If you find yourself with leftover steak, of course you are not going to throw it in the trash. Steak can be pricey and it is so delicious, so nobody in their right mind would waste it like that.
Thus, it is important to know how to properly reheat your extra steak without accidentally overcooking it, which can be a tricky thing to do at times, especially when you are using certain heating methods.
This article will detail how to heat up steak that has been in your fridge in such a way that you do not heat it too much, nor do it in such a way that your steak loses a bunch of its moisture and tenderness.
It will take you through the heating steps for using a searing method, a pot with water, an oven, both your oven and stove top, a toaster oven, a microwave, a crockpot, and your grill.
After you learn how to reheat steak, you will be provided with a couple of delicious ideas for using up your leftover steak.
Tips to Start
Before we delve into the methods for heating up your leftover steak without overcooking it, there are a few pieces of information you should know.
First, you can reduce the risk of overcooking your steak by taking it out of the fridge and letting it sit out on the counter for about a half hour before you use your chosen heating method. This helps to gradually change the meat’s temperature.
The second tip only applies if you know you will be eating the steak later rather than immediately after you cook it.
If you plan to eat it later, you can use your best judgment to stop cooking it around a minute before it is done. This gives you more room for reheating the steak without cooking it too much.
How to Reheat Steak
Now that you have a couple of general tips in mind, let’s take a look at just how you can heat up your leftover steak without cooking it too much by accident.
First, we will look at using the stove top alone to reheat the meat.
1 – Stove Top Searing
When you are using the stove to reheat steak and other meats, it is smart to add about a teaspoon of butter or oil to the pan. This will keep your steak from sticking to it, and it will help add moisture while some of the existing moisture gets cooked out of it.
Put your chosen form of fat into the pan over medium-low heat, and let it melt if it is butter and simply heat up if you are using oil. Once it is warm, put your steak into the pan, and add a lid on top to cover it.
It should take about a minute for each side to reheat, but to avoid overcooking the steak, leading it to become tough and dry, you can check how hot it is after about 30 seconds.
This method is very efficient since it does not take long at all, and the stovetop both heats and sears your steak, so it is almost like eating it after it was freshly cooked.
2 – Sous Vide-Style
For this reheating method, all you need is a large pot full of water and your stovetop, along with a big freezer bag that is sealable and a bit of salted butter.
First, put your leftover steak into the freezer bag with a bit of butter, and squeeze as much air from the bag as you can before sealing it. You should leave this out on your counter at room temperature for about 20 minutes to a half hour.
Next, heat your big pot of water on the stove until it reaches a temperature between 120 and 130 degrees Fahrenheit. This should be just before it simmers, though you do not want the water to actually start simmering.
Put your sealed bag with the steak and butter into the pot of hot water for five to eight minutes. This method is wonderful for reheating steak evenly without it losing its moisture and tenderness, and it is much easier to keep the meat from overcooking this way.
After you have heated the steak in the hot water, feel free to also sear both sides of the meat on the stove in a pan. It should take about a minute for each side to get crispy and browned.
3 – Oven to Stove
One of the best ways to reheat your leftover steak is by using both the oven and stove top. You will want to utilize a slow cooking method to do this so that you do not lose a lot of moisture from your meat nor accidentally overcook it.
Set the oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit, and let it preheat while your steak is sitting on the counter. Next, put the steak on a baking sheet with a cooling rack, which will prevent you from having to flip the meat in the middle of the heating process.
After 25 to 30 minutes, take your steak out of the oven. Put about a tablespoon of butter or oil in a pan on the stove over medium-high heat, and after it has gotten hot to the point of barely smoking, place the steak into the pan.
Sear each side of the meat for around a minute.
4 – Oven
You can follow the same steps as the oven-to-stove method above, but simply skip the searing step at the end that involves the stove top. To reheat your steak in the oven alone, let it preheat at 250 degrees Fahrenheit, and use a baking sheet and cooling rack to place the steak on.
After the oven has finished preheating, put the steak into it for 30 to 35 minutes. You can start to check the meat around 25 minutes in to see if it is sufficiently heated and avoid overcooking it.
5 – Microwave
Using a microwave to reheat your steak should really be your last option. This is because using this appliance is the most difficult way to reheat meat without overcooking it or making it super dry, and everyone knows that microwaves often change the taste and texture of foods.
However, if this happens to be the only way you can heat up your leftover steak, if you incorporate a moist paper towel while warming up the meat, it can help distribute the heat more evenly and hold moisture in more effectively.
