Steak is one of the most satisfying—and expensive—items on any menu. But if you've ever tried to wrap this dish up for later, you'll know that it never quite lives up to its memory the next day.

The problem isn't the steak: your mouthwatering New York Strip is in the fridge, waiting to be returned to yesterday's glory. But if reheated the wrong way, what was once a perfect medium-rare can be overcooked in no time. Steak can become tough, chewy and lose its flavor, leaving you with an unappealing piece of meat.

How to Reheat Steak
Photo by Rachel Johnson

We tested several methods in order to determine the best way to reheat steak while maintaining the same exceptional flavor and texture:

How to Reheat Steak in the Microwave

As easy as it is to throw something in the microwave and forget about it for two minutes, you won't want to do this with steak. Haphazardly microwaving steak will dry it out, and cause the fat to seize into tough, chewy bits. If you do decide to microwave steak—whether it's the only reheat option in your workplace or you're committed to a low-effort day at home—here are some tricks for a great experience.

Start by placing the steak on a microwave-safe plate and loosely place a slightly damp paper towel on top. This will capture any remaining moisture, preventing your steak from drying out. Make sure that your microwave is set to medium heat and cook the steak in 30 second intervals, flipping the steak in between. This will keep the reheating process even, and will prevent your steak from overcooking. Do this for 90 seconds to 2 minutes. The exact time will vary depending on how powerful your microwave is and how thick the steak is.

The result is a steak that is juicy and still full of flavor. It may not be crisp—or exactly as good as it was yesterday—but it will still make Barb from accounting jealous of last night's leftovers.

We also tested adding a small pat of salted butter on top of the steak; while it did re-introduce some moisture and flavor, most of the butter sits on the bottom of the plate and makes the reheated steak greasier than necessary.

How to Reheat Steak on the Stovetop

We found that cooking steak on the stovetop is a great way to retain the outside sear. Place the steak in a pan with a teaspoon of oil over medium-low heat and cover the pan with a lid for a few seconds to circulate some heat throughout the meat. Remember that just like with the microwave, cooking steak too fast and at too high a temperature will dry it out.

With this method, it's best to drop the expectation that your steak will ever be right-out-of-the-pan fresh and juicy. To make the most out of the previously cooked steak, chop it into bite-sized pieces and add it to fresh recipes like a Steak and Egg Hash or a Fajita Quesadilla.

How to Reheat Steak: Oven to Stovetop

Out of all tested methods, this oven-and-pan-sear method will get you the best juice-to-crisp ratio for your steak:

Start by setting your oven to 250°F—this low temperature will retain your steak's juices. Grab a shallow baking sheet and place a steady cooling rack inside of it. This will help distribute heat evenly around the entire steak without you having to flip it. Put the steak on the rack and pop it in the oven for about 25 to 30 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches about 100-110°F.

Next, swirl a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a medium frying pan or cast iron skillet and place it on the stovetop over medium-high heat. Add your steak to the frying pan once the oil is almost smoking. Allow the steak to cook for about 60 seconds on each side—just enough time to get a crispy exterior without overcooking. Allow to rest 5-10 before slicing.

How to Reheat Steak Sous Vide-Style

The Sous Vide method is just as great for reheating steak as it is for cooking it. Start by placing your leftover steak in a sealable freezer bag with a small pat of salted butter. Squeeze out as much air as possible and allow the steak to come to room temperature, about 20-30 minutes. Once the refrigerator's chill is off the steak, the less time it will take for the beef to reheat.

Next, fill a large stockpot with water and attach a Sous Vide according to the machine's instructions. The water should be about 120°F to 130°F—warm enough for some steam to rise from the pot (note that the water should not reach a simmer). Place the airtight bag in the pot away from the edges and cook for about 5-8 minutes, or until the meat is gently warmed through. This gentle cooking method will keep your meat juicy, and prevent it from overcooking.

If you want a crisp exterior, thoroughly pat dry and pan-sear your steak for about 60 seconds on each side.

Set up for success:

Don't reheat your steak straight out of the fridge—have it sit out for about 30 minutes first. This will make it less likely for the steak to overcook and is an easy way to boost your chances of a successful reheating experience.

If you're looking to cook a cut of steak that you know you probably won't get to, purposefully undercook it by a minute. Cook for about three minutes on each side for a beautifully seared, medium-rare steak that your reheating appliance of choice won't overcook too much the next day.

Check out our collection of Beef Leftovers Recipes.