Croutons are cubes of bread that have been coated in butter or oil and then baked or fried until crisp. They’re wonderful sprinkled on soups or salads, or used as a topping for casseroles. You can buy ready-made croutons from the grocery store but why bother when homemade croutons are a hundred, no, a thousand times better and are sooo easy to make?
They can be seasoned in a variety of ways. In place of garlic powder, you could use anywhere from ½ to 2 teaspoons of italian seasoning, herbes de Provence, dried dill, Greek seasoning, chili powder, curry powder, fresh cracked black pepper, or whatever seasoning strikes your fancy. You could make parmesan croutons by adding ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese to the butter, or make fresh cheese croutons using cheddar, swiss, gruyere, emmentaler, or asiago by sprinkling 1 cup or so of the grated cheese over the croutons halfway through baking.
These garlic butter croutons are my family’s favorite. They’re so good and smell divine while they’re baking. It’s all I can do to keep the fam from gobbling them all up before dinner! Feel free to use fresh garlic instead of garlic powder if you like. The garlic powder just makes it super quick and easy to do, but fresh garlic is equally delicious.
HOMEMADE GARLIC BUTTER CROUTONS
- 1 loaf (about 1 lb.) french or italian bread or texas toast
- 2 sticks (1 cup) butter, melted
- 1½ Tbsp. granulated garlic or garlic powder
- ½ tsp. garlic salt, optional (we like a little salt on our croutons, but this is completely up to you – feel free to omit the salt if you like)
- Preheat oven to 350ºF.
- With a serrated knife, cut bread into ¾ to 1-inch cubes.
- Combine melted butter, granulated garlic, and garlic salt (if using) in a gallon-size ziploc bag.
- Quickly add bread cubes to bag and seal well.
- Shake like mad till bread cubes are completely coated with garlic-butter mixture.
- Spread bread cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet.
- Bake about 15 minutes or until golden and crispy.
- Cool completely and store in an airtight container.
- Make sure to use a good, sturdy bread. A light, airy loaf will just turn soggy. This is better made with stale bread so try to purchase your bread a day or two before you plan to make the croutons so the bread will have a chance to dry out a little.
- If you’d rather use fresh garlic instead of garlic powder, finely mince 4 cloves of fresh garlic and use that in place of the garlic powder.
- Use real butter and not margarine. Margarine has a high water content and could turn your croutons soggy. Also, my family loves the butteriness (is that a word?) of these croutons but if it seems like too much butter for you, just cut the amount down to half a cup.