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How to Make Homemade Croutons + 10 Soup and Salad Pairings

January 16, 2023
7 min. read

Caesar Salad with Croutons

If you’ve been reading our blog posts for any amount of time in the past, you’ll know that we often talk about the many uses of bread. From sandwiches and burgers to breadcrumbs and croutons, there are many delicious uses for our bread and rolls.

This week, we’re specifically highlighting everyone’s favorite salad topping: croutons. You may have noticed homemade croutons in a number of our salad recipes in the past. But this week, we’re going to walk through our process for making basic homemade croutons and a number of potential variations you can try to add even more flavor.

How to Make Homemade Croutons

If you’ve never made croutons before, don’t worry; the process is relatively simple and can be done with just an oven, bread, and a few seasonings.

Here is the basic recipe:


  • Martin’s Bread or Roll of Choice, cubed
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt
  • Black Pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Spread bread or roll cubes onto a large baking sheet and drizzle with a touch of olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  3. Bake for 5-10 minutes, until crisp and lightly toasted. Allow to cool. Use right away or store in an airtight container.

That’s it! Simple enough, right? Once you’ve mastered this basic process, it is easy to try variations in flavors. These are a few of our favorites:

  • Italian Croutons: For an Italian flare that will pair well with most salads, try adding a sprinkle of garlic powder and Italian seasoning.
  • Croutons with Spice: For croutons with a little kick, try sprinkling on some red pepper flakes before toasting.
  • Swirl Bread Croutons: For a sweeter crouton that pairs great with fruit-topped salads or seasonal flavors, try making croutons with one of Martin’s Swirl Breads like in this recipe.
  • Croutons with Crunch: Try adding some texture to your salad by making croutons with cubed pieces of Martin’s Big Marty’s Rolls, as shown in this recipe.
  • Make it Mini: For a smaller (and convenient) option, try making croutons with our pre-cubed Potatobred Stuffing, like in this recipe.


Recipes to Make with Croutons:

1.      Featured Recipe: Cheddar Seafood Chowder + Caesar Salad

Cheddar Seafood Chowder and Caesar Salad

Caesar salad is not only a classic, popular side dish; it also takes only a few ingredients, like romaine hearts, parmesan cheese, and freshly cracked black pepper. You’ll have plenty of leftover prep time to make a few elements of this salad from scratch, like the garlic parmesan croutons and classic Caesar dressing.

With this fresh and bright salad, we’ve paired a hearty, savory Cheddar Seafood Chowder, perfect for warming up on chilly winter nights. We recommend preparing slices of Martin’s Hoagie Rolls into garlic bread for dipping.


2.      Featured Recipe: Classic Chicken Noodle + BLT Panzanella

Our BLT Panzanella recipe is made with ingredients of a familiar sandwich, as the name implies. And, we chose a more hearty method for preparing the croutons. In a traditional panzanella (which stems from the root Italian word for bread, “pane”), the bread is able to be more of the “star of the show” in the bowl compared to a traditional salad.

For this recipe, we used our Slider Potato Rolls, cut into 1-inch cubes, tossed in mayonnaise, and toasted until golden brown. Remaining panzanella ingredients include: iceberg lettuce, tomato, avocado, bacon, basil, and parsley.

We decided to pair this classic-sandwich-turned-salad with a traditional, comforting Chicken Noodle Soup, made with fresh-cut veggies, chicken broth, egg noodles, seasonings and herbs, and shredded chicken breast. With this recipe, we recommend serving toasted and buttered squares of Martin’s Old-Fashioned Real Butter Bread for dipping.


3.      Tuscan Style Chicken Soup + Grilled Apple Tossed Salad

Prefer a fruit-topped salad? This next option is a great choice. Made with mixed greens, walnuts, homemade balsamic dressing, and Martin’s Cinnamon-Sugar Swirl Potato Bread croutons, this Grilled Apple Tossed Salad is perfectly seasonal for fall but delicious all year round. To make these croutons, we allowed the cinnamon flavor to speak for itself, tossing the bread cubes in only a drizzle of olive oil before toasting in the oven.

To pair with this flavorful and creative salad recipe, we’ve chosen a flavorful soup as well. Our Tuscan-Style Chicken Soup contains flavors of onion, garlic, thyme, parsley, and parmesan cheese and is filled with veggies, like carrots, celery, and kale. No shortage of taste here!

