This easy, baked crostini is the best side to any Italian meal! They’re golden, delicate pieces of heaven ready for your favorite toppings!
To me, Italian sides are sometimes better than the entrées! You can never go wrong with appetizers loaded with flavor. Strawberry, bacon feta and traditional tomato bruschettas are my go-to sides for an Italian-inspired dinner!
Baked Crostini Recipe
If you aren’t familiar with crostini, meet your new favorite appetizer! These little pieces of bread are baked to perfection. It all starts with a simple baguette. All you have to do is cut it into small pieces, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle on some sea salt, and voila! The perfect little morsels to accompany any meal. Unlike bruschetta, crostini is smaller and more delicate. It literally means “little crusts” in Italian. This makes them absolutely perfect for parties and get-togethers. They’re easy to munch on and top with your favorite spreads! I’ve been liking to keep things simple and add tomato basil salad on top. Honestly, though, the sky is the limit! I’ve seen them topped with things like cream cheese, avocado, and even fruits! See my tips section below for more ideas.
Since these are so easy to make, I usually bake them up with Italian dinners. My kids eat so many of these. They never want to eat the actual meal! Crostini makes a great side but is also perfect for meat platters and parties. I don’t know anyone that could resist a tiny, warm piece of goodness. Your friends and family will love them! And with how crazy easy they are to make? Don’t blame me if they become your new obsession! I swear I could eat a whole batch by myself.
It only takes 3 ingredients to prepare crostini. I love how simple it is! From there, all you need are your favorite toppings and you are ready to serve! Measurements for each ingredient can be found in the recipe card at the end of the post.
- Baguette: Look for small or medium-sized baguettes that are narrow. The smaller the better for this recipe! See more on picking out the best baguette below.
- Olive Oil: This is used for adding flavor and also moistening the bread. You can use any kind you like, but my personal preference is extra virgin olive oil! I just feel like it adds a richer flavor.
- Salt: Used for enhancing flavor. Sea salt or flaky salt works best here for adding a hint of texture.
- Basil Tomato Salad Topping: While you can top crostini with just about anything, I like to use my basil tomato salad! They are small, tasty pieces of tomato soaked in olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette. So simple but so delicious!
How to Make Crostini
Using this recipe to make crostini is foolproof! The most important part is picking out your baguette. The rest of the steps to make it are actually really easy! This is the tastiest foundation for all of your favorite toppings! You’re going to love the end result.
- Preheat Oven: To begin, preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
- Prep Bread: Next up, lay the bread slices on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Top them with sea salt and place in the oven.
- Bake: Bake for 7-10 minutes then flip them and drizzle the other side with olive oil. Bake for 3-5 more minutes or until they’re crispy and browned.
- Add Toppings: Top with basil tomato salad if desired.
Choosing the Perfect Baguette
The baguette you choose to make crostini with is going to make or break it. So for best results, here are some tips for picking bread! If you’re up for the challenge, try making a baguette at home! It’s easier than you’d think and turns out perfectly every time!
- Size: For crostini, you want small or medium baguettes that are narrow. We want smaller slices in this recipe. Already have a baguette but it’s on the larger side? It may work out better for bruschetta instead.
- Texture: This is really about preference, but I like to work with softer bruschetta so my pieces don’t end up too hard. Baguettes will become more dry and hard as days go on, so unless you’re going to make your crostini same-day, look for a softer baguette. Baking harder baguettes will yield more cracker-like crostini.
Baking Tips and Topping Suggestions
It’s easy to make a tasty appetizer that everyone will enjoy! Here are some ways to perfect your crostini and some of my favorite topping combinations!
- Getting the Best Texture: The best way to achieve optimal consistency with your crostini is to cook it at a higher temperature for a shorter amount of time. This gets the outside nice and crispy without dehydrating and hardening the whole slice.
- Slices: You want to make sure that your slices are in a happy medium of thickness. Too thin, and they won’t hold up toppings, too thick and you’ll have too much bread to topping ratio. I try to stick around the half-inch mark for my slices.
- Slices Are Too Crispy: If you have overbaked your crostini, don’t worry! You can fix this by adding a moist topping like diced tomatoes or jam and letting it sit. A dash of olive oil can also help to soften it up.
- Spreads and Toppings: Tomato basil is a classic pairing, but ricotta cheese, cream cheese, brie, and guacamole are just a few spreads you can start out with. For toppings, meats like serrano ham and salmon taste great! You can also make a sweet-savory version by adding a dollop of fruit or jam on top of your cheese. It’s fun to mix and match!
Crostini can easily be made to feed a crowd. This makes it a great to serve with a charcuterie board! It can also be served as a side for Italian-themed dinners. With soup, pasta, salad, you name it! The flavor is so versatile and can work great with just about anything depending on the toppings you choose to add! Because of their small size, crostini is also great for dipping! Hot dips like my spinach artichoke dip is amazing with them!
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Storing Leftover Crostini
Crostini are best served fresh out of the oven, but can be stored to have a tasty side on hand! It can also be frozen and made in advance to make meal preparation quick and easy.
- At Room Temperature: Crostini will last for up to 1 week in a sealed plastic bag.
- In the Freezer: You can freeze crostini without any toppings. Simply brush them with olive oil and put them in a resealable freezer bag. They will last for up to 3 months. Once you’re ready to use them, let them thaw at room temperature and then pop them in the oven as directed in the recipe.
- 1 baguette cut into ½ inch slices
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 a teaspoon salt
- Basil tomato salad
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lay the bread slices on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Top them with sea salt and place in the oven. Bake for 7-10 minutes then flip them and drizzle the other side with olive oil.
- Bake for 3-5 more minutes or until they're crispy and browned. Top with basil tomato salad if desired.