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Food & Recipes

Food Network Chef: The #1 Mistake People Make When Reheating Steak

The easy oven secret that guarantees juicy, tender leftovers

We love a nice steak dinner — and when you don’t finish your steak, having leftovers the next day is a real treat. But reheating a delicious cut of steak only for it to be tough, dry and flavorless is a huge disappointment, especially since it can feel like a waste of money. That’s why we turned to the food pros to get their best tips and tricks. Keep scrolling to learn their easy secrets for how to reheat steak.

The absolute best way to reheat steak in the oven

“Reheating your steak in the oven is the most foolproof method to ensure your leftovers are as flavorful and tender as they were the night before,” says Courtney Rada, chef and host of Carnivorous on Food Network. The key: Letting your steak warm up slowly. The mistake that typically happens — especially when you’re in a hurry — is that people heat up meat too quickly, which ends up drying it out.

Rada’s other secret to reheat steak? She puts the steak on a wire rack set inside a baking dish (like you’d use for a casserole) instead of placing it right on the dish. Giving the meat a little bit of a lift allows the oven air to circulate around all sides at once, helping it reheat evenly and keep from drying out. You can also use a baking sheet or any pan you have on hand — just be sure it has a lip around the edges so no juices spill into your oven.

Chef Courtney Rada talking about how to reheat steak
Chef Courtney RadaJennifer Boomer

Before you tackle this method, make sure you allow yourself enough time: Reheating your steak in the oven takes about 20 minutes. And for the absolute tastiest results, Rada has one last trick: Finish with a quick sear in a skillet over high heat for one to two minutes before serving. That gives the steak a nice char on the outside.

Here’s how to reheat steak in the oven in seven easy steps:

  1. Preheat the oven to 250°F.
  2. Get a baking dish and place a sturdy wire rack inside of the baking dish. 
  3. Place your leftover steak on top of the wire rack and place the baking dish in the preheated oven.
  4. Cook the steaks until the internal temperature reaches about 100°F to 110°F. In general, this takes about 20 minutes.
  5. Heat up a skillet with a small amount of butter or oil (or large amount if you’re feeling extra decadent).
  6. Remove the steaks from the oven and place them directly into the heated pan.
  7. Sear the steaks on each side until browned. This should be about 1 minute on each side.

Don’t want to fire up the oven? Try an air fryer

If you’re in a hurry and/or would rather not fire up the oven, consider reheating your steak in an air fryer. Air fryers are the ultimate tool for cooking with ease and versatility. They can do it all — but because they cook things quickly, you might worry that they might dry out your leftover steak.

Chef and blogger Emmeline Kemperyd says that you can ensure tender steak in the air fryer with a few simple tricks. “The most important thing is to not heat it too long,” she says on her website, Always Use Butter. “Reheat in increments and remove from the air fryer when it’s a few degrees shy of heated through.” She also recommends slicing your steak so it reheats faster. Here is Kemperyd’s step-by-step for reheating steak in the air fryer:

  1. Preheat air fryer by running it for 5 minutes at 360 degrees
  2. Place in air fryer basket and cook for 2-3 minutes
  3. Check to see if heated through; if not, add another minute until cooked to desired level

Short on time? Reheat steak in the microwave

If you want to eat ASAP, you can use the microwave to reheat your steak. It’s not necessarily the ideal method as it can quickly overcook meat, but if you need to save time, Rada has a few tricks that help guarantee best results. The key, she says, is to add as much moisture as you can back into the dish to keep your steak from turning into a hockey puck.

“If you’re cooking at home, make sure to save your juices from the night before, as these will be the key ingredient for making tomorrow’s leftovers taste as good as new,” Rada says. Here, she shows us in four easy steps how to reheat steak in the microwave. 

  1. Place the cold steak in a deep, microwave-safe dish.
  2. Drizzle your meat with some leftover steak juices (or whatever your preferred steak sauce of choice may be).
  3. Cover the steak with a microwave-safe lid or plastic wrap.
  4. Microwave the steak on low to medium power in 30-second increments until your steak reaches desired temperature.

Want extra-tender results? Try sous vide

If you want to ensure that your steak stays as buttery-tender and sliceable as it was the night before, the stove method might be best for you, according to Rada. She uses a “sous vide” method, which involves slowly heating food in water bath. Here, she goes over the basic steps you need to know about how to reheat steak on the stove:

  1. Let your meat to come to room temperature. (About 30 minutes outside of the fridge should do the trick.)
  2. Bring a pot of water to a low heat, about 130°F. 
  3. Place your leftover steak in an airtight freezer bag; seal.
  4. Immerse your freezer bag (with the steak in it) in the warmed pot. Make sure the steak is not leaning up against the edge of the pot.
  5. Cook the steak until the meat is warmed through. This should take about 5 minutes. 
  6. Sear the steak on a warmed skillet with a small amount of butter or oil. This gives your steak the perfect charred exterior.

There you have it: Four straightforward, no-fuss methods for reheating last night’s steak dinner. Just grab your favorite wine and reheat a handful of crispy French fries or a leftover baked potato, and you have a mouthwatering meal ready to go! And now that you know the expert tips for keeping your steak tender and full of flavor, you’ll never have to worry about tossing out a prime cut of meat gain. 

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