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How to Reheat American Takeout Food

Aug 12th, 2022

We’ve all been there. 

Boxes of half-eaten takeout food piling up in the fridge with the faint hope that the quickly-softening fries might still be good tomorrow, or that the extra egg rolls would magically seem as crispy and delicious as the day we got them. 

But alas, it’s not meant to be. Our $15 burger loses its taste, the pad Thai gets soggy, the paninis collapse and our delicious takeout food turns to dust before our very eyes. All because we don’t know how to make them taste as good as they did before.

Well, it may not be as dramatic as that, but the sentiment rings true. Chucking our food in the microwave might warm it up, but it doesn’t bring it back to its prime. 

Luckily, though, we’ve found some tried-and-true ways to heat up classic American takeout food like burgers, fries, breakfast sandwiches, fried chicken and more so that it actually tastes good again! Give these tips and tricks a go and see how it totally changes your takeout game!

How to reheat burgers, burritos, fries, pizza & chicken

How to reheat burgers

When it comes to reheating takeout burgers, your aim should be to prevent the bread and toppings from feeling soggy and flat. That’s hard to do in a microwave, which doesn’t have any crisping functions.

The best way to go is the good old oven method, which will evenly heat your burger without burning it or making it too moist. 

First, take your burger out of the fridge and allow it to sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes. Separate the components of your burger and place the burger patties and buns on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Heat the components in an oven at 350° Fahrenheit for about 6-7 minutes or until warm. 

You want to keep the vegetables fresh and crisp, so keep them out of the oven. Either add them back into the burger after it’s done heating or replace them with fresh pieces! 

By the end of it all, you’re left with a toasty bun, juicy burger and crispy veggies— almost as good as the minute you bought it!

How to reheat fries

Contrary to popular belief, fries are most certainly not a lost cause once they become cold and soggy.

For the best results, use your air fryer to heat up your leftover fries. Preheat the appliance to 350° Fahrenheit and heat the leftovers in a single layer in the basket for about four minutes. Check on them every 30 seconds after that if they’re still not to your liking.

How to reheat breakfast sandwiches

In this case, you’ll want to reheat the components of a breakfast sandwich separately so that you don’t make everything soggy and bland.

Just like you would with a burger, separate the components of your breakfast sandwich and heat the bun and patty in the oven at 350° Fahrenheit for about 10 minutes. If you have a piece of scrambled egg patty, then you can put that in the oven, too. Using a microwave will make the egg taste rubbery, so avoid that method if you can.

You could also use a panini press to reheat your breakfast sandwich. Just make sure to use a medium-low setting so that you don’t burn the bread before the inside is fully warmed. 

How to reheat pizza

Reheating a pizza is tricky because, unlike burgers, you can’t really separate any of the components and heat them in their own ways. 

The key here is to get a nice, crispy crust with warm sauce, gooey cheese and hot toppings. And, luckily, there are a few different directions you can take for getting that perfect takeout slice.

If you just have a few slices to heat up, then you can use a skillet or nonstick pan on high heat. Once the pan is hot, add the pizza slices and reduce the heat to medium. Covering the pan will allow the steam to build up and melt the cheese on top while still keeping the crust crispy, but make sure to keep an eye on the pizza to make sure it doesn’t burn. Around four minutes will usually do, but feel free to add time if the pizza isn’t quite to your liking. 

If you have a larger amount of pizza, then you can reheat it just as you would a frozen pizza — in an oven!

Preheat your oven to 425° Fahrenheit and place your pizza on a baking sheet lined with foil. Bake your pizza for around 10 minutes until the cheese starts to look gooey, then add time if you need it warmer. 

How to reheat fried chicken

The best way to reheat fried chicken is, you guessed it, by frying it again! This time, though, you can use your trusty air fryer. 

Preheat your air fryer to 375° Fahrenheit and allow the chicken to come to room temperature. Heat the chicken for around 4 minutes, turning it once in the middle to ensure the food heats evenly. 

How to reheat tacos & burritos

The best way to reheat tacos is to try and separate its components as much as you can. 

Remove the toppings from a taco and warm the tortillas in the oven at 375° Fahrenheit for around 15 minutes. If you have warm fillings, you can warm them in a skillet until hot and crispy. Once everything is heated to your liking, you can add the toppings back in and enjoy!

If you have a burrito, then you’re in luck! This is arguably the easiest food to reheat, and all you need is some extra tinfoil. Wrap your burrito in foil (if it doesn’t already come wrapped in foil) and heat in the oven at 225° Fahrenheit for about 30 minutes. These need to be cooked low and slow so that the thick centers get warmed properly, so you may need to add a few minutes to the total cook time if you’ve got a larger, more dense burrito.

There’s plenty more takeout out there to reheat, but this is a good start to keeping our leftovers lasting longer and tasting better than ever!


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Featured photo courtesy Pixabay/mac231

Author of Article

Colleen Ford is a South African who now lives in Spokane, Washington. She loves to travel, camp (in warm weather) and bake.

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