The Easy Oven Hack To Revive Stale Snacks

There may be no greater disappointment when it comes to snacking than to find that chip you wanted to dunk in your favorite dip has turned soft and stale. Chips, pretzels, and crackers don't always have the longest shelf life once opened because they begin to absorb moisture, which degrades their crunchy texture. While they're typically still safe to eat (though you should always check the expiration date, as well as signs of mold), they're unlikely to be as satisfying. However, there is a quick fix to revive them.

All you need to bring your snacks back to life is your oven and a baking sheet. By briefly heating the chips or crackers (or other stale treats), you can dry them back out and make them suitable for snacking. And you needn't feel compelled to eat all the revived snacks at once. When the oven has done its job and the snacks have cooled, you can store them in a resealable bag (with the air pressed out before sealing) or an airtight container so you can nosh on them again.

How to make stale snacks crispy again

To breathe life back into your stale chips, pretzels, and crackers, preheat the oven to about 225 degrees Fahrenheit (though you can go as low as 200 degrees). Then, spread your chips or crackers over a parchment paper-lined baking sheet in a single layer before placing it on the center rack in the oven.

While the temperature for this easy hack is the same as you might use for low and slow cooking of meats, this process is anything but slow. So, don't stray far from the oven — keep an eye on the snacks while they're reheating and check every few minutes for preparedness. Also, use a spoon or spatula to turn the chips or crackers (or move them around on the tray) as needed.

If you're not in the mood to heat the whole kitchen with your oven (even though it is a fairly low temperature), you can use your toaster oven instead. You can also use an air fryer to crisp them up, but remember they may cook even more quickly. And if you really can't wait to satiate your snack craving, you can try microwaving them on a paper towel-lined plate — that process should take about 20 seconds.

Furthermore, if you have cookies that are less than fresh, you can fix that, too. Just up the temperature to 300 degrees Fahrenheit and pop your cookies in for just a few minutes.

What else to do with stale snacks

While stale chips or other savory snacks may be unappealing on their own, they can actually help you upgrade some other foods or save a little cash. The easiest thing to do is toss them in the food processor — with seasoning if you like — to create a crumb mixture. You can sprinkle them over casseroles, use them to bind meatballs or burgers, or substitute them in any recipe in which you'd use breadcrumbs. Also, if your chips, pretzels, or crackers are not too soft, you can use them to add a little texture on top of your soup as a garnish.

If you have a sweet treat that's gone stale, you can also repurpose it. Make an entirely new dessert by crumbling cookies to make a pie crust or feature the cookie pieces in a layered dessert. You can also mix the broken pieces into pudding or sprinkle them over ice cream to add even more sweet flavor and texture.

And, if you want to delay staleness in the future, try eliminating the ability for air to come in contact with the snacks by storing them in resealable plastic bags. Or, even easier, store them in the refrigerator, where the humidity will likely be significantly lower than in your cabinets or pantry.