Do Croutons Go Bad? – Full Analysis

by Charlie
White bread croutons

For many people, croutons are a necessary ingredient in a beautiful green salad. There’s just something about the crunchiness and the toastiness of croutons that makes them so irresistible. Croutons from the grocery store last for a long time, so no matter when you are making a salad, they will be ready at the chef’s convenience. 

Do croutons go bad? Yes, croutons do go bad. But since they are toasted pieces of bread that don’t have any moisture, as long as they are sealed and packed away tightly, they will not expire for 8 to 10 months. Once the package is open, it will only last a month. If you decide to make your own fresh croutons, the homemade croutons will last 2 weeks at most. 

If a crouton is so hard that it is difficult to bite through it, it is bad, and you should discard the entire package.

How Long Do Croutons Last?

Croutons are a delicious addition to a bright green salad with delectable dressing. Many other foods cannot mimic the taste of croutons, so they are important to many salads. 

However, when you open the bag, you only have a limited time to eat the croutons. Most people believe that croutons will not last once you open the packets, so they usually eat them all in one sitting. But that is not true. While they will not last a month, you still have a bit of time to use a package of croutons for multiple salads.

If you decide to go the extra mile and make fresh croutons in the oven, you will not be disappointed. Fresh croutons have a pretty good shelf life. Freshly made croutons last about two weeks, as long as they are stored in an airtight container.

You may be surprised to hear that freshly made croutons can be preserved even longer in the freezer. Croutons have already had all of their moisture taken out because they are toasted, so their texture and flavor will be unaffected by a freezing temperature. As long as no ice gets into their container, you can freeze croutons for up to 6 weeks.  

But if you want to take the easy route and buy croutons from the grocery store, then you’ll be glad to know that they will last 8 to 10 months if they are unopened. Once you open a bag or container of croutons, they will last a month. 

How Long Do Croutons Last? [Chart]

CroutonsTime
FreshSame day of baking
Fresh, in fridge2 weeks
Store bought, unopened8-10 months
Store bought, openedOne month

How to Know if Croutons have Gone Bad

Croutons are essentially toasted bread with some seasoning. Considering this, you will find that the traits that tell if a crouton has gone bad are also the same traits that show if a piece of toast is now too old to consume.

No taste: An unseasoned crouton will taste like toasted bread, but many croutons have flavoring added to them. If you taste the crouton and notice that there is no flavor, it is too old, and you should throw it away.

Hard: Like a piece of toast, croutons should have a crunch to them. But it should not be difficult to buy into them. If you are struggling to bite your crouton in half, that means that it has gone stale.

Soggy: If you place croutons inside a salad, but the salad is not finished, you may decide to place the salad as well as croutons in the same bowl and put it in the fridge. If you do this, the salad dressing will affect the crunchiness of the croutons. The croutons will be able to retain some of the crunchiness for one night, but not for two nights. So, if the croutons are soggy, that means that too much dressing seeped into the crouton.

Can You Eat Croutons Past their Expiration Date?

Yes, you can eat croutons past their expiration date as long as the croutons pass the smell and taste test. There is no need to worry about food poisoning if you decide to eat some croutons that are past their expiration date

It is fairly easy to detect if croutons have gone bad, so if they don’t taste stale and there is no smell coming from them, you can eat them. You can eat croutons up to three months past their expiration date.

What to Do with Expired Croutons?

Croutons may be crunchy and delicious, but they are by no means the most important part of the salad. If you do not have croutons, or the ones you have in your cupboard are expired, then just leave them out and serve the salad as it is. 

Or you can choose one of the many substitutes that can easily replace croutons. One popular substitute is tortilla strips. Tortilla strips are just as crunchy as tortilla chips, and they come in many different flavors. 

You can also choose to replace the croutons with crispy chickpeas. These are chickpeas that are lightly fried in oil seasoned with garlic, salt and pepper. If you use crispy chickpeas, you are adding a great source of fiber to your salad.

Another great substitute for croutons are roasted almonds and roasted cashews. The roasted version of these nuts provides any salad with a deep, complex flavor, and since they’re full of fat, the nuts will make the salad seem more filling. If you don’t have roasted nuts, but you do have the raw version, place the raw nuts on a boiled baking sheet and roast them for a few minutes until they develop a golden-brown coating. 

How to Store Croutons

If you make croutons, then try to eat them on the day that you make them, which will be the day they will taste the freshest. Freshly made croutons will last about 2 weeks as long as you keep them in an airtight container. Preserving them in the fridge is also a good idea.

If you buy croutons from the store, they will last about 8-10 months as long as they are not opened. When you open the bag, always be sure to seal them back up and not allow any extra air or moisture to infiltrate their container. 

Final Thoughts

  • Croutons are delicious crunchy pieces of bread that have been toasted and flavored.
  • Croutons come in many different flavors.
  • A package of unopened croutons from the grocery store will last 8 to 10 months.
  • Once they’re open, the croutons will last about a month.
  • Roasted chickpeas and tortilla strips are two popular substitutes for croutons.
  • If you decide to make croutons, they will last about two weeks in the refrigerator.
  • Do not eat croutons if they have no flavor and are extremely bland. This means that they are old.
  • Do not store croutons in the same bowl with salad, as the salad dressing will make the croutons soggy by the second night.

You may also like