Successful strategies for stabilizing electrodeposition of reactive metals, including lithium, sodium, and aluminum are a requirement for safe, high-energy electrochemical storage technologies that utilize these metals as anodes. Unstable deposition produces high-surface area dendritic structures at the anode/electrolyte interface, which causes premature cell failure by complex physical and chemical processes that have presented formidable barriers to progress. Here, it is reported that hybrid electrolytes created by infusing conventional liquid electrolytes into nanoporous membranes provide exceptional ability to stabilize Li. Electrochemical cells based on γ-Al2O3 ceramics with pore diameters below a cut-off value above 200 nm exhibit long-term stability even at a current density of 3 mA cm−2. The effect is not limited to ceramics; similar large enhancements in stability are observed for polypropylene membranes with less monodisperse pores below 450 nm. These findings are critically assessed using theories for ion rectification and electrodeposition reactions in porous solids and show that the source of stable electrodeposition in nanoporous electrolytes is fundamental.