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How To Store And Reheat French Bread – I Test 5 Methods [Pics]

French bread (AKA Baguettes) tastes so good when it’s freshly baked. But they go stale pretty quickly.

I wanted to find the best way to store and revive my French bread, so I experimented with five different reheating methods. I was looking for one that resulted in a crunchy outside and a soft, fluffy inside.

The best way to reheat French bread is in the oven. Set your oven to 350°F (180°C). Dampen the crust with water but running it under the tap. Wrap the bread loosely in foil and place it on the oven rack. Heat the French bread for 5-10 minutes – removing the foil for the last 2 minutes to crisp the crust.

How I Tested Reheating French Bread

I popped into my local bakery and selected the best French bread they had and some old ones from the day before. A couple of croissants magically found their way into my bag too (I tested reheating croissants here).

The next day, I grabbed the hard French bread and began my experiment. I tested reheating the baguettes in the:

  • Oven: The best option.
  • Microwave: Great for stale bread.
  • Stove: Not very convenient.
  • Broiler: Crunchy but not good if stale.
  • Toaster: Okay in a pinch.

Tips For Keeping French Bread Fresh

Don’t slice more than you need. The crust protects the bread inside from drying out, and each time you break that ‘seal’, you let more air penetrate the bread and it will go stale faster.

Plan your shopping trip around the bread. If you have a choice between going to the shop in the evening or the next morning – go for the morning!

Related: How To Keep Ciabatta Bread Fresh

Reheating French bread in the oven

Time: 10 minutes

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C).
  2. Wet your baguette by spraying a generous amount of water over the crust or holding it under a running tap. 
  3. Wrap the baguette in foil.
  4. Place your baguette inside the oven on a wire rack.
  5. Heat it for 5-10 minutes.
  6. Open up the foil for the last 2 minutes so the crust can crisp up.

Note: times will vary depending on your oven and the size of your baguette. 

Don’t be afraid to get your baguette crust wet. The moisture will turn to steam in the oven which will help soften the bread. There’s no chance of your baguette coming out soggy (I promise!).

Another option is to place the baguette in a wet paper bag. Or to place a tray filled with water into the oven while it’s preheating to create a ‘steam oven’. You can then set the bread directly on the oven rack with no foil.

Results: This was my favorite method. The baguette came out of the oven tasting like freshly baked bread. The crust was crunchy with a deliciously soft inside, and it works well for fresh and stale bread. The oven is great for heating French bread from frozen too.

Reheating French bread in the microwave

Time: 10-20 seconds

  1. Place your baguette or portion of baguette on a microwave-safe plate.
  2. Cover your baguette with a damp paper towel to add moisture and prevent the bread from drying out.
  3. Microwave in 10-second intervals until your baguette is warm and soft.
  4. Eat the bread as soon as possible after removing it from the microwave.

The steam created by the damp paper towel is vital in remoisturizing the baguette but will leave you with a soft crust.

To crisp the crust, consider placing the bread into a really hot oven for 2-3 minutes after microwaving it.

And note that the bread will go stale very quickly once it starts to cool down, so eat it before this happens.

Results: I recommend using this method if you like a soft crust or if your bread is so stale nothing else will save it. I thought the crust was slightly chewy, but nothing too bad. There’s also no denying how convenient the microwave is.

Reheating French bread on the stove

Time: 10 minutes

  1. Spray your baguette with water or run it briefly under the tap.
  2. To keep the moisture in, wrap it in foil.
  3. Put the wrapped baguette inside a pot and cover it with a lid.
  4. Heat on low heat for 10 minutes before checking to see if the baguette is warm enough or needs to stay in a little longer.

Use the smallest pot that will fit the baguette. You’re essentially creating a mini oven, and a smaller space will heat the bread more efficiently than a big pot that’s mostly empty.

A low heat will warm the baguette evenly and means you don’t have to worry about the bottom burning.

Results: The baguette came out warmed through, but the crust was a little soft because there’s no way of crisping it at the end. Personally, I wouldn’t use this method again unless I didn’t have an oven and really didn’t want to use the microwave.

Reheating French bread under the broiler

Time: 2-3 minutes

  1. Slice your baguette in half or into slices of your desired thickness.
  2. Spread them liberally with butter or drizzle olive oil over them.
  3. Broil on high for 2-3 minutes until the butter melts into the bread and the surface is slightly crisp. 

If you have slices, you can also flip them over to crisp both sides. Make sure the top of the bread isn’t too close to the broiler, or it might burn. And line the broiler tray with foil if you don’t want to get any crumbs in it.

Top tip: add some cheese to make cheese on toast!

