How to Reheat Meals Without A Microwave (or Toaster!)


Are you one of the many folks in today’s 21st-century world NOT using a microwave?

Maybe you are trying to help live a little more simply, leave less of a footprint on mother earth, or maybe you simply don’t like the taste or texture it gives. Despite the reasons, it’s becoming more and more common to not use, or even own, a microwave to reheat food, leftovers, frozen items and more! 

Our staffer, Erica, is one of them!

“Most of the time, people get pretty excited when they find out I don’t own a microwave. But, really, after living without one for nearly 2 years – I don’t even notice it, anymore! Meals that say to reheat in the microwave can easily be reheated in the oven or the stove-top.” 
– Erica, Once A Month Meals Customer Engagement Manager 

We specialize in frozen meals here at Once A Month Meals. That said, this brings up a particular challenge! 

“How do I reheat a frozen meal without a microwave?”

Well, we’re here to help! Here’s our full list of how to reheat different types of food without a microwave!

How to Reheat Meals Without a Microwave 

Soups, Stews, and Anything Liquid:

Heat in a pan on the stove on medium-high heat. Covering the meal can keep from losing liquid due to evaporation and will help to speed up the process. Think about how you would reheat “canned soup” and that should help!

Meats, Casseroles & Main Entrees: 

Things like chicken, ground beef, and fish should be reheated in the oven in a casserole dish. If it’s a grilled item, we sometimes use the stovetop. We find that most meats are heated through after 10-15 minutes (depending on thickness) at a lower temp (300-325F). 

If you’re worried about drying out the meat, add a few tablespoons of water or stock to help keep it moist. Be sure to also cover it with foil or an oven-safe lid. 

But, What About Noodles!?

This is surprisingly still very easy. 

If using the stovetop, olive oil will be your best friend. Just add a bit of water or stock to the noodles, and stir often to keep from sticking to the pan. Low heat is key!

If using the oven, use some water or stock to reintroduce moisture back into the noodles, then cover it with foil or a lid.

Reheating on the Stove-top vs the Oven 

The main takeaway: do not be afraid to reheat your food outside of the microwave. 

“In all honesty, it feels like I have much more control of the food I am reheating and often the texture is better kept than that of nuked food. If the texture is altered, it’s usually not the ‘mush’ that I personally despise from microwaved food.” 
– Erica, Once A Month Meals Customer Engagement Manager, and 2 Years Microwave Free!

If you want the most control, stove-top is going to be best. You can slowly increase the heat for most dishes and learn what works best for which meals. However, there is something to be said about a well pre-heated pan.

If you don’t mind your food drying out slightly, a small casserole dish in the oven will reheat better than you’d probably think. We have reheated entire thanksgiving leftover meals in the oven in a single casserole dish and have been pleased with the results.

Avoid Baking Sheets. Baking sheets will absolutely dry out your meals faster than a dish.

Items like grilled chicken, fish, etc will reheat fine in the oven, but you may find better texture on the stove-top.

Experiment, experiment, experiment! 

Unless you walk away from your reheated food for an extended period of time and forget about it, it’s much easier to do than you think. You’ll get a feeling for what fits your preference in texture and style in just a few meals. 

Toast without a toaster!?

Yes! This is super easy! 

There are two types of broilers in most ovens: 

  1. TOP broilers
  2. BOTTOM broilers (usually in a drawer under the oven).

1. Top Broilers:

You will want to arrange the rack to the topmost position in your oven (usually 2-3 inches away from the broiler). Use a baking sheet that is safe for broiling, and don’t move too far away from the oven!  It will burn FAST.  

For example, toast is ready to be flipped in less than 2 minutes. Flip it, broil for another 30 or so seconds, and ta-da — you have toast! 

2. Bottom Broilers (Drawer Style):

You have less room for error and flexibility here. You’ll still follow all of the same steps as above, but you just want to be sure to watch it more carefully and experiment with leaving the drawer slightly open. 

Other resources from other blogs: 

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