Simply set your leftover steak on a microwave-safe plate, put a piece of paper towel that is slightly wet on top of your steak, and make sure your microwave is on its medium heat setting before using it.
You can run the microwave in 30-second increments, flipping the piece of steak every time a half-minute passes. This will help prevent you from overcooking it.
Repeat this process until your leftover steak is adequately heated. It typically takes between a minute and a half to two minutes in total.
6 – Crockpot
If you have a crockpot and are not in too big of a hurry to heat up your leftover steak, you can pop your meat in there to warm it up. Make sure to cover it with the lid.
If you would like, you can also spread a thin layer of butter or oil on the bottom of the crockpot to prevent the steak from sticking to it. However, you will be heating it at a low temperature, so it should not stick too terribly much, even without butter or oil.
Set your crockpot to its low heat setting, and slowly warm up the steak, checking periodically to see if it is sufficiently heated through. It should take 20 to 30 minutes to warm up.
Since you are heating the meat slowly, you should easily be able to prevent the steak from cooking too much. Like with the sous vide-style method, if you wish, you can sear the meat on the stove in a pan after you remove it from your crockpot.
7 – Grill
Although grilling your leftover steak to reheat it is not advised, sometimes it might be the only option you have. The reason you should not use this method unless it is your only option is because it is more difficult to control how much heat you are applying to the steak, since there are no heat settings on a grill (unless you are using a propane grill).
Get your grill nice and hot before you place the steak on the rack. You can use a thermometer to make sure it has reached 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Sear each side of the leftover steak for about a minute, then pull the steak away from the direct heat of the flames, and close the grill for a few minutes, or until the steak is adequately heated up.
You can check the temperature of the meat every minute or so to keep it from overcooking.
8 – Toaster Oven
If you live in a very small studio apartment or dorm that does not include an oven, you can always utilize a toaster oven to reheat your steak. You would use it in the same way you would an oven.
Place your leftover steak in the toaster oven set to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Let the meat heat up for about a half hour at this low temperature, slowly warming up to perfection without overcooking.
You should flip the piece of steak halfway through the cooking time, so around 15 minutes in, to ensure it gets heated evenly. Feel free to periodically check the meat to see how hot it is.
Ways to Use Leftover Steak
There are so many meals you can create with steak that it was difficult to only include a few in this article. The two ideas provided for you are many people’s favorites: steak fajitas and a Philly cheese steak sandwich.
With these two meal ideas, you can use up all of your leftover steak quickly, and you can switch up your meals instead of simply eating the steak on its own.
Steak fajitas are so easy to make, especially if you already have leftover cooked steak on hand. That is what makes this such a great option for using that leftover meat.
Cut your steak into strips after reheating it, sautée some sliced green peppers, onions, and red peppers, and warm up a few flour tortillas. You can also add a few spices to the vegetables as they are sautéing, such as cayenne pepper and chili powder.
Next, simply put the peppers, onions, and strips of steak onto the warm tortillas, and add any toppings you would like. Some favorites include sour cream, guacamole, and salsa.
Philly Cheesesteak Sandwich
If you are in the mood for a sandwich featuring steak, this is one of the best options. Cheese and steak together are just so tasty.
All you need is your heated steak, a couple slices of provolone cheese (or any kind of cheese that you want to include), and whatever bread roll you prefer. You can also put some diced yellow onion on the sandwich.
Slice up your leftover steak into thin pieces. If you are using onion, you can sauté the diced pieces in a pan with the sliced steak before adding them to the sandwich.
Place the thinly sliced steak onto your bread roll, and add the cheese on top. You can throw the sandwich in the oven set to 250 degrees Fahrenheit for about 10 minutes to melt the cheese and toast the bread a bit.
You should realize now that if you have some leftover steak sitting in your fridge, you can easily warm it up and make it taste just as good as it was when it was cooked the first time. The key is using a low temperature and slow-cooking the meat to perfection.
Once you have mastered reheating leftover steak, you will probably find yourself making meat ahead of time quite often from here on out. It is so efficient to warm up meat that has previously been cooked.
Ben has a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering. When not constructing or remodeling X-Ray Rooms, Cardiovascular Labs, and Pharmacies, you can find him at home with wife and two daughters. Outside of family, He loves grilling and barbequing on his Big Green Egg and Blackstone Griddle, as well as working on projects around the house.
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