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Homemade croutons

Diana De Cicco is a food editor and writer based in New York City. She has a master's degree from New York University in Food Studies. Her passions are eating, traveling, and eating while traveling.

The best crouton recipes

Croutons are easy to take for granted…they most often come out of a box and get sprinkled over a salad for added crunch. But making your own croutons gives you the opportunity to add an unexpected and welcome taste and texture to many other dishes. Here are some inventive ways to use croutons and three homemade crouton recipes that are far better than croutons from a box.

Homemade Croutons

What to do with croutons

Croutons are a classic salad staple, but there are so many other uses for them, especially when they are homemade and crunching with flavor. Homemade croutons can be added to soups as a crispy garnish, they can be crushed and used as crispy breading for fish, chicken, or beef, or sprinkled over casseroles or macaroni and cheese before baking to produce a lovely golden crisp crust.

You can also toss croutons with any pasta dish for a lovely texture and taste. Homemade croutons also make for delicious stuffing for poultry and vegetables, or simply enjoyed as a novel side dish. You can even make sweet croutons and add them as a topping to your favorite ice cream dish.

Croutons are easy

As a bonus, making homemade croutons is easy. All you need is leftover (or fresh) crusty bread and your choice of seasonings, like garlic, rosemary, thyme, olive oil, sea salt, or any combination of your favorite herbs and spices. You can make them spicy with hot sauce or even sweet with cinnamon, brown sugar, or cocoa powder. Be creative with your crouton flavorings and they will add an extra surprise to just about any dish.

Homemade crouton Recipes

Once you see how quickly and simply you can make croutons, you'll want to keep them on hand in the pantry to add a crunchy dimension to many of your everyday meals. To keep croutons crisp, simply let them cool completely and store them in an airtight container.

Garlic Croutons

Makes 6 servings

Ingredients:
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 large French baguette, cubed

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

2. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and sauté garlic until just very lightly golden. Add bread cubes and sauté until coated well.

3. Spread bread cubes on prepared pan and bake 10 to 15 minutes or until you have crispy croutons.

Double Cheese Croutons

Makes 6 servings

Ingredients:
1 sourdough loaf, cubed
2 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 cup finely shredded cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

2. Arrange bread cubes on a baking sheet and drizzle with butter. Sprinkle cheeses over top of bread.

3. Bake 10 to 15 minutes or until bread is crispy and cheese is golden.

Cinnamon and Brown Sugar Croutons

Makes 6 servings

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons butter, softened
6 thick slices cinnamon-raisin bread, cubed
2 tablespoons cinnamon
2 tablespoons brown sugar

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

2. Melt butter in a skillet and add bread cubes, tossing to coat. Sprinkle with cinnamon and brown sugar and toss again until well coated.

3. Spread bread cubes on a baking sheet and bake 10 to 15 minutes or until crispy.

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