It is dinner time, and you peer into your fridge and let out a sad sigh as you see the leftover steak from the night before. You couldn’t bear to throw out the leftovers of such an expensive cut of meat, but you know that the steak will never reach its former juicy, tender glory. So there it sits–taking up space in your fridge, mocking you until you either toss it in the bin or reheat it into a rubbery substance more appropriate for the bottom of your shoe than your dinner plate.
But what if you could still have your steak and eat it, too? Well, I am happy to tell you that there are multiple methods to reheat your steak to retain its delicious taste, and I plan to walk you through them all step-by-step.
Whether you have a microwave, oven, stovetop, sous vide, or air fryer at your disposal, I will talk you through the best way to reheat steak so that you can enjoy your meal once again.
Using a large pan with a lid, add 1/4 cup of water and use a small wire rack or some other method to keep the steak out of the water and away from the direct heat. The lid will trap the steam and heat the steak to keep it moist and thoroughly reheat it.
Your steak is done when it has been warmed throughout and is at least 110 degrees Fahrenheit.
We’ve all experienced bad leftover steak. It is dry, rubbery, and you will probably end up chewing on it for a week and not getting anywhere. So how do we avoid that? How do we reheat steak the right way?
The first thing to know about how to reheat steak is what temperature we are looking for. While you can eat steak cold, you want to aim for 110 to 130 degrees Fahrenheit if you are reheating steak. This is not only a safe temperature for reheated steak but will also be a more pleasant dining experience for your taste buds.
The next thing you need to know is the real trick to reheated steak is making sure it doesn’t dehydrate. Often when warming up your leftover steak, the juices will be squeezed out of it from all the dry heat it gets exposed to. Since the juices are where the flavor is truly at, we will use various methods to retain your tender, juicy steak as is and lock in the flavor during the reheating process.
To be perfectly honest, reheating steak in the microwave is not the way to go if you have any other choices available to you. But sometimes, we are limited by our options and simply must make do. So, if you are stuck with a leftover steak and a microwave is your appliance of choice, here is what we are going to do:
First off, find a microwave-safe dish, preferably one with raised edges. Then slice your steak into uniform medium-sized chunks. By cutting up your steak in this way, you are allowing it to cook more evenly. If you popped the whole steak in, you would risk having it be cold in the center or drying out before it is done cooking.
Put your sliced beef on the microwave-safe dish. The next step is to add some additional moisture. We know that no matter what, the microwave will dehydrate your food, so we will introduce something else the microwave can target instead of your juicy steak.
We have a few options with this. The first is to just sprinkle some water on it–which is pretty straightforward. I do this with a lot of food I reheat in the microwave. Feel free to be generous with the water, but you don’t want your steak sitting in a puddle either.
Another option is to add both water and olive oil. Give the steak a quick spritz of both, and it should help retain the original flavor while introducing some new juices as well.
However, the best option is if you managed to think ahead the night before and retain some of the extra juice or beef broth from when you originally cooked the steak. If you still have that available, then you can just go wild and smother your steak in it before popping it into the microwave.
Whichever method you decided to introduce more moisture to your cold steak, you will want to cover your dish with a lightly damp paper towel. This has two purposes–the first is keeping your appliances clean because who wants to scrub the inside of their microwave when there is a steak you could be eating? And the second is to help capture the moisture and keep it from evaporating away.
As for microwaving steak, stick it in on medium heat for 30-second bursts until it reaches 110 degrees. This will typically take 3 or 4 tries depending on the thickness of your steak and the power of your appliance.
Reheating steak in the microwave is probably the quickest method, and now, by following these instructions, you will even be able to enjoy your reheated meal.
The stovetop is the classic way to reheat steak. You may be tempted to just throw in some oil or butter and sear the steak, but I would not recommend that.
Instead, grab a big pan with a lid. Taking your delicious steak, put it on the far side of the skillet so that the side is flush with the wall of the pan. Next, you want to adjust the pan so that the portion of the skillet where the steak is is as far from the burner as you can.
Take 1/4 cup of water and pour it into a skillet on the opposite side of the steak. You must avoid getting your steak wet on the other side of the pan. We want to take your meat on a trip to the sauna, not treat your steak to a dip in the pool.
Once this balancing act is figured out, place the skillet’s lid over it and turn the burner on to medium heat. The pan should heat up and create a delicious steamy oasis for your steak to cook in. You want to heat the steak until the internal temperature reaches 110 degrees. This should take about 10 minutes or 5 minutes per side after the steam is rising. This method should allow your steak to retain all of its delicious flavors while staying nice and tender.
