By Carl Hanson
March 26, 2018
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We love leftovers. In many cases, an extra day or two allows flavors to mingle and actually improve. The only snag, though, is that sometimes the reheating method leaves something to be desired. It's always easy to zap something in the microwave for a couple minutes. But the microwave often results in molten exteriors, still chilly interiors, and weird rubbery textures. With that in mind, we've taken a look at some of our most popular recipes. And through the wonders of science, we've uncovered the best ways to reheat them so they'll return to their original glory.

Naturally, many if not most leftovers are best reheated using the original cooking method: Soups, stews, and braised dishes in a pot on the stove over medium-low heat; casseroles and lasagnas in the oven; roasted or baked chicken and turkey in the oven. Obviously, the original method is not always convenient -- or even possible. So we've offered a few suggestions for each. Pick your preferred method.

How to reheat a burrito:

1. Oven. Wrap your leftover burrito in foil and bake in the oven at 350 degrees F.
2. Toaster Oven. Same technique as the regular oven.
3. Skillet. Turn your burrito into a pseudo-chimichanga by heating it in heavy skillet with just a little vegetable oil, loosely covered with foil.

Fabulous Wet Burritos | Photo by Marisa Ramirez

Check out our collection of Burrito Recipes.


How to reheat roast chicken:

  • 1. Oven.Loosely wrap the leftover chicken in aluminum foil and cook at a low temperature, about 325 degrees F. If there are juices, drizzle them over the chicken to help keep the meat moist.
  • 2. Stovetop.Do it like the steak and pork chops below. A quick sear on the stovetop will keep chicken breast meat moist.
  • For more ideas,explore7 Easy Ways To Turn Leftover Chicken Into Brand-New Dinners.
Chef John's Salt Roasted Chicken | Photo by Chef John

Check out our collection of Roast Chicken Recipes.


How to reheat ham:

  • 1. Oven. Wrap leftover ham in foil and bake it in the oven over low temperature, about 275 to 300 degrees F.
  • 2. Skillet.Cut into slices and fry the ham in the skillet and serve withred-eye gravy.
  • For more ideas, explore12 Tasty Ideas to Use Up Leftover Ham.
Honey Glazed Ham | Photo by Meredith

Check out our collection of Ham Recipes.


How to reheat lasagna:

1. Oven. Cover your leftover lasagna with aluminum foil and bake at about 325 to 350 degrees F.
2. Toaster Oven. Wrap it in foil.
3. Microwave. Place a piece of lasagna on a plate and cover with a paper towel to avoid splatters.

World's Best Lasagna | Photo by TheWickedNoodle

Check out our collection of Lasagna Recipes.


How to reheat pizza:

  • 1. Skillet.Check out Chef John's amazing stovetop method.
  • 2. Toaster oven.Place your leftover pizza on the toaster tray and bake at 400 degrees F for about 10 to 12 minutes.
  • 3. Oven.Again, 400 degrees F for 10 to 12 minutes.
Brick-Oven Pizza (Brooklyn Style) | Photo by CDM68

Check out our collection of Pizza Recipes.


How to reheat pork chops:

1. Skillet. Bring your leftover pork chop down to room temperature and quickly sear it in a hot skillet with a splash of vegetable oil. We recommend a heavy, seasoned cast-iron pan for this operation.

Grilled Lemon Herb Pork Chop | Photo by bd.weld

Check out our collection of Pork Chop Recipes.


How to reheat prime rib:

1. Oven. As with pork chops above, the key is keeping the meat moist and preventing it from becoming too well done. Check out a couple methods to reheat leftover prime rib.

Christmas Prime Rib | Photo by Meredith

Check out our collection of Prime Rib Recipes.


How to reheat quesadillas:

  • 1. Skillet.To reheat leftover quesadillas, we like to use Chef John'sstovetop pizza method. It keeps the tortilla crispy and the cheesy insides nice and melty.
  • 2. Toaster oven.Put the quesadilla on the tray and bake at about 325 to 350 for 10 minutes or so.
  • 3. Oven.Again, 325 degrees F for 10 minutes. If you cover with aluminum foil, keep it loose so the tortillas stay crispy.
Chicken Quesadillas | Photo by Allrecipes magazine

Check out our collection of Quesadilla Recipes.


How to reheat ribs:

1. Oven. Add leftover ribs to a baking dish, cover tightly with aluminum foil, and bake on about 325 degrees F until nice and hot. If you like, brush some sauce on the ribs or spray with a little water vapor to add moisture.

