Make Ahead

Savory Seedy Sesame Croutons

November 18, 2012
3 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Makes 3 cups
Author Notes

These croutons add a bright pop of texture and flavor to any soup or salad or are just as tasty as a nibble to serve with drinks before dinner. I can't keep them around whenever I make them, as they are greedily pilfered by eager fingers from their container in the pantry. Use a rustic bread for these -- like an Italian country loaf, at least a day or two old. Bigger holes in the bread mean more nooks to trap and hold the savory seedy mixture. If you use the lesser amount of cayenne pepper (1/8 teaspoon) in the recipe, the croutons will be savory with a tinge of warmth, and if you use the larger amount (1/4 teaspoon) they will have a nice spicy zing in your mouth. It all depends on your personal taste. Also, if you can't find black sesame seeds, substitute them with an extra tablespoon of white sesame seeds or poppy seeds. —Kitchen Frau

Test Kitchen Notes

As soon as I saw this recipe, I thought "Genius!" And, to my tastebuds, they were. The recipe is written very clearly -- I followed it to a T, and ended up with crispy, extremely flavorful nuggets. I wanted to eat them straight for dinner, but put them on a spinach salad with avocado and hard boiled egg instead. However I will note that for some reason, my husband wasn't a fan. He thought they were too strong, and that there was too much cumin in them. I think he's crazy. —fearlessem

What You'll Need
  • 3 cups stale bread cubes (1/2 to 3/4 inch dice)
  • 1 large egg white
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tablespoon mustard seeds, yellow or brown
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 2 tablespoons hulled white sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon black sesame seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/8-1/4 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon flaked sea salt, or 1/4 teaspoon regular sea salt
  1. In a large bowl, beat the egg white with a large whisk until soft peaks form (or use an electric mixer). Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, and whisk until it is incorporated. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and whisk again until you have a soft, fluffy almost-mayonnaise-like mixture.
  2. Cut the bread with a serrated knife into 1/2 to 3/4 inch cubes, and fold the cubes gently into the whipped egg and oil mixture with a rubber spatula until they are completely coated.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  4. Coarsely grind the cumin seeds and mustard seeds in a mortar and pestle or coffee grinder. (This is where you get to bring out that seldom used mortar and pestle and look really professional.) You don't want a fine powder, just a crushed texture to release the oils and flavors.
  5. In a small bowl, combine the crushed seeds with the remaining seeds and seasonings. Sprinkle this over the coated bread cubes and toss again gently until the seed mixture has coated the bread.
  6. Spread the bread cubes in a single layer on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
  7. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the croutons are starting to turn a toasty golden color at the edges and are crisp on the outside, though depending on how dry your bread was to start out with, some may still be a little chewy on the inside, and that is lovely, too.
  8. Let cool completely in the pan, then store in an airtight container at room temperature for several days, or in the freezer for several months to bring out whenever you want a bright crunchy pop of flavor on soups or salads. Or, serve them as nibbles anytime!
Contest Entries

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • krikri
  • BoulderGalinTokyo
  • QueenSashy
  • healthierkitchen
  • AntoniaJames

13 Reviews

David S. January 1, 2022
This is a wonderful recipe. To be honest I had none of the spices or seeds, but used the egg white, olive oil, herbs d' provence, and technique to make some quick croutons for a green bean salad. They came out perfect. I will definitely try the "actual" recipe soon.
krikri July 24, 2016
Slightly overcooked these. Which is ok for me (I like extra-crispy) but my husband prefers softer insides. Next time.
I'd also increase the cayenne and salt, since I like it that way.
Catherine F. November 18, 2014
Can't wait to get in the kitchen to make these!
fearlessem December 7, 2012
Congrats Kitchen Frau -- as you can see from the headnote, I loved them! Just looking at the picture again makes me wish I hadn't eaten all of them already! :-)
Kitchen F. December 8, 2012
Oh, you are so kind - made me smile inside! Thanks for reviewing my recipe - so glad you liked munching on them as much as I did.
BoulderGalinTokyo December 7, 2012
Love the combination of your 'seeds'. Very nice texture.
Kitchen F. December 8, 2012
Sometimes it's all about the crunch to satisfy a craving. Thanks!
QueenSashy December 6, 2012
Congrats on being the community pick. I love the idea, love the dish. I will be making it as a snack to take to work!
Kitchen F. December 6, 2012
Thanks, for the support and the comment!
healthierkitchen November 21, 2012
love the mix of dark and light sesame seeds!
Kitchen F. November 21, 2012
Thanks! I'm on a sesame seed kick lately :)
AntoniaJames November 19, 2012
Fabulous! I want to make (and eat) some right now! Love this. ;o)
Kitchen F. November 21, 2012
Thanks so much, Antonia. Your lovely compliment makes my day!