15 Crouton Brands, Ranked Worst To Best

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If you're looking to add some zesty crunch to your salads or soups, you really can't go wrong with croutons. These savory bites of deliciousness are made from crisped bread cubes, oil or butter, and seasonings. While it is possible to make your own croutons at home using a skillet, the oven, or even an air fryer, you may not always have the time, motivation, or ingredients to do so. (No judgment here!)

For a simple alternative, you may wish to try store-bought croutons. These common grocery items are typically inexpensive (most brands fall between $2 and $3 a bag), just as yummy as homemade varieties, and can be conveniently stored in your pantry for whenever a sudden crouton craving strikes. But before heading to the store to blindly pick some up, it is important to understand that not all crouton brands are created equal. That's where our helpful rankings come in.

Our product testers have been hard at work gathering, crunching on, and ranking top crouton brands. To determine our favorites, we first scoured major grocery outlets to see which croutons are most readily available to consumers. Then, we sampled a popular flavor from each brand. Lastly, we evaluated each crouton brand based on taste, texture, range of flavors, product availability, and, of course, overall product enjoyment. Check out our definitive crouton brand ranking below.

15. Edward & Sons

Of all the croutons evaluated, Edward & Sons Organic Croutons are made from the smallest bread cubes. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it stood out in side-by-side testing. These croutons are also dairy free, vegan, non-GMO, and made from 100% organic ingredients. If you're looking for a crouton with a short and fully pronounceable ingredient list, this is probably your crouton.

While we generally like what this vegetarian brand stands for, unfortunately we didn't love the taste of Edward & Sons Organic Croutons Italian Herbs. They have a strong, oily flavor (and aftertaste) that just doesn't work for us. We also found them to be really salty; in fact, they contain among the highest sodium content of all crouton brands sampled. Additionally, the packaging is not resealable like most other brands, which is a minor annoyance, but an annoyance nonetheless. Perhaps of greater import, Edward & Sons croutons are, by far, the most expensive brand on our list.

For a less expensive, better-tasting organic crouton, we recommend going with Simple Truth Organic croutons or O Organics croutons (both will be discussed below). For a vegan crouton, head to Trader Joe's. If you are determined to stick with the Edward & Sons brand, try reaching for one of its other crouton flavors: Garlic Parmezen, Zesty Ranch, or Savory Onion.

14. Great Value

Great Value, one of Walmart's long-standing store brands, offers an extensive line of low-priced grocery items, including croutons. There are three available flavors, all priced under a dollar: Seasoned, Cheese & Garlic Seasoned, and Garlic Seasoned & Butter Flavored.

We dug into a bag of Great Value Seasoned Croutons. Alas, we found them to be pretty uninteresting. Sure, they meet the minimum requirement of being bite-sized crispy pieces of bread, but beyond that, the croutons offer little flavor or pizzazz. Perhaps the two other flavors would be more interesting, but we didn't make the effort to go back for them.

We do like the price tag, but we would generally rather pay double elsewhere and skip Walmart altogether. Although this massive retailer's super low prices can be tempting, keep in mind that they come at a high cost to underpaid employees and surrounding businesses (per Salon). With all of this in mind, Great Value lands near the very bottom of our crouton brand rankings.

13. Kroger

Similar to the Great Value brand, we appreciate the low cost of Kroger's croutons. This store brand can be found exclusively at Kroger, Ralphs, QFC, Fred Meyer, King Soopers, and other affiliated grocery chains across the country. Kroger offers four flavors of Homestyle croutons (Seasoned Herb, Caesar, Zesty Italian, and Cheese and Garlic), along with Jumbo Garlic & Butter Flavored Texas Toast Croutons.

We reached for Homestyle Cheese and Garlic Croutons, but found them rather disappointing. Although any croutons with cheese and garlic sound like they would be full of flavor, these ones are actually pretty bland. Of course, that's fine for someone who likes a low-flavor crouton –– but does that describe anyone in real life? (For what it's worth, our testers prefer a whole lot more depth.) We also noticed that these croutons have a slightly softer (though not soft) texture than many of the other brands. Some people with sensitive teeth may actually prefer this lower crunch factor.

While we like the affordability and widespread availability of Kroger croutons, we weren't wowed by the actual experience of eating them. They are perfectly adequate, without being anything particularly special. You can do better.

