Don't throw out leftover bits of stale bread - make air fryer croutons! This simple and speedy recipe works great for many different types of bread, crisps up wonderfully, and truly tastes better than store-bought.
I'm all about how to make croutons in the oven, but sometimes you just want to make quick work of something (or the oven's already in use).
Enter the air fryer! Mix up stale bread, olive oil, and your favorite seasonings and after 5-6 minutes, you'll have golden-brown croutons that make excellent toppers for salads, soups, and more.
Most Important Tip
Here it is: Don't walk away from your air fryer while making croutons.
More than any other air fryer recipe I've made, croutons were the absolute quickest to go from perfectly crisped to BURNT burnt. As evidenced in the photo below.
As all air fryers have their quirks, one listed cook time will not be absolute across the board. When in doubt start with a smaller amount of air fry time, stopping to shake the croutons up in the basket often to see how crisp they've become.
It's always easier to add more time than to start over because you've inadvertently made charcoal blocks.
- Bread: Air fryer croutons can be made from many different breads. My personal preference are crusty breads, such as baguettes, sourdough, and French and Italian breads, but enriched breads such as challah or brioche, sliced bread, and buns also work.
- Olive oil: This is necessary to help the croutons turn light and crisp. I use olive oil for its flavor, but melted butter is fine, too. Use unsalted if you're adding salt.
- Seasonings: These can be as simple as salt and pepper, or you can add whatever dried spices you like. Garlic powder, Italian seasoning, your favorite pre-made blends, etc.
- Cut your bread into small pieces, about one-inch wide (or a little less). Place them in a bowl and toss with olive oil and your spices.
- Place the bread cubes in a single layer on your air fryer basket, leaving a small amount of space between them. Air fry at 350°F for 3 minutes, then shake the basket up. Air fry again for 2-3 minutes, or until the air fryer croutons have crisped up to your liking.
Recipe Tips and Tricks
- If you're new to making croutons in the air fryer, consider doing a test batch of a small portion of bread cubes so you can get your timing down. This way in case if burns (been there, done that!) you won't waste all of them.
- If you're making several batches of air fryer croutons, watch out for the second batch and onward to cook quicker than the first. This is due to the air fryer being pre-heated from the first batch.
- While stale-ish bread is best for croutons as it's already on its way to drying out, fresh bread can also work. It may just take a small bit of extra time and the shape of your cubes might not be as sharp and precise.
If you’ve enjoyed this recipe, I’d love for you to leave a star rating in the recipe card and/or a comment review below!
Air Fryer Croutons
- 8 ounces bread cut into 1-inch cubes (see notes on varieties)
- 5 Tablespoons olive oil
- Kosher salt to taste
- Ground black pepper to taste
- Garlic powder to taste (optional)
- Italian seasoning to taste (optional)
- Cut bread into cubes around one-inch in size (or a little bit less) then add them to a large mixing bowl.
- Pour in the oil and add salt and pepper to taste, as well as any additional seasonings you'd like. Stir everything up well to thoroughly coat all of the bread cubes with the oil and spices.
- Transfer bread cubes to an ungreased air fryer basket, arranging them in a single layer with a little bit of space between each piece of bread.
- Place the basket in the air fryer (do not pre-heat) and set it to 350°F (177°C). Air fry for 3 minutes, then take the basket out and shake up/turn over the croutons. Air fry again for 2-3 minutes, or until the croutons have crisped up fully and are golden-brown to your liking. Stay close by towards the end of the cook time to prevent them from burning.
- Store croutons at room temperature once they have cooled completely in an air-tight container or sealable bag with as much excess air pressed out as possible.
- Consider doing a small test batch of croutons to work out the timing before cooking all of them. This way if they get too crispy, you won't waste them all.
- If you're making multiple batches of air fryer croutons, keep in mind that the second batch and onward will likely cook more quickly than the first batch as the air fryer will have been pre-heated.
- The croutons will crisp up a little bit more as they cool. If they've cooled and still have a slight chewiness in their centers, pop them back in the air fryer for another minute or so until they have crisped all the way through.
Nutritional information is provided as an estimate. As it can vary due to many factors (brands used, quantities, etc.), we cannot guarantee its accuracy.Food Safety and Nutrition Disclaimer