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How to soften bagels (2 easy methods)

Before you toss out that stale bagel, let’s chat. 
Let’s discuss how to soften bagels. Also, let’s discuss a few things that you can make with stale bagels.
 
We love to keep bagels in the pantry. Half a bagel with butter and cheese is a fantastic breakfast. 
 
We are always looking for new bagel topping ideas that we can snack on. 
 
One of my favorite bagel breakfast ideas is outrageously basic: cream cheese and green onion.
 
Just typing that out makes me hungry—that and the fact that lunch is in the oven.

Table Of Contents

How to soften bagels

The easiest way to soften a bagel is in the microwave. The best way to soften a bagel is in the oven.

Soften stale bagel in the microwave

Tools needed:
• Heat-safe bowl
• Microwave-safe plate
• Paper towels
• Stale bagel
• Microwave

Step One: Heat some water. (Make it as hot to the touch as you can stand. You will need to put your hand in it, so be careful here.)
Step two: Dip two full-size pieces of paper towels in hot water. 
Step three: Wring out the paper towel so that it is wet but not dripping wet.
Step four: Wrap the bagel with wet paper towels. Place the bagel on the microwave-safe plate. 
Step five: Place the bagel in the microwave and heat up on high for 15 seconds. 
 
Check to see if the bagel is warmed through. If not, microwave in 10-second increments until it is done.

Soften stale bagel in the oven

Tools needed:
• Hot water
• Aluminum foil
• Stale bagel
• Baking pan
• Oven mitts

Step one: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Step two:
Get your kitchen tap water as hot as possible.
Step three:
Place the bagel under the stream of hot water and get it fully soaked. I recommend allowing 30 seconds under the stream of water.
Step four:
Loosely wrap the wet bagel in aluminum foil. Then place that on the baking pan.
Step five:
Place the bagel in the oven and heat it up for 5 minutes.
Step six:
Carefully remove the hot bagel from the oven. Remove the foil and enjoy the refreshed bagel.

Things to do with stale bagels

Don’t throw away those stale bagels. There are quite a few recipes that you can make with stale bagels.
 
Here are a few of my favorite:

  • bread crumbs – Bread crumbs are just nice to have around. You can use those old bagels to make this recipe and then just store them in an airtight container.
  • dumplings – You can make a meal out of these bagel dumplings, or you can add them to a nice pot of soup.
  • stuffing – Now, this stuffing recipe calls for everything bagels but use whatever stale bagels that you have on hand. To that point, though, we now keep Everything Bagel seasoning in our kitchen.
  • croutons – I love croutons but often forget to buy them at the store. This is why making croutons out of stale bagels really appealed to me. You can just make the croutons whenever you want and then store them in either a freezer bag or an airtight container.

By the way, if you find yourself with stale bagels, often try a little hack that will help you always have fresh bagels on hand.

What we like to do is slice the bagels in half when we first get home. Then we place two bagel halves in a freezer bag. 

We throw those halves in the freezer. Then we want a bagel or half a bagel; we remove it from the freezer.

We throw that frozen half in the toaster and just toast it a bit longer than we normally would. 

We don’t defrost it first. We just go from frozen to heating. 

If you allow a frozen bagel to defrost on the counter, it may actually taste a bit stale. 

However, if you heat it from frozen, they taste perfect and fresh.

The bottom line

It is possible to revive stale bagels. The best methods are to use the microwave or the oven. 

The key is to add some moisture back to them and then reheat them.

But if you can’t bring those bagels back to life and the only thing wrong with them is that they are stale, go ahead and use them to make breadcrumbs or croutons.