15 Ways to Use Up Stale Bread

Don’t let that bread go to waste! Use it up! Turn leftover stale bread into homemade croutons, breadcrumbs or cubes then use them for sausage kale skillets, top creamy baked mac and cheese, toast and sprinkle over pasta or use them in a breakfast casserole!

Unlike their commercially made and mass produced counterparts which mold when their time is up, homemade bread or the crusty loaves from bakeries can dry out or get stale before you’ve used the whole loaf. Sadly, moldy bread is destined for the trash, but bread that’s dry or a little stale still has plenty of deliciousness to be had.

If you’ve ever wondered what to do with a loaf of bread that has lost its luster, you’ve come to the right place. This has happened to me more times than I can count and the first thing that always comes to mind is to make croutons for our dinner salad or breadcrumbs to use on pastas, bread chicken or top casseroles.

I wanted to expand my horizons, so first I found salad recipes that used croutons and then ventured onto other dishes to give new life to homemade breadcrumbs (which store beautifully in the freezer).

You can also take the easy route and just cube or slice the bread and bake a breakfast casserole. Whatever your method, we have plenty of ways to use up that loaf!

  • Breakfast

  • Easy Breakfast Casserole

    Overhead shot of the finished breakfast casserole in a 9x13 baking dish
    Elise Bauer

    This was once nicknamed “Open Fridge Breakfast Bake” because it uses up not only stale bread, but also anything you’ve got hanging out in your fridge.

  • French Toast Casserole

    Make Ahead French Toast Casserole
    Lisa Lin

    Be sure to leave the crusts on your bread for this casserole because it’ll give it an extra crunchy texture that pairs perfectly with the custardy middle! An added sprinkle of cinnamon and sugar to the top creates sweet crunch on the top that is irresistible.

  • Ham and Cheese Breakfast Casserole

    Ham and Cheese Breakfast Casserole
    Sheryl Julian

    Prepare this casserole the night before so that the bread has a chance to absorb all the milk and eggs. When it’s baked the next morning, the end result is purely magical!

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  • Chocolate Raspberry French Toast

    Chocolate French Toast? Yep! And it’s drizzled with a chocolate maple syrup too. It’s the perfect cure for your sweet tooth woes.

  • Salads and Sides

  • Radicchio Salad with Citrus

    Horizontal overhead view of citrus salad on a white plate. Supremed orange and grapefruit, radicchio, croutons and feta cheese crumbles are visible.
    Aaron Hutcherson

    Sunshine in a salad is what this should be called! It’s bright, cheery, and fresh thanks to the radicchio and citrus, yet the croutons bring in a sort of homey feel. It’s really the best of both worlds.

  • Panzanella Bread Salad

    Panzanella Bread Salad in a glass serving bowl
    Elise Bauer

    Stale bread was born to shine in this salad. It perfectly soaks up all the juices of the cucumbers and tomatoes as well as the olive oil dressing.

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  • Air Fryer Crispy Cauliflower

    Platter of golden air fried crispy cauliflower heaped on the right of the platter. A small bowl of creamy dip swirled with hot sauce is placed next to the cauliflower on the platter. The cauliflower is resting on a few leaves of lettuce.
    Nick Evans

    Get some major crispy action going with a light coating of breadcrumbs! It is a fun and easy appetizer, but also complements dishes such as pan-seared chicken or pork chops!

  • Dinner

  • Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese

    Kraft mac and cheese - a silver spoon is scooping homemade mac and cheese our of a white casserole dish
    Alison Bickle

    Satisfy those carb cravings with this creamy dreamboat. It’s loaded with gooey noodles and cheese, but the best part is the crunchy topping made from breadcrumbs. Crunch and gooey never looked so good!

  • Baked Fish with Parmesan Breadcrumbs

    Baked Fish with Parmesan Breadcrumbs
    Simply Recipes

    Time to have some fun with this fish dish! It’s a little messy and unkempt, but comes together in under a half hour leaving plenty of time to enjoy those warm summer nights.

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  • Pasta with Spinach, Artichokes and Ricotta

    Lemon artichoke pasta with spinach
    Sally Vargas

    This isn’t your ordinary breadcrumb topping! It’s mixed with chopped almonds and then toasted for a depth of flavor that can’t be beat.

  • White Bean, Tomato, and Shrimp Skillet Dinner

    Mediterranean Shrimp Skillet Dinner - shrimp, breadcrumbs, vegetables, tomatoes and beans in skillet
    Sally Vargas

    Don’t skip the breadcrumbs on this dish. It’s what really brings all the flavors together. Bonus tip: Freeze leftover breadcrumbs in a Ziplock baggie for up to three months!

  • Crab Cakes

    Maryland Crabcakes wtih greens and lemon wedges on a white plate wtih mayo
    Sally Vargas

    These old-fashioned and simple crab cakes will always hit the spot. Serve over a bed of lettuce, on a bun, or enjoy them dipped in a spicy mayo.

  • Quick Sausage, Kale, and Crouton Sauté from Smitten Kitchen Every Day

    Quick Sausage, Kale, and Crouton Saute
    Summer Miller and Emma Christensen

    This one pan meal is enough to feed a hungry family and has added nutrition thanks to the kale. If there happens to be leftovers, make sure to reheat them on the stove so the bread will crisp up again!

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  • Dessert

  • Slow Cooker Banana Bread Pudding

    Slice of the best slow cooker banana bread pudding topped with a scoop of ice cream and drizzeld with caramel sauce on a gray plate. A jar of caramel sauce is off to the side.
    Jessica Gavin

    If you’re craving something on the sweet side of things, this gooey bread pudding drizzled with a homemade caramel sauce topped with ice cream is just what the doctor ordered. Every spoonful is pure indulgent bliss!

  • Bread Pudding

    Best Bread Pudding served on a plate with bourbon sauce
    Elise Bauer

    Make this New Orleans classic right in the comfort of your own kitchen. The sauce uses plenty of bourbon, but we also have a non-alcoholic version too!