Mistakes Everyone Makes When Reheating Fried Food

Nothing quite beats the crispy goodness that is fried food straight out of the oil, and that's a fact. But if you're like one of the many Americans that lives for the simple pleasures in life — like an order of piping hot, salty french fries — then you've probably faced the impossible struggle of reheating them.

National Geographic states that the typical person in the U.S. eats about 29 pounds of french fries per year. With that many fries, leftovers are bound to happen, and it would be a shame to waste all those potatoes just because they get soggy!

On The Gas notes that there are two main hurdles with hanging onto all fried food: trapped heat and water. Since deep-fried foods are extra moist, that steam can break down the crispy outer layer of your fried chicken, making it reheat into mush. According to Chatelaine, potatoes are especially susceptible to the leftover-and-limp fiasco, since the starches in them expand when cooking. As the side cools down, the starches secrete moisture and wreak havoc on your formerly golden fries.

You may not be storing your fried leftovers correctly

Sometimes it's tempting to toss your leftovers in the fridge right when you get home, but if you want to preserve fried food, you need to store it properly. Takeout food often comes in styrofoam containers because they trap heat, but if you plan on leaving your wings for a bit, consider transferring them to a vented cardboard box or food storage container (via Mr. TakeOutBags). The outlet also recommends using a light hand with any cling wrap, since wrapping your fried chicken too tight can seal in extra moisture. Whatever you do, avoid storing your food in anything airtight!

Another pro tip courtesy of On The Gas is to always store your fried leftovers over a paper towel. The paper towel will absorb most of the excess grease that would otherwise turn your food into a mushy mess.

If you plan on enjoying last night's leftovers for dinner tonight, it's a good idea to take the food out of the fridge a bit early. Let it sit on the counter for half an hour to eliminate some of that extra grease.

Skip the microwave when you reheat fried foods

The microwave definitely has its place in the kitchen (we're looking at you, chocolate brownie mug cake), but ditch it when it comes to fried leftovers. Whether it's chicken tenders, waffle fries, or copycat Burger King onion rings, the science of food is not in your favor and you'll likely be stuck with a soggy excuse of a meal.

If you're going to treat yourself to some fried food, you may as well enjoy it — even leftover. Take the extra time to make sure your leftover wings come out as crispy as they were fresh from the fryer.

The Jewish Week Food & Wine recommends using your oven to resurrect your fried food, since it's the easiest method with the crispiest results. Preheat a large baking sheet (with or without a wire rack) in your oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Once it's hot, spread out the leftovers in a single layer. You don't want to crowd the food! Depending on the item, leave it to cook between ten to 20 minutes. Check periodically and flip halfway, too.

You can use a broiler instead, but be sure to keep an eye on your leftovers so they don't burn; that's a whole other problem!