Yes, you can reheat McDonald's fast food. Do it right, and those unique textures and flavors can be enjoyed at your convenience. I love McDonald's.
Big Macs, small Macs, in between Macs, cheese Macs, chicken Macs, French fries, onion rings, and apple pies. The whole durned shebang is irresistible.
Unlike some, I have never had a problem whereby I couldn't eat everything I brought home.
But never one to take chances, I've done some research into reheating leftover McDonald's, and, in the spirit of hoping you never have to face your McDonald Armageddon, I am prepared to share my findings with you.
Can you reheat McDonald's food?
To me, McDonald's is the ultimate in fast food. Don't get me wrong, I love the Colonel's chicken and pizzas too, but as far as yours sincerely is concerned, McDonald's is King.
So, learning how to reheat McDonald's leftovers is an essential skill to take on board if it's ever needed.
First of all, it must come as a great relief to know that you can reheat McDonald's fast food. Do it right, and those unique textures and flavors can be enjoyed at your convenience. Do it wrong and the posse will come looking for you.
How to reheat McDonald's big mac burgers
The best tool for reheating a Big Mac, McChicken sandwich, or even a Burger King Whopper (in deference to those misguided individuals who put BK at the top of their fast food joints) is your bulk standard, kitchen oven.
The reason that ovens are so good at reheating fast food is that they produce a steady heat that doesn't scorch the outer layer of the burger and give you a soggy, oil-saturated patty.
Depending on the type of sandwich you are reheating, you may have to remove some of the toppings.
Don't reheat the buns if they have had condiments on them. It's also not a good idea to reheat any lettuce, pickles, or tomatoes.
Using the Oven or a Toaster
- You should store your leftover burger in an airtight container in the refrigerator until you want to reheat it. Take it out of the refrigerator 10 minutes before reheating to allow it to settle at room temperature.
- While you're waiting, preheat your oven to 350°F.
Disassemble the burger and put it on an oven tray lined with grease-proof paper.
- Take away any salad or sauce and store them somewhere safe for later use or bin them if you are going to replace them with fresh produce.
- Heat the burger patties and the buns for approximately 6 to 7 minutes (loosely cover with a foil on top). If, after seven minutes, it is not reheated to your liking, put back into the oven and check it every 30 seconds or so.
- Once the burger is reheated to your liking, rebuild, and eat.
Whether you are reheating a plain burger or a cheeseburger, or the chicken sandwich follows the same steps, and when ready, your burger will be as delicious as it was when you first bought it.
Using a microwave
- If you want to reheat your burger in a microwave, as above, take off the toppings.
- Once you've done that, place the burger back in its wrapper and microwave on power setting four, for two minutes.
- Then, flip the sandwich over and microwave for one more minute. Repeat if necessary.
Reheating burger buns
- As explained earlier, remove as much of the toppings as you can.
- Next, wrap the bun in a damp paper towel and microwave it for 10 seconds burst or until fully reheated.
How to reheat french fries
McDonald's produces some of the best French fries going.
But if you have some leftovers, what is the best way of reheating them?
One thing is for sure, and that does not put them in the microwave.
Nothing is guaranteed to turn a once delicious McDonald's French fry into a disgusting sliver of potato, more than a microwave.
When McDonald's fries come out of the fryer, they are heavenly. But leave them hanging around uneaten for an hour, and they turn into limp, tasteless potato "things."
I can't think of a better word than "thing" to describe a long-forgotten fry.
However, I often find myself standing in front of an open fridge for some earthly reason, munching on them thinking, "What am I doing?" - as I pop another one into my mouth.
Best way to reheat Mcdonald's fries? Use your skillet
It just so happens that the best way of reheating leftover fries is also the best way of reheating pizza - with a cast-iron skillet on your stovetop.
When using a skillet, follow these steps:
- Take out your seasoned cast-iron skillet, heat two tablespoons of oil (canola or vegetable oil is best) over medium heat until the oil starts to simmer. Cast iron is the best option to ensure maximum crispiness, if it's not available, use a pan.
- When the skillet is as hot as can be, put in the fries and spread them evenly in a single layer, making sure there is a little space between each fry.
- Cook for about a minute or two, stirring and turning from time to time until you see them beginning to crisp on all sides.
- When ready, tip them out of the skillet and onto a plate lined with a paper towel. Add some salt or parmesan, and you're good to go.
Spreading the fries thinly in the skillet avoids crowding the pan and risking steaming them instead of frying. Although leftover fries will have a little oil left on them from the original cooking, adding a little oil to your skillet rejuvenates the flavor and helps the crisping process.
Follow the described method to the letter, and you'll end up with the best, light, crispy fries.
As far as adding oil to the skillet goes, I prefer to use a little butter and a few drops of extra-virgin olive oil.
Feel free to add your favorite oil or cooking spray—one other small piece of advice. Pick a cooking oil that has a high smoke point.
