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12 Things You Shouldn’t Reheat in the Microwave

Say goodbye to sorry leftovers! Here’s how to keep these foods tasty the second time around.

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Photo: Gangliu10 / Getty Images


Don’t get us wrong: Microwaves are the go-to for reheating most foods 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 soups, stews, rice and vegetables are all excellent candidates for the microwave. But other items are left soggy, rubbery or just plain dull after a trip on a microwave turntable. We’ve rounded up a dozen popular leftovers that benefit from a little TLC: A few extra minutes via your stovetop, oven or air fryer really pays off.

Try This: If you’re heating up several slices, bake them in a 375-degree-F oven until the cheese has melted and the crust is crisp. Got just one or two pieces? Make your air fryer your go-to. Place in a single layer in the basket and cook at 375 degrees F until hot and re-crisped (check every 2 to 3 minutes). You can also place a slice in a dry skillet, tent it with foil and warm it over medium heat until the cheese melts and the crust crisps.

By Alice K. Thompson for Food Network Kitchen

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Photo: Amy Neunsinger ©


Try This: 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.

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Photo: Максим Крысанов

Pad Thai

Try This: Place a wok or skillet over medium heat and drizzle in just enough oil to coat the surface of the pan. Add the stir-fry and cook, stirring or tossing frequently, until heated through, about 5 minutes. This will heat the sauce and protein while keeping vegetables crisp.

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Photo: Rebecca Fondren

Fried Chicken

Try This: Microwaving leaves the skin and coating of fried chicken limp and greasy and the meat dry, so revive it in a 375-degrees-F oven instead: Place the chicken on a sheet pan, cover it with foil and bake 10 minutes; remove the foil and continue to bake until the crust is crispy and the chicken is heated through. Or use your air fryer: Put the chicken in the basket and cook at 375 degrees F, flipping it once, until it’s hot and crispy, about 5 minutes. You can use these same methods for chicken fingers or chicken nuggets, just reduce the cooking time and skip the foil if you’re baking them.

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