7 Surprisingly Useful Things You Can Do With Stale Bread

Uses For Stale Bread

There are few things as wonderful in this world as a freshly baked loaf of bread (but I have been eating low-carb for the past few months, so it may just be the cravings talking!) I usually just keep sandwich bread on hand for my boys to make sandwiches, but every once in a while, I buy a loaf of deliciously crusty bread, or perhaps a baguette, from the bakery.

The only drawback of buying bakery bread is that it tends to start getting stale after just a few days! But luckily for me, and all of us really, there are plenty of ways to put a stale loaf of bread to good use. Check out these 7 clever ways to turn stale bread into something totally useful!

7 Ways To Use Stale Bread

Uses For Stale Bread

1. Homemade Breadcrumbs

If you have some stale bread on hand, you can easily make delicious homemade breadcrumbs! Not only will you save money by reducing food waste, but your homemade breadcrumbs will taste even better than the store-bought ones.

Just tear up a few pieces of your stale bread, pop them in your blender, and pulse quickly a few times. It should only take a few pulses to break the bread down, and you can make the crumbs as coarse or fine as you like.

(This process will work best with bread that’s a few days old, but you can use fresh bread too! Just pop the bread into your oven at 200 degrees until the bread dries out a bit, then follow the instructions above.)

Uses For Stale Bread

2. Homemade Croutons

In addition to making your own breadcrumbs, you can also use stale bread to make your own croutons! Start by cutting your bread into 1″ cubes, then place them on a baking sheet in a single layer. Drizzle the bread cubes with olive oil, and sprinkle with your favorite dried herbs or an Italian seasoning blend.

Place the baking sheet into your oven at 350° for 10 minutes or so, flipping the croutons over halfway through. When they’re perfectly crispy and golden-brown, they’re done! Sprinkle your finished croutons on your favorite salads and soups for a delicious crunch.

Uses For Stale Bread

3. Soup Fix

Have you ever noticed a layer of oil or fat collecting on top of on of your homemade soups? A piece of stale bread is a great quick fix! Just place the bread onto the surface of the soup for a few seconds. The bread will absorb most of the fat resting on the surface, then you can just toss the bread out. Consider your soup saved!

Uses For Stale Bread

4. French Toast

Many people say that french toast is even better when you make it with stale bread. The stale bread absorbs the egg mixture more readily than fresh bread, so you end up with deliciously moist french toast.

Stale bread is great for making bread pudding, too! Use your favorite french toast and bread pudding recipes, or check out my tasty Apple Pie French Toast recipe at the link below.

Related: Apple Pie French Toast – A Great Holiday Breakfast Idea!

Uses For Stale Bread

5. Meatloaf & More

After you use your stale bread to make homemade breadcrumbs, use them as a binder ingredient in meatloaf, meatballs, and even burgers. The breadcrumbs absorb some of the juices during the cooking process, which helps the final product to be moist and tender.

Use homemade breadcrumbs in your favorite recipes, or check out my recipe for delicious (and adorable!) Meatloaf Cupcakes below.

Related: Mini Meatloaf “Cupcakes” With Mashed Potato “Frosting”

Uses For Stale Bread

6. Grilled Cheese

Use your stale bread to make grilled cheese sandwiches! The bread is going to crisp up anyways, so using stale bread doesn’t really affect the texture of the finished grilled cheese. (If you’re worried about it ending up too dry, add a soft cheese like cream cheese to your sandwich to give it some additional moisture.)

Related: Not Your Mom’s Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Uses For Stale Bread

7. Soften It Up

You can soften up a stale loaf of bread with a quick trick! (It works best on bakery loaves with sturdier crusts.)

Run the loaf of bread under running water for a few seconds, then place it in your oven at 350°F for a few minutes. The moisture on the surface of the bread will generate steam inside the oven, and the bread should come out soft enough to slice or tear.

Uses For Stale Bread

Bonus Tips For Keeping Bread Fresh

  • Store bread in plastic or foil to help combat moisture loss.
  • Store bread at room temperature rather than in the fridge.
  • Freeze bread to keep it fresh for longer than a couple of days. Seal it tightly in a freezer bag, then defrost at room temperature.

Do you use stale bread in any other ways?

Read This Next

Jill Nystul Photo

Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee


Bright Ideas

  • I grew up with bread pudding and love making it. It’s a good way to get rid of all those scrappy heels in the loaf. I loved your idea for freshening up hard loaf bread. I had to pitch out a whole loaf because I couldn’t think of anything that would help. Thank you.

  • you forgot the depression favorite: Bread pudding. and since it’s post depression you can top it with whipped cream or homemade lemon sauce.

  • Another way to freshen crusty bread is to warm oven (250) then put the loaf into a brown bag, close, lightly sprinkle water on the outside and put into the oven.
    It will taste and feel brand new.

  • Wow! Thanks so much for such nifty ideas – I’ve been busy in the garden (small courtyard & skinny side area), planting out veges in planters), and I’m putting all food scraps into compost and worm garden, but your idea on ways to use everything prior to going into the garden are fantastic … I’m also gluten intolerant, and GF bread is much pricier, so I’ll happily follow your bread-saving ideas, as well as your other kitchen-frugal suggestions!

    Once again, thanks so much for the great food-and-money-saving suggestions:

    – Let the mega-savings begin!!!

  • I slice bakery bread and, in a plastic bag, store it in the freezer. Each day I take out enough slices needed for that day. The single slices defrost within about 1 minute. Voila! Fresh bread every day!

    • Hey, that’s an amazing idea for store-bought bread, too! I always hate buying bread because my son and I either go crazy on it or barely go through a loaf and it goes bad. This way, we could just take out as we want and it would thaw so quickly it would be fine. Sure would help save money and not throwing any more 1/2 loaves out! Thanks, Barbara! :>)

  • >