Grocer to Table | Tips and Tricks

Homemade Croutons from Stale Bread

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Don’t throw away your old bread! It is easy to make Homemade Croutons from your Stale Bread!

Baked croutons on antique baking sheet.Pin
Homemeade Croutons from Stale Bread

You know how you go to take a loaf of bread out of the freezer, that you had forgotten was in there? Well, now it is freezer burned. We have all been there.

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Well don’t throw it away! It makes great croutons that are so much better for you than the store bought versions and have so many uses.

Croutons on baking sheet. with black and white towel.Pin

This will definitely not be useful for the ultra processed breads with about 40 preservatives at the end of the ingredients list. (Think Wonder bread, if you are American)

Think instead of that nice, (formerly) crusty loaf of French bread or Italian bread. Any bread that hasn’t been sliced works really well! Rye, wheat, oat, sourdough, even cornbread all lend themselves perfectly.

You could use pre-sliced bread, but then you will have little tiny croutons. I usually grind the pre-sliced bread into coarse crumbs and then dry them for homemade breadcrumbs.

baking sheet with baked croutons.Pin

The other beautiful thing is that you can pat yourself on the back for several reasons. First you are helping reduce food waste, (which is a huge problem in the US). Think about it, you are keeping your particular loaf of bread out of your local landfill, (which are running out of room.).

You are helping to keep your family healthy by controlling the ingredients in your croutons, in comparison to the store bought kind.

You are reducing your grocery bill and you can use up your spices faster so that you don’t have to throw them out after a couple years (that’s what the recommended time is to keep most spices or they lose their flavor).

Close up of croutons.Pin

Use bread that has sat on the counter for too long or has been in freezer too long and has gotten hard, too. All you have to do is cut off any really crusty freezer burned spots.

What you need

  • stale bread (use white, wheat, rye, oat, even cornbread)
  • olive oil
  • optional: spices
Ingredients; stale bread, olive oil.Pin

Variations of seasoned croutons

  • Italian seasoning flavored- use dried basil, parsley, oregano and or marjoram
  • dill and black pepper
  • herbes de provence
  • Mexican – cumin, chili powder, coriander, Mexican oregano, cilantro (great for cornbread)
  • Cheesy – Parmesan cheese, onion powder, garlic powder, parsley, basil, oregano
  • Croutons for stuffing – thyme, sage, parsley, pepper (great for cornbread stuffing too)

Salt can be added to any of the above seasoned bread crumbs if you wish, but it is definitely not necessary. I rarely use salt.

For seasoned bread crumbs, drizzle olive oil or melted butter on to croutons in a large bowl. Sprinkle with spices. Mix well with your hands.

Hand holding pot holder to set down tray.Pin

How to make them

  1. You can cut all of the crust off if you wish but it’s not necessary.
  2. Cut bread lengthwise in half. Cut lengthwise on the opposite plane.
  3. Cut into bite sized squares.
  4. Add to large bowl or plastic bag.
  5. Then add any spices that you like. I do different spices and mark the baggies when I store them.
  6. Drizzle with olive oil.
  7. If they seem a bit dry, drizzle with a bit more oil but you don’t want them drenched in oil.
  8. It is easiest to put the croutons in a large plastic bag, but working with your hands in a large bowl works well too, to eliminate the plastic bag going in the landfill. Work olive oil onto pieces well. It doesn’t matter if every piece has oil on it.
Step by step process photos. See details in recipe below.Pin

Place on rimmed baking sheet spread out a little and in a single layer. Bake 25-35 minutes in a low oven. (300°F) (Croutons should be very dry.)

Unbaked croutons on antique baking tray.Pin

Allow croutons to totally cool to room temperature.

How to store

Store in plastic storage bags, reusable storage bags or airtight containers at room temperature. They last many months. I have never had a bag go bad.

Plain croutons are great too, in this case, I do the bread dry, with no oil. Use a slow oven, about 300°F to toast. Spread the croutons on a baking sheet, in a single layer. To make cleanup a breeze line the baking sheet with parchment paper. Bake for about 20-25 minutes until the croutons are dried through but not too brown.

So next time you find that bread that was better 3 days ago, make your family some homemade croutons.

Overhead photo with large loaf of French bread.Pin
Overhead Over head photo

Uses for them

  • Croutons are a great topping for soups, like this Curried Yellow Squash Soup or tomato soup.
  • They are obviously great for salads. They are a must for Caesar salad.
  • I previously mentioned they make great stuffing. Use for fish, chicken, pork or turkey.
  • Furthermore, in a pinch, you can grind them up in the food processor and use them for dried bread crumbs too!
Colorful squash soup with croutons.Pin

Helpful tools

More pantry staples

For a peek at the common things we keep in our fully stocked pantry, check here.

