Homemade Parmesan Croutons

Jump to recipe
A simple mix of herbs, spices, olive oil and Parmesan makes snack-worthy croutons that add crisp crunch to soups, salads, casseroles and more. The flavor-packed bites offer a practical way to make use of leftover bread, from baguettes to sturdy sandwich bread, with an excellent gluten-free option. 

A simple mix of herbs, spices, olive oil and Parmesan makes snack-worthy croutons that add crisp crunch to soups, salads, casseroles and more. The flavor-packed bites offer a practical way to make use of leftover bread, from baguettes to sturdy sandwich bread, with an excellent gluten-free option.

 

 

 

I’m usually one to skip the croutons. Sure they provide crunch, but often not much more than that. In my opinion, a crumble of tortilla chips can be more exciting, and nuts and seeds often provide a healthier, tastier way to deliver crunch.

But these croutons are different.

They’re crunchy and full of flavor, which truly enhances that which they adorn. I can eat them like potato chips!

As an added bonus, this recipe is an excellent way to use remnants of nearly any fresh bread, from a French baguette to sourdough and ciabatta-or even the last few slices of hearty white sandwich bread, like Pepperidge Farm. Because denser bread tends to work best, gluten-free alternatives work surprisingly well. To illustrate this point, I made the pictured batch with Canyon Bakehouse’s Mountain White bread (which despite what white bread seems to imply, happens to be 100% whole grain).

 

A simple mix of herbs, spices, olive oil and Parmesan makes snack-worthy croutons that add crisp crunch to soups, salads, casseroles and more. The flavor-packed bites offer a practical way to make use of leftover bread, from baguettes to sturdy sandwich bread, with an excellent gluten-free option. 

I could hardly keep my husband and son from eating them all off the tray, which was important as these things go since I was hoping to use them to use as a soup topper that evening. (They are especially tasty on split pea soup!⇩⇩)

Healthy, economical pantry ingredients combine with refrigerator staples in this hearty, comforting, slow cooked soup. Makes a big batch and freezes well, too.
What about wheat bread?

White bread does tend to produce the best crouton. You may use a whole wheat bread, but the bread cubes are likely to break apart and become mushy when mixed with the other ingredients prior to baking. They will dry out and crisp up in the oven, but the resulting croutons will likely be uneven and broken rather than uniform cubes.

I will note that any crumby bits are, in fact, worth saving. They might not yield the same crunch as a full crouton, but they will spread the amazing flavor into every crevice of your salad!

If you prefer to eat whole grains, you may wish to try one of the gluten-free “white” breads (even if you don’t follow a gluten-free diet) that list 100% whole grains in the ingredient list, as is the case with the Canyon Bakehouse option I mentioned above.

Once baked, the croutons will keep for a week or more, but if you don’t have a current need for them, simply freeze the leftover bread for use as needed.

A simple mix of herbs, spices, olive oil and Parmesan makes snack-worthy croutons that add crisp crunch to soups, salads, casseroles and more. The flavor-packed bites offer a practical way to make use of leftover bread, from baguettes to sturdy sandwich bread, with an excellent gluten-free option. 

Homemade Parmesan Croutons
Yield: 4-6 servings (3 scant cups)
These flavor-packed bites offer a practical way to make use of leftover bread, from baguettes to sturdy sandwich bread, with an excellent gluten-free option. The recipe can easily be doubled. Just make sure the croutons are spread in a single layer on the baking sheet, using a second sheet if needed.
Ingredients
  • 4 ounces sturdy bread like French, sourdough or GF white bread (about 4 cups once cubed)*
  • ¼ teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 pinch (1/16 teaspoon) cayenne pepper
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
Instructions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 300℉. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
  2. Slice the bread into ½-inch cubes (I use the crust, too) and place in a mixing bowl.
  3. In a small bowl, stir together the Italian seasoning, garlic powder, paprika, black pepper, salt and cayenne pepper.
  4. Drizzle the olive oil over the bread cubes, and toss to evenly coat. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese and the spice mixture, and gently toss again to coat. Place the bread cubes in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes. Toss the croutons and bake 15 minutes more. At this point, the croutons will likely be golden and thoroughly crisp. If the croutons are not thoroughly dried out, you may stir and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes. Or turn off the oven and allow the bread to finish crisping in the residual heat of the oven.
  6. Once cooled, store the croutons in an airtight container. Serve over soup, salads, casseroles-or enjoy as a crunchy snack! The croutons will maintain freshness for at least a week.
Notes

*Four ounces of bread is half a French baguette, about 4 slices of classic Pepperidge Farm bread or 4-5 slices of a gluten-free option such as Udi’s or Canyon Bakehouse. Sourdough and ciabatta are good options, too. I usually leave the crusts on, but you may remove if preferred. Simply measure or weigh after doing so.

The Fountain Avenue Kitchen https://fountainavenuekitchen.com/

Leave a Reply

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