The Paper Bag Hack To Revive Stale Muffins

Even when stored in the most optimal conditions, muffins only stay fresh for about four days before going stale. Once your handheld breakfast treats have turned dry and crumbly, you might think you're out of luck, but stale muffins can actually be returned to their former glory using little more than a brown paper bag.

First, drizzle or lightly mist your stale muffins with water. For added flavor, you can also use milk, cream, fruit juice, liqueur, or a very thin icing. Next, place the muffins in a brown paper bag and bake them in the oven at about 350 degrees Fahrenheit for up to 10 minutes. Be sure to leave room for the bag to expand, as the heat from the oven and the moisture added to the muffins will create steam. This steam, in turn, will moisten the muffins as it soaks back in.

This hack will only keep your muffins for another day or two, so you'd best eat them quickly. It's also worth noting that once those perfectly-textured blueberry muffins have gone stale, nothing you do will bring them entirely back to their original freshness, but this paper bag trick will definitely make an improvement.

Alternative methods of refreshing stale muffins

If you're wary about putting a paper bag in the oven, you can also drizzle muffins with water and then wrap them in tin foil to bake in the oven. Just like the paper bag does, the tin foil holds in steam and forces moisture back into the muffins.

If you don't have time to use the oven, you can use a similar method that involves the microwave. First, place your muffins on a microwave-safe plate, then cover them with a damp paper towel to provide moisture. Next, microwave the muffins in 10-second intervals until sufficiently heated. Be sure not to overheat your muffins, as too much microwaving can render them more dried-out than they were to begin with.

Unfortunately, these hacks may not work in the cases of extremely stale muffins, but that doesn't mean they have to go to waste. Instead, repurpose them in a gooey breakfast strata or bread pudding, as these dishes can turn even the crumbliest of baked goods into something fluffy and delicious.

Store your muffins properly for the longest shelf life

Like we mentioned previously, muffins going stale is inevitable, and not easy to undo. However, you can keep them from going stale too quickly by storing your muffins properly. For one, you should always let muffins fully cool before you put them in any sort of container, as any residual steam can turn into condensation, which can make them soggy. To further stave off sogginess, consider storing your muffins with paper towels or a tea towel to soak up any excess moisture, especially if you're using an airtight container.

Alternatively, you can keep muffins in a breadbox, also with paper towels or a sacrificial bread slice to prevent moisture build-up and mold growth. Since bread boxes offer just enough airflow to wick away most moisture, these are arguably the best storage option, if you have one. You should avoid keeping muffins in the fridge, unless they contain meat or cheese, as fridge conditions can quickly dry them out and leave them tasting funny.