12. Olive Garden

Fans of Olive Garden Italian Kitchen (we know you're out there!) can now find the restaurant's same delicious salad dressings, seasonings, and croutons sold in grocery stores and online. (Olive Garden enthusiasts may also be interested to discover our 13 Olive Garden Secret Menu Hacks).

As for croutons, Olive Garden offers only a single flavor option — Signature Recipe Croutons Garlic & Romano — but not to worry, it's a good one. Our product testers quickly assessed that these croutons have a nice flavor, size, and texture. The garlic is not overpowering, the romano is mild, and the crunch is satisfactory. If given a choice, we generally prefer our croutons a bit more buttery, but we suspect this may go unnoticed once tossed in a decent salad dressing. In other words, you could certainly choose a worse crouton.

Bonus: On the back of the package, you'll find the recipe for Olive Garden's Famous House Salad, which involves iceberg lettuce, red onion, black olives, pepperoncini peppers, Roma tomatoes, parmesan, black pepper, Olive Garden Signature Italian Dressing, and, of course, Olive Garden Signature Recipe Croutons. Buon appetito!

11. Signature SELECT

Signature SELECT croutons, found exclusively in Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, and other affiliated grocery stores, come in several popular flavor varieties: Herb Seasoned, Cheese & Garlic Flavored, Garlic & Butter, and Caesar. The brand also offers tortilla strips and wonton strips for your soup or salad's topping pleasure.

Signature SELECT Herb Seasoned Croutons meet all the basic requirements of a decent crouton: They have a nice flavor, the right amount of crunch, and an affordable price. We also like the brand's flavor options and how easy it was to find in stores near us. The Seasoned variety struck us as a particularly versatile option. For instance, it would pair well with an Italian, Caesar, or ranch dressing, tomato or cream-based soups, or just about anything else. While this crouton brand may not be our absolute favorite, it will certainly do the trick.

As a rule, we generally appreciate the Safeway SELECT brand, which offers good value on a wide range of grocery products. (We especially love Signature SELECT Moose Tracks ice cream, but we'll save that for another day.)

10. O Organics

Also found in Albertsons company stores (including Albertsons, Safeway, and Vons), O Organics offers a wide range of 100% organic, private-labeled food and drink products. It's already a well-established brand, having reached $1 billion in sales back in 2018, with further plans to expand (per Grocery Dive).

We sampled O Organics Organic Croutons Caesar, which were reasonably flavorful. Our product testers commented on the strong garlic powder taste and hint of cheese. They also noticed a range of toastiness between bread chunks, meaning that some were quite a bit more well-done than others. This led to some flavor variety within the bag –– not that there's not anything wrong with that.

Along with the Caesar variety of crouton, O Organics also produces Seasoned and Garlic & Butter Flavored (via Albertsons). While we generally admire the brand's use of organic ingredients and widespread availability, additional flavor options and perhaps a little more zest would help it rise in our crouton rankings.

9. Market Pantry

Target-owned Market Pantry's basic, no-frills croutons are more than capable of working as a nice addition to your soups and salads. While not especially zesty, cheesy, or buttery –– three things that we tend to value in a crouton –– the brand's Seasoned crouton variety nonetheless contains a nice texture and versatile, mild flavor. Plus, they offer all this with a low price point of just under $1.

Target enthusiasts may also want to check out Market Pantry's Cheese & Garlic croutons, along with several types of Good & Gather Organic Croutons (another of Target's popular store brands, covered below).

According to R1 Creative, Market Pantry is Target's largest store brand. Market Pantry's 1,900+ products, in over 100 categories, are responsible for over $1 billion in annual sales (per Target). Target gave Market Pantry a new look back in 2016, which can still be seen in stores today. It's not hard to find at all; keep an eye out for the brand's distinctive red and white packaging.

8. Simple Truth Organic

Simple Truth Organic, an organic brand available through Kroger and Kroger-affiliated stores, offers two types of croutons: Garlic & Parmesan Caesar and Garlic, Onion & Parsley Seasoned. We sampled Garlic & Parmesan Caesar, which were very good. These croutons are made from organic bread toasted golden brown (per product packaging). Unlike some of the blander Caesar croutons tested, these ones are packed with all the savory flavors of an actual Caesar salad. We like many things about this crouton brand, but it would likely rank higher on our list if more crouton varieties were available.

