How to Make Store-Bought Croutons Taste Freshly Made

Store-bought croutons get a flavor boost from butter, garlic and herbs.

In a perfect world, nearly everything we consume would be fresh and homemade: Just-from-the-oven rolls at dinnertime, newly-caught fish in the frying pan, sun-ripened tomatoes still warm in your salad.

Most of us are lucky to enjoy one or two of these at a meal. More often than not, busy lives force us to rely on more than one purchased item at most mealtimes.

My eating habits have changed drastically since I began blogging eight years ago. I make much more from scratch. I have yet to make salad croutons from scratch; there is, however, a loaf of bread in my freezer awaiting this project experiment.

Following a late afternoon meeting this week, I scrambled together a supper salad of fresh broccoli and the remnants of a bag of farm-market mixed greens, plus some grated cheese and bacon bits. I scrounged around and found a half-bag of croutons in the cupboard.

(Pre-made croutons are a secondary staple in my kitchen. I can do without them, but when I remember, I buy a bag or two because I find a touch of carb adds staying power to a salad meal.)

Giving pre-made croutons a flavor boost is simple. You will need:

  • 1-2 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 1 teaspoon garlic or onion powder, or 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon chopped or sliced onion
  • 3/4 cup pre-made croutons
  • dash herbes de Provence or parsley

Melt butter in a small-to-medium frying pan over medium heat. Add garlic and onion and brown slightly. Toss in croutons, turning them over with a spatula or wooden spoon to coat all sides. Lower the heat and allow them to sit for about 5 minutes before adding them to your salad.

Voila! The result is delicious croutons that taste freshly made and are a bit chewier and denser than straight-from-the-bag croutons. You can even refresh stale croutons using this method, or by roasting them in a low-temp oven as you would walnuts.


Goody said…
First, Happy Blogiversary. I hope there will be many more to come.

Now, the croutons-that's an excellent trick. The store-bought variety do have the advantage of keeping better (I know, stale bread how can it go off?)and being able to spruce them up for a meal is helpful.

If the sogginess bothers you, try clarified butter (if you have it to hand-don't make it just for croutons).
Unknown said…
Thanks, Goody. I hope so, too. I enjoy doing this blog, and interacting with readers is the main reason.

Clarified butter: never thought of that. I don't mind the sogginess, but it would be fun to try making it sometime.

Letting the croutons air dry for a bit would probably help, too. But I like the texture, I guess. It feels denser to me.

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