Homemade Garlic Butter Croutons | Made in Your Air Fryer

Homemade Garlic Butter Croutons | Made in Your Air Fryer

If you’re anything like me, croutons can make or break a salad. I love it when they’re perfectly crispy on the outside with loads of garlicky butter flavor. Store-bought croutons always seem to end up being a disappointment. They are too hard and flavorless for my liking. Fortunately, it’s SO easy to make homemade garlic butter croutons at home. Use your air fryer to achieve crouton perfection every time. 

In this quick and easy recipe, I will walk through how to make crispy, butter-and-garlic-infused air fryer croutons in just about 10 minutes flat. They’re the ideal topping for salads and soups alike. And using the air fryer results in uniform crunch without needing to heat up the oven. 

I always give instructions with step-by-step photos in my posts, just in case some readers have questions. But if you are just here for the recipe, click the JUMP TO RECIPE tab under the title and it will take you straight there. You can also print the recipe card with full instructions, or you can click one of the SHARE BUTTONS and save it for later!

Choosing the Right Bread

I prefer making my croutons out of sourdough bread, but French baguettes and ciabatta loaves work very well. The air pockets in these breads get ultra-crispy in the hot air. Additionally, the flavor and texture stand up nicely to being cut into cubes, coated in garlic butter, and crisped. 

You can certainly use different types of bread. Just avoid slicing anything too dense or it may not dry out enough as it cooks. Fluffy white sandwich bread or whole wheat bread will work just fine. However, you may want to reduce the air fryer time by a minute or two for them. 

Tips for success: Making your own garlic butter croutons is a great way to use up leftover or stale bread. 

The most important thing is to allow your bread to dry slightly before making the croutons. Day-old bread works beautifully to encourage maximum crunch potential. However, you can quick-dry fresher bread by leaving thick-sliced cubes on a baking sheet for at least an hour before moving forward.

Let’s Gather up the ingredients

French bread, a head of garlic, a stick of butter and salt on a cutting board
  • A crusty loaf of bread– Almost any kind of bread will work. Stale bread works best, but if you don’t have any on hand, just dry the cubes on the counter for a few hours before tossing them with the garlic butter.

  • Butter

  • Olive oil– just a bit helps the butter evenly coat the bread cubes making them perfectly crispy.

  • Garlic– Fresh garlic is ideal for infusing the butter with real garlic flavor. Plus you are rewarded with crispy garlic chips for your trouble. But you could use garlic powder in a pinch.

  • Salt

  • Black pepper

  • Fresh parsley– Optional

Now Let’s Get Cooking

Making the Garlic Butter 

The garlic butter is truly what takes these air-fried croutons over the top. And it’s really easy to make.

Slice 2-3 cloves of garlic very thin. Add a stick of butter and the oil to a small saucepan along with the sliced garlic.

Over medium-low heat, cook the garlic and butter until the garlic slices just start to turn golden around the edges, and then remove it from the heat.

Tips for success: Keep an eye on it because garlic can go from golden to burnt in the blink of an eye. Burnt garlic is bitter and not what we are going for.

Pour the butter through a small strainer to separate the garlic. It has done its job here, but we will come back to it later. Not only has it infused the butter with magical flavor, but you have also made a crunchy garlic chip topping that tastes fantastic sprinkled on just about anything.

At this point feel free to add any additional herbs or seasoning to the garlic butter. Stir thoroughly until well blended.

Tossing the Bread Cubes

From here, the process is quick. Simply slice your bread into 3/4 to 1-inch cubes. I prefer leaving the crust on for extra texture. Then place the cubes into a large bowl before pouring your garlic butter mixture over top. 

Season with salt and pepper and then toss thoroughly in order to evenly coat each piece of bread with the butter-oil blend. The coating doesn’t need to be dripping, but each cube should glisten from soaking up some flavor.

