My easy stovetop croutons recipe is a fast, easy way to elevate a basic salad or soup into something special. Done in under 15 minutes.
I love to make homemade croutons on the stovetop: it's quick, simple, and they always turn out delicious.
These croutons are so popular with my family that they're requested more often than bread at dinner time. When I set a bowl of garlic bread croutons in the middle of the table, they're devoured in no time.
Stick around: I'll show you the simple, 5-Step process for making these little flavor bombs.
What is the best bread for croutons?
Use fresh or day old bread?
You can use either. After a lot of experimentation, I prefer to use fresh bread for croutons if I'm planning to use them right away. It results in a crunchy exterior but a chewy interior, and I just love this contrast of texture.
However, if you store these, you lose the chewiness inside and the croutons will quickly go stale.
If you use day old bread for croutons, it produces perfectly crunchy croutons because the bread is dryer than fresh. But you also lose the chewy insides. If you plan to store the croutons, use day-old bread for more uniformly crunchy croutons.
How to make stovetop croutons
Making homemade croutons on the stovetop is quick and easy. Just follow the 5-steps below.
1. Cut the bread into cubes
You want to cut your bread into roughly 1-inch cubes. I find it easier to slice the bread from the crust side rather than the fluffy inside part.
Only cut enough bread so that a single layer of croutons will lay on the skillet. If you need more, just make multiple batches.
2. Heat the skillet
Heat your skillet to medium and add the olive oil and butter. Allow this to heat up for about 2-3 minutes.
3. Add the bread cubes
Add the bread cubes to the hot skillet. Immediately stir the croutons in the oil and butter mixture to coat as many sides as possible. Some sides won't get coated, and that is fine.
Arrange the bread cubes so that they are in a single layer on the bottom of the skillet. This ensures that the croutons will be properly toasted.
4. Cook for 60-90 seconds, then toss
Let this single layer of cubes cook for 60-90 seconds. The exact timing will depend on how hot your pan is and how brown you want them.
Once browned to your liking, toss the croutons in the pan to toast a different side. After tossing, spread them out again out so that there is a single layer, then let cook for another 60-90 seconds.
You want to do this a total of 4 times, resulting in 4 different sides getting browned.
After each toss, some cubes will land on a previously toasted side. This isn't a big concern, but I always make an effort to turn a few of these over to ensure that different sides are getting toasted.
5. Season and serve
After 4 cycles of toasting and tossing the croutons, it’s time to add your seasoning.
First, turn off the burner. While the croutons are still in your warm pan, add your seasoning. Then toss and stir until the seasoning has coated your croutons to your liking.
Last, allow them to rest in this pan until serving. Do not cover: the condensation will ruin your perfectly crispy croutons!
It’s important to season the croutons after they have been toasted to ensure that the spices don’t burn.
Seasoning for croutons
Feel free to be creative here. Choose spices that complement the food you are eating them with. Some of our favorite spices and additions are:
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Italian herb mix
- Fresh chopped parsley
- Grated Parmesan cheese
- Red pepper flake
- Taco seasoning (great for taco salads, tortilla soup)
Recipes using stovetop croutons
Croutons are great for soups and salads. Below are some proven winners!
Fresh Tomato Soup
Cream of Mushroom Soup
Easy Pasta e Fagioli Soup
Instant Pot Ham and Bean Soup
Crockpot Ham Split-Pea Soup
Summer Panzanella Salad
Easy Greek Pasta Salad
Meal-Prep House Salad & Homemade Thousand Island Dressing
How to store homemade croutons?
If I'm planning to use the croutons within a week, my favorite way to store them is at room temperature in a Ziploc bag with as much of the air removed as possible.
You can store your croutons in airtight containers, but the air in the headspace can cause them to go stale more quickly.
Any croutons I'm not using within a week go into the freezer (Ziplocked as above) for up to two months. I simply pull them out in the morning and let them thaw at room temperature so they're ready to be used with dinner.
I hope you enjoy these easy stovetop croutons on your salads, soups, and more!
Stay safe, my friends. Stay well.
- 3 cups bread, cubed (see Recipe Note #1)
- 2 tablespoon olive oil, extra virgin, divided (see Recipe Note #2)
- 2 tablespoon butter, divided (see Recipe Note #2)
- ¼ teaspoon salt, coarse
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon mixed dried herbs (see Recipe Note #3)
- Set a large skillet over medium heat; add the oil and butter.
- When the butter is melted and foaming, add the bread cubes. Stir well to coat the cubes with the oil and butter mixture. Make sure that the cubes are arranged in a single layer. Let the croutons toast for 60-90 seconds.
- Toss or stir the croutons. Arrange again in a single layer. Repeat this step two additional times for a total of 4 tosses. This will cook a total of 4 sides of the crouton.
- Remove the skillet from the heat. Add the salt, pepper, and mixed dried herbs. Toss well to coat all sides. Serve.
- Use a crusty, rustic bread like a boule or baguette. The bread should be cut into roughly 1-inch cubes.
- If your skillet is large enough for all 3 cups of bread to lay in a single layer (we suggest 14"), you don't need to divide the butter and oil. Otherwise, toast 1 ½ cups at a time with half of the oil and butter.
- You can also add Parmesan cheese or your favorite spice mix. If the mix contains salt, be sure to reduce the amount of coarse salt.
- Store the croutons at room temperature in a Ziploc bag (squeeze out as much air as possible) for use within one week or freeze for up to 2 months.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: ½ cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 129Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 10mgSodium: 226mgCarbohydrates: 10gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 2g
Nutrition data provided here is only an estimate: if you are tracking this information for medical purposes, please consult a trusted external source. Thanks!