Your favorite garlic bread? It’s in the fridge. Here’s how to store it and how long it will keep.
There’s a good reason why garlic bread—that salty, decadent combo of bread with garlic, butter, and sometimes mozzarella cheese—is one of the most popular types of bread in the world.
It’s delicious, easy to make (even easier to order!), and it goes great with almost any dish. For many American households, garlic bread is the perfect appetizer, side dish, or snack any time of the year.
But if you made (or ordered) more of it than you and your family can eat in one meal, how do you store it? If you’re asking yourself the same question, then read on. Because that’s exactly what we’re about to find out.
How to Store Garlic Bread
Garlic bread is typically regular bread topped with garlic and butter or olive oil. Sometimes, the garlic bread may also include herbs, such as oregano, and parmesan and/or mozzarella cheese.
The bread is then grilled in a grill pan on the stove or baked in the oven until golden brown, giving it a crispy crust and ameliorating its aroma and flavor in many ways thanks to the browning (a.k.a. Maillard) reaction.
Many home cooks worry about the safety of leftover garlic bread. And it’s no wonder! According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 48 million Americans contract foodborne illnesses each year, making the risk serious.
So how do you store garlic bread for freshness and safety?
Garlic bread, especially if it isn’t topped with cheese, can be stored at room temperature and doesn’t necessarily need refrigeration. Cheesy garlic bread can still be left out, but the cheese will sweat, turning yellow and becoming bland.
When it comes to food storage, I am one of those people who likes to play it safe. So when I have leftover garlic bread, I seal it in a ziplock bag and put it in the fridge, even if I know my wife and I will probably eat it all up the same day.
How Long Does Garlic Bread Last?
As a rule of thumb, garlic bread will keep for 1-2 days if left out at room temperature, for 3-4 days if refrigerated, and for up to 3 months if frozen.
The key takeaway here is that garlic bread—like any other bread—doesn’t keep forever. In fact, it’s one of the foods that are best consumed within the first 12-24 hours after preparation.
Chris Canterbury, who holds an associate’s degree in baking and pastry from the South Seattle Community College, says in a Quora thread on the subject that trying to preserve lean bread for an extended period of time is “foolhardy and misguided.”
As soon as you take the bread out of the oven, it begins to lose moisture through evaporation. This evaporation continues, although more slowly, even after the bread has cooled. Starch retrogradation also kicks in, making the bread stale and changing its mouthfeel for the worst.
So you can store and preserve garlic bread, there’s no question about it, but it’s better if you eat it all up instead. Nothing smells and tastes like garlic bread fresh out of the oven!
Can Garlic Bread Go Bad?
All foods go bad sooner or later and become unsafe for you and the rest of the members of your household to eat. Garlic bread is no exception.
Garlic bread, you see, goes through several stages as it ages:
Within the first few hours, it will dry out if it’s left out or become chewy if it’s refrigerated. Within 24-48 hours, it will become crusty and stale, losing much of its original appeal. After 3-4 days, the garlic bread is no longer considered safe to eat because harmful bacteria have settled on the surface.
Meanwhile, the bread may also have become moldy. If you cut off the moldy pieces, you won’t really get rid of the mold: Mold grows like the roots of a tree and can penetrate deep into the structure of the bread in a very short time.
Whether you’ve made or ordered garlic bread and have some leftovers, it’s best to eat those leftovers the same day or the following day. After that, it no longer tastes like real bread, so storing it for a long time is not a good idea anyway.
How to Refrigerate Garlic Bread
Refrigerating garlic bread is easy: Seal it in a ziplock bag or transfer it to an airtight food storage container with the lid shut, then place it in any compartment of the fridge, where it will keep for 3-4 days.
If the garlic bread is a loaf or baguette—and it’s too large to fit in the bag or container—cut it into bite-sized slices for storage. (Don’t worry; the slices will taste just as good when you reheat them.)
You can also wrap the bread in plastic wrap, aluminum foil, or butcher paper. However, all three of these are permeable to air and the garlic bread may take on odors from other items in your fridge, like raw onions or cooked eggs.
How to Freeze Garlic Bread
To freeze garlic bread, seal it in freezer bags or transfer it to freezer containers and then put it in the freezer.
Frozen garlic bread will stay safe to eat forever because bacterial activity is put on pause at temperatures of 0°F (-18°C) and lower. With that said, the garlic bread will only retain its best quality for 2-3 months. After that, it will become stale and won’t taste as appetizing as it once did when you reheat it.
I like to write the date of freezing on the bag or on a label with a sharpie. That way I know by when I should use up the bread before it goes stale in the freezer.
Contrary to what some people think, you don’t have to thaw frozen garlic bread to reheat it. Read on and I’ll tell you the best way to do it.
How to Reheat Garlic Bread
Here’s how to reheat garlic bread in four easy steps:
Step 1: Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C) for 10-15 minutes.
Step 2: Take the garlic out of the freezer, wrap it loosely in aluminum foil or parchment paper, and place it on a baking sheet.
Step 3: Slide the baking sheet onto the middle rack of the hot oven, then close the door and allow the garlic bread to warm without interruption. Refrigerated garlic bread warms up in 5 minutes, and frozen garlic bread in 10 minutes.
Step 4: Remove the warm garlic bread from the oven and let it rest for 2-3 minutes before serving it on the table.
Wrapping It All Up
Garlic bread doesn’t need to be stored in the fridge, but storing it in the fridge makes it last a little longer.
It will keep for 1-2 days if left out, 3-4 days if refrigerated, and up to 3 months if frozen. Over time, garlic bread becomes stale and loses much of its appeal, so it is a good idea to eat it shortly after baking.