Side Dish


Basic Croutons

Hands-on Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

  • 1 loaf sliced white or wheat sandwich bread, cut into ¾” pieces
  • ½ c olive oil
  • 1 ½ tsp salt

Heat oven to 350°F.  Dividing evenly between 2 rimmed baking sheets, toss the bread with the olive oil and salt.  Arrange in a single layer and bake, tossing the bread and rotating the pans halfway through, until golden and crisp, 25-30 minutes.  Let cool completely on the pans.

Before baking try tossing the bread with one of the following:

  • Herbs: ¼ c chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley and 1 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme or rosemary.
  • Spices: 2 Tbsp paprika, 1 tsp ground cumin, and ½ tsp cayenne pepper.
  • Cheese: ¾ c grated Parmesan. (Use cheese croutons within 1 week.)
  • Basic Croutons fresh from the oven

     I. LOVE. CROUTONS.  Olive Garden, yum.  Texas Roadhouse, yes please!  The Lite Caesar Salad Kit I’m always referencing, delicious.

Fresh Express Salad Kit – Caesar Lite

They all have the soft crunch and lite taste to them.  So much better than the trying-to-break-a-tooth, rock solid, spice overload of the pre-packaged croutons I was finding at the grocery store to have for homemade salads.  After giving the store bought kind plenty of chances (and seriously wondering if I was going to break a tooth on them) I vowed to never buy the store bought ones again.

But I wanted croutons at home.  Croutons like the fantastic ones I mentioned above.  To go with every salad. How could I do that? Make my own?  And just like that it was as if the Real Simple fairy had heard my wish yet again.  One of the next issues I received provided me with this recipe.

One tray of Basic Croutons fresh from the oven

These croutons are so fresh and have just the right amount of crunch.  I do have a couple recommendations though.  First, this recipe makes a TON of croutons.  When I first made them my husband and I had croutons to last us months.  And mind you we love croutons so we’re very generous with our servings and still wouldn’t have run out for months.  If making them just for two, definitely cut the recipe in half.  Second, for heartier croutons use wheat bread.  The original recipe only called for white bread but I actually like the wheat better than the white bread croutons.  And finally, I used my kitchen shears to make quick work of cutting up the bread in case you were curious.

One of the many bags to store leftovers from the first batch

As you can see there are a few other ways to dress up these croutons.  I made the original and then a batch of the Parmesan.  I have yet to attempt herb or spice alternatives.

Parmesan Croutons

Now, with the luck I’ve been having, I’m hoping it’s only a matter of time before Real Simple provides me with the mac n cheese recipe I’ve been searching for!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *