Are you thinking about batch cooking some crotuons so you always have a supply?
But you’re worried about them going soft and soggy when you store them?
You’ve come to the right place!
I’m going to tell you the best way to store your croutons so they stay fresh.
Store croutons in an airtight container or zip-lock bag on the counter. Line the container or bag with a paper towel to soak up extra moisture and keep the croutons crispy. If using a bag, remove as much air as possible before sealing it. You can also freeze croutons for longer term storage.
I’ve tried and tested the methods I suggest in this article.
I made a bunch of croutons (they were delicious!) and then tested storing, freezing and re-crisping them to make sure what I’m suggesting actually works.
How to store homemade croutons
Homemade croutons are easy to make and thankfully also easy to store.
The main thing to avoid is moisture.
Once moisture comes into contact with your croutons, they’ll lose all their crunchiness and become moldy.
Cool your croutons fully before putting them into a storage container.
Otherwise, the heat can cause condensation, which will drip onto your croutons and turn them mushy.
I like to cool my croutons in the oven because I find the air in there is very dry, but if you have a humid oven, then it’s best to leave them on the kitchen counter to cool.
Once they’re cool, put the croutons in an airtight container or zip-lock back.
Anything with an airtight seal will do, for example, tupperware or mason jars. If you’re using a bag, remove as much of the air as you can before sealing it.
Line your container or bag with some paper towel to soak up any excess moisture.
Place the croutons in a cool, dry and dark place for storage. On the counter or in the freezer is best.
Editor’s tip: use a food-safe oxygen absorber to keep your croutons super fresh.
How to store shop-bought croutons
Keep shop-bought croutons in a cool, dry place away from moisture and direct sunlight (your pantry). Once you’ve opened the packet, make sure to seal it well to keep the croutons fresh.
If you can’t seal the packet, consider transferring the croutons to an airtight container or freezer bag.
How long do croutons last?
|Homemade||Store-bought (open)||Store-bought (unopened)|
|Pantry||2 weeks||6 months||until the best before date|
|Fridge||Not advised||Not advised||Not advised|
|Freezer||4-6 weeks||1 year||indefinitely|
Homemade croutons will stay fresh for up to two weeks (but will be at their best for a couple of days). The drier and crispier your fresh croutons are, the longer they’ll last.
You can also freeze homemade croutons for up to six weeks.
If you’ve used fresh seasonings such as cheese on your croutons, this reduces how long they last.
Store-bought croutons will have a best before date printed on the packet.
This will tell you how long they’ll stay at their freshest in an unopened packet. Once you open the croutons they’ll stay fresh for up to 6 months (or a year in the freezer).
I don’t advise storing croutons in the fridge (see why later).
Do croutons go bad?
Croutons don’t really go bad.
They just become tough and stale but are still safe to eat.
Because croutons are so dry, they don’t make a good breeding ground for bacteria and shouldn’t mold. Bacteria needs moisture to survive.
However, if the croutons get wet, then they can go bad and mold.
If your croutons have any mold on them, throw them away immediately.
Not drying the croutons properly, not letting them cool completely before storing them, and humid conditions can all introduce moisture into your croutons.
Can you freeze croutons?
Homemade croutons are excellent candidates for freezing. Keep them in a heavy-duty freezer bag and they’ll stay at their freshest for up to six weeks. The croutons may be slightly soft after you thaw them, but you can re-crisp them in the oven.
Be careful with seasonings such as curry powder and sage. These can become bitter after freezing.
How to freeze croutons:
- Let the croutons cool to room temperature.
- Spread the croutons out on a parchment paper lined baking tray.
- Flash freeze the croutons uncovered for 1-2 hours.
- Transfer the frozen croutons to a freezer-safe box or a freezer bag. If you’re using a bag, press all the air out of the bag before putting it in the freezer.
- Freeze the croutons for up to 6 weeks.
By flash freezing the croutons first, you remove any risk of them sticking together in the freezer.
So you’ll easily be able to put your hand into the bag and take out a handful at a time.
I prefer to use a heavy-duty freezer bag when I’m freezing the croutons, because you can remove all the air and this provides good protection against freezer burn.
To remove the air, suck it our with a straw. Or you can submerge the freezer bag in water and this will displace the air.
Of course, if you have a vacuum sealer, use it!
How to thaw croutons
When you want to eat the croutons, take them out of the freezer and leave them to thaw on a paper towel on the counter for 15-30 minutes.
The paper towel will absorb any moisture that leaks out so the croutons don’t get soggy.
You can then reheat them in the oven if you wish to crisp them up.
Should I put croutons in the fridge?
I don’t advise keeping croutons in the fridge.
The moist air in the fridge will leave you with soft croutons, and you wont get any benefit in terms of shelf life.
If you do chose to keep your croutons in the fridge, heating them in the oven for a few minutes before serving can help get some crunch back.
How to freshen up stale croutons
If your croutons are looking a bit limp and lifeless, don’t worry, there’s still a chance you can save them.
To refresh stale croutons, put them in the oven at 300 degrees for 3-5 minutes until they’ve crisped up.
Alternatively, you can pan fry them in a bit of butter and seasoning if you want to make sure they’re full of flavor.
What can you do with leftover croutons?
Do you have a few extra croutons that you think there’s no point storing?
Or maybe you accidentally defrosted a few too many?
Here are some ideas on what to do with leftover croutons that don’t just use them in soups or salads:
- Crumble them up and use them like breadcrumbs in stuffed mushrooms or peppers
- Use them to make a delicious crust on a piece of chicken or fish
- Sprinkle them over a pasta bake for some extra crunch
- Use them in meatballs or burgers for some extra flavor
- Use them whole in mini quiches to replace the crust
- Mix them with scrambled eggs so you don’t need a side of toast
- Don’t feel like eating them yourself? Leftover croutons make great bird food
How To Store Croutons And Keep Them Crispy
- Tupperware or zip-lock bag
- 1 portion croutons
- Cool your croutons fully before putting them into a storage container
- Once they’re cool, put the croutons in an airtight container or freezer bag.
- Line the container with some paper towel to soak up any moisture that does make it into the container.
- Place the croutons in a cool, dry and dark place for storage. This could be your kitchen cupboard or the freezer.
- Homemade croutons are also excellent candidates for freezing. They’ll stay at their freshest for up to six weeks.
- To prepare homemade croutons for freezing, let them cool completely before and flash freeze them on a baking tray.
- Transfer the croutons to a freezer bag and press all the air out of the bag before putting it in the freezer.