Results: This method works best if your baguette isn’t too stale. Stale bread will just get very dry (although this is great if you want crostinis). The final result was tasty because the butter soaked into the bread, and I enjoyed the crispy texture on the top.

Reheating French bread in the toaster

Time: 1 minute

You can also use the toaster to reheat slices of French baguette.

But don’t butter the slices before putting them in the toaster. You don’t want any fat to drip into the toaster because it could cause a fire. Another tip is to tap the French bread on the counter to get rid of any loose crumbs before putting it in the toaster. 

What to do with stale French bread

If you’ve got a rock-hard French bread that is beyond saving, don’t throw it out, there are lots of options. Here are some ideas for turning your stale bread into something delicious. 

  • Make breadcrumbs by chucking air-dried bread into a food processor.
  • Make croutons to add to a salad by slicing the baguette into little bite-size chunks. Sprinkle them with salt and pepper, drizzle with olive oil and bake on a tray in the oven until they’re golden.
  • Make stuffing by combining small chunks of baguette with parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme. Season with salt and pepper, add some celery and chicken broth, then use as a tasty stuffing.
  • Serve the baguette up as a delicious breakfast of French toast by soaking it in whisked eggs combined with cinnamon, vanilla, and a splash of milk. Fry the slices until they’re golden brown.
  • Make a crostini by spreading a dollop of pesto on the bread and baking it in the oven.
  • Or go the dessert route and turn the French bread into a decadent bread pudding (top tip, chocolate chips in a bread pudding are amazing).

Who knew there were so many ways to use up old baguettes!

How to store French bread

To store your French bread, wrap the baguette in a dishcloth before placing it in an airtight container with the lid left a little ajar. This keeps the crust crunchy by allowing some air circulation, but still provides adequate protection against staling. The bread will last 2-3 days.

If you have a bread basket – you can also that!

If you want to keep the bread longer than 3 days, I recommend freezing it. Never refrigerate the baguette because this will cause it to go stale faster.

If you’re not too worried about keeping the crust crunchy, you can also keep the french bread wrapped in plastic or foil. This keeps all the air and moisture out, so you’re guaranteed soft bread.

Pro tip: if you baked your own French baguette, make sure you let it cool to room temperature before storing it. Otherwise you’ll get condensation build up and soggy bread.

Related: How To Store Focaccia Bread

Can you freeze French bread?

Freezing French bread is a great way to keep it from going stale. Freezing halts the staling process, so the bread will still feel and taste fresh when you reheat it. French bread will last for up to 6 months in the freezer before the quality starts to decline. 

How to freeze French bread:

  1. Ensure the baguette is room temperature before freezing.
  2. Slice the baguette (if you want) and place a sheet of parchment paper between each slice.
  3. Wrap the baguette in plastic wrap followed by a layer or two of aluminum foil (2 layers are best to avoid freezer burn).
  4. Label and date the bread before storing it in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Another option for freezing slices is to flash freeze them by spreading them out on a baking tray and freezing them for 1-2 hours. 

You can then place the slices into a freezer bag, remove as much air as possible and seal it. This makes it easy to pull out a slice or two whenever you need them. But slices stored separately like that are more susceptible to freezer burn, so they won’t last as long.

How to thaw and reheat frozen French bread

The best way to thaw and reheat a frozen baguette is to skip the thawing and heat it straight from frozen. Wrap it in foil and heat it in a 350°F (180°C) oven for 15-20 minutes (less for slices). You can also simply microwave the baguette for about 30 seconds, but the crust will be soft. 

If you have slices, you can use the toaster for a quick thaw.

Exactly How To Reheat French Bread [Tested Methods]

In this short recipe, I show you the best way to revive and reheat your leftover French bread and baguettes.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: French
Keyword: french bread, reheat french bread
Prep Time: 0 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 1 person
Calories: 274kcal


  • 1 portion French bread
  • 1 portion Baguette


  • Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C).
  • Wet your baguette by spraying water over the crust or holding it under a running tap.
  • Wrap the baguette in foil.
  • Place your baguette inside the oven on a wire rack.
  • Heat it for 5-10 minutes.
  • Open up the foil to allow the baguette 2 minutes to crisp on the outside.


Don’t be afraid to get your baguette wet.
The moisture will turn to steam in the oven which will help soften the bread.
There is no chance of your baguette coming out soggy (I promise!).
Another option is to place the baguette in a wet paper bag.
Or to place a tray filled with water into the oven while it’s preheating to create a ‘steam oven’.
You can then set the bread directly on the oven rack with no foil.


Serving: 100g | Calories: 274kcal

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