I'd be the first to tell you that nothing beats homemade croutons. But even though they're quick and easy to make, there are times when they're still not fast enough. That's when store-bought croutons come to the rescue. There are a whole slew of bagged options out there — we tasted our way through them to find the best.
1. The Cheesy One: Fresh Gourmet Classic Caesar Croutons
If you like your Caesar croutons to add extra cheesiness to the salad, then these are for you. These are cheese-forward, while still being light and airy. However, with a pale golden color and in perfectly cut large squares, these croutons definitely feel and taste factory-made.
2. The Herby One: Reese Caesar Salad Croutons
These little guys would easily get lost in a pile of romaine lettuce and Caesar dressing — they are tiny. The uniformed squares look like they should be extra herby, thanks to all the dried herbs coating them, and they are. They also happen to be quite crunchy for such little croutons, but they're just too small to hold up in a Caesar salad.
4. The Basic One: Whole Foods 365 Caesar Croutons
There's nothing particularly bad about these croutons, but nothing really stands out either. Their flavor is light on the garlic and just a little cheesy. They taste blander than the rest of the bunch, but are nice and light.
3. The Rustic One: Chatham Village Caesar Salad Croutons
With a mix of coarsely cut white and rye croutons, these croutons feel rustic and more homemade than the first two. They're all about the garlic and have a nice crunch, and their medium size is just about right.
5. The Winner: Cardini's Caesar Croutons
These are actually identical to the Chatham Village croutons — check the label and you'll see that they're made by the same company. While the ingredient list is exactly the same, the key difference is the size: Cardini's are cut just a bit larger than Chatham Village and that's why they win. They're equally as rustic, garlicky, and crunchy, but they're also large enough that you can snack on them right from the bag.