Homemade croutons are so delicious and simple to make you'll never want to buy store-bought again.
As a child, I discovered the magic of croutons - tiny, crunchy, flavor-packed bread cubes impossible to resist! While my family ate their salads and soups, I shamelessly snacked on croutons straight from the box, leaving them crouton-less. And you know what? I still do! Some things never change.
Well, some things do change. I can now make these satisfying bite-sized, crunchy bread cubes at home in an air fryer, offering a much healthier and tastier option than the store-bought variety.
Why choose homemade croutons?
- Many store-bought croutons contain dairy in the form of Romano cheese, whey, natural butter flavor, or other milk ingredients.
- You can use the leftover bread no one wants to make your croutons like the ends no one eats or the lonely leftover hamburger bun that will never fulfill its original purpose.
- Use up stale bread so you can cut down on waste.
- You don't have to worry about consuming harmful preservatives that manufacturers add to store-bought croutons to increase their shelf life.
- Customize the flavor of your croutons by adding different spices and herbs to suit your taste, such as Italian seasoning.
- Bread is a staple in our house, so I can always whip up a quick batch for salads, soups, casseroles, and pasta dishes to add texture and crunch.
What type of bread works best for air fryer croutons?
When it comes to making air fryer croutons, I've used all types of bread. To be honest, not a crumb goes to waste around here. But certain types of bread do work better than others. Ideally, you want to choose a dense and sturdy bread that can hold its shape during cooking.
Some bread options that work well for air fryer croutons include dense and sturdy bread like a French baguette, sourdough, ciabatta, or whole wheat. But again, use whatever you have on hand.
How to make air fryer croutons
The measurements in the recipe can be modified easily depending on whether you are making a large batch or a small amount for one serving. Use the recipe as a general guideline.
Three easy steps
Preheat your air fryer to 350°F (175°C).
Cut the bread into small cubes, around ¾ inch in size.
- Season the bread cubes:
In a mixing bowl, toss the bread cubes with enough olive oil to coat them evenly. Alternatively, you can use an oil spray or leave them oil-free.
Sprinkle garlic powder, herbs, salt, and pepper over the bread cubes.
Toss the bread cubes to ensure they are evenly coated, using your hands or shaking them in a closed container.
- Air fry the croutons:
Spread the seasoned bread cubes in a single layer in the air fryer.
Cook the croutons in the air fryer, shaking the basket occasionally for even browning.
Creative seasoning ideas for croutons
- Garlic and herbs: Mix with minced garlic, dried herbs, and salt.
- Vegan Parmesan and black pepper: Sprinkle with grated vegan Parmesan and black pepper.
- Taco seasoning: Toss with taco seasoning for a spicy twist.
- Lemon pepper: Combine with lemon zest, black pepper, and salt.
- Smoked paprika and cayenne: Add a smoky and spicy kick.
- Everything bagel seasoning: Sprinkle with everything bagel seasoning.
- Italian seasoning: Mix with dried herbs like basil, oregano, thyme, and rosemary.
Tips for making perfect homemade croutons
If you have stale bread, use it, but fresh bread works too.
Cut the bread into small pieces. Smaller pieces will toast faster and more evenly, but you'll need to watch them closely so they don't burn.
Don't overcrowd the air fryer. Make sure the bread cubes are mostly spread out in a single layer. Overcrowding the air fryer will result in unevenly toasted croutons. You can overcrowd the air fryer a little with good results but shake the basket a few times throughout the cooking process for even browning.
Add seasoning to taste. Adjust the amount of salt, garlic powder, and dried herbs to your liking.
No air fryer, no problem
I like to use the air fryer because it's so easy and quick to use. But if you don't have one, use your oven or stove.
For the oven, preheat to 375°F (190°C). Toss bread cubes with oil and seasonings and bake for about 12-15 minutes until golden and crispy.
For the stove, heat a skillet over medium heat. Toss bread cubes with oil and seasonings. Cook in the skillet, stirring often, until golden and crispy (about 5-7 minutes).
FAQs about Air Fryer Croutons
To store air fryer croutons, cool them completely and store them in an airtight container at room temperature for 1-2 weeks.
Yes, you can freeze air fryer croutons. When they are cool, transfer to an airtight container or bag, and freeze for up to 2-3 months. Thaw at room temperature or in the refrigerator before using. Reheat them in the air fryer for a few minutes to regain their crispness.
- 6 slices bread (stale bread or fresh is fine; slice into ¾ inch cubes)
- 1-2 tablespoons oil (oil spray or melted butter is also a good option)
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning (optional)
- ½ teaspoon salt and pepper (to taste)
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder (to taste )
- Preheat: Preheat the air fryer to 350°F or 180°C.
- Slice: Slice the bread into crouton-sized cubes, about ¾ inch cubes.
- Incorporate: Toss or spray the bread cubes with oil and seasonings until well coated.
- Bake: Spread evenly on a baking tray or place in the air-fryer. Bake until crispy (when they turn golden brown), about 3-4 minutes. Toss them halfway through.
Watch them closely, as they can burn quickly.
- Serve: Wait a few minutes to cool down before serving, and enjoy!
See the post for other ways to creatively season your croutons.
I have made croutons with all types of bread, even hamburger buns. They all work well, but ideally, you want to choose a dense and sturdy bread that can hold its shape during cooking.
If using an air fryer that is not preheated, increase the cooking time by one or two minutes. Check the basket often to prevent them from getting overdone.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 4 minutes
- Category: condiment
- Method: Bake
- Cuisine: American
- Serving Size: 1 cup
- Calories: 115
- Sugar: 2
- Sodium: 199
- Fat: 2
- Saturated Fat: 0.3
- Carbohydrates: 20
- Fiber: 2
- Protein: 4
Keywords: salad, soup, topping, vegan croutons