The Best Way to Reheat a Burger

You have had a splendid party in the backyard and there are plenty of hamburgers left over. You don’t want to throw them away, so you throw them in the refrigerator.  The next day, you wonder how to reheat these leftover burgers.

Don’t worry. People have been reheating hamburgers ever since they were invented. It really is a matter of reheating the meat while leaving the toppings apart so that they don’t get mushy. You know that you have reheated your burger well when your mouth is watering before you eat your reheated burger.

There are a lot of ways to reheat a burger, but what is the best way? The best way to reheat a burger is to disassemble the burger and heat the meat separate from the rest of the toppings. The bread can be reheated, but items such as the lettuce, tomato and pickle should not be reheated.

How to Clean Off Your Meat

Cleaning off the meat is key to having the most enjoyable leftover hamburger. When you see the meat, you notice that it has ketchup, pickles, onions, lettuce and whatever other topping that you put on the burger the first time you ate it. It was good going down once, but is nasty on a reheated burger.

Take your meat in your hand. It should be soft and cold. Pick little pieces of lettuce, onion, tomato and whatever else you see off. If you had a cheeseburger the night before,, you will need to remove the cheese. Get it off with a knife or a spoon, but be sure not to cut your meat.

Should You Wash Your Meat?

The perfectionist will say that you should wash your meat. Just a little warm water run over both sides of the meat will leave it clean and ready to reheat. You can use a scrub brush to get any sticky cheese off your meat. Or you can try to lick it off, but don’t bite. You can get aggressive with the tongue, but don’t get too carried away because you can damage your meat.

How Should You Handle the Bread?

At first, the bread may be soggy. Pull the bread off the meat patty and lay it on a piece of aluminum foil. Let it dry out for about an hour. When you can handle the bread without it falling apart, then you know it is ready to reuse.

What About the Toppings?

The cheese will most likely be trash. It is difficult to remove and will probably just be a nasty goop of gunk. The tomato and lettuce will most likely be salvageable. Remove the tomato and set it on the aluminum foil next to the bread. You can do the same with the lettuce. Most of the catsup, mustard and mayonnaise are best dealt with by washing your meat. Washing will remove most of that material. 

The Pickle?

The pickle is always a point of contention. If it was a cheap hamburger pickle that is about the size of a quarter, it would probably be best to dispose of it. If the pickle was a higher quality one that has maintained its form while in the refrigerator, you can reuse it. Put it on the aluminum foil next to the bread and the vegetables.

How to Reheat the Meat

Get that meat that you washed off and put it in a piece of aluminum foil. You can reheat that meat in the conventional oven, the toaster oven, or the stovetop. Do not use the microwave because it will suck up all the flavor and make your meat taste like a slice of tofu.

You should not need to reheat your meat for too long. The object is to warm it without making the meat go through any more cooking. Reheat your meat at 420 degrees in just a couple of minutes.  The same is true for the toaster oven. Reheat your meat on the stovetop in a pan for about two minutes per side on a medium heat. You may need to spread a little oil on the pan before cooking so that your meat won’t stick to the pan.

How to Reheat the Bread

The best way to reheat the bread is in the toaster oven. It should not take more than a couple of minutes on the toast setting to heat your bread. You want it to toast a little so that the crust comes back, but you don’t want to cook it so long that the bun is completely dry.

It is possible that your bun will fall apart in the toaster oven. This means that it is just too dry to be salvaged. See if you have another bun somewhere in the kitchen that you can use for your leftover meat. If you don’t, you might have to enjoy your hamburger without the bun. This is a tragic loss and something that you want to avoid.

The Vegetables

Is the tomato looking good enough to eat, or is it a sloppy mess of ketchup and mayonnaise? What about the lettuce? Is it still crispy or is it wilted and looks like a limp wrist? If your vegetables look good, then put them on the bread when it comes out of the toaster. If they look terrible, throw them away. Nothing will ruin a reheated burger quicker than nasty overcooked and limp vegetables.

Assemble the Burger

Hopefully, the bun is still usable. Put the meat in the bun. Next, put the vegetables back on the burger. If you still have a pickle, then put it on as well. Add a fresh layer of mayonnaise, mustard and ketchup to your burger. Hope for the best, and take a big bite. If your mouth is watering and your stomach is grumbling, you did a good job of reheating your burger.


The best way to reheat your burger is to disassemble it and heat the different parts separately. You can wash your meat and reheat it in the oven or the stovetop. The bread will be one of the hardest things to reheat, but if you are careful, you should be able to reheat it in the toaster. Keep the vegetables separate and put them on the burger after it has reheated.