These Cheesy Garlic White Cheddar Parmesan Croutons are the perfect way to use up leftover bread and dress up any salad!
I love croutons. It’s like that perfect little “treat” on top of a salad. I love that it’s like this perfect little crispy nugget deliciousness.
Croutons are one of those things that I learned at a very young age how to make.
Mom was a HUGE bread baker and at times, we had extra that was a little too old to use for sandwiches or dinner. So, instead, she made croutons and breadcrumbs. I don’t think I’ve ever bought croutons in my life.
Then, when we had our pizzeria, we had tons of hoagie rolls. We also sold salads. I can remember when my brother actually bought a container of croutons. And the thing was, it was expensive and they tasted terrible.
Once you make homemade croutons, you’ll never buy storebought again. This is such a GREAT way to prevent waste and create something delicious!
Ingredients Needed To Make Homemade Croutons
The beauty of making homemade croutons is you really only need 3 things to do a “basic” crouton:
- Stale/day-old bread
After that, the rest is up to you.
For this recipe I went with:
- Leftover NoKnead Onion Bread
- Good Olive Oil
- Cheese Powder – I used white but have also used yellow cheese powder
- Grated Parmesan Cheese
Chef’s Tip to Making Homemade Croutons
The MOST IMPORTANT thing in making this recipe is to make sure that the bread cubes are cut to the same size. This is absolutely crucial as you want it to all cook evenly.
This is why it’s super important that your bread be stale as it’ll make it easier to cut more uniformly.
Let’s Make Some Croutons!
Mise en place really helps with this recipe. There’s not a lot to get done but it’s definitely a time saver when it comes to getting this all done and into the oven.
So what’s this “mise en place”? It’s just a fancy French cooking term that means “putting in place.” In the case of this recipe, just having everything all cut and measured out with making this recipe a breeze.
Chop up the bread and make the garlic cheesy coating.
Cheesy Garlic Parmesan Dressing
- To a bowl add the oil, garlic powder, oregano, salt, pepper, basil, and cheese powder.
- Whisk until completely emulsified (blended together).
- Preheat the oven to 325F and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment. If necessary, use 2 pans. You want to make sure that when you put the croutons on the pan they are in an even layer.
- To a large bowl, add the cubed bread.
- Pour the cheesy garlic parmesan mixture over top of the bread.
- Using a spatula or large spoon, carefully stir and fold the mixture onto the bread. You just want to lightly coat the bread but ensuring that all pieces are coated.
- Chef’s Note: If your bread is super hearty or a thicker crumb bread, you may want to add another tablespoon or two of oil to help coat the bread. You don’t need to add more seasonings.
- Spread the coated bread cubes onto the lined baking sheet in an even layer.
- Sprinkle the parmesan cheese over top and bake for 20-23 minutes stirring every few minutes.
Ways to Use Homemade Croutons
Some of my favorite ways to use these delicious bites include:
- Salads: This is great in any type of salad. It’s a great way to add flavor and crunch.
- Soups: I LOVE topping a creamy soup with croutons. They just soak up that creamy goodness and practically melt in your mouth.
- Stuffings: Anytime you need to stuff something with a great filling, use croutons. These would truly rock your Thanksgiving turkey!
- Breadcrumbs: Anytime you need breadcrumbs you can just use these. Pop them into the food processor and voila! Killer breadcrumbs!
- Snack: I LOVE to grab a couple of these while I’m working to have a quick snack
Storing Homemade Croutons
The first thing is you need to make sure is that these are cooled completely before you store them.
Once cooled, they will last in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
For longer storage, place them in a freezer-safe bag and freeze for up to a few months. To use, let them thaw on the counter for ~10-15 minutes. Then, if you want them ‘crispier’ you can just pop them under the broiler for a few seconds.
Best Bread for Homemade Croutons
You can really use any type of bread but sandwich-type bread is something I find sliced too thin. It’ll toast up just fine but it’ll just be super thin.
- No-Knead Crusty Bread
- Bakery bread
- Harder-type crumb bread
Take Your Croutons Up a Notch
If you really want to take your croutons up a notch, try brioche bread! It toasts up super crispy on the outside but stays almost slightly soft on the inside.
It’s really, really yummy and great on a sweeter salad or soup.
Different Flavors of Croutons
Want different flavor combinations? Just open up your spicy pantry and start seasoning!
- Rosemary & Sea Salt: Add chopped fresh rosemary and sea salt to the oil mixture for an herbaceous and salty crunch!
- Parmesan Bacon: Use Bacon grease in lieu of the oil and add in extra parmesan cheese for a delicious, bacony crouton!
- Garlic Thyme: Garlic Powder with fresh thyme really elevate your croutons!
- Honey Sriracha Spice: Add sriracha and honey to your oil and add some heat to your salad or soups!
- Garlic Butter: Add melted butter to the oil and garlic powder.
- Preheat the oven to 325F, line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment and set aside.
- Cube the bread into uniform pieces (1/2-3/4”). Place in a large bowl.
- Whisk the oil, garlic powder, oregano, salt, pepper, basil, and white cheddar powder together. Pour over the bread and. Gently, mix to coat. If your bread is a heavier bread you may want to drizzle in another tablespoon of oil.
- Spread out in an even layer on the baking sheet. Sprinkle the 2 tablespoon of grated Parmesan. Bake at 325F for 20-23 minutes stirring every 5 minutes. Do not bake until super hard. They will dry out as they cool.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before storing. Store in air tight container for up to a week.
- If you have leftovers, process into breadcrumbs and freeze.
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