6 Things You Shouldn’t Reheat in the Microwave

These meals’ second time around will be much tastier with a little extra effort.

Photo By: Gangliu10 / Getty Images

Photo By: Amy Neunsinger ©(c) Amy Neunsinger

Photo By: Rebecca Fondren

Photo By: Gangliu10 / Getty Images

Photo By: Jim Norton

Photo By: David Kadlec ©Copyright 2014 David Kadlec. All rights reserved.

We Love the Microwave — Sometimes

Don’t get us wrong — microwaves can reheat many dishes quickly and easily. Just place the food in a microwave-safe container, add a splash of water (or cover with a damp paper towel) to maintain moisture, and zap it for a minute or two. Leftover rice, soup and vegetables are all good candidates for reheating in the microwave — but some foods fare much better when reheated on the stove or in the oven.


The Right Way to Reheat: Start by adding a splash of water to the casserole — the resulting steam will help keep it from drying out as it reheats. Cover it tightly with foil and in a bake in a 325 degrees F oven until heated through. Make sure to check the temperature in the middle of the casserole — that’s where it’ll take longest to warm up. 

Fried Chicken

The Right Way to Reheat: Place chicken on a baking sheet or pan, and cover with foil. Revive it in a 375 degrees F oven for about 10 minutes, and then remove the foil. Continue to bake until the skin is crispy and the chicken is heated through.


The Right Way to Reheat: Heating up several slices? Bake them in a 375 degrees F oven until the cheese has melted and the crust is crisp. Got just one or two? Place slices in a dry skillet, and tent with foil. Heat it on the stove over medium heat until the cheese melts and the crust crisps.


The Right Way to Reheat: Unsauced noodles can be reheated in a pot of boiling water until just heated through, about 30 to 45 seconds, depending on the type of pasta.

Pasta in an oil- or cream-based sauce can be a little tricky to reheat — if it gets too hot, the oil or cream (or cheese) can separate and the dish can become very oily. In a saucepan, place the pasta over medium-low heat and combine it with a small amount of the fat used when you first cooked it (oil or cream). Watch and stir frequently.

Pasta in a tomato-based sauce can be easily reheated in a small saucepan over medium heat. If it’s too thick (likely the pasta has absorbed too much sauce in the fridge), thin it out with a little water and adjust the seasoning as needed.


The Right Way to Reheat: First, thinly slice the leftovers, for even reheating. Place in a saute pan with a little oil over medium heat until the steak is brown on the edges and warmed through.

French Fries

The Right Way to Reheat: French fries are pretty difficult to reheat without changing their taste, texture and overall deliciousness. But for the best results, heat a little oil in a nonstick saute pan until it just starts to shimmer. Put the leftover fries in the hot oil and fry until brown and crisp. Remove the fries from the oil and drain on a paper-towel-lined plate. Sprinkle with salt and enjoy.

When to Repurpose Instead of Reheat

Sometimes it pays to get creative. For instance, you can definitely reheat fish, but the leftovers do much better in new dishes like fish cakes or chowders, or tossed in a salad. Hamburgers don’t reheat too well, either, since they tend to lose most of their moisture the first time they are cooked. Try chopping them up and using them in soup or chili instead. And while leftover vegetables can be reheated in the microwave, they are also really good additions to soups, salads and stews.

More from:

Cooking School