Homemade croutons take 5 minutes to make and add that tasty little crunch to your soup or salad. All you need is bread and some butter, oil, lard, or bacon fat.
In my experience, all kinds of bread work for croutons. I have tried French bread, sourdough, whole grain, rye, and more. Experiment and see what you like. I would stay away from anything too sweet, though who knows, I might come up with an application for banana bread croutons yet. 🙂 The fat is there to make the croutons nice and crunchy. My usual go-to is butter, but if I do have some bacon fat around, it makes for some absolutely scrumptious croutons.
Croutons are a fantastic way to use up bread that is no longer fresh and even a little hard. I often cube bread that is past its prime and put it in an open bowl on my counter, ready for use. If you have only fresh bread on hand and find yourself in a crouton emergency, don’t worry, it will still fry up beautifully.
Ingredients (serves 2-4)
2 slices of bread (cubed)
2 tbsp butter, oil, etc.
In a pan large enough to accommodate the cubed bread in a single layer, heat the fat until melted (if applicable). Add the bread cubes and fry on medium heat, stirring regularly until golden brown and evenly crunchy. If using seasonings, add them in towards the end.
A selection of my favorite crouton seasonings:
Garlic powder (I put this on pretty much all my croutons regardless of what else is going in)
Herbs (thyme, rosemary, etc., great on salads with a vinaigrette dressing or in vegetable soups)
Cheddar (my favorite with homemade tomato soup. Just add a small handful of shredded cheese to the pan towards the end give it a quick stir so it doesn’t turn into a mega crouton)
Lemon pepper (use a pinch of lemon zest and pepper or use a lemon pepper seasoning. This goes really well with Roasted Carrot Soup)