3 Store-Bought Salad Croutons That Are Even Better Than Homemade

published Jun 9, 2024
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A Caesar salad with a variety of croutons
Credit: Mackenzie Filson

In my family, we eat croutons like they’re chips: straight from the bag, by the handful, with abandon. Do you blame us? A well-made crouton is a thing of beauty; the next best thing after sliced bread — buttery, crisp, and ready to make their way into salads, soups, or just right down your gullet. 

Croutons are easy enough to make at home, but I don’t always have a partial loaf of slightly stale bread lying around. Do you? (If yes, can I come over?!) That’s when those store-bought options really come in handy. There are a lot of great options lining grocery shelves that rival homemade croutons.

I tried as many bags as I could get my hands on, and even roped in some of my crouton-obsessed family members. We stuck most to “classic” or “garlic and butter”-flavored bags, and, to keep things consistent, judged them by three criteria: seasoning, crunch, and versatility (are they good for way more than salads, like topping soups, making stuffing, and crushed over cooked veggies). These are the three that stood out.

Credit: Mackenzie Filson

1. Mrs. Cubbison’s Classic Seasoned Croutons

Chances are, if you were to look up the dictionary definition of a crouton, you’d find this exact bag pictured alongside it. Its minimal yet effective frills (in the form of the distinct rosemary seasoning), make Mrs. Cubbison’s Classic Seasoned Croutons an instant winner. 

Credit: Mackenzie Filson

With one of the best crunches of the bunch, these classic croutons are an all-around staple. They taste like what I’d call Very Good Restaurant Side Salad Croutons (a high compliment), and versatile enough to have me dreaming about topping a bowl of cheesy French onion soup — in 90 degree heat.

Buy: Mrs. Cubbison’s Classic Seasoned Croutons, $2.19 for 5 ounces at Instacart

Credit: Mackenzie Filson

2. New York Bakery Texas Toast Garlic & Butter Croutons

There’s buttery croutons and then there’s New York Bakery Texas Toast Garlic & Butter Croutons. These shot to the top of my own ranking purely on how often I kept reaching into the bag to add a few more to my salad. Garlicky, buttery, with a cartoonishly loud CRUNCH!, these croutons are for all the Texture People out there. 

Credit: Mackenzie Filson

With a flaky, airy crumb (that still manages to taste light with all that butter), New York Bakery Texas Toast croutons would be my all-the-time salad topper, especially when you’re like “Hmmm, this salad needs a bit of decadence.” 

Buy: New York Bakery Texas Toast Garlic & Butter Croutons, $2.17 for 5 ounces at Instacart

Credit: Mackenzie Filson

3. Mrs. Cubbison’s 100% Parmesan Crisps 

If the Texas Toast croutons formed my mostly crouton salads, the 100% Parmesan Crisps — made by yes, the same Mrs. Cubbison’s — were the ones that barely made it to my salad in the first place. Why is that? Because I ate them right out of the bag. Nearly all of them. It was very much a “Three for my salad, five for my mouth” situation. 

Credit: Mackenzie Filson

These parmesan crisps do double-duty here. If you’re planning on adding cheese and need crunch for your salad, both are very much satisfied by Mrs. Cubbison’s 100% Parmesan Crisps. A nutty, tongue-tingling, crispy bite-size nest of Parmesan packs so much flavor to the square inch, you’ll find me adding these on top of my pasta, tomato soup, and as a bread crumb alternative for frying chicken (if they last long enough in my pantry). 

Buy: Mrs. Cubbison’s 100% Parmesan Crisps, $3.75 for 1.98 ounces at Instacart

Do you have a go-to brand of croutons? Tell us about it in the comments below!