Homemade French Fried Croutons: Elevate Your Dishes with Crunch

Crunchy, golden, and bursting with flavor, these Homemade French Fried Croutons are a simple way to elevate your meals. Our easy recipe guides you through creating the perfect crunch and taste that will transform any dish.

The Origin of French Fried Croutons

Croutons have a storied past, hailing from the culinary traditions of France. The term “crouton” comes from “croûton”, a French word that signifies a little crust. The practice of toasting bread, however, predates its French nomenclature and has roots in ancient times. It was initially a way to salvage stale bread, giving it a second life.

Throughout medieval Europe, there was a tradition of using hardened bread as a plate, called a trencher. Interestingly, these bread plates would absorb the flavors of the meal, a precursor to the croutons’ role in soups and salads. As time marched on, these crisp pieces of bread began appearing in the salads of the French nobility during the 17th century. This marked the evolution of croutons from a mere practical food-saving technique to a refined culinary element.

Today, the crouton is celebrated not only for its heritage but also for its versatility in modern cooking. Now, let’s transition to exploring the various ways in which French fried croutons can be the perfect complement to many dishes, adding both flavor and crunch.

Homemade French Fried Croutons Recipe

Croutons add that irresistible crunch to your dishes, and making them at home allows for endless flavor customization. Here’s a simple and savory recipe that incorporates the aromatic ingredients you can spot in the image: garlic, herbs, and a hint of salt.

Savory Homemade French Fried Croutons with herbs and garlic on a dark serving board.


  • 1 large baguette or loaf of artisan bread, preferably day-old, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • Fresh herbs (such as oregano, thyme, and rosemary), finely chopped
  • Coarse sea salt, to taste
  • Optional: a pinch of cracked black pepper or chili flakes for some heat


  1. Preheat Oven: Begin by preheating your oven to 375°F (190°C). This ensures a uniformly heated environment for your croutons to toast evenly.
  2. Prepare the Bread: Cut the bread into 1-inch cubes. If you’re using day-old bread, that’s perfect. The slightly stale texture absorbs flavors better and results in a crunchier crouton.
  3. Flavor the Oil: In a small pan, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and heat gently until the garlic is fragrant but not browned. This infuses the oil with a delicious garlic flavor.
  4. Season the Bread: Toss the bread cubes with the garlic-infused olive oil and chopped fresh herbs until evenly coated. Spread the bread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt, and if you like, some cracked black pepper or chili flakes.
  5. Bake to Perfection: Bake the croutons in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until they are golden brown and crisp. Halfway through, give them a stir to ensure all sides are evenly toasted.
  6. Cool and Serve: Remove the croutons from the oven and let them cool slightly—they will continue to crisp up as they cool. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container once completely cooled.

Tips and Tricks:

  • Bread Choice: A denser bread will result in a heftier crouton, whereas a lighter bread will give you a more delicate crunch.
  • Herb Variations: Depending on the season or your personal preference, experiment with different herbs like basil, parsley, or dill.
  • Storage: Store in an airtight container at room temperature to maintain their crunch. They can last up to a week when stored properly.
  • No Waste: If you have leftover herbs, don’t throw them away. Freeze them in olive oil in an ice cube tray for future cooking.

Now that we have our croutons baking, let’s anticipate their uses. Not only do these golden nuggets add texture to soups and salads, but they also serve as a splendid addition to stuffings or as a crunchy topping for casseroles.

Health Benefits of Homemade Croutons

Making croutons at home doesn’t just cater to your taste buds; it also allows you to control what goes into your food, which can be beneficial for your health. Firstly, when you choose to bake your own croutons, you have the power to select high-quality bread, such as whole grain or sourdough, which are more nutritious options compared to white bread. Additionally, by using fresh, natural ingredients, you avoid the preservatives and additives often found in store-bought varieties.

Moreover, incorporating herbs not only enhances flavor without the need for excess salt but also offers various health benefits. Herbs like rosemary and thyme are known for their anti-inflammatory properties and can provide antioxidants. Furthermore, by controlling the amount of oil, you manage the fat content, making them a healthier option than many fried counterparts.

Homemade croutons also contribute dietary fiber, especially when made from whole grain bread, which is essential for digestive health. And finally, by adding garlic, you’re not just imparting a robust flavor; you’re also taking advantage of its immune-boosting qualities.

So, not only do homemade French fried croutons bring a burst of flavor and texture to your dishes, but they also contribute positively to your overall health when made with the right ingredients and methods.

FAQs About Homemade French Fried Croutons

How long will homemade croutons last?

Properly stored in an airtight container at room temperature, homemade croutons can stay fresh for up to a week. Make sure they’re completely cool before storing to avoid any moisture from making them soggy.

Can I make croutons with gluten-free bread?

Certainly! Gluten-free bread works well for croutons. The baking process is the same, though you might need to adjust the baking time based on the bread’s texture.

Is it better to use fresh or stale bread for croutons?

Stale bread is typically better for making croutons because it’s drier and soaks up the seasoning well. But don’t worry if you only have fresh bread; just toast it a bit longer to achieve the desired dryness and crispiness.

Can croutons be made without oil?

Yes, for a lower-fat option, use a light cooking spray or a bit of broth to help the seasonings adhere to the bread cubes.

What’s the best way to get even seasoning on my croutons?

For even seasoning, toss your bread cubes with the seasonings in a large bowl. Add seasonings slowly and taste as you go to ensure each crouton is perfectly flavored.

Can I freeze homemade croutons?

Freezing croutons is an option. First, freeze them individually on a baking sheet, then transfer to a freezer-safe bag or container. Reheat in the oven to re-crisp before serving.

What are some creative ways to use croutons besides in salads and soups?

Beyond salads and soups, croutons can be a crunchy topping for creamy pastas, ground into a crust for casseroles, or enjoyed as a snack. They’re also perfect for adding texture to puréed soups or served with a cheese platter.


In the world of culinary creations, it’s often the simplest touches that make the biggest impact. Homemade French fried croutons embody this principle, offering a delightful crunch and depth of flavor that can elevate the simplest dishes into memorable meals. From enhancing the texture of soups and salads to serving as a creative component in appetizers and snacks, these croutons prove that with a bit of bread and imagination, the possibilities in the kitchen are endless.

Making croutons at home not only allows for customization in flavor and healthfulness but also invites a moment of culinary creativity into our often busy lives. Whether you’re using up leftover bread or planning a special meal, the addition of homemade croutons is a testament to the joy of cooking and the beauty of transforming simple ingredients into something extraordinary.

As we’ve explored the journey from their origins to various uses and the ease of making them, it’s clear that French fried croutons are more than just a garnish; they’re a gateway to elevating everyday cooking. So, the next time you’re in the kitchen, remember that something as simple as a crouton can be the ingredient that turns a meal into a masterpiece. Happy cooking!

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