Buttered bread cubes in a clear bowl

Air Frying for Crispy Croutons 

Living in our RV we rely on our air fryer a lot. Any brand or model of air fryer will work, but our favorite is the Ninja Foodi 10-in-1. It is a bit pricey, but when you consider all of the things it can do, it is well worth the investment. Check out my tips and resources page for more information on where to buy it and all of its features. The air fry function works like a charm.

Once your bread is cubed and buttered, dump the pieces into the basket of your air fryer. Try to spread them out into a single layer, though a little overlap is fine. Depending on how many you are making, you will most likely need to do this in batches. Air fry at 400°F for 5 to 7 minutes, shaking the basket halfway through the process.

We like our garlic butter croutons quite crispy with deep golden brown edges, but cook less time if you prefer them soft in the center. You’ll know they’re done when the outer crust looks toasted and you don’t see any visible moisture.

Allow the freshly fried croutons to cool for at least 10 minutes before sprinkling them onto your favorite salad or soup. Trust me, it’s hard to resist nibbling them straight from the air fryer! But do wait for cooling so you don’t end up burning the roof of your mouth.

Storing Your Homemade Croutons

These easy homemade croutons truly taste best fresh from the air fryer. However, you can absolutely make them 1 to 2 days in advance. Simply let them cool completely before storing them at room temperature in a zip-top bag or any airtight container. You can keep them on the counter for 2-3 days and then just pop them back in the air fryer for a few minutes to re-crisp right before serving.

But If you really want to make these buttery bites last, go ahead and freeze them instead. Allow to cool completely after air frying before transferring to a freezer bag or airtight container. Reheat directly from frozen at 400°F for 4 to 5 minutes until they are hot and crispy again.

Variations

  • To make herb croutons, try adding different herbs and spices to the garlic butter to change the flavor profile. Fresh parsley, basil, or thyme work beautifully, but dried herbs like Italian seasoning, and herbs de Provence work well too. … the options are endless.

  • Make cheesy croutons by adding freshly grated parmesan cheese. I have also used Asiago and Romano with great success. Just be sure to grate the cheese very fine so it sticks to the bread cubes well. 

  • Make a little or a lot. I used half of a loaf of French bread for this recipe and it made enough for 2 separate dishes, but if you only need a few, you can cut the ingredients in half or double it and freeze the leftovers so you have them readily available whenever you need them.

Tip for success: I like to use a Microplane to grate the cheese for croutons. You want it to be very fine so that it sticks to the garlic butter on the outside of the bread. If you are using pre-grated Parmesan just be sure to look at the label. It needs to be “grated” not “shredded”.

More Ways to Enjoy

Homemade croutons aren’t just for salads! Here are a few of my other favorite ways to use them:

– Sprinkle over the top of creamy soups like broccoli cheddar, tomato basil, or chicken and mushroom.

– Use instead of crackers for hearty dipping into spinach artichoke dip.

– Top casseroles or baked pasta dishes to add crunch before broiling. 

– Throw them in the food processor to turn them into homemade breadcrumbs. Perfect for breading pork chops or chicken tenders. They are also great in homemade Meatloaf

– Toss into biscuit or cornbread mix for ultra-crispy edges

– Crumble them into large bread crumbs and use them as a topping for my Caesar Roasted Brussels Sprouts.

As you can see, possibilities abound when it comes to enjoying these crispy, garlicky treats. I think you’ll be surprised how such a simple ingredient can seriously elevate so many dishes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are my croutons soggy?

It could be that you stored your croutons before they were fully cooled. Warm croutons trap moisture, and the croutons can become soggy if they’re stored airtight too soon. This can also cause them to go stale too quickly.

How long do homemade croutons last in an airtight container?

Depending on how dry and crisp your croutons are, they will last for up to a week in an airtight container but will be at their best for the first two days.

What if I don’t have an air fryer?

No problem! These can be made on a sheet pan in your regular oven as well. Bake them at 350℉ for 10-15 minutes.

