For more than a hundred years, the traditional, electric oven has been a kitchen standard. Long before microwaves, convection ovens, toaster ovens, and certainly air fryers, people heated, and of course reheated, their food in a traditional oven.
But not all foods reheat well in the oven. Today, there are many foods that are better served as leftovers using another appliance.
So which foods do reheat well in the traditional oven?
We’ve got a few in mind.
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What Is a Traditional Oven and How Does It Work?
The traditional oven is a significant upgrade from the ovens of our ancestors. Humans used to have to build enormous brick ovens with chimneys in which we would stack wood and build large fires to generate the kind of heat required to slow roast meat, bake potatoes, or bake delicious bread, even before we figured out how to leaven it!
But in the 1800s, inventors began to fiddle with electricity and electrical elements to figure out not only how to wire a central electrical source into every home but also how to manufacture appliances that would make everyday tasks like cleaning and washing more convenient.
Enter the conventional oven, an electric metal box with two heating elements, one on the top and one on the bottom. The heating element on the bottom slowly heats up the entire oven to “bake” food, or heat it from the inside out, and the heating element on the top provides a direct heat source that quickly cooks items from the outside in.
Why Are Ovens so Commonplace in Kitchens?
You would be hard-pressed to find a kitchen without an oven, and this reality is likely due to several reasons.
First, the oven has been a kitchen staple for so long that it seems we cannot possibly leave the tradition behind.
Second, they come with a stove, and pretty much everyone cooks with the stovetop.
Third, they work!
Ovens are great for cooking, baking, and broiling amazing food. This appliance would be very difficult to leave behind.
Why Is an Oven Good for Reheating Leftovers?
Not only is an oven great for cooking food, but it is often the only good appliance to use for reheating certain foods, particularly those that were cooked in the oven in the first place.
The best thing about an oven for reheating leftovers is its ability to heat slowly and thoroughly without drying food out too quickly or producing the rubbery texture so common with the microwave.
The oven will also produce or maintain a nice crispy outside when used properly.
Our Six Favorite Foods to Reheat in an Oven
So, which foods are the absolute best when reheated in an oven? They are the foods that adhere to all the qualities that we discussed above. Read on to find out more.
We chose the oven as the winner for obvious reasons. Lobster is easy to turn into a hard, rubbery dish even the first time you cook it, much less when reheating it. And you certainly don’t want to boil again an already boiled lobster.
No. The oven is the perfect appliance for preserving the moisture of a sumptuous lobster, especially when you include a few pats of butter before placing it on your oven rack.
Cinnamon rolls are another food that is super easy to turn into a rubbery mess. You definitely don’t want to put them in the microwave.
The oven turned out such delicious, soft, fluffy, sweet delicacies in the first place. It makes perfect sense that we would also use that handy appliance to reheat the treats.
It doesn’t take long to get the job done, and that job is done so well by the oven.
Fish can dry out quickly and turn to hard rubber. Double trouble.
Even if the fish was originally made on the grill or stovetop, you are still almost always better off reheating it in the oven.
The oven will deliver a slightly crispy outside while maintaining the moisture on the inside, as long as you don’t heat it for too long at too high of a temperature. It’s all about the nuance.
Talk about danger of drying out. Turkey is one of those foods that can be so moist and delicious or dry as a bone and not even worth eating.
The last thing you want is to ruin a perfectly good turkey dinner by drying it out. The oven will save you from that awful fate by heating slowly and evenly.
As long as you cover your dish, your turkey can maintain its moisture and its flavor.
Quiche is the classic case of a dish made in the oven that should return to the oven for reheating.
Quiche is rich with eggs and butter, so if reheated incorrectly, it can turn out rubbery and greasy. Not a good combo.
The oven will simply bring life back to your quiche rather than delivering your delectable dish a quick death.
Who would have thought pancakes could even be reheated? No one. That’s who.
And seriously, if you ever do want to reheat amazing pancakes, the oven is the only way to go. You’ll get a nice even heat without ending up with pancakes that are hard as rocks, greasy, or rubbery – all mistakes that are easy to make with these delicate flapjacks.
As with our other examples of best foods to reheat in the oven, pancakes just require a bit of tender loving care to get back to their original state.
How about you? What foods do you think are best when reheated in the oven? What tips and tricks do you have for using the oven to reheat food? Let me know in the comments.