The Best Way to Reheat a Steak

(Image credit: Maria Siriano)

While we can’t ignore the virtues of sliced cold leftover steak, sometimes a warm meal calls. The trick to reheating last night’s steak like a champ is warming it through while maintaining the same tender bite (and not overcooking or drying it out). Here’s the best method for reheating steak so it’s as enjoyable the second time around as it was the first.

Reheat Sous Vide-Style, Then Sear (If You Like)

There are plenty of methods for reheating steak, but when your goal is to enjoy that juicy, tender piece of meat without drying it out, it’s time to borrow some tactics from sous-vide cooking. Don’t worry — there’s no sous-vide machine necessary. All you need is a sealable freezer bag, a pot of water, and an instant read thermometer.

Yes, This Method Is Safe

We’ve been told time and again that plastic and heat don’t mix, so what makes this method okay? The type of bag that’s used and the low-temperature cooking give this method of reheating the green light. Most brand-name sealable bags are made from polyethylene, which means they don’t contain plasticizers and estrogen-like compounds (another common concern when cooking with plastic), and don’t have BPAs or phthalates that will leach into your food. And similar to sous-vide cooking, this method for reheating steak requires a low temperature (use your instant-read thermometer); you shouldn’t go much higher than 130°F.

Learn More About Sous-Vide Cooking

First, Bring Steak to Room Temperature

Cooking a cold piece of meat is advised against, and the same goes for reheating a steak. As a rule of thumb, don’t reheat your leftover steak straight from the fridge. Remove the meat from the fridge and let it come to room temperature for about 30 minutes before reheating. This will cut down the time the meat is exposed to heat, which will help avoid overcooking.

How to Do It

Place the unsliced meat in the freezer bag, squeeze as much of the air out as possible, and seal. Warm a pot of water over low heat until it reaches about 130°F. Immerse the bag in the water without leaning it against the edge of the pot and without the water temperature rising too high. The water should not even come to a simmer. Cook until the meat is warmed through, about five minutes. Total time will vary based on the size and amount of meat.

It’s also possible to achieve the charred, crisp edges of a freshly cooked steak. All it takes is a quick sear on the stovetop, once the meat is reheated through. After the steak is warm, remove it from the bag, pat dry with a paper towel, and then sear each side for about a minute over high heat in a frying pan coated with a thin layer of neutral cooking oil.

Why It Works

The low, gentle heat raises the temperature of the meat, slowly preventing it from easily overcooking. The closed environment also helps the meat retain its moisture, which in turn leaves you with a juicy piece of meat.

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