When the weather is hot, cooking isn't always appealing. Eating is still appealing, of course, but heating up the kitchen or even firing up the grill simply doesn't sound like fun. If a cold meal is what you want, consider taking these leftovers straight from the fridge to your plate. They'll taste even better cold than they did right out of the oven.

Takeout Chinese food

Cold egg fried rice makes for a delicious breakfast. Cold egg fried rice makes for a delicious breakfast. (Photo: Kristen Brenemen/flickr)

There's something about cold Chinese takeout that's appealing. It works well as a late-night or after-school snack, and its greasiness also makes it a satisfying hangover food — or so I've been told.


leftover-chines-food Stuffing is good cold alone or on a Thanksgiving sandwich. (Photo: Christopher Conell/flickr)

The days after Thanksgiving usually provide leftover gold, especially in the form of cold stuffing that you can simply stick a fork in and enjoy or pile into a Thanksgiving sandwich. My family has been known to cook a turkey breast, make some stuffing and open a can of cranberry sauce just to have these cold sandwiches in the middle of summer.


leftover-meatball sandwich Cold meatloaf with ketchup and fresh bread makes a mean sandwich. (Photo: su-lin/flickr)

Many people consider cold meatloaf, especially in sandwich form, to be better than meatloaf hot out of the oven. Making two meatloaves at once is just as easy as making one, and then there will be extra for leftovers.

Corn off the cob

corn-off-cob Cold kernels of corn are little golden nuggets of crunchy refreshment. (Photo: Gabriel Acevedo/flickr)

Cold corn on the cob is not so appetizing, but take those kernels off the cob and pop them in the fridge for a quick, crunchy, refreshing snack.

Leftover pizza

leftover-pizza Leftover pizza makes packing school lunches a cinch. (Photo: Melissa/flickr)

Some like their leftover pizza room temperature and some like it cold out of the refrigerator, but almost everyone agrees that reheating isn't always necessary. Leftover pizza is one of the quickest, easiest things to pack for lunch, too.

Fried chicken

fried-chicken Pop cold fried chicken in a picnic basket. (Photo: Drburtoni/flickr)

Fried chicken is good when it's hot and crispy, but once it gets lukewarm, it's not so good. Stick it in the refrigerator, though, let it get chilly and it's great again. It's a perfect picnic food when kept chilled. Rotisserie chicken is pretty good cold, too.

Frozen candy

reeves-frozen You can't go wrong with frozen Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. (Photo: Melissa H./flickr)
Straying from the leftover category for this last pick, cold or frozen candy is so popular that many mini-marts keep some of their candy bars in the refrigerated section. Reese's, Snickers, Milky Ways and other candy bars that should probably be only once-in-a-while treats are an even better treat when they come straight from the freezer — especially during the summer.

Of course, what tastes better cold than hot is subjective. Not everyone will agree with my choices here. Which foods do you think make better cold leftovers than hot dishes?

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