We also learned that not everyone is a fan of Simple Truth's plastic pouches. In the brand's defense, it uses similar packaging as other crouton brands but appears to be held to a higher standard, as seen in Plastics Today. The article critiques Simple Truth for not living up to its "premise," pointing out that the brand's plastic pouches are not easily recyclable. Note: You may be able to sign up for TerraCycle services, which allow Simple Truth customers to ship off used pouches for recycling. At times, there may be a waitlist. And realistically, how many of us will go through the trouble?

7. Good & Gather

Generally speaking, we are huge fans of Target's Good & Gather brand, which provides affordable, high-quality food and beverage products to consumers. It produces several varieties of croutons, including Organic Seasoned Croutons, Organic Garlic & Butter Flavored Croutons, and Texas Toast Croutons. It also offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee on all products.

Our testers crunched into Good & Gather Organic Garlic & Butter Flavored Croutons, which contain no artificial flavors or synthetic colors. As promised in the name, these croutons are both garlicky and buttery –– a winning combination. They are a fairly standard-size crouton, with a fairly standard crunch, which works for us. Of possible interest: Not only does the package suggest adding the croutons to salads and soups, but it also suggests using them in a snack mix with popcorn and peanuts. That may be worth trying.

Good & Gather's croutons are tasty, easy to find (assuming you have a nearby Target), and a solid choice for your soup, salad, or snack mix. With a few more flavor options, the brand would most certainly move up further in our crouton rankings.

6. Caesar Cardini's

According to Caesar Cardini's, these particular croutons have been credited to the actual Cesare Cardini. In case you're not familiar with his story, Cardini is widely known as the inventor of the (aptly named) Caesar salad. He was an Italian-born restaurateur who owned a successful restaurant in Tijuana, where chefs first prepared the renowned salad tableside (per Britannica). Eventually, Cardini trademarked and marketed his original Caesar salad dressing, then opened another restaurant in San Diego. After his death, Cardini's daughter Rosa published the original recipe. Although anchovies were not included, many modern day Caesar salad recipes add them for an extra taste of umami.

Along with bottled salad dressings, the Caesar Cardini's brand produces three types of Gourmet Cut croutons: Garlic, Caesar, and Italian. For obvious reasons, we opted for Caesar. Of all 15 different croutons sampled, these definitely tasted the most well-done. This would work well alongside a heavy Caesar dressing, as intended. The croutons also appear to contain two different types of bread cubes — one light and one dark. Our testers definitely liked this twist, along with the extra crunchy texture. However, they would enjoy stronger, more Caesar-like seasonings to boost overall crouton zestiness and product ranking.

It's also worth noting that Caesar Cardini's is a Marzetti brand; read more below.

5. Marzetti

We also sampled Marzetti Caesar Croutons, offered up by the parent company of Caesar Cardini's. We were somewhat surprised to discover that the two brand's Caesar croutons appear to be identical, other than packaging differences. Not to worry, though: We went ahead and enjoyed them all over again.

As with Caesar Cardini's, Marzetti Caesar Croutons have multiple types of bread involved (dark and light) which make them more interesting than some other brands. They are also well-toasted, leading to a hearty, crunchy texture. The crouton's mild flavor is, again, not quite as Caesar-like as one might expect or desire for a Caesar crouton –– but it's nothing that some flavorful dressing won't resolve.

Despite similarities, we are ranking Marzetti slightly higher as a brand than Caesar Cardini's. This is simply because Marzetti has more crouton varieties. Along with Caesar croutons, Marzetti offers Cheese & Garlic, Garlic & Butter, Ranch, Seasoned, and Whole Grain options. The Whole Grain variety especially got our attention. There are surprisingly few whole grain options in the world of croutons.

4. Trader Joe's

Trader Joe's Rosemary Croissant Croutons, currently on offer in Trader Joe's stores, are really interesting –– in a good way. Our local store offered a vegan variety, which we couldn't resist trying. (Croissants without butter? Intriguing!) As the name suggests, these croutons are made from "flaky croissant chunks." Although the vegan option is not remotely buttery, the croissant element leads to a notably different texture than other crouton brands. After an initial crunch, they then fall apart really easily in the mouth, which our product testers quite liked. Additionally, these croutons pack an unusually strong rosemary flavor, which could be a nice addition to soup or salad.

