The microwave is the quickest and easiest ways to reheat food, but it doesn’t always produce the best results. Sure, the food gets hot, but it also can get soggy or rubbery. If all your leftovers go into the microwave, you’re reheating many of them wrong.

Want to reheat food so you’ll forget you’re eating leftovers? Try these tips.

reheating pizza on a pizza stonePizza

When you want to reheat pizza, the worst thing you can do is stick it in the microwave. Putting it in the oven on a pizza stone or baking sheet is a better option, but if you want to reheat pizza to perfection, a skillet is your best friend.

The trick is to crisp the bottom of the crust in the skillet for a few minutes, then add a few drops of water, cover, and allow the steam to melt the cheese. Food52 has specific directions and some additional tips on what type of skillet to use and more.

French fries

French fries that have been deep fried are difficult to re-crisp. The microwave will simply turn them into rubbery mess and make you want to cry. Like pizza, the skillet is what you want to use to bring life back to the fries you brought home from a restaurant.

A skillet, a little high-smoke oil (like canola), and your fries are all you need. You can probably figure out how to do it yourself, but if you’d like a little instruction, check out Wishful Chef's post on getting leftover French fries crispy again.

Or, you could try heating up your waffle iron and reheating your French fries in it.


My favorite thing to do with leftover steak is to slice it thin and use it as a topping for flatbread with blue cheese. If you want to reheat the steak to eat it as a steak, though, it can be done. The best method is not quick, but you’re going for quality not speed here.

America’s Test Kitchen, the organization that works to develop the absolute best recipes and cooking methods, recommends a low-heat oven to reheat the leftover steak through, and then finishing it off in a skillet with a little oil.

reheating pasta in a skilletPasta

The best method to reheat pasta depends on whether it has sauce on it or not.

For plain, cooked leftover pasta, the best way to reheat it is by submerging it quickly in boiling water, according to Reader’s Digest.

If you’re pasta has tomato or cream sauce on it, Popsugar recommends a skillet. You can’t just throw the pasta in and reheat it, though. You’ll need to add some moisture in the form of butter, milk or water, depending on the type of sauce.

reheating corn on the cob in boiling waterCorn on the cob

In the summer, fresh corn on the cob is one of the best treats around. It’s easy to get excited and cook too much. That’s not a problem. There are plenty of ways to reuse leftover corn on the cob, including reheating it right on the cob.

Corn on the cob is easy to reheat on the stove. Boil a pot of water, and submerge the cooked corn in the boiling water until it’s just heated through. It should only take a minute or two.

Baked potatoes

Baked potatoes are one of those foods that truly are better off being turned into something new, like double baked potatoes. They can be reheated, though, and this is the one food on this list where the microwave is a good choice. Slice the baked potato in half (so it heats evenly), place a damp paper towel over it, and microwave it on medium until it’s heated through. How long will depend on the size of the potato.

Where many people go wrong with reheating baked potatoes isn’t with the heating method, but with storage of the cooked potatoes until they're ready to be reheated. They shouldn’t be left out at room temperature after they’ve cooled, yet some people leave them unrefrigerated. According to the Penn State Extension service, this could cause botulism, particularly if the potatoes are left in tin foil where air can’t get to them. 

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Pizza photo: /Shutterstock; corn photo: /Shutterstock; pasta photo: /Shutterstock

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.