So next time you’re craving a crunchy treat, give my quick homemade garlic butter croutons a whirl. They add massive flavor with very little work. Just be sure to make extra because they always disappear fast! Trust me when I say these will become your new go-to salad topper.

Finished croutons in a white bowl

If you decide to make these garlicky croutons or any of my other recipes, please be sure to give it a rating and let me know how yours turned out. I love hearing your feedback and I will do my best to answer any questions you have as quickly as I can. 

As always, I will be back next week with more delicious recipes from my RV kitchen to yours!

Close up of croutons cooling on a cutting board

Homemade Garlic Butter Croutons | Made in Your Air Fryer

Indulge in the irresistible crunch of our homemade garlic butter croutons! Crafted with love, these golden nuggets of flavor are perfect for adding a savory punch to salads or enjoying as a snack on their own. Elevate your dishes with our crispy, garlicky delights!
5 from 10 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Course Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 8 1/2 cup servings
Calories 125 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 Air fryer We like the Ninja Foodi

Ingredients
  

  • 1/2 loaf french bread or bread of your choice
  • 1 stick butter
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, sliced thin
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • fresh or dried herbs optional

Instructions
 

Making the Garlic Butter

  • Slice 2-3 cloves of garlic very thin.
  • Add a stick of butter and 2 teaspoons of oil to a small saucepan along with the sliced garlic
  • Over medium-low heat, cook the garlic and butter until the garlic slices just start to turn golden around the edges, and then remove it from the heat.
  • Pour the butter through a small strainer to separate the garlic. Lay the garlic chips in an even layer on a paper towel for later use. They make a great topping for just about anything.
  • At this point feel free to add any additional herbs or seasoning to the garlic butter. Stir thoroughly until well blended.

Tossing the bread cubes

  • Slice your bread into 3/4 to 1-inch cubes. I prefer leaving the crust on for extra texture. Then place the cubes into a large bowl before pouring your garlic butter mixture over top. 
  • Season with salt and pepper and then toss thoroughly in order to evenly coat each piece of bread with the butter-oil blend. The coating doesn't need to be dripping, but each cube should glisten from soaking up some flavor.

Air Frying for Crispy Croutons 

  • Once your bread is cubed and buttered, dump the pieces into the basket of your air fryer. Try to spread them out into a single layer, though a little overlap is fine. Depending on how many you are making, you will most likely need to do this in batches.
  • Air fry at 400°F for 5 to 7 minutes, shaking the basket halfway through the process. You’ll know they’re done when the outer crust looks toasted and you don’t see any visible moisture.
  • Allow the freshly fried croutons to cool for at least 10 minutes before sprinkling them onto your favorite salad or soup.

Notes

Calorie Disclaimer:
The nutritional information provided is intended for informational purposes only. While we strive to provide accurate and up-to-date information, the actual nutritional content of recipes may vary depending on various factors, including the specific ingredients used, portion sizes, and cooking methods.
Keyword Garlic Butter Croutons


10 thoughts on “Homemade Garlic Butter Croutons | Made in Your Air Fryer”

  • 5 stars
    I didn’t know it was this easy to make homemade croutons. I am loving the flavor and admit, I’ll probably eat these as a snack as well as on salads.

  • 5 stars
    I made these croutons for a salad last night and omg were they good! Never buying them from the store again!

  • 5 stars
    I had some Ciabatta left and made them into croutons and I loved it! I added some basil and parsley for more flavors. I really loved how it turned out. I’m definitely making this again!

  • 5 stars
    I’ve been wanting to make croutons on my own and glad I came across this recipe. The croutons came out really crispy and it was perfect for my green salad. I love the garlic flavor so much and it suits well with the other elements on my salad.

  • 5 stars
    I used sourdough bread for this recipe and the crunch is perfection. This is my first time using the air fryer for croutons and it’s true, I got an even uniform crunch and it only took me 10 minutes to make these.

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