How to Make Crostini

5 from 8 votes
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Crostini is a quick and easy appetizer with thin baguette slices lightly toasted until golden brown and crispy. Customize this fancy handheld snack to your liking with various toppings.

crostini on a platter with various toppings

Transform a crusty loaf of bread into a tasty appetizer. This easy crostini recipe uses toasted baguette slices, which are seasoned and baked until light and crisp. This method yields maximum texture contrast for crunchy bites.

The slices are sturdy enough to be topped for a versatile antipasto or used for dipping in your favorite spread. It only takes a few minutes to prepare and about 10 minutes to toast! Make a tray ahead of time to serve as a quick snack or hors d’oeuvres for a party. Check out my delicious serving options to wow your guests.

ingredients to make a crostini

What is crostini?

They are thinly sliced pieces of bread that are toasted or grilled to yield a crisp texture. These Italian-inspired antipasti are called “little toasts” as they are meant to be small, flavorful appetizers.

You typically brush them with olive oil before cooking, which boosts the taste and crispiness. I like to serve them on the side of dips and spreads or topped with cheese, vegetables, fruit, seafood, or other protein.

Bread selection

Use a baguette or crusty French bread that is slender in shape. You’ll need to cut larger loaves in half to make smaller pieces. The length should be about 2 ½ to 3-inches and about 2-inches wide. Any larger and it becomes a meal like avocado toast, rather than a two to three bite appetizer. 

I find that the lighter loaves, instead of dense and chewy, yield crisp and brittle texture after toasting, similar to croutons but not completely dried out. It’s easier to eat, although if you enjoy more chew, go with artisan loaves.

Fresh vs. stale bread

You can use either a freshly baked loaf or one that’s a few days old—the staler the bread, the dryer, and easier to cut. Making crostini is a great way to use up old bread.

Slicing

Cut slices of baguette crosswise into just under ½-inch thick to give even rounds. This size makes it much easier to bite into but still has a sturdy structure. You can also cut on a bias or diagonal to give slightly more surface area. I recommend using a serrated knife as their teeth help to cut through the crusty surface.

Add seasoning

Brush both sides with a good quality extra-virgin olive oil with a fruity taste that will add flavor to the surface. The fat also helps make it crisper when toasting. I like to season with kosher salt and pepper before baking. The seasoning sticks better to the oil, and the heat enhances the flavor better than applying afterward. 

The sodium granules dissolve, and black pepper becomes more fragrant. You can keep it simple with just olive oil. Alternatively, some garlic or onion powder will give it an earthy allium note.

slices of bread with oil and seasoning

Toasting the bread

For even cooking, bake the slices in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. I use a moderate temperature of 350ºF (177ºC). The goal is to dry out as much moisture in the crumb as possible while achieving a lightly browned surface. 

It takes about 5 minutes per side, flipping halfway through. To further gently dry out the bread, leave it on the warm sheet pan until cooled down. Your little crostini toasts are now the perfect base for topping or dipping.

Dips and spreads to serve with

Crostini topping suggestions

dipping a crostini into a small white bowl

FAQ

What’s the difference between bruschetta and crostini?

Both are Italian antipasti served with a variety of savory or sweet toppings. Crostini are smaller pieces of little toasts often topped or served with a dip. Bruschetta means “roast over coals” or “to toast,” usually thicker pieces of grilled bread for a more charred flavor or baked at a higher temperature. Slices of fresh garlic are rubbed on the surface for more robust aromas. It’s popular to top with fresh tomatoes.

Can you grill the bread?

Yes! Heat the barbecue or a grill pan over medium-high heat for a smoky flavor on the toast. Once hot, toast until light char marks form. This process will take about 2 to 4 minutes per side.

Can you make crostini in advance?

Yes, the toasts can be made about 5 to 7 days before serving. Make sure to store in an airtight container at room temperature. You can also freeze and defrost them before use. It’s best to top right before serving and enjoy within an hour. Alternatively, they can be topped 2 to 3 hours before serving and refrigerated. Any longer or chilling overnight will soften the bread.

Can crostini be served hot or cold?

The toast is typically cooled down before use. However, it could be enjoyed when warm out of the oven. Cold toppings like cream cheese and smoked salmon work well for a chilled appetizer. Warm toppings like caramelized onions or sauteed mushrooms make for an excellent savory starter.

serving platter of different types of crostini

How do you keep crostini from getting soggy?

Brushing olive oil on the bread slices before toasting acts as a lipid barrier to moisture. You can also add a spread on top that contains fat like goat cheese, cream cheese, mashed avocado, or aioli to prevent juices from wet ingredients making the toast soggy.

Easy Crostini Recipe

Crostini is an easy appetizer with thin baguette slices lightly toasted until golden brown and crispy. Customize with various toppings.
5 from 8 votes
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time20 minutes
Servings 24 servings
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Italian

Ingredients 
 

  • 1 baguette, cut into ½-inch thick slices, about 24 pieces
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, more as needed for brushing
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt or sea salt, more as needed for seasoning, optional
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper, more as needed for seasoning, optional

Instructions 

  • Set the oven rack to the middle position. Heat to 350ºF (177ºC).
  • Brush each side of bread slices with olive oil. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper (if using).
  • Arrange slices in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake until dry, lightly browned, about 10 to 12 minutes. Flip halfway through baking. Cool on the sheet tray.
  • Serve with desired dips, spread, or toppings.

Notes

  • Storing: Toasts can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 5 to 7 days. It can be frozen for up to 30 days and defrosted before use. Refrigerate crostini with toppings for up to 2 to 3 hours. Sitting any longer or chilling overnight will make the bread soggy.

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 24 servings
Calories 48kcal (2%)Carbohydrates 5g (2%)Protein 1g (2%)Fat 3g (5%)Saturated Fat 1g (5%)Polyunsaturated Fat 1gMonounsaturated Fat 2gSodium 112mg (5%)Potassium 12mgFiber 1g (4%)Sugar 1g (1%)Vitamin A 1IUCalcium 8mg (1%)Iron 1mg (6%)

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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6 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Judy says

    Hi Jessica,

    I found this interesting and want to give this a try. I have never made Crostini. Next time we have a few people over I will try this out. It sounds good and you never fail. The best recipes always.

    xo
    Judy

  2. Christine says

    Hello Jessica, in your recipe above, there is a photo of a dip that looks delicious but I can’t find the recipe. It looks like it may be made from cream cheese. I believe there are also capers and chives in it. I am planing a dinner for some friends with your stuffed chicken breast and crostinis as appetizers. I am looking for toppings for the crostini. You have great suggestions in this recipe that I will use. Can you maybe, help with the recipe of that delicious looking dip as well?

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Christine- It’s a cream cheese spread that you can add different toppings to like cucumber and smoked salmon. Here is the recipe: 4 ounces softened cream cheese, 1 teaspoon lemon zest, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, 1 tablespoon capers (drained and roughly chopped), 1 1/2 teaspoons sliced chives, 1 teaspoon chopped dill. Just mix it all together! I also have a smoked salmon dip on my website that would be great for crostini.

  3. Chrsitine Potthast says

    Dear Jessica, thank you so much for your reply. That is perfect. My party is on Thursday and I can’t wait to try the crostinis. – For toppings, I am planing to go with cucumber & smoked salmon and the mushroom recipe as shown in your photos. I also bought a pesto spread on the Farmers Market. Maybe, I use that for tomatoes. – You say the crostini can be prepared in advance. … If I toast the baguette a few hours before the guests arrive and add spread and toppings an hour or so in advance, I should be fine, right?

    Thank you so much for your advice. It is greatly appreciated.
    Christine