How to Make Bread Soft Again Without Oven (3 Quick Methods)

Have you ever been disappointed by finding a loaf of bread that has become hard and dry? It’s a common occurrence, especially when bread is not stored properly or if it has been sitting for too long. However, there’s no need to throw away that hard bread just yet. In this article, I will show you how to make bread soft again without oven. By using this simple and effective methods, you can also freshen up stale bread, making it enjoyable to eat once again.

How to Make Bread Soft Again Without Oven

Why does bread become hard?

Before we explore the methods, it’s essential to understand why bread becomes hard in the first place. Bread is primarily made of starch, water, and gluten. When bread is exposed to air for an extended period, the moisture in it evaporates, leaving behind a dry and hard texture. Additionally, the gluten in the bread becomes stiff and loses its elasticity, contributing to its hardened state.

Also Read:

How to Store Homemade Bread in 4 Easy Steps

How to Make Bread soft again without Oven

Let’s now explore how to soften hard bread quickly using three simple methods:

How to Soften Hard Bread in Air Fryer (Method 1)

The air fryer’s ability to circulate hot air evenly makes it an excellent tool for softening hard bread. By applying gentle heat and moisture, the air fryer can revive the bread’s texture, making it soft and enjoyable to eat again. This method is quick, efficient, and requires minimal effort.

How to Make Bread Soft Again Without Oven (3 Quick Methods)
Air Fryer
Image by HAN RIVER via

Follow the steps below to make bread soft again using air fryer:

  1. Preparing the air fryer: Start by preheating your air fryer to a temperature of 300°F (150°C). This temperature allows for gentle heat that won’t overly dry out the bread.
  2. Wrapping the bread: Take the hard bread you wish to soften and wrap it loosely in aluminum foil. Wrapping the bread helps to retain moisture and prevent it from becoming overly crispy during the process.
  3. Setting the temperature and time: Place the wrapped bread in the air fryer basket and set the temperature to 300°F (150°C). Set the timer for 3–5 minutes initially.
  4. Monitoring the process: Keep a close eye on the bread as it softens in the air fryer. After the initial cooking time, check the bread’s texture. If it’s still not as soft as desired, continue cooking in 1-minute increments until you achieve the desired softness.

Method 2: Steaming the Bread

Steaming is another effective method to revive the softness of bread. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Boil water in a pot or a steamer.
  2. Once the water is boiling, place a steaming basket or a sieve over the pot.
  3. Put the hard bread on the steaming basket or sieve.
  4. Cover the pot with a lid and let the bread steam for 5–10 minutes.
  5. Check the bread’s softness. If needed, steam it for a little longer.

Steaming allows the bread to absorb moisture, restoring its soft texture. This method is particularly useful for larger bread items like baguettes or rolls.

Method 3: Using a Microwave

The microwave method is a quick and convenient way to soften bread. Follow these steps:

  1. Moisten a paper towel or a clean kitchen towel with water.
  2. Wrap the hard bread in the damp towel.
  3. Place the towel-wrapped bread in the microwave.
  4. Heat the bread on low power for 10–20 seconds.
  5. Check the bread’s softness. If it’s not soft enough, repeat the process for a few more seconds.

Microwaving the bread with a damp towel helps to create steam, which moisturizes the bread and makes it soft again. However, be cautious not to overheat the bread, as it may become chewy or rubbery.

Tips and tricks for softening bread effectively

  • Use fresh aluminum foil to wrap the bread, ensuring a tight seal to trap moisture.
  • Experiment with different temperatures and cooking times to find the optimal softness for your preference.
  • Consider adding a small cup of water in the air fryer to increase moisture during the softening process.
  • Avoid overcrowding the air fryer basket to ensure proper air circulation.

Common mistakes to Avoid

  • Overheating the bread can lead to further drying and make it harder to chew. Always monitor the bread’s texture closely during the softening process.
  • Failing to wrap the bread properly may result in excessive drying and loss of moisture.
  • Using a high temperature setting may cause the bread to become too crispy rather than soft.


Reviving hard bread is easier than you might think. By following these three methods – using a microwave, steaming, or using an air fryer – you can bring back the softness and freshness of your bread without the need for an oven. Experiment with these techniques and enjoy your bread as if it was freshly baked.


1. Can I use these methods for any type of bread?

Yes, these methods work well for most types of bread, including sliced bread, rolls, baguettes, or buns.

2. How long does it take to soften the bread using these methods?

The time required depends on the initial hardness of the bread. However, with these methods, you can achieve significant softening within minutes to a few hours.

3. Is it safe to use a microwave to soften bread?

Yes, it is safe as long as you follow the instructions and heat the bread on low power to avoid overheating.

4. Can I use these methods for stale bread too?

Yes, these methods are effective for both hard and stale bread, as they restore moisture to the bread and make it soft again.

5. Can I store the softened bread for later use?

It is best to consume the softened bread as soon as possible. However, if you need to store it, ensure it is kept in an airtight container to prevent moisture loss.