If adding croutons to a salad is what it takes for kids to ask for more, I'm all in! All you need is regular bread, olive oil, garlic salt, and an air fryer to make these perfectly crunchy croutons, and it only takes five minutes from start to finish!
If you ask most kids what their favorite part of a Caesar salad (or any salad, really) is, they will say, "croutons"! I get it! In a way, croutons are like chips - they've got an excellent combination of crunch and salt and that's what gets kids hooked!
I don't know about you but, nothing drives me crazy more than spending money on something that only takes a few cents and a few minutes to make, especially when I almost always have the ingredients on hand.
Now, many crouton recipes call for "day old sourdough bread", referencing freshly baked sourdough (like from a bakery or from scratch at home) and not the kind purchased from a grocery store. Although stale sourdough bread does help to give croutons the perfect crunch, not many families have this on hand.
This is why I decided to play around and develop a crouton recipe (that kids love!) using regular sandwich bread. I'm all about keeping things easy!
Oh, and about that favorite Caesar salad.. you've got to try my homemade Caesar dressing! It's so good!
about this recipe
Serve these kid-approved croutons as part of an after school snack, on top of salads or soup!
- Three-ingredient recipe.
- Made with simple ingredients in the air fryer.
- This recipe is so easy, even your kids can make it!
- Pictured above are croutons made with 'White Done Right' bread by Dave's Killer Bread.
- Bread Using day old or stale 'made from scratch' bread will give the most crunch to croutons. Store bought/mass produced bread often add vital wheat gluten and/or dough conditioners as ingredients to soften bread. These added ingredients do help make bread soft, but they work against you when you are trying to make something crunchy out of it. You can still use it (I did!) but there will be a hint of softness in the center (your kids probably won't even notice).
- Olive oil A good source of healthy fats. Use extra virgin olive oil.
- Garlic salt I use the garlic salt with grinder from Trader Joe's.
Here's a quick overview of the steps to make these croutons in the air fryer. For the full list of ingredients and instructions, scroll down to the recipe.
- Tear the bread into crouton-sized pieces.
- Toss bread pieces with olive oil and garlic salt.
- Lay bread pieces in a single layer on a baking basket fit for your air fryer.
4. Air fry at 375 degrees for 4 minutes.
5. Let cool for at least five minutes before serving.
expert tips and faqs
- The pieces will shrink a little, but not much.
- Do not use or eat moldy bread - ever.
- Let the croutons cool to help give them the best texture.
- If you don't have garlic salt, try 'everything but the bagel' seasoning or simply use salt and pepper as a substitute.
- Stale bread works best to give croutons the perfect crunch. Still, kids won't know the difference if regular (non-stale) bread is used (at least my kids couldn't tell the difference).
- Always follow the manufacturer's instructions for how to properly and safely use your air fryer.
- It’s best to use a good quality oil mister or simply use a silicone basting brush to brush oil on to the air fryer basket to prevent food from sticking.
- I used a Cuisinart Digital AirFryer Toaster Oven. Different air fryers might require small adjustments in temperature and/or cook time.
Good question! A crouton is a piece of re-baked (or air-fried) bread that is torn into pieces and seasoned. Croutons are used to give flavor and texture to salads and soups and stews or eaten as a snack.
Yes, they sure can be made in the oven. You will have to pre-heat your oven and at least double the cooking/baking time.
Once croutons are cooled completely, they should be stored in an airtight container or re-sealable bag.
Easy Homemade Garlic Croutons (in Air Fryer)
- Air Fryer
- 2 slices bread
- 1 tsp olive oil extra virgin
- ⅛ tsp garlic salt
- Tear bread into crouton-sized pieces.
- Drizzle bread pieces with olive oil and garlic salt. Mix together.
- Spread seasoned bread pieces out in a single layer on your fryer basket.
- Air fry at 375° for 4 minutes. Be careful not to burn the croutons.