The Best Way To Refresh Stale Croissants

When it comes to pastries, it's hard to top a warm, flaky, buttery croissant from your local bakery, but unfortunately fresh-from-the-oven isn't always an option. What to do with those croissants you purchased once they're past their prime? Sure, you can repurpose them if you want. LBA (a company that makes croissants and other laminated doughs) recommends using stale croissants for things like bread pudding, croutons, and French toast ... but is there a way to bring them back to life?

The answer, according to LifeHacker, is the air fryer. You might think of your air fryer when you need to reheat french fries or fried chicken, which both crisp up nicely in the popular appliance (via Taste of Home). But a pastry? LifeHacker reports there is one simple step that will take your sad day-old croissants from hard and dry to perfectly refreshed.

What if you don't own an air fryer?

The key to using this method to refresh stale croissants, per LifeHacker, is to moisten the pastries before putting them in your air fryer. (This tip actually works for all stale breads, per the Food Network.) Run your croissant quickly under water — you don't want it to be sopping wet, just to add a little moisture to the pastry — and then air fry it for a few minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, turning it over halfway. The resulting croissant should be perfectly flaky on the outside and buttery soft on the inside ... you know, like a fresh one.

But what if you don't have an air fryer and are looking to revive stale croissants? According to the New York Times, as of 2020 only 36% or so of households in the U.S. had an air fryer, which means over half will need other ways to refresh their croissants. Luckily, Conscious Eating says there are a few different kitchen appliances that can be used to achieve similar results, recommending the oven or toaster oven above all others. Whatever method you choose, don't let those stale croissants go to waste; freshen them up with a little water and they'll be like new.