How to Freeze (and Thaw) Croutons So They Stay Crunchy
How to freeze and thaw homemade croutons without sacrificing flavor or texture. Nothing soggy, only crispy and crunchy croutons that are just as tasty as if they were freshly baked!
Do you love making homemade croutons but hate throwing out leftovers? Don't throw them out! Freeze them instead to reduce food waste.
Contrary to popular belief, croutons are freezer-friendly and can be kept in the freezer for 4-6 weeks. Simply make your croutons, place them into a freezer-friendly bag or container, and store them in the freezer. Take them out to thaw and then you're ready to enjoy!
Before freezing croutons, it's important to know the steps to make them and how to store them for the best quality.
👉 Ready to learn how to freeze croutons? Let's do it!
🥖 What are croutons?
Croutons are cubed pieces of bread that have been seasoned and baked. They're typically used as a crunchy topping for soups and salads. The main ingredients in croutons are bread, oil or butter, and spices.
Homemade croutons can be made from just about any type of bread, including sourdough, whole grain, rye, pumpernickel, and even French bread.
You can find pre-made varieties of croutons at most grocery stores. However, it is very easy to make your own croutons at home from leftover bread in about 15 minutes.
🍞 How to make homemade croutons
It only takes a few easy steps to make homemade croutons:
- 1) Cube the bread. Slice your bread loaf, then cut the slices into 1″ cubes.
- 2) Combine bread with oil and seasoning. Toss the bread cubes with oil and seasonings of your choice. Spread them out evenly on a baking sheet.
- 3) Bake the bread. Place the bread cubes in the oven at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) and bake until the cubes become crispy and golden brown. Give the croutons a quick toss halfway through baking to make sure they brown on all sides.
👉 How to store croutons after cooking
After croutons have cooled, we suggest storing them in an airtight container at room temperature, and using them up within 5 days.
- Refrigerator storage: Store croutons in the refrigerator for up to 6-7 days.
- Freezer storage: If you store croutons in the freezer, they are okay to eat for 4-6 weeks.
Although it is possible to store croutons in the freezer, they may lose their crisp texture after thawing. There are a few steps to follow when freezing and thawing croutons to make sure they maintain their quality.
🧊 How to store croutons in the freezer
1️⃣ Step 1: Cool croutons completely
If you've just baked croutons, make sure to cool them completely before freezing
2️⃣ Step 2: Add croutons to a freezer-friendly bag or container
To prevent freezer burn, store croutons in a freezer-friendly bag or container.
We like using eco-friendly reusable silicon bags like those pictured, but you can also use traditional freezer plastic bags as well as either plastic or glass containers.
3️⃣ Step 3: Freeze croutons for up to 2 months
Our general recommendations for freezing croutons is about 4-6 weeks, but it's possible you can store them for longer without sacrificing taste or texture. If you do freeze them for longer, let us know how they turn out!
💧 How to thaw frozen croutons
When you're ready to use your frozen croutons, take them out of the freezer and place them on a plate or paper towel on the counter to thaw.
Depending on their thickness, it will take croutons about 10-30 minutes for them to thaw completely and another 30 minutes or so before they come to room temperature and are ready to eat.
👉 Two ways to keep croutons crispy after thawing:
- Heat in a pan. To keep croutons crisp, simply heat them in a pan on medium-low heat to dry out any parts that may have been wet after frozen.
- Crisp in the oven. Thawed croutons can also be popped into the oven at medium low heat (300 degrees F) for 5-10 minutes to given them a crunchier texture.
❓ Can you refreeze croutons again? While croutons can be frozen and thawed and still retain their taste and texture, we do not recommend freezing them again as they will become very hard. So for best results only freeze cooked croutons once.
🥗 How to serve thawed croutons
- On a salad: grab a handful of croutons and toss on your favorite salad for added crunch. We love them with our Quinoa Greek Salad or Winter Beet Butternut Squash Salad.
- On soup: croutons make a perfect crunchy topper for creamy soups. Try them with Roasted Tomato Leek Soup or Pumpkin Sage Soup.
- As a snack: switch up your snack routine with croutons! Enjoy a few croutons alongside a handful of nuts, seeds, raw veggies or fruit and you have yourself a balanced snack.
🍞 Crouton recipes to try
Looking for homemade croutons recipes? We've got you covered:
If you’d like more zero waste and green living inspiration, make sure to join the Green Living Community for access to meal planning tools, resources, guides, and more!
How to Freeze Croutons
- 1 serving leftover croutons
- 1 single freezer-friendly bag or container
- Cool croutons after making: If you've just baked croutons, make sure to cool them completely before freezing
- Store croutons in a freezer-friendly bag or container: To prevent freezer burn, store croutons in a freezer-friendly bag or container. We like using eco-friendly reusable silicon bags like those pictured, but you can also use traditional freezer plastic bags as well as either plastic or glass containers
- Freeze croutons for up to 2 months: Our general recommendations for freezing croutons is about 4-6 weeks, but it's possible you can store them for longer without sacrificing taste or texture. If you do freeze them for longer, let us know how they turn out!
- To thaw and reheat: When you're ready to use your frozen croutons, take them out of the freezer and place them on a plate or paper towel on the counter to thaw for 30 minutes. Then reheat in a pan over medium-low heat or a low heat oven (300 degrees F) for 5-10 minutes to make sure croutons are crispy.
- Freezer-safe bags and containers: We suggest using eco-friendly silicon freezer bags or glass containers, however you can also use plastic freezer bags as well.
- Time to thaw: Depending on how thick your croutons are, they may take 30-60 minutes to thaw completely and come to room temperature.
- Reheating for best texture: We suggest reheating croutons after thawing to make sure they keep a crunchy texture, but you can also simply eat after thawing.