Once you discover how to make crostini, you will never again resort to the store-bought varieties. It is quick, easy and inexpensive to make your own and there are countless ways in which to use them. Crostini, which translates from Italian as “little crusts” or “little toasts”, are slices of bread, usually baguette, which are baked or grilled until they are crisp and golden.
Why we love this recipe:
They are extremely versatile; there are countless ways to use them. They are often served as appetisers which may be hot or cold, with toppings which may be sweet or savoury but there are many other ways to use them and I list some below.
If you are planning a party, you can make the crostini 3 days in advance and store them in an airtight container. Add your choice of toppings just before serving. Or, to make entertaining more relaxed, put out your toasts and their toppings and have your guests assemble their own crostini.
You can make crostini (the singular is crostino) which will suit almost all dietary requirements. Make them nut-free, dairy-free, egg-free or vegan. And, you can make them gluten free with the appropriate bread.
You can use a fresh baguette to make them, but they are also a great way to use day old bread.
Ingredients in this recipe:
Please see the recipe card further along in the post for exact quantities of ingredients and the full method.
Baguette – day old is fine.
Olive oil – use good quality olive oil – it adds flavour and helps the toast to become crisp.
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper – to season the bread.
Garlic – rub a cut clove of garlic on the cooked toast for added flavour.
Step by step instructions to make crostini:
To begin, pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees C/350 F.
- To prepare the crostini, slice the bread thinly, about 1 cm/a little more than ¼ inch.
- Brush each side of the bread with olive oil, then season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place on a baking tray and put in the oven for about 8 minutes, turning halfway through.
- The toasts are done when they are lightly golden and crisp to the touch. Remove them from the oven and brush each slice with a cut clove of garlic.
- Leave to cool on the baking tray.
Tips for success and FAQs:
Good quality bread is important, and a baguette is preferred for crostini. It doesn’t have to be fresh; day old bread will work well. If it is older than that, just ensure that the bread is not already dry or the crostini will be difficult to eat. To slice the bread, use a sharp, serrated knife.
Yes, you can. Leave them to cool thoroughly and then store them in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
For the best crostini, it is essential to add flavour right from the start. First, brush with olive oil and then sprinkle the bread with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. After the toasts are removed from the oven, rub them with a cut clove of garlic.
They are similar but there are differences. Crostini are small toasts, often served as appetisers or snacks, mostly roasted or grilled in the oven, and served with a topping. Bruschetta, pronounced “brew-sket-tah” uses larger, thicker slices of bread, made from sourdough bread or a crusty Italian loaf, and grilled on a ribbed grill pan on the stove or on the barbecue. The toasts usually have char marks. In its simplest form, serve your bruschetta rubbed with a cut clove of garlic and drizzled with olive oil. There are endless possible toppings for the toasts; marinated tomatoes is one of the most popular.
Ways to serve crostini:
When preparing them as appetisers for a party, give consideration to how easy they will be to eat, especially if your guests are standing. I like to use a base which gives the toppings something to adhere to, such as a creamy, spreadable cheese or a dip.
- Plain, as an easy snack;
- As appetisers with a variety of toppings, such as my Herbed Ricotta Crostini;
- On a cheese board,
- As croutons with soup,
- With a dip,
- Add to a salad, such as a Caesar salad.
It is quick, easy and inexpensive to make your own crostini. I hope that I have encouraged you to skip the store-bought toasts and make your own. As with all things which we make ourselves, we are in control of the quality of the ingredients.
How to Make Crostini
- 1 large baguette See Note 1
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil See Note 2
- 1 clove garlic
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper – to taste
- Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees C (350 F).
- To prepare the crostini, cut the narrow ends off the baguette and set aside. (Use them as a snack). Slice the bread thinly, about 1 cm/a little more than ¼ inch. – see Note 3
- Add the olive oil to a small bowl and brush it on each side of the bread. Then, season one side with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Place the slices of baguette on a baking tray and put in the pre-heated oven for about 8 minutes, turning halfway through. Bake the toasts until they are lightly golden and crisp to the touch. Keep an eye on them, they overcook very quickly. I like mine to be light golden and crispy. If they become very hard they are difficult to bite.
- Remove them from the oven and rub each bread slice with a cut clove of garlic. Leave to cool on the baking tray.
- Store the crostini in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
- Choose good quality bread. Day-old bread is fine. If it is older than that, ensure that it is not too dry or the toasts will be tough and difficult to eat.
- For the best flavour, use good quality olive oil. I have used extra virgin olive oil.
- For small slices, suitable for finger food, slice straight across the baguette. If you would like larger slices, slice the bread on the diagonal.
- Please note, the nutritional information is based on one crostini. It does not include any toppings you may choose to serve with it. The nutritional information is an estimate only.