These cheese and garlic croutons are full of delicious cheese and herbs and add a satisfying crunch to every bite. They’re incredibly easy to make with simple ingredients like French Gruyère cheese, garlic, and fresh parsley. Ready in under 20 minutes!
- Crunchy, cheesy, and loaded with flavour.
- A great addition to soups like my potato chowder.
- Wonderful for topping salads too — perfect over a Caesar salad.
- Baked until golden and crunchy and so incredibly easy to make.
- Versatile — cut the croutons into any shape and size you’d like.
These DIY croutons are so tasty, you’ll never want to buy store-bought again. This recipe is also a great way to prevent food waste as you can even use stale bread to make them. I love having a few servings of garlicky croutons on hand to add a little something extra to lighter dishes like salads and soups during the week.
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Best bread for croutons
Almost any bread will work for making DIY croutons, but I find crusty bread to be best. A good sourdough or ciabatta — something artisanal which has a great crust and loads of flavour — is going to give you the best results. But if push comes to shove, you can use regular old sliced bread and they’ll still be amazing.
These homemade croutons are a great recipe to use up leftover bread too, like those last few slices that you know you won’t get to. If you don’t have enough to make a full batch, just cut it into cubes and freeze them, adding more as you have more bread to use up. Once your bag is full, you can cook up a batch of cheese croutons with garlic!
You can also use your leftover bread to make breadcrumbs from scratch. I always have a batch of my breadcrumbs on hand and, while they can be frozen for later use, they last a really long time in the pantry too in a tightly sealed jar, container or ziplock bag.
Ingredients you’ll need
Detailed quantities and instructions in the recipe card below.
- Bread: Try to use crusty bread. Before you get started, cut into 1-1 ½ cm (½ inch) cubes.
- Extra virgin olive oil: Use EVOO to get the best crunch and golden colour for your garlic croutons.
- Salted butter: I like using salted butter in this recipe for croutons as it injects even more flavour into the mix.
- Garlic: For the best garlicky croutons, use 2 cloves of fresh garlic.
- Gruyère: You could use a combination of Parmesan cheese and Gruyère cheese or your favourite strong cheddar. Just make sure it’s finely shredded.
- Fresh parsley: To add a pop of colour and more herby goodness. You can swap this for other herbs too – thyme and oregano are amazing. Fresh is best but you can use the dried versions too – 2-3 teaspoons of dried herbs in place of fresh will be sufficient.
- Sea salt flakes: You’ll need a good-sized pinch. If you like, add a sprinkle of freshly cracked black pepper too.
How to make garlic croutons (step-by-step)
Detailed quantities and instructions in the recipe card below.
- Make the garlic butter mixture: Place a small saucepan over medium heat and add the olive oil and butter. Cook until the butter melts, then add the garlic (photo 1).
- Coat the bread cubes: Add the bread cubes to a large bowl and pour the garlic and butter over them. Stir to coat completely (photo 2).
- Add the cheese and herbs: Stir in the shredded gruyère and chopped fresh parsley and mix to coat (photo 3).
- Bake: Transfer the cheese croutons to a prepared baking sheet (photo 4) and bake until golden and crispy. Remember to shake the sheet a few times for even cooking. Let them cool a bit before serving.
Just try to resist eating these cheesy garlic croutons, fresh, crunchy and warm from the pan.
What to serve with cheese croutons
These make for wonderful soup croutons as well as a garnish for green salads. I’ve tried them in butternut squash soup, roasted tomato soup, and potato chowder and atop this fresh asparagus, rocket, and Parmesan salad, if you’re short on ideas.
Tips and tricks
- Always shred cheese from the block yourself: Pre-shredded cheeses may seem convenient, but they often have coatings on them to stop the cheese from sticking together. This coating can also stop them from melting properly, which is why I always grate/shred cheese from scratch. Aside from better flavour and texture, it’s far more affordable.
- Customise your homemade garlic croutons: Remember, you can use any bread you like, but I definitely recommend a crusty loaf of bread like a ciabatta or sourdough. Both have large holes, which is actually excellent for this recipe. All the flavours settle into them. A good crusty baguette works great too.
- Chop the bread evenly: No matter what kind of bread you use, it’s important that you dice it as evenly as possible. Your soup croutons will bake up perfectly without fear of burning.
No. You can certainly use stale bread to make croutons, but you’ll have to add some other ingredients and bake them to have true crunchy croutons. I love the combination of garlic and cheese in mine — you could also add extra herbs or spices if you’d like.
Yes, you can freeze croutons and then thaw them when you want to use them. You can also freeze stale bread cubes and turn them into croutons later.
Firstly, you have to make sure you’ve fully cooked them through. Keep them stored in an airtight container or in a zip lock bag with all the air removed. Avoid them coming into contact with any moisture or humidity too.
If you want to reheat your croutons, just scatter them back onto a baking sheet in a single layer and bake at 180 degrees C/350 degrees F for 10 minutes.
While the flavour of fresh garlic works best in this recipe, you can swap it for garlic powder if it’s your preference. Use just ½ a teaspoon of garlic powder in place of the fresh garlic cloves in this recipe.
Yield and storage
This recipe for croutons will yield about 8 servings. You can double it or even cut it in half to fit your specific needs.
Store homemade croutons at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 5 days. You could also freeze them for later. Refer to the reheating instructions above when you’re ready to eat them.
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Cheese Garlic Croutons
- 4 cups bread
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (notes 1)
- 2 tablespoons salted butter (28g/1oz)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup finely shredded Gruyère, slightly packed (75g)
- ¼ cup finely chopped fresh parsley
- Good pinch of sea salt flakes
For best results, always weigh ingredients where a weight is provided
- Large mixing bowl
- Fine grater
- large baking sheet
- Preheat the oven to 180C (160C fan forced) / 350F. Line a large baking sheet with baking paper.
- Start by cutting the bread into cubes roughly 1-1 ½ cm (½ inch). Measure out 4 cups of cubes. Place them into a large bowl and set aside.
- In a small saucepan, over medium heat, heat the oil and butter until the butter melts. Add the garlic and cook stirring or swirling every so often for 1 minute.
- Pour the garlic butter mixture over the bread cubes and mix well to coat evenly.
- Add the Gruyère and parsley and toss well.
- Tip the croutons out onto your prepared baking sheet into a single layer and make sure to spread any clumps of cheese over the cubes. Sprinkle over a good pinch of sea salt flakes.
- Bake 8 minutes, give it another good mix, then cook for a further 3-4 minutes until golden and crisp.
- Allow to cool slightly before serving.
- Please take a moment to leave a comment & rating. It's appreciated and so helpful.
- Tablespoons: I use a standard Australian 20ml tablespoon (equal to 4 teaspoons). Check yours before measuring.
- Garlic: While I definitely recommend fresh garlic for the best flavour, you can swap the fresh cloves for ½ teaspoon of garlic powder, total.
- Gruyere: You could use a combination of Parmesan cheese and Gruyère cheese or your favourite strong cheddar. Just make sure it’s finely shredded.
- Fresh parsley: You can swap this for other herbs too – thyme and oregano are amazing. Fresh is best but you can use the dried versions too – 2-3 teaspoons of dried herbs in place of fresh will be sufficient.
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