Reheat fries using the oven
Using your oven to reheat plain fries without any embellishments is a little less messy.
The two most important things to remember are:
- Line the baking tray with a heavy-duty sheet of aluminum foil
- Preheat the oven before putting the fries in rather than a baking tray, you can use a seasoned cast-iron skillet. Don't overload the skillet, though.
If you've got a lot of fries to reheat, a large baking tray is a better option because you don't want to have fries on top of fries - just one, well-spaced layer.
Follow this guide:
- Heat your oven to 450ºF. Ovens vary slightly, so you might need to experiment a little.
- If you like, you can prep the baking sheet with a little cooking spray or oil, although this is optional. Personally, I don't.
- Before you add the fries, put the baking tray with a baking sheet covering the bottom into the oven and warm up and so that the baking sheet is good and hot.
- Spread the fries out in one even layer allowing a little space in between each fry.
- Add a little extra salt, paprika or garlic powder to spice up your fries.
- Depending on how many fries you're heating, and the efficiency of your oven, it will take between 2 to 3 minutes to reheat 2 or 3 servings worth. Watching closely so you don’t burn them.
- You can sample-taste as you go to make sure the fries are heated to your liking. It's your prerogative. You are the chef, after all.
- When ready, remove from the oven, tip onto a paper towel to allow to drain, add any preferred seasoning, and tuck in.
Reheating fries using an air fryer
If you've got an air fryer, by all means, use it for reheating your fries. It's nice and quick as it only takes about two to three minutes. You don't want to overheat them as they can easily scorch and become too crunchy.
To do it right, here's how:
- Preheat the air fryer to 400°F
- Insert the fries in a single layer (as always)
- Heat in two minutes
That's all there is to it.
Don't be tempted to use the microwave.
Microwaving McDonald's fries are an absolute no-no. Yes, they might be nice and hot when they come out of the microwave, but they will be a pitiful reminder of the fry that came out of the fryer.
It's usually the microwave itself that creates the problem. They are not exactly precision pieces of equipment.
Reheating fries in the microwave often results in sorry, soggy, lukewarm things pretending to be fries or burnt crisps of what was once potato.
Any oil left on the fries just turns rancid. Small wonder they usually end up in the trash.
However, it's not all doom and disaster. There is an easy way of reviving leftover McDonald's fries that even the worst kitchen numbskulls can handle.
Once you've acquired the knack, you'll kick yourself for the times you've wasted so many potentially good French fries.
Is it worth saving your leftover fries?
The fact of the matter is that leftover French fries are not awful, they're merely misunderstood. When French fries come straight out of the fryer, they are hot and scrummy because of the starch in the potato.
It is a fact that all potatoes contain starch. When potato fries are cooked at high temperatures, the starches become hydrated due to the ingress of moisture. This bulks up the starch and is instrumental in making the outer skin of the fries crispy.
As French fries cool down, the starch begins to secrete moisture, and this secretion makes the fries go horrible, soggy, and limp.
You can bring them back to their former glory by heating them again, taking some extra steps in the process.
Reheating fries with a twist
- If you would like to reheat leftover fries and add a new twist to the flavor, dice some onion, mince a clove of garlic and fry in butter until they're soft, then add the fries, coat in the mixture, and cook until crispy.
- Another twist I sometimes take, which makes a delicious snack, is to add some cubes of whatever cheese takes your fancy. I usually use either Cheddar or Mozzarella.
- When melted on top, with one or two easy-over fried eggs, with a little diced green onion, you get cheesy fries with a real attitude!
Creative ways for reheating leftover fries
Some people prefer their fries plain and unadorned. But if you're someone who wants to do something a little different with your fries, why the heck not?
How about dusting the cobwebs off your waffle maker and creating waffle fries?
You will find a good "how-to" video on making waffle fries on the Serious Eats website. However, it's worth pointing out that the method shown in the video works best with shoestring fries.
On the other hand, reheating on the stovetop or using a conventional oven or an air fryer works regardless of the shape of the fry. It works with anything from shoestrings to wedges and even tater tots.
Speaking of getting inventive with your leftover French fries, over at the icookstuff.com website, you'll find a recipe for turning leftover fries into hash-brownie-type things.
Another site with some great ideas on reheating fries is chowhound.com, where you will find anything from the Peruvian classic, Lomo Saltado, to an Argentine dish known as Revuelto Gramajo.
Here's how to make the hash-brownie type thingy:
- Chop leftover fries with crispy bacon, egg, sautéed onion, and parsley. Mix to form into patties.
- Preheat a non-stick frying pan and fry until they become crispy brown wonderfulness.
Whatever your tastes, there are a million and one ways of reheating leftover fries, limited only by your imagination, apart from mixing with custard - take it from me - not good.
The origin of the fries dictates how best to reheat.
If you are talking about McDonald's fries or any other fast-food fries, they should only ever be reheated on the same day you bought them.
