If you’re a cook who hates waste, you’ll love these thrifty and tasty leftover bread recipes.
Give that sad leftover loaf a new lease on life with handy meals to satisfy both your taste buds and your budget.
All good cooks know that sometimes stale bread is better than the fresh stuff.
Yes, those final, dried-up slices are ideal for soaking up rich sauce, adding crunch to casseroles, and giving texture to hearty stews.
I’ll bet there are even a few on the list that’ll surprise you. Anyone up for French toast casserole? How about savory bread pudding?
So keep those crumbs because here are 20+ unique and tasty ways to make the most of your loaf.
The easiest way to save old bread from the bin is to turn it into crunchy croutons.
With a quick turn in the oven, stale bread becomes crispy golden cubes. To store, just pop them in the freezer where they’ll stay good until needed.
Scatter them on a salad, sprinkle over soup, or just keep on hand as a quick and easy snack.
A strata is an egg casserole, much like a quiche but without the crust. It’s a great idea for brunches, lunches, or light dinners.
Here, roughly chopped stale bread gives heft to a salty, creamy casserole that can be made ahead for quicker prep.
Stuffing is a true classic. This traditional version takes it back to basics with plenty of butter, garlic, onion, and fresh herbs.
One for holidays, family feasts, and fancy dinners. As a bonus, leftovers can be mixed into scrambled eggs for a low-maintenance breakfast hash.
Homemade breadcrumbs are a pantry staple in my house because they’re so versatile.
Keep a jar on hand and you can quickly transform boring meals into dinner-party-worthy dishes.
This mix combines bread with classic Italian flavors like parsley, oregano, and basil.
Unlike store-bought breadcrumbs, they’re free from additives and/or preservatives.
Panzanella is a traditional Italian salad where bread plays a starring role.
Perfect for summer get-togethers, it’s a healthy vegetarian treat bursting with fresh flavors.
In this recipe, chunks of artisan bread are toasted until golden brown and crispy.
They’re then tossed in an Italian vinaigrette with tomatoes, cucumbers, and bell peppers.
Bread pudding is one of life’s great comfort foods.
This simple, but decadent, version combines dense chunks of bread with a creamy egg sauce.
As it bakes, the bread soaks up the rich custard until sweet and gooey.
Serve with warm cinnamon brown sugar sauce, ice-cream, or both. You do you.
7. Pita Chips
Most of us run to the store when we’re out of chips, but it’s worth making your own if you can. It’s easier than you might think, according to this DIY recipe.
Bread is brushed with oil, sprinkled with herbs, and baked until it hits just the right amount of crunch.
Healthier than fried, vegan, and highly snackable, these pita chips are a great potluck favorite or game day appetizer.
Spinach and cheese stratas are great, but sometimes you want to upgrade the ingredients for something special.
That’s where this gooey, salty, creamy casserole comes in. Healthy kale, tangy gruyere, and melted cheddar are thrown together and baked.
The result is a mouth-watering mix, ideal for when you have a hungry crowd over for brunch.
If you think soup is boring, you haven’t tried this rich, fragrant French onion soup.
It’s loaded with soft, silky onions, topped with crusty bread, and finished off with masses of melty cheese.
The only thing better than eating French onion soup is eating Julia Child’s classic French onion soup.
Bread is the secret ingredient in this recipe, adding a flavorful, crunchy topping to roasted eggplant.
In this easy recipe, eggplants are coated in breadcrumbs, parmesan, and garlic, giving them that just-fried taste without the greasy mouth feel.
Serve as an appetizer, side dish or main course. This is an extremely versatile dish that’ll soon make it into your regular rotation.
The French are widely regarded as master chefs, and it’s easy to see why with dishes like French toast on the menu.
Here, stale French bread is used for this indulgent favorite. Cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla give it a festive flavor.
And if you really want to celebrate, add a dash of rum to make things interesting!
A vegetarian spin on the popular chicken parmesan, this comforting casserole will wow both the veggies and the carnivores in your life.
Eggplant is layered with marinara sauce, two types of cheese, and fresh herbs before being topped with crunchy toasted breadcrumbs and baked.
It’s filling, healthy, and a great big-batch meal. Freeze any leftovers so you can quickly defrost dinner on hectic weeknights.
Popular in Tuscany, Italian bread soup showcases the best fresh Italian herbs and veggies along with crusty bread to soak up the rich broth.
With a pot of this on the stove, the kitchen will smell like heaven. And you’ll be drooling long before dinner gets to the table.
This recipe is a crash course in how to make your own crostini from the comfort of your kitchen.
Even beginner bakers will love this easy DIY take on a classic side. And once you have your crostini, the sky’s the limit.
Smear it with relish, turn into bruschetta for a wow-worthy appetizer, or just keep it on hand for dips and salads.
Bread doesn’t get any better than this. Buttery, cheesy, and irresistible, parmesan garlic bread is a must next time you’re serving soup or entertaining guests.
A good garlic bread recipe goes a long way, and this is one you’ll come back to again and again.
Ok, bear with us. Yes, bread pudding is typically a dessert. Yes, this is a savoury version.
This recipe rips up the bread pudding rule book to turn stale bread into a richly-flavored casserole.
You can call it pudding, brunch, breakfast or dinner. We just call it delicious.
Ribollita is a Tuscan bean stew, scented with traditional Italian seasonings.
This vegetarian staple uses day-old bread to add bulk, turning it into a thick winter warmer or satisfying summer treat.
You can make this one on the stove-top or throw everything together in the slow cooker for a more hands-off meal.
Don’t forget the parmesan when you’re ready to serve. A dusting of cheese on top takes this from good to great.
If you’re wondering what a brown betty is, it’s similar to a crumble or a crisp.
The big difference is that instead of a classic oat or nut-based topping, this casserole uses toasted bread for the crunchy crumb.
Baked with apples, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg, it’s joy in a casserole dish.
It’s perfect for long winter evenings, cozy family get-togethers, special occasions, or those dessert-for-dinner days.
This inventive recipe takes all the things you love about classic bread pudding – the sweet, creamy sauce and soft cake-like bread – and adds banana for fruity flavor.
Spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg, it’s a gorgeously decadent dessert.
If you’re serving it for a special occasion, drizzle with warm caramel sauce and prepare to become everyone’s favorite host.
20. Stuffing Muffins
If you’ve never baked stuffing muffins, you’re in for a treat. Not only are they fun to say, but they’re also moist, crumbly, and delicious.
Serve as a side at Thanksgiving or Christmas (or both!) and feel free to customize – adding cranberries, sausage, jalapenos, or cheese for extra amounts of yum.
Long, lazy weekends need decadent brunches. And this French toast casserole is a must for those sleepy Saturdays where you just need something sweet and filling.
The crispy caramelized topping perfectly balances the sweet, gooey centre. It’s a surprisingly low-maintenance meal.
Bake ahead or prep the night before because lots of flavor don’t have to mean lots of work.
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