The 7 Best Croutons will Send You to Salad Heaven

The best croutons are crunchy, flavorful, and taste good enough to eat on their own. We tried the biggest and best grocery store brands to find the croutons that should be in your pantry.

I love bread, I love crunch, and I love garlicky, parsley-forward, dried-cheese-heavy seasoning blends, so obviously I love croutons. They kick homemade salads up a notch, but the best croutons can stand alone as a snack straight out of the box or bag. To quote myself in a recent, passionate essay about why croutons are a snack rather than just an accoutrement: “Remember when you’d go to a salad bar [as a child] and pile your refrigerated dish with about 40 percent vegetables and 60 percent croutons? Now you’re a grown-ass adult and you can cut out the middleman altogether if you want to.”

This taste test was fun (albeit extremely loud), but whittling this list down to the absolute best of the best was tough because all of the croutons we tried tasted good. It’s the crouton way! What you’ll find here are the croutons that have the best actual bread flavor, the most satisfying crunch, and the boldest, savoriest seasoning.

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best croutons

Best of the Best

New York Bakery Original Texas Toast Caesar Croutons

New York Bakery is best known for its freezer aisle Texas toast (as I’ve mentioned, I really love Texas toast), and its croutons really give you the impression they began their lives as well-loved pieces of buttery garlic bread. All three varieties of New York Bakery croutons we tried were delicious (I mean, look how they ranked), but the combination of a brown bread and what looks almost like a marble rye bread in this bag put these over the top. They’re the most attractive croutons be tried, and they have a flavor and texture to match. These are crunchy without being so solid they’ll break your teeth and the quality of the bread really comes through as you chew. The flavor is bold and super garlicky. These are good for so much more than Caesar salads.

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Walmart

Rating:

10/10

Sporks

best garlicky croutons

Best Garlicky

New York Bakery Original Texas Toast Garlic & Butter Flavored Croutons

New York Bakery has a heavy hand with the garlic and, frankly, I love that about them. All of the brand’s croutons have a big, savory, garlic flavor, but these have even more than the rest. Again, you really get the sense croutons started out as bread. You’ll even notice that some of these cubes have a glossy top like a real loaf. What I like best about these is that the butter flavor isn’t artificial. They also have a little less of a salty bite than the brand’s other varieties since they don’t involve cheese, so the garlic and butter really shine through. A solid addition to any savory salad.

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Walmart

Rating:

9.5/10

Sporks

best cheesy croutons

Best Cheesy

New York Bakery Texas Toast Cheese & Garlic Croutons

So, these croutons lost some points for their appearance. You know how a loaf of frozen garlic bread looks before it goes in the oven? Kinda pale and covered in a thick layer buttery, cheesy sludge that needs a few minutes at 400 degrees to get all bubbly and good? That’s kind of what these look like. But, I gotta say, despite the thick, off-putting coating of seasoning on these, they are crispy and balanced and extremely delicious. The seasoning may look overwhelming, but it isn’t. In fact, the flavor of bread still manages to break through the tasty bite of the Romano cheese. Don’t judge this crouton book by its coated cover!

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Instacart

Rating:

9.5/10

Sporks

best buttery croutons

Best Buttery

Mrs. Cubbison’s Garlic & Butter Croutons

I usually steer clear of butter-flavored croutons for fear that the butter will actually be “butter flavoring” and they’ll basically taste like were doused in the sludge they put on popcorn at the movies. But it turns out Mrs. Cubbison knows her way around a bag of butter croutons.These have a genuine butter flavor (lots of garlic too), and are super crispy and light. Even if you don’t have salad fixins in the fridge, you’ll want to keep a bag of these in the pantry for periodic snacking purposes.

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Instacart

Rating:

9/10

Sporks

best croutons

Best Classic

Mrs. Cubbison’s Casar Salad Croutons

I’m not entirely sure what the difference is between a Caesar salad crouton and a standard seasoned crouton, but these have the appeal of both. What I noticed in particular in this bag was a nice variety of sizes and textures—blonde and well-done, big and small. And the seasoning has everything you’re looking from, from garlic to parsley to Romano cheese. Imagining these drenched in an anchovy-rich Caesar dressing is making my mouth water.

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Instacart

Rating:

9/10

Sporks

best herbed croutons

Best Herby

Rothbury Farms Cheese Garlic Croutons

If you’ve recently had expensive dental work, it’s probably best to stay away from Rothbury Farms croutons. These things are majorly crunchy, I’d dare say too crunchy for some people. But if you like a densely textured crouton that can hold a lot of dried herbs and seasonings, give these a shot. Given that these are advertised as Cheese Garlic, you might not expect a big, herby flavor, but they deliver it all the same. Dried parsley isn’t terribly high on the ingredients list, but you could have fooled me.

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Instacart

Rating:

9/10

Sporks

best croutons

Best Format Buster

Trader Joe’s Rosemary Croissant Croutons

Everyone on the Sporked team who tasted these absolutely loved them. They’re flaky, bursting with dried rosemary flavor, and there’s zero doubt they were buttery croissants before they were cubed and staled. These probably would have ranked higher, but given their light, airy texture, we had doubts about how well they would hold up to being doused with salad dressing if used as intended. But if you’re buying these just to eat out of the bag, you won’t be disappointed.

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Trader Joe’s

Rating:

8.5/10

Sporks

Other products we tried: Great Value Cheese & Garlic, Market Pantry Cheese & Garlic, 365 Organic Seasoned, Great Value Garlic & Butter, Rothbury Farms Seasoned, Olive Garden Garlic & Romano, Fresh Gourmet Cheese & Garlic, Simple Truth Organic Caesar Garlic & Parmesan, Good & Gather Organic Garlic & Butter,

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About the Author

Gwynedd Stuart

Gwynedd Stuart, Sporked’s managing editor, is an L.A.-based writer and editor who spends way, way too much time at the grocery store. She’s never met an Old El Paso taco or mozzarella stick she didn’t like.

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