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Transform Leftover Hamburger Buns Into Crunchy Homemade Croutons

Pile of croutons
Pile of croutons - Fotografiabasica/Getty Images

When the weather warms up and the sun hangs around for a little bit longer, it's the perfect time to start planning picnics and cookouts with friends and family. And, what cookout would be complete without juicy hamburgers to chomp on? The only trouble is, after all is said and done, it's not uncommon to still have extra burger fixings hanging around, especially buns. Rather than just throwing these away and letting them go to waste, you can turn those leftover hamburger buns into croutons.

The key is to chop the buns up into small cubes, toss them with some fat and your favorite seasoning, and then bake them in the oven until they're crispy and golden brown. Then, use them in salads, atop a bowl of soup, stirred into scrambled eggs, or any other way you like. They're easy to make, super versatile, and a great way to get rid of pesky leftovers.

Read more: The 11 Best Frozen Burger Brands Available

Choosing And Prepping Your Burger Buns

Plate of hamburger buns
Plate of hamburger buns - Gado/Getty Images

The first step to transforming leftover burger buns into croutons is to prep your bread. You can use any leftover buns you happen to have, whether you typically go with store-bought buns or make your own from scratch. You can even use up leftover hot dog buns or other bread rolls you've got hanging around too. While the type of bread isn't important, it is best to use some that's slightly stale. This helps give the croutons their signature crunchy texture. If they're not stale, you can always leave them out on the counter overnight to help them firm up a bit.

Once you've selected your bread, it's time to cut it. You don't want the pieces to be too large, or they'll be inconvenient to eat. Try to stick to smaller, bite-sized pieces about one inch thick, although you can adjust this up or down by half an inch. You could also go with slices if you prefer but, once again, be wary of the size.

Seasoning And Baking Your Croutons

Tray of seasoned croutons
Tray of seasoned croutons - Bhofack2/Getty Images

Once your bread is prepped and ready to go, it's time to start the fun part: selecting your seasonings. First, you'll want to toss the cubes with olive oil or melted butter. Then, add your seasonings to the mixture to impart flavor! You can keep things simple with just a bit of sea salt, which is great for a versatile crouton that pairs with anything you might cook. Or, you can get a bit more creative. Garlic powder, for instance, can add a bit of a punch to the croutons. Or, go for herby flavors such as oregano and basil. Another choice could be to add parmesan cheese or a dash of Tabasco sauce for a spicy variety. It's up to you to play around with different flavors and come up with a combo you love.

Once you've tossed the bread and seasoned it, spread the cubes on a baking sheet and bake in an oven preheated to 375 degrees Fahrenheit for about 15 minutes or until they're golden brown and crunchy. You can also make them in the air fryer, spreading them in a single layer and baking them at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 5 minutes. Shake the basket a bit and then pop them in for another 5 minutes to finish up. Then, enjoy your croutons atop your favorite soups and salads!

Read the original article on Daily Meal.