Did you know that croutons were invented as a way to use up stale bread? They ended up being so tasty that people deliberately let their bread go stale just so they could make croutons!
What a fantastic invention.
Croutons are a great accompaniment to have on hand to liven up soups and salads. If you’re thinking about batch cooking some so you always have a supply, do it! Or maybe you’re here because you accidentally made too many croutons?
So, how do you store croutons? Croutons are best stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. Avoid getting any moisture in the box because this can cause croutons to become soggy and moldy. For longer-term storage, you can freeze homemade croutons. They can last up to six weeks in the freezer.
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. 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. Anything with a tight-fitting lid will do, for example, tupperware or mason jars. If you want, you can line the box 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, the fridge, or the freezer.
How to store shop-bought croutons?
Keep shop-bought croutons in a cool, dry place away from moisture and direct sunlight. 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.
How long do croutons last?
If you store them correctly and at ambient temperatures, homemade croutons will stay fresh for about three days. In the fridge, this increases to five days, and if you freeze them, they’ll last for up to six weeks.
If you’ve used fresh seasonings such as cheese on your croutons, this reduces how long they last. If you’ve made plain unseasoned croutons, these can last a lot longer.
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.
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 need 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. Once humidity levels go above 60, you’re in the danger zone for mold.
Can you freeze croutons?
Homemade croutons are excellent candidates for freezing. They’ll stay at their freshest for up to six weeks. After that, the croutons will still be safe to consume, but there might be some flavor loss. Be careful with seasonings such as curry powder and sage, which can become bitter after freezing.
It’s not recommended that you freeze shop-bought croutons.
To prepare homemade croutons for freezing, let them cool completely before putting them in a container. You can store them in 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.
It’s important to portion out the croutons before you freeze them, so you don’t have any trouble with them getting stuck together.
There are a few ways to do this:
- Separate the crouton portions with paper towels or freezer-safe cling film
- Put the crouton portions in different freezer safe bags
- Freeze the croutons individually first by putting small amounts in an ice cube tray before later transferring them to a bigger container
Can I put croutons in the fridge?
You can store homemade croutons for up to five days in the fridge. The colder temperature can help increase their shelf life slightly, especially if they have a fresh seasoning like cheese.
However, there will be a slight loss of crunchiness. To rejuvenate limp croutons from the fridge, put them back in the oven for a few minutes before serving.
It’s not advisable to keep store-bought croutons in the fridge because this can cause them to go soggy, thereby reducing their shelf life.
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
- Don’t feel like eating them yourself? Leftover croutons make great bird food
How To Store Croutons
- 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.
- If you want, you can line the box 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, the fridge, or the freezer.
- Homemade croutons are 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 putting them in a container. You can store them in 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.