How to Reheat Steak Without Turning It into Shoe Leather

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Last night was one for the books. You carefully placed a juicy steak in your skillet, watching with glee as it sizzled. You then gazed at it lovingly as it rested, before enjoying that first bite, so succulent and tender. Yep, a freshly-cooked steak is a thing of wonder which is why you’re now wondering if you can use those leftovers in the fridge to recreate that same ephemeral joy. We won't mince our words: A botched resurrection attempt will transform a beautiful piece of meat into a tough, chewy mess. But don’t despair—we have some tips for how to reheat steak so it stays sumptuous and satisfying.

How To Reheat Steak on the Stovetop

The stovetop boasts the ability to restore steak’s wonderful sear the second time around but because there is direct heat involved, the danger is that you may end up drying out the meat. To avoid this, sear only one side of the steak and do it quickly. Heat a skillet over high heat so it’s nice and hot before you add your leftovers. Then, put the steak in the center of the pan and let it sizzle in place for one minute only. Applying gentle pressure to the steak with a spatula will get a better sear but don’t overdo it or you'll squeeze out some of those precious juices. After sixty seconds, adjust the flame so that it’s very low, cover the pan and cook for one additional minute. Finally, remove the pan from the heat but wait another minute before removing the lid (and the steak). The residual heat from steps one and two will warm the steak through without cooking it past the point of no return. 

How To Reheat Steak in the Oven

Reheating your meat in the oven won’t get a well-seared exterior, but the steak will be so juicy and tender, you probably won’t even care. The oven is ideal because it allows for gentle warming at a temperature so low, you won’t have to worry about your lunch being too well-done for your taste. This method takes more time, but it’s easy and the results are worth the wait. To start, preheat the oven to 225°F or use the “warm” setting if your appliance has one. Once the oven is ready, outfit a shallow baking sheet with a roasting rack and place the steak on top. Cook for 20 to 30 minutes, but start taking the temperature of your meal at the 20-minute mark; when the internal temperature reaches 100°F, you’re good to go.

How To Reheat Steak Using the Sous-Vide Method

This technique is fancy, chef-preferred and hands-down the best way to reheat steak—if you have the proper equipment, that is. To give it a go, put the steak in an airtight, vacuum-sealed sous-vide bag and allow it to come to room temperature for roughly 20 minutes or so (depending on size). Fill a large pot with water and attach your sous vide machine according to instructions. This clever device will heat your water to the ideal temperature of approximately 120°F—hot but not simmering. Drop the vacuum bag directly into the water. After a six to eight-minute dip in a warm bath, your steak—heated with precision and care—will emerge a meat lover’s dream. 

How To Reheat Steak in the Microwave

Want to take a crack at reheating steak in the microwave? Don’t. Sorry for the bait-and-switch folks, but the news here is all bad. Your microwave might be a handy kitchen helper for many meals, but it will only blast away the life that is still left in last night’s steak. But if you really have no other option, be sure to tightly cover the dish to help retain moisture, and cook for no more than two minutes, turning the meat every thirty seconds. If you go this route, we recommend chopping the meat into easy-to-chew pieces and serving it with some veggies on a tortilla, fajita style.

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Freelance PureWow Editor

Emma Singer is a freelance contributing editor and writer at PureWow who has over 7 years of professional proofreading, copyediting and writing experience. At PureWow, she covers...