Eating leftover food the next day may not feel as appetizing, right? Well, no! Not you re-heat your leftovers the right way. Reheating your leftovers in the right manner will make it taste just as good and will look just as appetizing as it was on the day it was cooked fresh.

How to Safely Reheat Leftover Food

Also, apart from just its taste, remember that improperly reheated leftover food can also cause food poisoning and stomach upsets.

In this article, I will discuss the right ways to safely reheat leftover food.

How to Safely Reheat Different Types of Leftover Food

1. Chicken and Red Meats

Chicken or red meat can be reheated it in the oven, at 250 degrees, drizzled with some oil or butter, covered with foil (to reduce dryness), for around 10 to 15 minutes until properly hot.

You could also reheat it in the microwave, with just a little spray of water (covered with a microwave-safe lid), for a few minutes until hot.

Pan heating is another option. You can butter/oil a pan, place the meat and cook on low, flipping sides/stirring in between. Keep it covered the whole time, so that the heat remains within. Warm up until sufficiently hot.

2. Seafood

You can place your fish on a microwave-safe plate and sprinkle a little water over it. Cover it and microwave it, until well heated. Flip in between, if required.

Another method is placing the fish in the oven (wrapped in foil). Set the oven at 250 degrees, smear the fish with some oil and heat up, until sufficiently hot.

Fish can also be heated up a pan, smear it with oil or butter and reheat the fish (covered and on medium-heat), flipping once in between if required, until properly heated.

Steaming fish is also a good option. Put the fish loosely in foil and steam it for a few minutes, until hot.

3. Steaks

Steak can be reheated in a pre-heated oven, set at 250 degrees on a baking tray (or on a wire rack, to enable the meat to get heated well on both sides). Make sure to drizzle some oil or butter over the steaks for a moist inside and crispy outside texture.

You can microwave the steak as well. Place it in a microwave dish, add in some sauce over the top (if available or else sprinkle a little water) and heat it up, turning once in between if required.

Pan heating up of steaks too can be good. You can smear the pan with some butter or oil and place the steak. Add in some steak broth or gravy (if available) and heat up, covered and flip in between if required.

4. Rice

Rice can be reheated in the microwave (drizzled with some water) or even on a steamer. In case you have unflavoured plain rice, you can also top up the dish with water (until all the rice is submerged) and then heat until the rice starts to boil.

To reheat rice on stover – Transfer rice to a saucepan (with a lid) and add 1 to 2 tablespoons of butter or oil. Add 2-3 tablespoons of water or stock per cup of rice to a pot. Add your rice to the pot, breaking up any clumps with a fork. Cover your pot with a lid and heat the rice on low for 3 to 5 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent any rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

5. One-pot Meals

One-pot meals like casseroles, sautéed or stir-fried vegetables etc., can be heated in the microwave (spread out in one layer, if possible). You can also reheat it in the oven, place on a baking tray covered with aluminum foil and reheated at 200 to 250 degrees.

Lastly, pan heating also works well for one-pot meals. Drizzle the pan with some oil and on medium to low heat, covered, layer the food and reheat until properly hot.

6. Pizza

Pizzas once reheated can become dry and soggy. Thus, you can either reheat them in the oven, at 375 degrees. You can simply line a baking tray with foil and place it in the oven while it’s pre-heating. Then place the pizza and bake until hot (should be around 10 minutes).

Pan-heated pizzas also taste good. Heat up a pan, add the pizza, now add in a few drops of water or place an ice cube around the pizza. Place the lid and heat for 2 to 3 minutes on medium to low heat.

You can also microwave the pizza. For proper reheating, you can place a paper towel or tissue paper on the plate, before placing the pizza and heat for a couple of minutes or until hot.

7. Muffins

For microwave or oven, place unwrapped muffin on napkin, microwave-safe paper towel or plate. Microwave on high for about 30 seconds. For conventional oven, heat foil-wrapped muffins for 10 to 15 minutes, then uncover and heat for 3 mins at 350F depending on the size of the muffins.

To reheat on a skillet – Melt a small amount of butter in a skillet over medium-low heat. Cut your leftover muffins in half and place them cut-side down in your pan to toast. Sprinkle some water around the skillet and cover it with a lid or foil. Heat the muffins for 3-4 minutes, but check them every minute or so to be safe.

8. Soup

You should always defrost frozen soup in the fridge or the microwave. You can then reheat it in a saucepan on the stove. Soup should not be reheated more than once, so only heat up as much soup as you will eat each time. When reheating broths or clear soups, bring them to the boil for three minutes and then reduce the heat to a simmer, and stir while simmering for three minutes.

9. Boiled veg

Microwave on full power for 1-2 minutes, or until the veggies are warmed through. Ensure to uncover your reheated veggies immediately after taking it out of the microwave to avoid overcooking.

10. Pasta

When it’s time to reheat your dish, start by bringing a pot of salted water to a boil. Then, place your leftover pasta noodles in a heat-safe colander and carefully dip the entire colander into the pot for 30 to 60 seconds to warm the noodles. After they’re warmed (and not at all mushy), toss your pasta with your favorite pasta sauce and serve.

A great way to achieve delicious-tasting pasta the next day is to reheat the dish in a skillet – Heat a skillet or saucepan over medium heat on the stove. Add olive oil and then add the leftover pasta. Using tongs for long pasta shapes and a wooden spoon for shorter pasta varieties, give the ingredients in the skillet a few good tosses or stirs to make sure it’s all heated through properly.

General Tips While Reheating Leftover Food

  • Always make sure that the leftovers are taken out from the refrigerator or freezer and are properly thawed/defrosted before reheating.
  • Eat leftovers (if refrigerated and not frozen) within 2 to 3 days.
  • Reheat leftovers until piping hot.
  • If your leftover food had been frozen, first bring it to the refrigerator for a few hours and then at room temperature in order to defrost properly.