A crouton /ˈkrtɒn/ is a piece of rebaked bread, often cubed and seasoned. Croutons are used to add texture and flavor to salads[1]—notably the Caesar salad[2]— or eaten as a snack food.

Close-up of croutons on a salad.
Place of originUnknown; possibly France
Main ingredientsBread, oil or butter, seasonings
Food energy
(per 100 g serving)
420 kcal (1758 kJ)
Croutons atop a salad.


Croutons in a bowl.

The word crouton is derived from the French croûton,[2] itself a diminutive of croûte, meaning "crust". Croutons are often seen in the shape of small cubes, but they can be of any size and shape, up to a very large slice. Many people now use crouton for croute, so the usage has changed. Historically, however, a croute was a slice of a baguette lightly brushed with oil or clarified butter and baked. In English descriptions of French cooking, croûte is not only a noun but also has a verb form that describes the cooking process that transforms the bread into the crust.


The preparation of croutons is relatively simple. Typically the cubes of bread[2] are lightly coated in oil or butter (which may be seasoned or flavored for variety) and then baked. Croutons can also be cut into sticks. Some commercial preparations use machinery to sprinkle various seasonings on them.[1] Alternatively, they may be fried lightly in butter or vegetable oil, until crisp and brown, to give them a buttery flavor and crunchy texture. Some croutons are prepared with the addition of cheese.[3]

Nearly any type of bread—in a loaf[1] or pre-sliced, with or without crust—may be used to make croutons. Dry or stale bread[1] or leftover bread is usually used instead of fresh bread. Once prepared, the croutons will remain fresh far longer than unprepared bread.

List of possible ingredients

  • bread
  • garlic
  • butter or oil (e.g., olive oil or rapeseed oil)
  • Parmesan
  • herbs
  • spices (ground or whole)[4]


A dish prepared à la Grenobloise (in the Grenoble manner) has a garnish of small croutons along with beurre noisette, capers, parsley, and lemon.

Dried and cubed bread is commonly sold in large bags in North America to make Thanksgiving holiday stuffing or dressing. However, these are generally different from salad croutons, being only dry bread instead of buttered or oiled and with other seasonings.

See also


  1. Ranken, M.D.; et al. (1997). Food Industries Manual. Springer Science & Business Media. pp. 464–465. ISBN 0751404047.
  2. Davidson, Alan (2014). The Oxford Companion to Food. Oxford University Press. p. 233. ISBN 978-0199677337.
  3. Nargi, Lela (2008). The Farmer's Wife Comfort Food Cookbook. MBI Publishing Company. p. 41. ISBN 978-1610600521.
  4. Grimes, Lulu. "How to make croutons". BBC Good Food.
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