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I hope you enjoyed the recipe today.

Enjoy. And have fun cooking!

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Hand holding potholder picking up hot tray.Pin

Homemade Croutons

Don’t throw away your old bread! It is easy to make Homemade Croutons from your Stale Bread! Why buy store bought?
See Step by Step Photos Above!Most of our recipes have step by step photos and videos! Also helpful tips so that you can make it perfectly the first time and every time! Scroll up to see them!
5 from 10 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 20 servings
Calories: 30kcal
Author: Beth Neels
Cost: $1


  • 1 loaf stale crusty bread, such as; Italian, French, Rye, Sourdough
  • 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 tablespoon mixed spices


  • Cut any mold off of the bread. You can cut the crust off of the bread if you like but it is not mandatory.
  • Cut bread into bite sized cubed pieces.
  • Place cubes in a large plastic storage bag or large bowl. Drizzle olive oil all over the cubes. Add spices and shake bag or mix with hands.
  • Place on a single layer on a baking sheet and bake at 300°F for 20-30 minutes until dry and golden brown. Don’t let them brown too much or they will be hard.
  • Cool thoroughly. Store in a plastic bag or air tight container at room temperature.
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Use any bread you like white, wheat, rye, sourdough. They are all good. I do each type separately and package them separately,
For Italian flavored croutons use 1 teaspoon each oregano, basil and parsley.
For Stuffing croutons use 1.5 teaspoon each sage and thyme.
Other great flavors are dill weed, rosemary, onion powder, garlic powder.
Get creative! You can use any mixture of spices that you enjoy.
See above article for more variations.


Calories: 30kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 1g | Sodium: 176mg | Potassium: 61mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 47mg | Iron: 1.2mg
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    1. I wouldn’t freeze them. They will get soggy. Just store them in an air tight container in your closet or pantry. They last indefinitely. They may get stale if they are over a year old, depending on how air tight the container is.

      1. Tthank you for this recipe . I’m a sourdough bread baker and I have lots of crusts and dried ends that I’d like to use for making croutons. Since some of them are quite dry, I’m thinking I should moisten them somehow to bring back some softness on the inside before baking. Any advice on procedures?
        I’m wondering if I should dip them in water first and then add the oil and garlic and bake?
        I will follow up with a review if it turns out good.

        1. Hi Mare! When I have dry ends, I grind them up in a food processor and toast them in the oven for homemade bread crumbs for breading and meatballs/ meatloaf, etc. I only use large pieces that have dried out a bit for croutons. Pieces large enough to cut into cubes. I would definitely not wet them again. If they are very dry they will take less time in the oven, so keep a close eye on them. You could even do them at a lower oven temperature so that they don’t get too crunchy. Hope this helps!

  1. 5 stars
    Glad to have this recipe as I always have stale bread it seems. This is perfect for adding to salads instead of the store-bought kind.

  2. 5 stars
    This is a great idea. I usually make bread crumbs but with the Autumn on its way (hopefully this is the last heat wave) croutons are very handy for soups, and we will soon have plenty.

  3. 5 stars
    Croutons are one of my guilty pleasures. Christopher doesn’t eat them so he sets them aside and I grab them one by one and dip them in his dressing and pop them in my mouth. Your recipe looks fabulous though I’d be afraid to make them – easy access and all. I’ll make these at my next dinner party!

    1. Hide them in a storage bag in the back of the closet Elaine and they will be there but you’ll forget about them! These are not really anything to feel too guilty about anyway! Just a light sprinkle of olive oil, and it doesn’t get on every one 🙂 ! Thanks your your comment!!

  4. I adore croutons! In fact, a bowl of soup doesn’t taste right without them. Great recipe!

  5. 5 stars
    Everybody needs to have this basic recipe that is such an improvement over store bought packaged croutons. Good instructions!

  6. 5 stars
    I absolutely LOVE the idea of reusing instead of wasting. I HAVE to try this now. I’m going on a no waste kick so i’m going to start composting too but this is a great idea! Thank you so much.

    1. They are so much better for you too! Keep your eyes open for my post on vegetable broth! Coming soon! Thanks, Cindy!

    1. You can actually stash the bread in the freezer until you have time to cut it up and throw the oven on! Thanks, Stephanie!

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