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How to Reheat Cooked Meat

Updated July 23, 2018

Reheated cooked meat may not always be as juicy and tender as when it was originally cooked, but the prevention of food-borne illnesses should be your first priority when eating or serving leftovers. Food poisoning happens when food becomes contaminated with harmful bacteria. Proper cooking, cooling, storage and reheating all play a part in preventing the spread of mild or severe food-borne illnesses. Cool leftover meat in portions that are small enough to reach room temperature in less than two hours. Store in clean containers in the refrigerator and plan to eat your leftovers in four days or less.

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  1. Place the meat in a clean, oven-safe dish. Never store or reheat meat in the same dish it which it was cooked.

  2. Spoon a small amount of water, broth, sauce or gravy onto the meat --- just enough to moisten it slightly. If using leftover cooking liquids or gravy, first bring the liquids to a rolling boil, which is a boil that cannot eliminated by stirring.

  3. Cover the dish with aluminium foil and place it in a preheated 350-degree Fahrenheitoven. Cook it until the internal temperature reads 73.9 degrees Celsius on a meat thermometer --- this is the temperature recommended for all leftovers by the United States Department of Agriculture Food and Safety Inspection Service.

  4. Put the meat in a microwave-safe dish and moisten with fresh water or broth or boiled, leftover cooking liquids such as gravy or sauce.

  5. Place a microwave-safe wrap such as waxed paper over the dish. Avoid covering the dish too tightly to allow openings for steam to escape. Cook on full power for one to five minutes, depending on the amount of meat you're reheating.

  6. Allow the dish to stand for half the amount of time it cooked, and check the internal temperature.

  7. Tip

    Read the manufacturer's directions before using your meat thermometer. For general use, place the food thermometer in the thickest part of the meat, avoiding bone or fat. If the meat is oddly shaped, take readings from several areas for the most accurate assessment.


    Use only microwave-safe wraps in the microwave oven.

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Things You'll Need

  • Oven-safe dish
  • Aluminium foil
  • Microwave-safe dish
  • Microwave-safe wrap
  • Meat thermometer

About the Author

Jo Burns has been a freelance writer since 1980. She specializes in articles relating to home and garden, alternative health care, travel, writing and crafting. In 2007, Burns received an M.F.A. in creative writing.

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