2. Grill. This method is easier if you have a gas grill. Fire up the flames (medium low) on one side of the grill. Brush the leftover ribs with sauce and wrap them tightly in foil. Place the ribs on the other, flame-free side of the grill. Close the lid. Once the ribs are heated through, remove them from the foil, and, if you like, place them directly over the flames momentarily to create tasty grill marks.

Baked BBQ Baby Back Ribs | Photo by Chef John

Check out our collection of Rib Recipes.


How to reheat rice:

1. Stovetop, method 1. Add the leftover rice to a pan, separating the stuck-together rice with your fingers or with a fork. Add a little water to the pan, just enough to create a steamy environment. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and heat over low heat.
2. Stovetop, method 2. Leftover rice tends to dry out in the fridge. That's actually the good news -- because dry, leftover rice makes exceptional fried rice! Here's how to make amazing fried rice.

3. Microwave. Separate the rice with a fork or fingers, sprinkle a little water over the top, and zap it with 30 second blasts, stirring between rounds until heated through.

Pork Fried Rice | Photo by KGora

Check out our collection of Fried Rice Recipes.


How to reheat rotisserie chicken:

  • 1. Oven.Wrap it in aluminium foil and bake it in the oven at about 325 degrees until warmed through. This is the best way to reheat rotisserie chicken for moist meat. However, the skin will lose its crispy texture. For crispier skin, cut the chicken in half along the length of the breast bone, and place the halves skin-side up on a hot sheet-pan and bake at 400 degrees F.
  • For more ideas, check outRotisserie Chicken Recipes for Weeknight Dinners.


How to reheat scallops:

1. Method Varies. Leftover scallops are fragile creatures. If the scallops are part of another dish -- say, scallops and pasta -- remove the scallops, heat the pasta in the microwave or oven, and return the scallops to the hot dish, and stir everything up to combine. This works best if the scallops are allowed to come down to near room temperature.

Seared Scallops with Jalapeno Vinaigrette | Photo by Kim's Cooking Now

Check out our collection of Scallop Recipes.


How to reheat seafood:

1. Oven. Wrap leftover seafood in aluminum foil to keep it moist and reheat in the oven at about 300 degrees F.
2. Toaster oven. Again, same principal. A low temperature, wrapped in aluminum foil to retain moisture.
3. Microwave? Ugh.Don't even think about it if you're at the office. But in the comfort of your own home, have at it.

Sea Bass a la Michele | Photo by The Gruntled Gourmand

Check out our collection of Seafood Recipes.


How to reheat spaghetti and other pastas:

1. Oven. Put the leftover pasta and sauce in a covered baking dish and bake in the oven at about 350 degrees F.
2. Skillet. Add past and sauce to the skillet and slowly heat through over medium-low heat.
3. Microwave. Pasta and sauce do fine in the microwave. Again, cover the plate with a paper towel to avoid splatters and give it 30-second jolts until it's ready.
No Sauce? Now, if your pasta is plain -- if it's just spaghetti noodles -- try submerging it in boiling water for less than a minute. It doesn't take long to spring back into shape.

Spaghetti Alla Carbonara | Photo by Buckwheat Queen

Check out our collection of Spaghetti Recipes.


How to reheat steak:

  • 1. Stovetop.Try bringing your leftover steak down to room temperature and then quickly searing it in a hot skillet. We like a heavy, seasoned cast-iron pan for this operation.
  • 2. Oven.The trouble with reheating steak is that it tends to dry out. Wrap it in foil and pop it in the oven at low temperature.
  • 3. Don't.Instead, slice it into thin strips and serve it cold on a salad. For more ideas, explore12 Delicious Ways to Use up Leftover Steak.
Greek Flank Steak and Veggie Salad | Photo by Allrecipes magazine

Check out our collection of Steak Recipes.


How to reheat tamales:

1. Steamer. Arrange the leftover tamales in their husks in a steamer basket and set the basket over simmering water.
2. Microwave. Wave them at 30 second blasts in the husk, turning them over, and blasting again until done.

Sylvia's Pork Tamales | Photo by Baking Nana

Check out our collection of Tamale Recipes.


How to reheat turkey:

1. Oven. Turkey breast meat in particular tends to dry out. If you have leftover gravy, too, try cutting the turkey into slices, combining it with the gravy in a casserole dish and heating it in the oven with the lid on, about 325 degrees F. You can also heat leg, thigh, wing portions in the oven, loosely wrapped in aluminum foil.
2. Microwave. As above, slice the turkey and combine with gravy in a microwave-safe dish, and nuke it at 30 second blasts, stirring and reheating until done.

Roast Spatchcock Turkey | Photo by Kelly Cline

Check out our collection of Turkey Recipes.