How to Reheat Every Type of Leftover

What's the best way to reheat your leftovers? Here are some tricks for reheating the toughest foods, like french fries, pizza, ribs, and rice. 

Bruce and Jeanne Lubin
2-minute read

Microwaving Secret

Microwaves heat food from the outside in. Therefore, the most efficient way to heat leftovers is to make a “food hole.” Leaving a space in the middle of your food increases the amount of surface area on the edges. You may also want to stir your food so that denser pieces like meat are towards the outer edges of the container you’re reheating it in.

How to Reheat Fries

Got leftover fries? Heat them in your toaster oven or oven on a greased cookie sheet at 450º. Flip them over after 8 minutes, then reheat them until they’re sizzling and crispy, about 5 minutes more. Make sure to preheat your oven for 10 minutes to get it hot enough!

Tips for Reheating Ribs and Steak

As we told you in our post about ways to throw away less food, beef and pork will often taste weird no matter how you reheat them. But the way we’ve found that affects the taste the least, and keeps them moist, is to wrap them in foil and place them in a 350º oven, adding a bit of water or broth if desired. However, this method can take from 30 to 60 minutes—so if you decide to microwave your meat, try placing a damp paper towel over it to keep it moist. If you’re reheating something like meatballs, also try reheating them in sauce!

Reheating Pizza

The best way to heat up leftover pizza is in the toaster oven on 425º, but if you don’t have a toaster oven you don’t need to endure the soggy crust that results from microwaving yesterday's slice. Just place the piece in a covered skillet and heat over medium-low heat until warm.

The Best Way to Reheat Rice

Place the rice in its original container or in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover it, then microwave for one minute on medium (50 percent) heat. Stir, then re-cover and heat for another minute on high. Let sit for one minute more and you’ll have perfect rice. Never try reheating quick-cooking rice, as it will become mushy. (Use regular or long-grain rice instead.)

Reheating Pasta

The best way to reheat pasta is right in its sauce. Add more sauce if necessary, and add to a skillet on medium heat. (Or, just add a bit of olive oil.) Place a lid on top, but pick it up and stir frequently to make sure the pasta doesn’t stick. It will warm through without getting soggy.

See Also: Why Leftover Pasta Is Good For You

For more food tips from all over the internet, check out our In the Kitchen Pinterest board. And don't forget to sign up for our newsletter and follow us on Facebook and Instagram!

About the Author

Bruce and Jeanne Lubin

Bruce Lubin and Jeanne Bossolina-Lubin are the proud parents of three boys and more than a dozen books. After saving thousands per year using everyday tips and simple lifehacks, they started their own business in the hopes of sharing their knowledge with others. They have been known to go into their friends' refrigerators to turn their eggs upside down so that they last longer.