The Best Way To Reheat Leftover Burgers

Maybe your eyes were bigger than your stomach and you ordered too much fast food, or perhaps you cooked extra patties at a barbecue — either way, when you've got leftover burgers on your hands, they can be tough to reheat properly. In a perfect world, you could heat up the whole thing as-is, but this leads to a seriously soggy sandwich. The trick is to disassemble your burger before you reheat it.

This might sound fussy, but it's the only way to make the buns toasty, the patty hot, and the veggies crisp and fresh. Start by separating the buns, patties, and any salvageable vegetables — if your lettuce is still crisp, that's great, but if it's mushy, it's best to just discard it. Tomatoes, onions, and pickles are likely still fine after a night in the fridge. Set the veggies aside, or put them back in the fridge to stay cool.

Next, place both the patties and the buns (with the cut sides facing up) on a wire rack-lined baking sheet. The rack allows for better air circulation and even heating, but don't worry if you don't have one; simply line the sheet pan with foil instead. Heat the ingredients at 350 degrees Fahrenheit in an oven or toaster oven, flipping the patties halfway through. They're done when a thermometer inserted into the center of the patty reads 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Reassemble the burger, and you've got a tasty treat that barely tastes left over at all.

More ways to reheat burgers

If you would prefer not to fire up the oven and you don't have a toaster oven, try using this same method to reheat burgers in the air fryer. The patties will take less time than in the oven, as they should reach the proper internal temp in four minutes or so at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. You may need to scrape off any cheese to avoid a gooey mess all over the basket; it can be added back on top of the patties or replaced with fresh cheese during the last minute of cooking.

In addition, bread has a tendency to get overly crisp when left in the air fryer, so wrap the buns in aluminum foil and reheat them after the burgers. They should be ready after about three minutes when cooked at 300 degrees F. If you want the buns and patties to reach the perfect temp at the same time, just remove the veggies and wrap the entire leftover burger in foil before popping it into the air fryer. Add the veggies back in before serving, and voila.

In a pinch, you can even use a non-stick frying pan to reheat burgers. Add the patties to the pan, plus a tablespoon or two of water so they don't dry out, then cover the skillet with the lid and heat it up. Once hot, remove the burgers and toast the buns in the same pan (the water should be evaporated by now). 

How to use up leftover burger patties

Sometimes a leftover burger with wet bread and soggy vegetables is in too sorry of a state to bring back to its former glory. In this case, you're better off repurposing the leftover patties into something new. If you're still craving a sandwich, replace the buns with sliced bread and dress it up with extra flavorings. You could load it up with melty cheese and sauteed onions to make a patty melt recipe

You can also throw the heated-up patty on top of a loaded salad of crunchy lettuce, red onions, tangy dill pickles, banana peppers, cherry tomatoes, diced avocado, and shredded cheddar cheese. These ingredients are often found on burgers, so they complement the beef. The patties can also be crumbled up to become a part of cheeseburger soup; a filling for stuffed bell peppers; or a base for the next batch of your favorite type of chili.

Even some of the sad vegetables from your burger can have a chance at new life. It may not be obvious, but the lettuce, onions, and tomatoes are food scraps you shouldn't actually throw out. They can all go into a bag of veggie parts you stash in the freezer to make vegetable stock later on.