Once you learn how to make crostini, the world is your oyster! Whether you grill, bake, or fry them, you can top them with nearly anything and they’re always the hit of any party! 

Image of 7 different types of crostini, arranged in a circle. Learn how to make crostini in this comprehensive guide.

Welcome to CROSTINI WEEK! We are so excited about this and we hope you are too!

It all started with the how-to guide that you’re reading right now. We wanted to provide you a comprehensive guide on making the perfect crunchy little bases for crostini and bruschetta. 

But then, we need toppings! You guys already know I’m a toppings girl (soups, salads, tacos, the list goes on…all better with lots of toppings!). Crostini are no different; the crispy bread is great, but the toppings are where it’s at. 

Throughout this week, we’ll be bringing you six unique crostini recipes (scroll to the bottom of this post to see them all!), just in time for the holiday season, but they’re great appetizers year-round. 

First things first, though, let’s cover some basics. 

What is the difference between Crostini and Bruschetta?

Sometimes people look at me a little crazy when I say crostini, but truth be told, crostini is actually far more common than bruschetta.

Bruschetta:

  • in Italian (“bruscare“), it means “to roast over coals”
  • typically are made from larger slices of bread (for example, sourdough or Italian bread)
  • often grilled or toasted
  • a serving size is typically one
  • commonly confused with the tomato topping that goes on bruschetta (come back tomorrow for our recipe for this!)

 Crostini:

  • means “little toasts” in Italian
  • smaller, typically made from a baguette (similar to canapés)
  • often cut on a bias to make a larger oval shape, but they can also be round in shape
  • can be topped with any variety of toppings or can be used as croutons on soup

In this post, we’ll cover three ways to make crostini, but the methods could easily be applied to larger slices of bread for bruschetta. Also, all the recipes that follow this week could be served on a crostini or a bruschetta. We’re choosing to use crostini for all of them, but as always, you’re free to do whatever meets your needs! 

Tip: Do you have an old baguette or loaf of bread laying around? Slightly dry bread is prefect for crostini because it gets so crispy extra quickly! Of course, you can always make croutons with it too. 

Three ways to make Crostini

We’ll give you a brief overview here, but scroll down the recipe card for full, detailed directions. Keep in mind cooking times will vary depending on the type of bread, how dry it is, how much oil you use, and how hot your pans are. This is a great guideline, but keep a close eye on your bread while it is cooking to prevent it from burning. 

Photograph of crostini baked on a sheet pan.

1. Bake

Baking the bread for crostini will give you the most consistent results and is great if you’re making a large batch because you can fill up a sheet pan (or two!) with the sliced bread. We tested a couple of methods, but here is what we found worked best (scroll down for detail:

  • Preheat oven to 450ºF.
  • Slice bread into 1/2-inch slices. 
  • Brush or spray both sides of  bread with olive oil. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet.
  • Bake for approximately 7 minutes or until lightly browned. Watch closely so it doesn’t burn.
  • Remove from baking sheet and cool on a wire rack. 

Image of bread toasted in a grill pan to make crostini.

2. Grill

Grilling is probably my favorite method for a couple of reasons. First, I love the look of the grill marks on the bread (this is great if you’re serving the toppings separately in a bowl next to the crostini toasts). Also, I love the flavor that the grill imparts to the bread. Whether you do it on a grill pan or on an actual grill, you get some of that smoky-charred flavor. 

  • Heat grill pan or grill to medium high heat. 
  • Slice bread into 1/2-inch slices. 
  • Brush or spray both sides of  bread with olive oil. 
  • Place bread slices on preheated grill and grill for 3-5 minutes per side or until lightly browned with grill marks.
  • Remove from grill and cool on a wire rack. 

Image of freshly toasted crostini in a frying pan.

3. “Fry” in a Skillet

This is a quick and easy method, especially if you’re making a smaller batch. It requires a little babysitting, but all three methods are best if you keep a close eye on the toasts to prevent them from burning.

  • Heat a heavy skillet over medium high heat (cast iron works really well!). 
  • Slice bread into 1/2-inch slices. 
  • Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to pan. 
  • Using tongs, CAREFULLY place bread slices in hot oil. As you put each slice in, flip over to coat both sides with oil. Add more oil as needed.
  • Cook for about 5 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Keep an eye on them, because they’ll go from golden brown to burnt quickly, especially if your pan continues to heat up as you cook. 
  • Remove from pan and cool on a wire rack. 

Helpful tools for making crostini

Making crostini toasts ahead of time

Crostini taste best when they are freshly toasted, but you can make the crostini toasts up to 3-4 days in advance and store in an airtight container. Be aware, they might get slightly more crunchy/hard as time goes on. Make sure to add toppings immediately prior to serving, otherwise the crostini will get soggy.

You can also freeze them, but if you’re planning to do this, I’d recommend slicing the bread and freezing prior to toasting/cooking it. It will taste better and have a better crunch than if you cook it first and then freeze it. 

7 different toppings for crostini and bruschetta

Topping Ideas for Crostini

Here are a some recipes to get you started!

Once you learn how to make crostini, the world is your oyster! Whether you grill, bake, or fry them, you can top them with nearly anything and they're always the hit of any party! 

How to Make Crostini

Yield: 20-24 slices, depending on size of loaf
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

Once you learn how to make crostini, the world is your oyster! Whether you grill, bake, or fry them, you can top them with nearly anything and they're always the hit of any party! 

Ingredients

  • 1 20 inch French baguette, cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, more as needed

Instructions

Bake

  1. Preheat oven to desired temperature. Brush both sides of bread slices lightly with olive oil. Place on baking sheet. Put into oven on center rack.
  2. Bake at 450ºF for approximately 7 minutes, or until lightly browned. There is no need to flip the slices over.
  3. Watch closely so the crostini does not over brown. 
  4. Remove from baking sheet; cool on wire rack.
  5. Top with desired toppings; serve immediately. 

Grill/Grill Pan

  1. Heat grill pan or grill to medium-high heat.
  2. Brush both sides of bread slices lightly with olive oil. Place slices on preheated grill pan or grill. Grill 3-5 minutes per side or until lightly browned, with nice grill marks. Continue until all the slices are grilled.
  3. Remove from grill pan/grill; cool on wire rack.
  4. Top with desired toppings; serve immediately. 

Fry

  1. Preheat heavy skillet. Cast iron works perfectly. 
  2. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to pan. 
  3. Put half of the bread slices into pan, depending on how many fit in your pan. As you put each slice in, flip it over to lightly coat both sides with the olive oil in the pan. Add more oil if necessary. 
  4. Saute about 5 minutes per side, or until lightly browned. Keep checking the underside to see how they’re browning and remove them as they become done. 
  5. Remove from pan, cool on wire rack.
  6. Repeat process for the rest of the bread slices, using more oil.
  7. Top with desired toppings; serve immediately.

Notes

  • Crostini taste best when they are freshly toasted, but you can make the crostini toasts up to 3-4 days in advance and store in an airtight container. Be aware, they might get slightly more crunchy/hard as time goes on.
  • Make sure to add toppings immediately prior to serving, otherwise the crostini will get soggy.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 2 crostini
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 103Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 163mgCarbohydrates: 14gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 3g

RachelCooks.com sometimes provides nutritional information, but these figures should be considered estimates, as they are not calculated by a registered dietitian. Please consult a medical professional for any specific nutrition, diet, or allergy advice.

Did you make this recipe?

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Verdict: Crispy bread + olive oil? Obviously I’m a fan.
Husband’s take: He agrees with my opinion.
Changes I would make: None at all!
Difficulty: Very easy.