This easy air fryer croutons recipe will turn your humble salad into an extraordinary one with every crunchy, flavorful bite. 😋 Fry it ,to believe it!
It’s not hard to tell a delicious, homemade crouton from a dry, salty, store-bought one.
Even though having fresh croutons can make all the difference in a salad, baking them in the oven isn’t the most convenient thing, so we often settle for the lackluster ones from a bag.
Did you know that you could make really good croutons in your air fryer, and way faster than baking them in the oven? Well, you can!
And once you start making homemade air fryer croutons, you’ll never buy a bag of them again.
This recipe combines some of our favorite flavors (garlic, parmesan) to create a versatile crouton that can be used on a variety of salads.
Table of Contents
Air Fryer Croutons Ingredients
The most important ingredient in making good croutons is good bread.
We used a baguette in this recipe, but you could also use sourdough, ciabatta, or any artisanal-style loaf.
Sesame-seed loaves are an awesome option, too, because as the bread toasts in the air fryer, the flavor of the sesame seeds comes out even more and the seeds give the croutons great texture.
Here’s what you’ll need to make air fryer croutons:
- Loaf of good bread (we used French baguette)
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Garlic cloves
- Parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper
📣 You can find the exact measurements and adjust the number of servings in the recipe card down below.
How to Make Croutons in the Air Fryer?
Croutons are so quick to make in the air fryer that you could be sprinkling them on your salad in less than 10 minutes!
The magic powers of the air fryer strike again. 😉
1. Tear the baguette or slice it into bite-sized cubes.
Tear or cut the bread into small bite-sized pieces.
Tearing the bread gives a more rustic feeling, but dicing the bread with a serrated knife is quicker. Either way, the pieces should be small enough to fit on a fork.
2. Season the bread cubes.
Add the bread cubes into a medium bowl and add the olive oil, crushed garlic, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Toss to evenly coat all the bread pieces.
🤩 Pro Tip: To make sure your seasonings get evenly distributed amongst the croutons, toss the bread cubes with the olive oil first, and ensure all the pieces have oil on them before adding the other ingredients.
This will help the seasoning, garlic and cheese to stick to the bread better.
3. Preheat the air fryer to 400ºF (204ºC).
If your air fryer doesn’t have a preheating option, you can set the temperature to 400ºF (204ºC) and then let it cook for 5 minutes.
You may also skip this step by adding 2-minute increments to your cooking time until you achieve a golden brown finish.
4. Air fry the croutons for 5 – 7 minutes.
When the air fryer is fully preheated, add a liner (if using) and dump in the bowl of bread pieces. Air fry until golden and crispy, tossing at least once while cooking, about 5-7 minutes total.
5. Add to your salad or save for later.
When the croutons are fully crisped, sprinkle on your favorite salad or set aside to cool and store for later.
It only took us under 10 minutes to make freshly homemade crispy air fryer croutons!
The go-to way to serve these croutons is on Caesar salad.
The creamy dressing and cheese really benefit from the buttery crunch of a fresh crouton, especially a cheesy, garlicky crouton!
For an extra delicious salad, serve the croutons warm on the cold salad. The contrast of warm and cold, and then of crunchy (croutons) and tender (lettuce) will really take your salad game to the next level!
You can feel free to omit the parm if you’d like to use the croutons in salads that don’t necessarily benefit from the cheesy flavor.
While the parmesan will add some umami goodness for use on salads with a balsamic vinaigrette or other italian-style dressing, the croutons would still be really delicious without the cheese.
The plain croutons would be awesome in an Asian-inspired sesame chicken salad or even a cilantro-lime dressed salad.
Freezing & Storage
Freezing: Allow the croutons to cool completely before adding them to an airtight container or zip-top bag. Store in the freezer for up to 2 months. The best way to reheat is to first allow them to thaw in the refrigerator overnight or on the counter for 2 hours, then follow the instructions below.
Fridge: Allow the croutons to cool completely before adding them to an airtight container or zip-top bag. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Reheating: To reheat, preheat the air fryer to 350ºF. Add the croutons and air fry for 3-4 minutes or until warmed and re-crisped.
Homemade Croutons Air Fryer FAQs
How to air fry croutons?
To air fry croutons, first portion any bread into small bite sized pieces. Then season them with olive oil, crushed garlic, salt, pepper and add a generous amount of parmesan cheese. Preheat your air fryer to 400ºF (204ºC), then cook the bread chunks for 5-7 minutes until slightly golden and crispy.
Easy Homemade Crispy Air Fryer Croutons
- ½ French baguette
- 3 tablespoons olive oil extra virgin
- 2 garlic cloves crushed
- ¼ cup parmesan cheese grated
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon pepper
- Tear the baguette by hand or slice it into small bite-sized cubes. You can also use sourdough, ciabatta, or any other available bread you have.
- Season the bite-sized baguettes with olive oil, salt, pepper, crushed garlic and lots of parmesan cheese.
- Preheat the air fryer to 400ºF (204ºC).
- Once preheated, add an air fryer liner. Add the seasoned croutons and cook for 5 – 7 minutes until golden. Shake halfway.
- Serve on top of Caesar salad, or any salad of your choice. Store the leftover for later.
- The best breads to use for making homemade croutons are baguette, sourdough and ciabatta. However brioche, or any bread available will also work.
- Using an air fryer liner can help prevent the grated cheese from falling into the basket while cooking.
- If your air fryer doesn’t have a preheating option, you can set the temperature to 400ºF (204ºC) and then let it cook for 5 minutes.
- You can also skip preheating by adding 2-4 minutes to your cooking time. Increment gradually, to prevent burning the croutons.
- To make sure your seasonings get evenly distributed amongst the croutons, toss the bread cubes with the olive oil first, and ensure all the pieces have oil on them before adding the other ingredients. This will help the seasoning, garlic and cheese to stick to the bread better.
- I used a 6-quart Instant Pot Vortex Plus to test the air fryer croutons. Cooking time and temperature may vary depending on your air fryer and the number of servings you are making. For optimal results, begin with the lower end of the suggested cooking time.
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