Unfortunately, we were unable to try the non-vegan version listed on the brand's website, which is made from "buttery, flaky croissant chunks." We can only imagine what the addition of butter would do for these, though we suspect only good things.

Although most crouton brands sell their wares in 5-ounce resealable bags, Trader Joe's packages are slightly smaller (4.5 ounces) and not resealable. Make sure to have a bag clip on hand. These croutons also cost a bit more than many other brands and, of course, can only be found in Trader Joe's stores. However, Trader Joe's croutons are worth the additional cost and trouble, since they are both yummy and unique. (Shopper's note: Look for them hanging in the non-perishable grocery aisle, not by the fresh salad greens.)

3. Mrs. Cubbison's

Founded from humble beginnings by Sophie Cubbison, Mrs. Cubbison's –– at one point known as Mrs. Cubbison's Melba Toast and Zwieback –– got an early break when the Mayo Clinic introduced a diet relying heavily on Melba toast, according to the brand's website. It now produces a range of products, including croutons, other salad toppers, and stuffing mixes.

Mrs. Cubbison's offers four varieties of traditional croutons (Classic Seasoned, Cheese & Garlic, Caesar Salad, and Garlic & Butter), along with two varieties of extra-large Texas Toast style croutons (Seasoned and Butter & Garlic). Our product testers sampled the Classic Seasoned, which were found to be full of zesty, herby flavor. These croutons practically sing out with notes of garlic and parsley, without overly strong butter or cheese tones. (Of course, you may wish to choose a different flavor if you're a big butter and cheese lover.)

While we didn't love the texture quite as much as our top two picks, Mrs. Cubbison's croutons are tasty, easy to find, and offer a respectable flavor variety. They're absolutely worth a try.

2. Fresh Gourmet

Based on our recent crouton shopping excursions, Fresh Gourmet appears to be the king of all croutons. The brand is widely available in the US and has achieved prime store placement –– look for them right next to the salad greens, hanging in 5-ounce bags. (Depending on the store, many other brands end up relegated to the non-perishable salad dressing aisle.)

We tried Fresh Gourmet's Butter & Garlic Croutons, which are very garlicky but not all that buttery. These croutons are a nice size –– big enough to fully experience the flavor without completely taking over a bite of salad. Like many of the brands we sampled, these possess a wide rectangular shape as opposed to a traditional cube. They also offer a nice, crunchy texture –– though not so crunchy that you need to worry about taking out a filling.

According to the brand's website, Fresh Gourmet offers a whopping 13 crouton varieties. These include Cheese & Garlic, Country Ranch, Garden Herb, Italian Seasoned, Butter & Garlic, Classic Caesar, Deli-Toast, Texas Toast, and Cornbread. It also sells croutons made from focaccia, ciabatta, and organic ingredients, as well as a range of other crunchy salad toppers like tortilla strips, wonton strips, and cheese crisps. While it wasn't our very top pick, Fresh Gourmet is an excellent choice for croutons. We recommend spending some time figuring out your favorite flavor.

1. New York Bakery: Texas Toast

Best known for buttery, garlicky slices of Texas Toast, New York Bakery also offers five varieties of exceptional croutons: Caesar, Cheese & Garlic, Garlic & Butter, Seasoned, and Zesty Italian. Made from real French bread, these croutons are easy to find throughout the country and sold in 5-ounce bags. The Seasoned flavor is also available in 18-ounce packaging.

We went ahead and tried the Seasoned variety, which we really, really enjoyed. Similar to an actual slice of Texas Toast, these are super buttery, cheesy, and garlicky. (Seriously, how could you go wrong?) The croutons also provide a light and crispy crunch. Unlike most other brands, we noticed quite a lot of size variation among cubes in a single bag; some pieces were quite large, while others were mere morsels. For whatever reason, we liked what this did for our salad.

Overall, New York Bakery's Texas Toast croutons scored high points for buttery-ness, seasoning, texture, and availability –– so you should go ahead and give them a try. Oh, and don't miss the brand's lesser-known Ciabatta rolls, which performed well in our frozen dinner roll ranking. In fact, a Ciabatta roll would pair perfectly with a Texas Toast Crouton-topped salad.