This Genius Hack Will Revive Stale Bread!

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pouring water on a stale loaf

Bread gone stale? Consider this genius cooking tip before tossing it!

Isn’t it the worst when you buy a beautiful fresh loaf of french bread or a crusty baguette and it hardens or goes stale before having the chance to eat it? Even though I know you can make breadcrumbs or croutons, sometimes you just need a warm slice of bread and butter. Am I right?!

Here’s a genius hack for how to soften hard bread that actually works!

slice of bread and butter

Try pouring water over the stale loaf of bread (yes, REALLY!) and then put it back in a warm oven to bake. Yep, I said pour water over it as in putting the bread under the faucet in the sink! Haha! I know that seems so counter-intuitive, but it surprisingly works like a charm!

stale loaf

This brilliant stale bread hack has been tested and approved by me! 🙌

I had this half-eaten sad-looking loaf of grocery store French bread on the counter that was very hard, and I was ready to toss it. 😬 Then I remembered seeing a short social media video recently about reviving stale bread and figured it was worth a shot.

My family will sometimes eat half a loaf with dinner and the remaining portion just kinda gets lost in the shuffle… life happens!

slicing revived french loaf of bread

The bread goes from a hard as a rock texture, to soft and edible again.

I was so shocked it actually worked – and now I’m excited to tell everyone in the world about my recent discovery! And if you already knew about this genius tip, why didn’t you tell me sooner! 😂

It’s so incredible and honestly kinda life-changing how bread can become soft like that again.

pouring water on bread in the sink

How to Soften Hard Bread: 

Step 1: Pour water over the top of the bread.

Try to get it only on the thickest crust. For this French bread, I didn’t get water on the bottom, mostly on top, and not on the inside.

Step 2: Place in the oven to bake for a few minutes.

Heat the oven to 300 degrees. Place the loaf on a sheet pan or just directly on the rack and bake in the oven for about 6-8 minutes for a thinner baguette, or around 10 minutes for thicker bread like this french bread. Times will vary, and you may have to check to see when it’s crusty again instead of soggy.

putting wet bread in the oven

I cannot believe that I was able to cut through this bread and the inside was soft!

I thought it was beyond amazing that we brought this bread back to life!

Now keep in mind that if your bread is moldy, that’s much different and you’ll need to toss it, but if it has simply hardened from being left out on the counter too long, then try this brilliant hack to soften and rehydrate hard bread!

It really does work – I promise!

cutting into a loaf of french bread

Shop your pantry to make dinner tonight using these tips!

About the writer:

Lina has a Bachelor's Degree from Northern Arizona University with 11 years of blogging and photography experience having work featured in, Martha Stewart, Country Living, Fox News, Buzzfeed, and HGTV.

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Comments 44

  1. JD827

    A Star Hip2Saver is a recognized member of our Hip2Save community hand selected by our team for demonstrating a long history of engagement with helpful & friendly comments across and our social channels. Our Star Hip2Saver badge acts as a verification for readers who know the ins and outs of all Hip2Save sets out to accomplish — assisting our community to live extraordinary lives on ordinary budgets. Readers cannot pay or provide any sort of exchange in order to earn this badge. Rather, they are invited to participate by a member of the Hip2Save team and opt to have the Star Hip2Saver badge added to their profile & comments.

    You can also wet a paper towel, wrap the bread in it, and microwave it. I do this with bread that isn’t eaten in take out meals. Great for breakfast the next day and easy peasy. Start with ten seconds.

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Great tip! Thank you for adding it!

      • joni

        exactly what I do with paper towels for under 30 secs

  2. Trim

    I see my husband do this with pizza sometimes. I look forward to Reading your Hip tips!

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Oh yay! Thanks for adding that about pizza!

  3. nita

    Genius! We often get our favorite fresh bread/Italian baguette that’s made fresh that day that inevitably gets hard within 1-2 days. Will definitely try this. Thanks 🙂

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Yes!! I bet it’ll work great!

  4. Sugar

    Unrelated, anyone know where I can buy blue moon ice cream by the gallon?

  5. Csandst1

    I tried pouring warm water over chunks of stale bread, then drizzle with olive oil and microwave until warm. Sprinkle with salt, break up with a spoon and you have a nice snack. I was surprised how tasty it was. The recipe is depression era, fyi.

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Oh I love tips like this! Thanks for sharing 💕

  6. Monkey

    I do this reheating rice as well. Either add water or a wet paper towel and heat up!

