… Perfect for Thanksgiving or Christmas Bread Stuffing!
These croutons are so easy to make and they deliver BIG on flavor. Depending on whether you cut the bread into small or large cubes, you can create hard and crunchy little salad croutons, large bite-size croutons with a crispy crust and a tender center that look beautiful floating on a bowl of Drunken Roasted Sweet Potato Soup, or perfectly-sized and seasoned croutons for bread stuffing in your favorite holiday turkey.
For these croutons, I chose to use my Homemade White Sandwich Bread because I can cut the slices into any thickness I need, and I like the fact that it is free of gluten, dairy, soy, and yeast. You can use any gluten-free (and dairy-free, if necessary) bread of your choice, if time runs short for baking a loaf or you don’t want thick cubes.
When making large croutons, roughly 1-inch by 1-inch, I baked them at 350ºF for about 20 minutes, turning once. This creates that crunchy crust and tender middle I mentioned earlier. For thoroughly crispy croutons, you can either bake them longer, or cut them into smaller cubes. There’s no real science to this, so have fun and experiment with your crunch factor.
Also, if you read through the ingredients and find that a particular herb isn’t to your liking, simply omit it, or substitute it with one you prefer. Again, you can easily season to your liking, this is just the combination of herbs and spices that I found to say Thanksgiving to me. For Christmas I probably would add a bit of cinnamon as well.
Homemade croutons can be easily made ahead of time and stored in a vacuum-sealed bag in the freezer until you need them. Or you can simply leave them in an airtight resealable bag for a few days at room temperature. If they dry out a bit more, that’s okay. This makes the recipe so easy to do ahead of your busy holiday cooking. And this recipe can be easily doubled or tripled depending on the number of holiday guests you’ll be serving. I LOVE that, don’t you?
Tip: This recipe calls for all dried herbs. I use McCormick herbs and spices, which are completely gluten-free and processed in dedicated facilities. If you choose to use fresh (which is so good), you’ll need to use 3 times as much of the fresh herb as you use of the dried.
Be sure to share your favorite turkey stuffing recipe ideas, or any recipe where you like to use croutons, in the comments below. I love hearing your tricks and tips.
Homemade Gluten-free Dairy-free Herb Seasoned Croutons
Prep time: 10 minutes
Bake time: 20-25 minutes
Oven temp: 350ºF
Rest time: 5 minutes
Makes: about 3/12 cups
3 1/2 cups bread cubes, cut any size
3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon ground thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried basil leaves
1/8 teaspoon ground marjoram
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon celery salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line a large rimmed baking sheet or 17×12-inch jelly roll pan with foil. Place a cooling rack in the pan. You’ll place the seasoned bread cubes on the cooling rack, allowing for air to circulate around the cubes while they bake.
Combine bread cubes in a large bowl with 2 Tablespoons oil. Toss. Add all herbs and seasonings. Toss well to coat cubes with the flavors. Taste, and adjust salt and pepper accordingly. Drizzle with remaining oil. Toss again to distribute.
Place seasoned cubes on the cooling rack in the pan and spread apart so as much air can circulate between cubes as possible. If you don’t have a cooling rack, you can simply place the cubes directly on the foil.
Bake at 350ºªF for 20 minutes, stirring once halfway through baking time. Test for crunchiness, and continue baking longer for desired doneness, if necessary.
Remove from oven and allow to cool. Use as desired.
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