The oven can be a great way to reheat cold steak without it turning into a rubbery disaster. You want to start by preheating the oven to 250 degrees as we are aiming to reheat it low and slow. Then place the steak on a wire rack on top of a baking sheet before sticking it in the oven.
Using an elevated wire rack on top of a baking sheet allows the air to move evenly around the steak in the oven. If you do not have a wire rack you can use in a baking sheet, you may want to try a different method of reheating your meat.
An optional way to make it even better is to put your steak on the wire rack on the top rack of the oven and a baking sheet with a shallow pool of water on the rack below it. This cuts down on some of the dry heat your oven produces while cooking your steak.
The downside to reheating steak using an oven is, of course, that it takes a lot longer than the other methods–typically around 30 minutes. However, if you have the time and patience, the oven is an excellent way to retain the juicy flavor of your meal.
If you want to go the extra mile, you can even pan-sear your steak to get a crispy char on it again. After taking the steak out of the oven, heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a skillet on medium to high heat. Once the oil is hot, carefully place the steak into the skillet and sear it for 30 seconds on each side.
For the extra fancy among you, you might consider using sous vide. Sous vide–which means “under vacuum” in French–is vacuum sealing food and cooking it in a water bath. Sous vide used to be limited to only high-end restaurants but has been gaining popularity in home kitchens over the years.
The first step is to place the steak in a strong, sealable freezer bag with a healthy pat of butter. Squeeze the bag of all excess air and seal it up tight before letting it rest on the counter to let it come to room temperature. While the steak is getting to room temperature, fill a large pot with water and attach your sous vide.
Heat the pot according to the instructions for the sous vide. Usually, this is around 120 degrees F. The water should be lightly steaming but not boiling. After the steak has reached room temperature and your water is ready, place the airtight bag into the pot and let it sit for 5 to 8 minutes while keeping it away from the edges of the pot. Your steak is done when it has been warmed throughout and is at least 110 degrees Fahrenheit.
It is currently estimated that over 40% of American households have an air fryer. As these nifty new gadgets become more and more common in households, you might consider cooking your leftover steak in one.
Air fryers work by blowing hot air around the perforated basket, cooking food more evenly. But don’t worry, despite the name, air fryers are more akin to convection ovens than deep fryers. They also have the bonus of being quick, easy, and convenient, allowing you to save time on your dinner.
To reheat steak in an air fryer, you will want to make sure you have a meat thermometer available. The temperature we will be looking for is between 110 and 130 degrees Fahrenheit.
You want to put the steak into the air fryer for quick 3 minute long bursts at 370 degrees. This allows the air fryer to reheat the steak but will hopefully avoid dehydrating it. After each 3 minute burst, you should check the internal temperature using your meat thermometer. If it has reached 110 degrees, then you are all set to enjoy your lovely steak again. If not, pop it into the tray again and give it another go.
The first option is just to not reheat your steak. There is nothing wrong with eating a cold steak. Simply take your leftovers, cut the meat into thin slices, toss it in a salad, or make yourself a tasty sandwich. You could even top it with some parmesan, capers, olive oil, and balsamic vinaigrette.
Whether you reheat steak or eat it cold, it is perfectly safe to consume as long as it spent less than 2 hours in the “danger zone.” The FDA defines the danger zone as 40 and 140 degrees F. If your steak had spent longer than 2 hours at room temperature before you were able to pop it into the fridge. It is best to not save your tasty cooked steak and just throw it out. No matter how good your steak was, it is simply better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your food.
If you can eat your steak without reheating it, why bother learning how to reheat steak? Well, not everyone enjoys cold food as much. This occurs because part of our sense of taste actually overlaps with our sense of smell. For most of us, it’s a less enjoyable dining experience when you can’t smell the mouthwatering aromas of your beautiful steak. The good news is, a properly reheated steak is a fine meal and not too complicated.
So let’s get to the meat of this article and break down the best methods for reheating your beef.
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Whether you have a microwave, stove, oven, air fryer, or sous vide at your disposal, you should now have the knowledge necessary to reheat steak to perfection. Whether baking it low and slow in the oven or zapping it fast in the microwave for a quick meal of leftovers. No matter which method you decide on, just remember to trap in that flavor and enjoy your meal.
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