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Yes I’ve done rice too! Great tip 👍

  7. J.H.509

    We do this for tamales, bread, and hamburger patties. We also do it for leftover takeout as well..we usually wet a paper towel and wrap the food in it.

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Yes I do that for tamales too! Awesome tips thanks 😊

    • MrsGarfield

      I’ve been using the wet/damp paper towel trick for rice. Or just drizzle water over the rice. It works every time.

  8. Rachel Pearson

    We do this with tortilla chips. We spritz with water and put them in the oven to crisp back up. Works like a charm.

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Wow! Love that thanks for sharing!

    • Cassie Reid

      Came here to say the same thing! I actually don’t spritz them with water but I do put them in the oven on 250 for a few minutes and then they’re good as new. Works for any corn based chip. Haven’t tried others. But Tostitos, Fritos, even tortilla chips from the restaurant. They live forever 🙂 Lol

      • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

        Yay that’s awesome! Thanks for sharing 💕

  9. tampagirl

    Yes my mother in law does that

  10. Mila

    We don’t eat a lot of bread so I usually try to avoid getting my bread hardened. I just slice up the loaf, leave some for that day and wrap up the rest in small portions in double layer of plastic wrap and freeze. Pre slicing is very convenient cuz you don’t need to defrost your bread. Just use a knife to divide stuck together slices and toss them in toaster over. Tastes like it’s fresh out of the oven 😊

  11. llc

    OR make bread pudding. I always get my bread for bread pudding off the clearance cart. It needs to a little dry.

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Great idea! Same for breakfast casserole! Thanks for sharing 👍

  12. rebecca

    you know those clay disks that you soak in water and then put in your brown sugar cannister to keep it from getting too hardened? you can also use those disks. just put a pre-soaked one in with the bread before you close up the package to help keep it soft.
    i have also used those disks to revive some sugar cookies that got way too hard. put the cookies and 2 disks in an air-tight container, and after 2 days the cookies tasted fresh and soft again.

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Oh great idea! Thanks for sharing!

    • Kim Rodriguez

      I put a piece of bread in the cookie tin with our homemade cookies to keep them fresher. 🙂

      • Idahomomof6

        Yes! I use the “butt” of the bread (it rarely gets used in my house anyway) to put in with brown sugar. I’ve had bags of brown sugar that are rock hard, but after adding a slice of bread, it’s like brand new!

    • MrsGarfield

      I use slices of apple to revive my brown sugar.

  13. Smellyann

    What!!! I have to let some French bread go stale now, just to do this! LOL

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      I know I’m glad someone else is surprised too! Haha 😆

  14. Austinkk

    Don’t throw away old French bread. Make a french toast casserole. Tear into pieces, mix 1/3c milk to 1 egg ratio (I usually use 5 eggs and 1-2/3 cup milk), add cinnamon, and pour over dry bread. Bake about 45 minutes. Freezes great too.

  15. db

    So, I’ve tired this with the microwave. The bread gets soft, but if I leave it out for 5-10 min (as I prep the rest of the sandwich or as I toast the bread), it becomes hard again. Does anyone know what I might be doing wrong? Does using the oven prevent this problem? Thx!

    • nita

      Microwaves suck out moisture, that’s how they heat up food a lot quicker, so putting bread in the microwave is not a great idea imo. It’ll def get harder after.

      • db

        That’s a good point. I’ll try the oven and see. Thx!

  16. Maggie

    If you leave the bread in the paper bag it came with- it becomes stale fast. I cut in half and keep it in ziplog bag to keep it fresh for longer time. If it becomes stale I use it for bread pudding or garlic bread

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Great tips – thanks!

    • Julie

      I put the paper bread bag into a plastic bag, and it maintains the moisture. I also keep bread in the fridge; it lasts for weeks!

  17. Serena

    What do you use to clean your sheet pan? It’s so shiny!

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Oh I use Brillo brand pads to keep clean, and also stainless steel sheet pans I find don’t rust as quick. Hope that helps!

  18. Shelagh

    We used to do this in England after the war!

  19. Sara

    My husband’s grandmother swore by this trick. We also recently used stale bread in homemade French onion soup. I floated the broken up chunks of baguette on top of the soup, covered with sliced mozzarella cheese and browned it under the broiler setting. It was so good!

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Oh yum! That’s sounds great 👍

  20. Blanca

    How about using the air fryer instead of conventional oven? I will like to know.

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Yes I love that idea!

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