All of these dishes are best when re-heated, but as for leftover fried chicken, we suggest you eat that when it’s still cold, right out of the fridge.
Meatloaf gets the best of both worlds on the second day: the herbs and spices continue to release their flavors, the gelatin in the meat improves the texture as it melts, and all the flavors have had more time to meld. Instead of using the microwave, opt for a frying pan when it comes to reheating meatloaf; cut off individual slices and fry them up until they’re browned.
Day-old pizza is one of the most divisive foods out there, but we love the way that the cheese, sauce, and toppings re-melt into a flavorful mixture as it’s reheated, as all the flavors have had more time to mingle. You can reheat pizza in a very hot oven by placing it on a hot pizza stone, or you can even use a frying pan, making sure not to burn the bottom.
Eating pie right out of the oven will result in juice getting all over the place and the whole thing falling apart. Give it a night to cool and all those juices will congeal into a flavorful gel thanks to pectin development; a slice warmed up in the microwave will still hold its shape and texture.
A night in the fridge allows the flavors in soups and stews to mingle on a molecular level, resulting in a greater overall depth of flavor. If there are chunks of meat, the gelatin will also absorb surrounding flavors as it congeals and improve the overall consistency as it melts. We suggest reheating soups and stews slowly, on the stovetop.
Chili tastes better the second day for the same reasons as soups and stews. Sometimes the consistency improves so much after a night in the fridge that it can be eaten with a fork.
Curries are made with lots of spices, which need a whole lot of time to mingle properly. A freshly made curry can have a very intense flavor because each component can still be tasted individually; after a night of rest all of those flavors mellow out, resulting in a whole that’s greater than the sum of its parts. And if there are potatoes involved, a night in the refrigerator will allow it to absorb all those great flavors.
Yes, there’s something about Thanksgiving dinner that tastes better the second day. Turkey can be reinvigorated with a little turkey stock, and the flavors in the side dishes have all had extra time to mingle. Each dish can be reheated in its original serving dish, but there’s something soul-warming about popping a whole plate, with all the trimmings, into the microwave.
The meat and potatoes in a typical casserole absorb the surrounding flavors as they cool, and because all the dish’s components are so tightly packed, the time spent in the refrigerator gives them a chance to get to know each other. You can reheat slices in the microwave, and can also foil-wrap the whole thing and pop it back in the oven.
As slow-cooked meats like brisket cool, the gelatin inside congeals, vastly improving the texture and soaking up the surrounding flavors. And just like with soups and stews, as brisket is reheated, enough of that gelatin is released to thicken whatever sauce or gravy it’s in.
As pasta cools, it continues to absorb the flavors of the sauce it’s in. Instead of microwaving it, which can easily turn the pasta into mush, opt for a frying pan; a quick toss in a hot pan will bring all those flavors right back to life.