When you first go dairy free, it’s amazing to find out how many foods contain milk. You quickly discover that dairy goes far beyond milk, cheese, and cream. It’s found in everyday breads, pasta sauces, seasoning mixes, and yes, even croutons. In fact, the croutons at most restaurants contain milk in some form. You can find some brands in store (I’ve included a list of dairy-free crouton brands below), but it’s so easy and cheap to make your own dairy-free croutons! This is the recipe I’ve been using for many years. I originally posted it to an old blog, but am giving it a new home here.
Easy Dairy-Free Croutons at Home or From the Store
Who doesn’t love those seasoned, crispy chunks of bread? They’re addictive, and easy to snack on, but really shine as topping. They’re great on salads and soup, and can even be crushed for a quick crispy breading on chicken or tofu. This dairy-free croutons recipe is pretty straight forward, but I do have answers for a few FAQs.
What Type of Bread is Best for Dairy-Free Croutons?
Whatever dairy-free type you have on hand! Dairy-free croutons are a great way to use up leftover bread, and work especially well with stale bread. It’s a great no waste concept. Many people like them made from French or Italian bread, but I like multi-grain croutons, too. If you have regular or gluten-free bread that’s too dry, this is also a great way to salvage it!
Should I Cut Off the Crust?
That is totally up to you! I always leave it on. But if you want “pretty” dairy-free croutons with even coloring, you can cut off the crusts. You’re chopping the bread and toasting it until quite crispy, so even crust haters might not notice if you leave the crusts on.
Can I Use Dairy-Free Butter Instead of Oil?
Of course you can, but it isn’t my preference. Dairy-free butter alternatives contain water, which tends to defeat the purpose of drying the bread out and can make them go stale quicker. It works just fine though, I just think oil works better. If you want butter flavor, use refined coconut oil or a dairy-free butter flavor oil. Coconut oil is higher in saturated fat, so it gives more of a buttery mouthfeel. In addition to the one I linked to, several olive oil companies make butter flavor olive oils without dairy. I can sometimes spot them in stores.
Can I Use a Different Oil?
Definitely! Just make sure it is one that is good for medium to high heat, since you’ll be baking it at 350°F. Avocado oil, certain nut oils, and various cooking oils work well. Just keep in mind that different oils can impart different flavors.
Are there Dairy-Free Croutons that I Can Buy?
I highly recommend the recipe below, but there are some brands you can pick up at the store. I’ve outlined them below, but keep in mind that ingredients are subject to change at any time, and all foods are at some degree of risk for potential cross contamination with allergens. Always read the label and contact the company if concerned about allergen risk.
List of Dairy-Free Crouton Brands & Flavors:
- 365 Organic Croutons – Seasoned (Whole Foods house brand; all other flavors contain milk)
- Best Select Mini Croutons – Original, Onion & Garlic, Caesar (Kosher brand)
- Carrington Farms Organic Crounons – Garlic & Parmesan, Cracked Pepper & Sea Salt, Garden Herb (made with quinoa; also gluten-free)
- Edward & Sons Organic Croutons – Italian Herb (vegan brand, but they only have one flavor)
- Fresh Gourmet Croutons – Organic Seasoned, Focaccia Roasted Garlic (all other varieties contain milk)
- Gefen Croutons – Zesty Caesar, Italian Herb, Onion Garlic, Mini (Kosher brand)
- Good & Gather Organic Croutons – Seasoned (Target house brand; all other flavors contain milk)
- Heaven & Earth Veggie Croutons – Original (made with plantains; also gluten-free)
- Kooshy Croutons – Almost Naked, Poco Picante, French Toast (their Italian does contain milk)
- O Organics Organic Croutons – Seasoned (Albertsons house brand; all other flavors contain milk)
- Olivia’s Croutons – Garlic & Herb, Multigrain with Garlic, Gluten-Free Garlic (all other flavors contain milk)
- Osem Mini Croutons – Original (Kosher brand)
- Simple Truth Organic Croutons – Garlic Onion & Parsley (Kroger house brand; all other flavors contain milk)
- Sprouts Organic Croutons – Seasoned (Sprouts house brand; all other flavors contain milk)
Special Diet Notes: Croutons
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free, vegan, plant-based, and vegetarian. This recipe can also be added sugar-free and/or gluten-free depending on the dairy-free bread you choose. Make sure to choose bread that suits your dietary needs.
- 4 cups dairy-free bread cubes (1/2-inch size; can sub gluten-free bread)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ to 1 teaspoon dried parsley, basil, rosemary, or Italian seasoning
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt, or to taste
- Pinch black pepper, or to taste
- Preheat your oven to 350ºF.
- Place the bread cubes in a large bowl, and drizzle on the olive oil, stirring as you drizzle.
- In a small dish, combine the herbs, salt, and pepper.
- Sprinkle the seasoning mix over the bread cubes and stir to coat.
- Bake the croutons for 15 to 20 minutes, or until they have crisped up to your liking, stirring after 10 minutes.