Here’s a quick tutorial How to Make Crostini from scratch with 3 simple ingredients in just 20 minutes. This easy crostini recipe is quick and you can make it ahead of your party and freeze.
Table of contents
What Is Crostini?
Crostini is a fancy name for “little toasts” or “little crusts” in Italian. Slices of long and thin bread like baguette are first brushed with olive oil, then baked or grilled until crispy.
You can season them with salt but it’s completely optional. Especially, if you are using very salty toppings like marinated vegetables and cured fish and meat, I recommend you skip the salt.
Ingredients You Will Need
To make basic crostini recipe, you will need 3 simple ingredients. Or even 2! And then your favorite toppings, suggestions listed below.
- Baguette: I love to use French baguette for homemade crostini. You can also use whole wheat baguette or whole grain baguette.
- Extra virgin olive oil: Use high quality olive oil! I do not recommend to use any other oil. This crostini recipe is where you will be able to taste good olive oil.
- Salt: Just a little bit and is optional, if you are using very salty toppings. Good finishing salt like himalayan pink salt is the best but regular kosher salt will work too.
What Is the Best Bread for Crostini?
The best bread for crostinis is an elongated, thin crusty bread like baguette. It can be whole grain, whole wheat, sourdough, French or ciabatta baguette.
Having said all of the above, any Artisan bread like ciabatta, rustic Italian bread or even sandwich rolls will work. You can cut large bread into small pieces.
It is better if you use 1-2 days old bread because it is easier to slice. But with a good bread knife, you can slice fresh baguette with no issues, just take your time.
You can also use stale bread.
How to Make Crostini
Here is a quick overview how to make crostini in a few simple steps. There is also a recipe card you can print down below.
1. How to Cut Baguette for Crostini?
You can either slice baguette straight into round slices or diagonally for longer slices and larger surface area. It really depends on how much of various toppings you would like to add, and your personal preference.
I like to cut my bread straight as it looks more neat and I can fit more onto one platter.
Use serrated knife and cut baguette into 1/4 inch – 1/2 inch slices, trying not to ruin the shape of the bread as you are slicing. Make too thin slices, and your crostini won’t be able to hold the toppings. Cut thicker, and crostini toasts will become all about the bread.
2. Season It
To season crostini, arrange bread slices on a rimmed baking sheet in a single layer and brush with olive oil on both sides.
I recommend not to drizzle olive oil on crostini because bread will soak up a lot and you will end up using 1/2 cup of oil versus 2 tablespoons when brushing.
Optionally, season with salt and maybe even pepper.
3. How Long to Toast Bread Slices?
Then bake in preheated oven to 400 degrees F for about 10 minutes. About half way through, flip crostini on the other side.
A word of caution is not to over bake bread until golden brown because crostini will be too hard to bite politely. They should be light brown and slightly crispy on the outside and tender and soft on the inside.
You may ask “Should I bake crostini at 350 or 375 F?”. And my answer is hard No. Baking crostini at lower temperature for longer period of time will result in hard to bite but still delicious appetizer.
Tips for Success
Here are my top tips for making the absolute best crostini!
- Keep an eye on them: I recommend to watch your crostini closely during baking. The cooking time may vary depending on the thickness of your sliced bread and your oven.
- Add a little bit of flavor: Cut large clove of garlic in half and rub it on crusty baked crostini. It will add subtle garlic taste and additional depth of flavor. It’s my mom’s trick.
- Use serrated knife: Do not attempt to cut bread with chef’s knife as it will flatten and misshape baguette slices.
- Do not over bake: Crostini should be baked at high temperature and for a short period of time. This ensures they come out crispy outside and soft inside.
- For large crostini: Slice baguette diagonally on an angle.
- For small slices: Slice baguette straight across, perpendicular to the long edge.
- Don’t replace olive oil: Good quality olive oil truly shines in crostini recipe.
How to Make Ahead and Store
Classic crostini can be made ahead making entertaining a breeze during busy holiday season.
Make ahead: Simply bake crostini by following the recipe and make sure to cool completely. Then pop in an airtight container or resealable bag and store up to 5 days.
When stored properly they should stay crisp. Do not seal crostini while warm because they will lose their crispiness.
Freeze: You can also freeze crostini tightly sealed for up to 3 months. Thaw frozen slices at room temperature for 1 hour.
Reheat: To warm up previously stored crostini, pop them into preheated to 250 F – 300 F oven for a few minutes. Do not bake too long because they will dry out.
Now that we’ve got ourselves a perfect base, let’s talk about what to top crostini with. When it comes to crostini appetizers toppings, sky is truly the limit. Here are a few of our favorite combinations:
- Smoked salmon crostini with cream cheese
- Goat cheese crostini with sun-dried tomatoes
- With whipped ricotta and roasted mini peppers
- Olive tapenade
- Pesto, bocconcini, balsamic glaze, salt and pepper
- Cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper
- Goat cheese, pear, walnuts and drizzle of honey
- Ricotta cheese, fresh figs, prosciutto, Parmesan, black pepper
- Sharp cheddar, apples, fresh rosemary or thyme, honey, mustard
- Hummus, olives, feta cheese
Serve Crostini With
Crostini bread also pairs well with many other party appetizers.
Or pair with main dishes like:
According to Wikipedia, bruschetta is wide slices of bread like sourdough bread that are first grilled, then rubbed with garlic and topped with olive oil and salt. Where as, crostini are small slices of grilled or toasted bread. Both are Italian appetizers.
Either. You can serve these small toasts hot straight from the oven, warm or cold. Crostini with toppings more likely will be served cold because you have to wait for baked bread to cool in order to top it.
Yes. Because bread slices will dry out while baking it is OK to use stale bread. Make sure it is not too hard and bake for less time than fresh bread. Also be ready for more cracker-like little toasts.
How to Make Crostini
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Slice baguette into 1/4 inch-1/2 inch thick slices. For large crostini, slice diagonally on an angle. For small crostini, cut straight across, perpendicular to the long edge.
- Brush bread with oil on both sides, sprinkle with salt (optional) and bake for 10 minutes, turning once.
- Remove from the oven and let cool completely before adding toppings.