The Recipe for Cheese Crouton

Onion soup with cheese croutons

Philippe Desnerck / Photolibrary / Getty Images

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 40 mins
Servings: 18 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
100 Calories
8g Fat
6g Carbs
2g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 18
Amount per serving
Calories 100
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 8g 10%
Saturated Fat 2g 8%
Cholesterol 3mg 1%
Sodium 93mg 4%
Total Carbohydrate 6g 2%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 2g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 42mg 3%
Iron 0mg 3%
Potassium 19mg 0%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Throwing a loaf of stale bread away is a crime when you could make croutons out of it instead. In fact, sometimes I put bread aside to go stale specifically so I can turn it into croutons. This recipe takes crunchy homemade croutons one step further by adding a topping of cheese.

Speaking of which, this recipe is also a great way to use up any little nubs of hard cheese hiding in the back of your refrigerator. You can use practically any type of cheese—some to try are Cheddar, Gruyère, Asiago, Parmigiano-Reggiano, or manchego.

These cheese croutons can be tossed into a salad, but are just as good sprinkled over a bowl of soup.


  • 1 (8-ounce) loaf bread, fresh or stale

  • 1/2 cup olive oil, or more if needed

  • 1/2 cup finely grated cheese, or more to taste

  • 1 dash salt, to taste

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Preheat oven to 325 F.

  3. Slice the loaf of bread into 1/2- to 1-inch squares.*

  4. Put the bread cubes in a large bowl and toss with olive oil, cheese and a few pinches of salt. The easiest way to do this is with your hands, tossing the bread repeatedly so it is evenly covered.

  5. Spread the croutons out in one layer on a rimmed baking sheet.

  6. The baking time will vary but usually takes about 30 minutes. The croutons should be nicely browned and crispy. Shake the pan several times while the croutons bake to make sure they cook evenly.

  7. Let cool.

  8. Serve and enjoy!


*A baguette can also be thinly sliced, instead of cut into cubes. Brush each slice with olive oil, sprinkle with cheese and bake.

Bread Salads

Croutons are the perfect topping for salad, but chunks of bread as a main part of a salad can be even better. Panzanella (Italian bread salad) is made from chunks of stale bread, fresh tomatoes, onion, and vinaigrette. Sometimes cucumber and basil are also added. This recipe, adding mozzarella to bread salad, is an untraditional twist.

Fattoush is another bread salad, this time made from pita bread. Typical additions include tomato, cucumber, herbs, romaine lettuce and then a lemon vinaigrette. In this fattoush recipe, feta cheese is sprinkled on top.

In both recipes, the bread and pita are typically stale, as the salads came into being as a delicious way to use bread that wasn't completely fresh. Another really delicious way to use stale bread? In a roasted chicken and bread salad. In some recipes the bread is tossed with the chicken after it cooks, in other recipes the bread is baked with the chicken, soaking up its fat and juices.

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