Tuscan Style Chicken Soup Grilled Apple Tossed Salad


4.      Cauliflower Butter Bean Soup + Fig and Manchego Salad

Croutons can come in many shapes and sizes, right? To go with our Fig and Manchego Salad above, we chose to cut our Potato Bread into triangles and rub with garlic before toasting in the oven and then topping with fresh herbs and black pepper.

To pair with this simple but tasty salad, we’ve chosen another hearty soup—Cauliflower Butter Bean Soup. This vegetarian option is made with cauliflower, potatoes, onion, garlic, vegetable stock, butter beans, seasonings, heavy cream, and a garnish of olive oil and fresh thyme. We recommend serving with halved and buttered Sweet Party Potato Rolls.


5.      Texas Red Chili + Pickle Panzanella Salad

Next up, we have another panzanella recipe; this one flaunts bold and tangy pickle flavor paired with cubed Sweet Party Potato Rolls. Plus, it’s topped with other flavorful ingredients like red onion, basil leaves, and shaved parmesan cheese.

We think the tangy flavor of the panzanella pairs perfectly with our warm and comforting Texas Red Chili. Good things take time, right? For best results, leave plenty of prep and cook time for making the chili so that all the flavors – like hatch chiles, beef chuck, brown sugar, cumin, and beef stock – have time to fully incorporate.


6.      Italian Sausage and Tortellini Soup + Mixed Greens Salad

Originally part of our Christmas Foods Blog, this wintery seasonal salad is a delightful mix of sweet citrus, fresh greens, and tangy apple cider vinaigrette. Plus, it uses Martin’s Potatobred Stuffing to make toasted croutons that are perfectly bite-sized.

With this salad, we’re pairing our hearty Italian Sausage and Tortellini Soup, made with homemade sausage meatballs. Together, this soup and salad pairing is a fantastic and flavorful way to ward off winter blues.

Christmas Salad


7.      Broccoli Cheddar Soup Bread Bowls + Zucchini Panzanella

If you’re a fan of fresh veggies, try this Zucchini Panzanella, which features cherry tomatoes, green pepper, onion, zucchini, and fresh basil. For the “pan” in this panzanella, we cubed Hoagie Rolls into 1-inch pieces and toasted with olive oil, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning.

>> Tip: If these veggies aren’t in season near you, save this recipe for summertime!

With fresh veggies and mozzarella, we’re pairing a creamy broccoli and cheddar soup! This fan-favorite soup recipe can be prepared in about half an hour and served either in Martin’s Sweet Dinner Potato Roll bread bowls or in a bowl with a Dinner Roll on the side.

Zucchini Panzanella


8.      Cheesy Potato Soup + Simple Panzanella in a Jar

This next pairing is for the meal prep pros and those eating lunch on-the-go. One of our favorite bring-to-work lunches is this Simple Panzanella in a Jar, made with arugula, red onion, cherry tomatoes, and any other salad toppings you prefer. Then, it’s topped with homemade champagne vinaigrette and croutons made with Martin’s Sweet Party Potato Rolls.

With this salad, Cheesy Potato Soup is a great combination—not only because the cozy cheesy flavor pairs well with the fresh salad ingredients, but also because this soup can be prepared ahead of time and packed in a lunchbox to bring to work or school!

Cheesy Potato Soup Panzanella in a Jar


9.      French Onion Soup + Grilled Vegetable Panzanella

Another veggie-heavy panzanella, this grilled version includes asparagus, tomatoes, zucchini, mushrooms, and Martin’s 100% Whole Wheat Potato Bread croutons for a more rustic flavor. The smoky umami profile pairs perfectly with the homemade vinaigrette drizzled on top.

Speaking of umami, the soup pairing we chose for this salad is classic French Onion Soup, which is topped with a cheesy slice of Potato Bread.

French Onion Soup Grilled Veggie Panzanella


10.  Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons + Italian Panzanella Salad

Our last salad recipe is a tangy Italian Panzanella prepared with fresh veggies and croutons made with cubed, seasoned, and toasted Martin’s Hoagie Rolls.

To complement this bright and bold salad, we chose the familiar flavor of homemade tomato soup. The best parts of this soup are the toasty grilled cheese croutons on top! Potentially the most creative crouton in this list, these garnishes are made simply by preparing a classic grilled cheese using Martin’s Potato Bread and sharp cheddar cheese. Then, cut the sandwiches into cubes and place them on top of each bowl of soup.

Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons Italian Panzanella


And there you have it—ten creative soup and sandwich combos using easy-to-make homemade croutons with Martin’s Famous Potato Rolls and Bread. Enjoy!


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