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Homemade Croutons for Caesar Salad

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Are you tired of store-bought croutons that lack flavor and crunch? It’s time to elevate your Caesar salad with homemade Caesar croutons that bring a burst of freshness and zest to your dish. Made with simple ingredients and an easy-to-follow method, these croutons will transform your salads from ordinary to extraordinary.

A salad bowl filled with Caesar salad and topped with homemade croutons.

Here is Why This Recipe for Croutons Works

When it comes to elevating a dish, whether it’s with a sprinkle over a fresh salad drizzled with Caesar dressing or a crunchy addition to a comforting soup, the magic lies in the details. This Caesar crouton recipe embodies more than just a topping for salad; it’s about transforming simple ingredients into something spectacular.

  • Simplicity and Flavor: Combining everyday ingredients for an extraordinary result.
  • Customizable: Easily adaptable to your taste preferences.
  • Versatility: Perfect for salads, soups, or as a crunchy snack.
  • Perfect Use for Stale Bread: Transform leftover or stale bread into something delicious, making it an ideal way to reduce waste and enjoy every slice.

Ingredients for Caesar Salad Croutons

Here is a list of the ingredients you will need for this recipe. Use it as a topping for soup or salad. Scroll down to the printable recipe card for all the details. 

  • Bread: Soft Italian bread
  • Dairy: Butter, Parmesan
  • Pantry Seasonings: Garlic powder, dried Italian herb seasoning, salt
  • Produce: Lemon (zest)
Ingredients used to make Caesar croutons.

Ingredient Substitutions

  • Bread: Use whole wheat or gluten-free bread.
  • Butter: Olive oil can be a great alternative.

How to Make Caesar Croutons

Here is a brief overview to get an idea of what to expect with this easy recipe for salad croutons. You will see more details if you scroll down to the printable recipe card below.

  1. Preheat the oven and prepare two baking sheets.
  2. Slice the bread into cubes. Combine all the ingredients and coat the bread cubes.
  3. Spread the cubes on baking sheets and bake until golden. Wait until they cool before tossing on your salad (scroll down to the recipe card for all the details).

Slicing a loaf of bread to make croutons.

Recipe Variations

Here are some creative twists to the recipe that can easily adapt to your taste and the type of salad you’re serving:

  • Herb Overload: Add fresh herbs like basil or parsley and some freshly grated garlic for extra flavor.
  • Spicy Kick: Sprinkle with red pepper flakes before baking.
  • Cheesy Delight: Mix in extra cheese varieties like cheddar or gouda.
Four process photos showing how to make salad croutons.

Tips for Crouton Success

These tips for homemade croutons will help you make crunchy delights that are not only delicious but also add the perfect touch to any recipe they accompany.

  • Even Coating: Ensure all bread cubes are evenly coated for consistent flavor.
  • Watch the Oven: Keep an eye on the croutons to prevent over-browning. Toss them to make sure they toast evenly. 
  • Cool Completely: Let them cool to achieve the perfect crunch.

Serving Suggestions for Croutons

Homemade Caesar croutons aren’t just for topping your classic Caesar salad. Their crunch and flavor can transform a variety of recipes. Here are some ways to incorporate these delightful homemade croutons into your recipes:

Soup Toppers: Elevate your favorite soups with these croutons. Whether it’s a classic borscht, butternut squash soup, or potato broccoli soup, adding these croutons brings a delightful crunch and a beautiful textural contrast that enhances every spoonful.

Stuffing Alternative: Revamp your traditional stuffing, especially for chicken or turkey, by using these croutons as a base. Their seasoning and crunchy texture make for a more flavorful stuffing, perfect for any family dinner.

Casserole Topping: Sprinkle these croutons over our tomato casserole or lamb casserole before baking. They’ll turn into a crispy, golden crust, adding a delightful crunch to this classic comfort food.

Vegetable Garnish: Add texture and flavor to roasted or steamed vegetables by sprinkling them with croutons. This easy addition can transform even a simple vegetable recipe.

Meatloaf or Meatballs Reinvention: Crush these croutons and use them in place of breadcrumbs in our turkey meatballs or instant pot meatloaf. They’ll infuse an extra layer of flavor and an interesting texture to these classic dishes.

Salad Topper: Add them to a kale Caesar salad or our radicchio salad for extra crunch and flavor.

A bowl of soup topped with croutons.

Storage for Croutons

Homemade croutons typically last for about 2 weeks when stored properly. To ensure their longevity, it’s important to store them in an airtight container at room temperature. This helps to maintain their crispness and prevents them from becoming stale.

For longer storage, you can freeze homemade croutons for up to 3 months. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make these croutons gluten-free?

Yes, use your favorite gluten-free bread.

Why are my croutons soft?

Croutons can turn out soft for a few reasons:
If they haven’t been baked long enough to remove all the moisture, they can end up soft. Storing them before they’re completely cool can build up condensation and make them soft. And using very fresh or soft bread can also result in softer croutons. To fix this, you can try baking them a bit longer at a low temperature to remove the remaining moisture.

These homemade Caesar croutons are more than just a salad topping; you can use them to add a satisfying crunch and flavor to soups, as a crunchy crust for your favorite casseroles, or even as a crispy garnish on top of creamy pasta recipes. With their unbeatable flavor and texture, they’re sure to become a staple in your kitchen. We would love to hear from you. If you have ideas for using croutons, leave a reply in the comment section below. 

Homemade Croutons and Caesar Salad Dressing

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Croutons on a Caesar salad.

Homemade Croutons for Caesar Salad

Elevate your salads with these homemade Caesar Croutons. Baked to perfection, these croutons are crisp, light and golden. The addition of lemon zest adds a unique, zesty twist, complementing the classic Caesar profile. Whether tossed in a Caesar salad or used as a crunchy topping for soups, they will add a delightful crunch and a burst of savory flavor to your recipes.
5 from 13 votes
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Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 4 cups
Calories: 65kcal
Author: Pat Nyswonger


  • 1 large loaf soft Italian bread
  • ½ cup butter
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried Italian herb seasoning
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • ½ teaspoon salt


  • Preheat the oven to 350° and line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.  
  • Slice the bread into ½ inch cubes and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine the melted butter, Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, lemon zest, and salt.
  • Add the bread cubes and toss them to coat with the seasoned butter.  
  • Divide the croutons evenly between the two prepared baking sheets, transfer to the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes, stirring after 5 minutes, until the croutons are crisp and lightly golden in color.  
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool before using.


  • To store any unused croutons, place in an airtight container and store in the pantry.


Serving: 1/4 cup | Calories: 65kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 17mg | Sodium: 171mg

Pat Nyswonger

Pat is a wife, mom of four adult children, and grandmother to seventeen beautiful children. She is a self-taught home cook and loves creating delicious meals for her family and friends. Her kitchen is the hub of activity in her home, and she loves to entertain.

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Recipe Rating

Kathi Kirk

Monday 2nd of February 2015

I don't think here is anybody who doesn't love a good caesar salad and this looks yummy! After my Whole30 I am hooked on homemade mayo. I make it weekly. I use Egglands best eggs...are they pasteurized ? I don't know but they make killer mayo and are a bit lower in cholesterol. Love this!


Monday 2nd of February 2015

Hi, Kathi....I hope the Whole30 was all that you expected :).....Thanks for the comments.

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