How to Make Buttered Bread Crumbs, Croutons, or Toasted Crumbs

Carrot Casserole with Bread Crumbs
Recipe: Baked Carrots with Cheddar Cheese Sauce. Photo: Diana Rattray

Bread crumbs are used to top casseroles, as a filler in meatloaf and meatballs, and as a stuffing ingredient. They are even a major ingredient in apple Betty dessert. They add crunch and flavor to dishes, and they are super easy to make with day-old bread, rolls, or croissants.

Buttered Bread Crumbs

Buttered bread crumbs are primarily used to top casseroles. The crumbs, when baked, add color and crunch texture.

If you're using them as a topping for a baked dish or soup, you can toast the buttered bread crumbs on the stovetop first. 

Cut or tear stale or day-old bread into smaller pieces and pulse briefly in a food processor to make coarse or fine crumbs. 

If you won't be using the bread crumbs immediately, put them in a food storage bag, seal, label with the date, and freeze. 

To make buttered bread crumbs, mix 1 cup of soft bread crumbs with 2 tablespoons of melted butter. Toss or stir with a fork to thoroughly coat the crumbs with the melted butter.  

To toast the soft buttered bread crumbs, put them in a nonstick pan over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until browned and somewhat crisp. Sprinkle the crumbs over cooked vegetables or casseroles, soups, or salads.

Toasted Bread Crumbs or Crostini

Toss the torn or cubed bread pieces with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil for every 1 1/2 to 2 cups.

Spread them out on a baking sheet  and sprinkle them lightly with kosher salt. For seasoned bread crumbs or croutons, sprinkle lightly with garlic powder and dried herbs, such as basil or parsley flakes.

Bake in a preheated 350° F (180° C/Gas 4) oven for about 10 to 15 minutes.

Unless you are making cubed crumbs or croutons, pulse the toasted bread pieces in the food processor to make either coarse crumbs or finely ground crumbs.

Finely ground toasted bread crumbs make a great substitute for purchased fine dry bread crumbs.

To make quick crostini for appetizer spreads or soups, slice a French bread baguette into thin slices. Brush both sides of the slices with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Bake in a preheated 375° F (190° C/Gas 5) oven for about 10 minutes, turning the crostini about halfway through the baking time. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.

A Few Recipes Using Buttered Bread Crumbs:

Macaroni and Cheese With Bacon

Cheddar Green Bean Casserole

12 Ways to Use Stale Bread