive oil + salt + garlic powder and stick it in the oven or toaster oven for 10-15 minutes. And for all your non-trouble, you’re rewarded with a perfectly delicious salad topping that has a nice CRUNCH to it.
Here’s the “recipe.” I can’t really call it a recipe since I didn’t measure anything. Just use your eye and you should be fine!
How to Make Crunchy Homemade Garlic Croutons
- Preheat the oven or toaster oven (much easier) to 350°F.
- Cut bread into roughly 1″ cubes and spread out in one even layer on a baking pan or sheet or dish or whatever.
- Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Lightly sprinkle with salt and garlic powder. Remember, the bread is already a little salty, so don’t overdo it. Use sea salt if you’re feeling decadent. Garlic powder has a very strong flavor so just a little bit on each piece will suffice.
- This is where you can get a little creative. If you want, you can add a little bit of Italian seasoning and/or crushed red pepper flakes here for added flavor. Or you can leave out the garlic powder completely for plain croutons. OR you can cut a clove of garlic in half and rub the cut side all over the pieces of bread. My grandma used to do this and the flavor is very sharp but very delicious if you love garlic. You can also try sprinkling onion powder instead. Or paprika. Or how about a blend of cumin/coriander/turmeric for curry croutons? Whatever seasonings you decide to add, remember to use a light hand. You don’t want the flavor to be overpowering, just a little hint is what you’re aiming for.
- Toss everything together, spread in an even layer again, and put it in the oven. Watch it closely – I recommend checking and tossing every 4 minutes. You want the pieces to bake until light brown and crunchy. Any longer and they will become hard as a rock. The total time depends on how fresh or stale your bread was when you started. My two day old bread took about 15 minutes; fresh will take longer.
- Enjoy in soup, on top of a salad, or as a snack straight off the baking sheet!
I recommend making these in small batches. They dry out even more if you leave them out, but they get soft if you leave them in an airtight container. Plus, prep is so easy that there’s no reason not to have fresh, warm croutons whenever you want them.