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Thirteen Ways to Use Stale Bread

If the bread is moldy, you’ll want to toss it out, but if it’s just old and dry, it’s a handy kitchen ingredient. With the help of my readers, I’ve compiled this list of ways you can use up bread that’s gone stale.

  1. Make homemade croutons. This favorite way to use up old bread was suggested by Rosemary and seconded by Kim. I’d say that most of my leftover bread ends up as croutons. The great thing about using your old bread to make croutons is that just about any type of bread except sweet breads is good for it. I use rye, corn, whole wheat, french, sourdough and more. We prefer our croutons made from a mixture of different types of breads. I make croutons as directed in these instructions for homemade croutons from except that I toss my already-cubed bread in the oil mixture instead of brushing precubed bread slices with oil. This is because I cube my odds and ends of bread and collect them in a bag in the freezer until I have enough to use. We use our croutons in green salads like everyone else, but the boys also eat them as a dry snack food like you’d eat popcorn or potato chips.
  2. Make toasted bread crumbs (Rosemary’s suggestion) to use as toppings for baked dishes or as an ingredient in meatloaf (Kim’s suggestion) or meatballs. I just make my bread crumbs by crushing already toasted croutons.
  3. Use your past-its-prime bread for garlic toast, a suggestion that also comes from Rosemary. One thing we never have in this house is leftover garlic toast. The boys who eat croutons as a snack food are  also crazy about garlic toast.
  4. We can’t forget french toast, can we? From Emmie:
    Stale bread? French toast! An egg, some milk, vanilla, and a little sugar; dunk the bread, fry it up, put some butter and syrup on it. Cheap and a favorite breakfast-for-supper here.
    We do the french toast for supper thing here, too. And did you know you can make child-pleasing baby french toastlets from leftover hot dog buns?
  5. Those baguettes or loaves of French or Italian bread get old so quickly, but you can use the less-than-fresh slices for bruschetta.
  6. While we’re on a toast kick, can I just say that any old dry bread is better after it’s been toasted? If you’re too lazy or busy to make garlic toast or french toast, just put that dry bread slice (or two) in the toaster and finish with your favorite toast topper.
  7. Kim suggests using leftover bread for stuffing for turkey or chicken. (Did you know that bread cubes of mixed types make delicious stuffing?) Your favorite cook book will have recipes for you to use. Since we prefer wild rice stuffing in our holiday turkeys, once in a while I’ll put together this mix for stove-top stuffing to use in more ordinary meals.
  8. Then there’s bread pudding, which was also suggested by Kim. My mother made bread pudding often and I love it. I make it when oldest daughter is home because she loves it, too. We like our bread pudding flavored with cinnamon and brown sugar, but there are many different recipes. In bread pudding, you can use up those bits of sweet breads you can’t use for croutons.
  9. Kim also uses old bread “to make a panade when making bolognese sauce.”
  10. Serve a strata for brunch. Here’s a basic strata recipe than can be switched up using different ingredients.
  11. You can crumble dried out bread in a bowl and add sugar and milk like you would to breakfast cereal. When I was a girl, this was one of my favorite after school snacks and I wasn’t the only kid I knew who ate bread this way. This simple comfort food even warrants a recipe from Nigella. Lately, my youngest son has been eating leftover cornbread like this and he likes it so much that I double the recipe just to ensure that there’s some left for another day.
  12. It’s summer, so why not use your bread leftovers in panzanella, a salad made from bread cubes.
  13. If all else fails, Kim says you can take the kids to feed pieces of dried out bread to the ducks. 

This list, of course, is not exhaustive. What ways do you use old bread at your house?

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Reader Comments (2)

Now that it's corn on the cob season, try using buttering a piece of stale, dry bread and wrapping that around a hot ear of corn to transfer the butter. . .keeps the butter neat and tidy, too!

July 3, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterkim from hiraeth

Just good old fashioned toast with a nice spread of butter is lovely with bread that has past it's best.

January 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDogboy

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