Kitchen Tip: Make-Ahead Garlic Bread

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So let me preface what I’m about to say by saying that I love my kids and I love spending time with them. But I’m a creature of habit. I love having a routine. While I try to be flexible in many areas of my life, if my general everyday schedule is spontaneously messed up without warning, it messes me up.

This week, school has gotten cancelled again. And again. And then my landline rings at 4:00 pm and since the only people who call me on my landline are telemarketers, collectors looking for Meshach McCall (have no idea if that’s how his name is spelled), and the robocall announcing that school is cancelled the next day, I get this sinking feeling of doom that school has been cancelled again. And it was. One of those was a legit snow day (actually, it was because of an ice storm–does that make it an ice day?), but the other two were iffy (like today when it was 55 degrees and sunny outside and I made my kids run up and down the driveway 20 times. Our driveway is unusually long.)

Either way, I’m off my game. I find myself showering for the day in the late afternoon and changing from one pair of yoga pants to another pair of yoga pants. I don’t do this in the summer because I’m ready for it. Armed with swimming lessons and playdates and routines. But this…I am not prepared for this.

So during our pseudo snow day adventures, we tried using up what food we had in the house. On Monday, we had French Dip sandwiches on ciabatta rolls from Sam’s Club, but when we all ended up tummy troubles (yes, I hate the word “tummy,” unless you’re asking a baby where his tummy is, but that’s about as much detail as I’m willing to go into) and the meat smelled a little funky the next day, we decided to play it safe and toss the leftovers. So then we had a whole bunch of leftover rolls, teetering on the edge of going bad.

When I made this Minestrone Soup, I decided to use the leftover rolls to make garlic bread. Even then, I still had a bunch of rolls leftover (I didn’t want to make more than we needed because I would either eat the extras or throw them away because, let’s face it, no one wants reheated toasted garlic bread) and I still had some garlic butter left. I was about to pack up the garlic butter and toss the bread (because it was on the edge) when I remembered the one piece of wisdom I gleaned from the dreadful summer I worked at the grocery store bakery the summer before I went to college: use the day-old (or older) bread to make garlic bread and then freeze it. Yes, that’s right, the garlic bread you buy at the grocery store is yesterday’s French bread that didn’t sell. At least that’s how it worked at this particular grocery store.

So no. This is not the most mind-blowing recipe either. But it’s a little life-hack that will make things easier–just imagine a world where a) that yummy preservative-free bread never goes to waste because you didn’t get around to eating it fast enough and b) you’re never too far away from hot garlic bread.

Ingredient Notes

  • Bread – Pretty much any sturdy loaf or rolls will work here. I like Italian or French bread. Sourdough would be amazing. In these pictures I used ciabatta. This is one of my favorite ways to use up leftover bread that I know we won’t get to before it dries up.
  • Butter – I’ve listed a basic recipe for garlic butter, but you can always mix things up with something like this Herbed Garlic Butter with Feta and Lemon, this Creamy Jalapeno-Lime Butter, or this Homemade Garlic Bread Seasoning mixed with butter.
  • Cheese – Cheese is optional, but a good sprinkling of Parmesan or shredded mozzarella is a delicious addition.
leftover ciabatta rolls

Instructions

  1. Mix up your desired garlic butter from the list above. If your bread isn’t pre-sliced, slice it in half.
  1. Then spread each side with the garlic butter. If you want to get crazy, you could sprinkle one side with Parmesan or shredded mozzarella cheese.
sliced ciabatta rolls
  1. Tightly wrap each piece of bread in aluminum foil and then place each wrapped loaf in a Ziploc bag and label it with the date. Unless you’re doing a whole baguette or loaf of French bread–then just wrap it in plastic wrap to try and keep it from freezer burning.
  1. When you’re ready to serve it, take out as many pieces as you need. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and pop the wrapped loaves in there (you don’t even have to wait for it to preheat). Check on it after 20 minutes or so and place it back in the oven if it needs a little more time. If you’d like to toast it just a little, you can place the halves, buttered-side-up under the broiler during the last few minutes. Remove from oven and carefully cut it however you want to.
Garlic bread on a plate

Serving Suggestions

What can’t you serve garlic bread with? Here are some Our Best Bites Favorites!

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does this stay fresh in the freezer? Frozen bread of any sort is usually good for up to 3 months in the freezer. After that it is still safe to eat, but the chances of it getting some freezer burn or a bit of an off flavor increase.

Did You Make This?

I’d love to hear from you! Snap a picture and tag me on Instagram, then come back and give this recipe a rating!

Garlic bread on a plate

Kitchen Tip: Make-Ahead Garlic Bread

A simple how-to for prepping garlic bread ahead of time, so it's ready when you are.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes

Ingredients

Bread

  • leftover Italian or French bread or rolls

Butter Spread

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic minced or pressed
  • 1 teaspoon dry parsley
  • optional: Parmesan or mozzarella cheese for sprinkling

Alternative Butter Spreads

Instructions

  • Prepare your desired butter spread by mixing all ingredients.
  • If your bread isn’t pre-sliced, slice it in half lengthwise. Then spread each side with the garlic butter. If you’d like, sprinkle with Parmesan or shredded mozzarella cheese. Sandwich the two sides back together.
  • Tightly wrap each piece of bread in aluminum foil and then place the wrapped loaf or rolls in a Ziploc bag and label it with the date, unless you’re doing a whole baguette or loaf of French bread–then just wrap it in plastic wrap to try and keep it from freezer burning.
  • When you’re ready to serve it, take out as many pieces as you need. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and pop the foil-wrapped loaves in there (you don’t even have to wait for it to preheat). Check on it after 20 minutes or so and place it back in the oven if it needs a little more time. If you’d like to toast it just a little, you can place the halves, buttered-side-up under the broiler during the last few minutes. Remove from oven and carefully cut it however you want to.
Author: Our Best Bites
Did You Make This Recipe?Snap a picture, and hashtag it #ourbestbites. We love to see your creations on our Instagram @ourbestbites!
Sara Wells
Meet The Author

Sara Wells

Sara Wells co-founded Our Best Bites in 2008. She is the author of three Bestselling Cook Books, Best Bites: 150 Family Favorite RecipesSavoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites, and 400 Calories or Less from Our Best Bites. Sara’s work has been featured in many local and national news outlets and publications such as Parenting MagazineBetter Homes & GardensFine CookingThe Rachel Ray Show and the New York Times.

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Questions & Reviews

  1. Wonderful use of garlic cloves for making bread tasty! I like this garlic bread. Its nice to reduce tummy to some extent.

  2. It is nice to know we can make our own garlic bread (with the help of your recipe) instead of picking up our local store’s convenient garlic bread. Thank goodness we got away from that!

  3. Are we having a mind meld or something? I just did this last night with some leftover ciabatta…thinking I’d reheat it to dunk in the minestrone I froze last week.

  4. This is going to sound totally dumb, but you might want to specify that you should cook wrapped in foil, and remove the plastic wrap. I can see this going horribly wrong for someone . . .

  5. Great idea. I live alone and always have leftover bread…to the point I dontlike buying it because it goes in the trash. This is a great idea for that extra bread.

  6. You can also just cut the bread up and put it in the freezer. When you take it back out, hit it with the garlic spread or do what I do, which is buttery spread and garlic powder, and put it in the toaster oven. It doesn’t need defrosting this way either! Just another suggestion on how to do it. 🙂