Cheese and Garlic Croutons

Forget the box! Make your own croutons for great flavor and good cheap eats!

Homemade Cheese and Garlic Croutons | Good Cheap Eats

Croutons are like candy at our house. Back in the day when I bought the boxed versions, I had to hide the box because my people would be tempted to eat them all — with or without a salad to go under it.

Then I learned to make them myself. I still want to hoard them. I am a salad girl, after all, but if I make the croutons myself, I can control the ingredients and I can make them much, much cheaper than the box. This means that I can use day-old bread that I find on sale or use dry home-baked loaves. My friend Lynn makes her croutons gluten-free!

This weekend we had an extra loaf of that fat chubby “French bread” so I decided to make croutons. Now we have 2 quarts of croutons to use on soups and salads in the coming week or two — if they last that long.

Cheese and Garlic Croutons

Making croutons yourself

This time I decided to spice them up with cheese and garlic. While I prefer to use fresh Romano, Parmesan, or Asiago for our pasta dishes, I often keep a can of Trader Joe’s dried, grated variety on hand. This seemed like a good application for the dried parmesan-romano blend since I was fairly certain it wouldn’t burn. And it didn’t.

I cubed the loaf of bread, tossed it with olive oil, seasoned it with garlic powder and cheese, and baked it slowly in the oven until crisp. Easy peasy.

Making croutons cheaper

A bag of croutons at the store ranges from $2 to $4 for about 2 cups of croutons.

I made mine with a leftover loaf of bread that originally cost me $1.50. I could have held out for clearance bread (about $1) or used home-baked bread to lower the price point, but I was making sure this loaf didn’t go to waste. The oil cost about 15 cents an ounce, therefore $0.45. The seasonings maybe totaled a quarter. So, I got 8 cups of croutons for about $2.20, about 4 times cheaper than store bought.

Cheese and Garlic Croutons Good Cheap Eats

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Comments

  1. MomofTwoPreciousGirls says:

    Novice here! Is there a reason you would not toss the seasoning in the bowl to getter LOTS of coverage (after the first toss has absorbed the oil)? I lust after croutons and totally eat them without the salad. My idea of trail mix is croutons, sunflower seeds and sliced almonds toss in my favorite dressing!

    • I think it leaves too much seasoning behind in the bowl. If I’m sprinkling directly on the bread in the baking sheet, I’m making sure it’s landing on the bread and not lagging behind in the bowl.

  2. Do these freeze well? Or are they fine in the pantry for awhile? Would love to keep them on hand in the freezer or pantry!

  3. Homemade croutoms are the best! I havent bought any in over 5 years! I love ones made from crescent rolls! I buy them marked down in the bakery. I put a little oil salt, pepper, garlic and onion powder and bake them. I just do that on the pan so i dont have to dirty another dish. Lol someday i need to try them with parm on them

  4. Jessica, you asked what articles are helpful to us. Can I just say that I don’t know about everyone else, but I love a price breakdown. There are times when I am tempted to snatch up a bag of croutons or anything else prepackaged and after reading the label I throw it right back onto the shelf or wherever I picked it up from. Later on I’ll be thinking how I should have looked elsewhere for a healthier alternative because like you said, a bag of croutons is cheap, but homemade is “cheaper”! The biscotti recipe you posted had me thinking the same thing, homemade tends to be “healthier and cheaper”! Thanks for the reminder.

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