To be fair, I hardly ever have leftover McDonald's fries anyway. What with stuffing them in the sandwich or simply dipping in ketchup and munching away, they soon disappear all too soon.
With restaurant-quality fries, however, you can successfully reheat within a couple of days of purchase. It's probably down to the quality of oil (or lack of) that some fast food establishments use.
How to reheat McNuggets
Reheating any leftover chicken nuggets can be a little tricky.
Using the microwave:
- I've done it for my kids many times, and I have had some success with microwaving them.
- I do about eight nuggets at a time for about 35 seconds, after which I put them in my toaster oven for about two minutes to re-crisp up.
- Don't forget that microwaves cook food from the inside out. By the time the outside feels really hot, the inside gets overdone. If you're not careful, you'll turn your McNuggets into McRocks. Not to be recommended.
Using a skillet:
What can't you reheat in a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet?
- For excellent reheated nuggets, put your skillet on top of the stove on low heat for two minutes. You don't want the pan too hot as the nuggets will burn.
- Up the setting to medium-low, drop the nuggets in with a little space all around them, and flip them until you can smell the delicious aroma; then they're ready to eat.
Using a toaster oven:
Toaster ovens work well too.
- Set the oven to "broil," cover the wire rack with a baking sheet and place the nuggets on without them touching each other.
- Heat for two minutes, then using a pair of tongs, turn them over, and heat the other side for another two minutes.
Using a conventional oven:
- To reheat nuggets in a conventional oven, preheat the oven to 350°F. Position the nuggets, a little apart, on a wire rack or tray.
- Bake for approximately 10 minutes or until the chicken inside the nuggets is heated to 120°F.
Using an air fryer:
- Preheat the air fryer to 400°F.
- Add the nuggets and heat for approximately three minutes.
- Providing you don't overcrowd the fryer, they will crisp up nice and evenly.
Reheating breakfast McMuffin
If you've taken your McDonald's breakfast home to eat, and by the time you got there it's gone cold, here are two ways you can try for reheating it.
Using the microwave:
- Remove the patty and the egg from the muffin and set the muffin aside. If you put everything in the microwave, you're going to get an exploded mess.
- Reheat the sausage or bacon patty for between 35 and 40 seconds.
- Check to see that the middle of the patty is hot and give it a few more seconds in the microwave if necessary.
- Wrap the bun in a paper towel to keep the moisture in and microwave on its own for 10 seconds burst.
- If you don't want to eat the egg cold, you can pop it into a preheated oven for three or four minutes.
Using the conventional oven:
Using a conventional oven to reheat your breakfast McMuffin is simpler than microwaving in as much as the whole thing goes into the oven rather than having to cook bits of it separately.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Deconstruct the muffin and put each piece separately onto a baking tray with space around them to breathe.
- Loosely cover the top with aluminum foil to prevent burning.
- Once heated to your satisfaction, reassemble and munch away to your heart's content.
Reheating McDonald's hash browns is a doddle.
How to do it:
- Warm a frying pan to medium heat and add a small amount of butter.
- While the pan is warming, put the hash-browns into the microwave on a reheat setting for about 30 seconds.
- After reheating from the microwave, drop the hash-browns into the frying pan and cook for about 1 or 2 minutes, turning them over once halfway through.
Best way to reheat McDonald's apple pies
There have to be ways of reheating McDonald's apple pies, and of course, there are. Those scrummy little rectangular pies with their cinnamon sugar apple fillings are too good to throw away, so here are a few ways to reheat them.
Using air fryer
I love this reheating method. The result is like apple pies fresh out from the oven-- crunchy on the outside while the filling is hot.
How to do it:
- Preheat air fryer at 280°F for about 3 to 5 minutes
- Place the pies inside the basket for 6 minutes or until the fillings are hot and bubbly.
- Take the pie out from the fryer and let it rest for a minute or two before serving.
In the microwave:
By far, the simplest way of reheating a McDonald's apple pie is to put it in the microwave. It's nice and fast so you won't have long to wait.
How to do it:
- Place your apple pie on a plate or microwave-safe container
- Set the microwave to high heat, and warm up for about 15 seconds burst or until it's thoroughly warm and the inside is bubbly.
- Be careful when you bite into the pie to make sure it's not burning hot.
There are mixed reviews for this method of reheating apple pies; some don't like it, while others believe it's the ultimate way to go.
In a conventional oven:
For me, although it takes longer, I believe reheating McDonald's apple pies in a conventional oven is superior to microwaving them.
Here's how to go about it:
- Preheat your conventional oven to 200°F.
- Put the pie on the baking sheet, and heat in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until the fillings are bubbly.
- Once you've taken the pie out of the oven, be sure to let it rest and cool for five minutes to prevent burning your mouth when you bite into it.
Reheating McDonald's? - No problem!
So, there you have it. Whatever McDonald's goodies you may have leftover, there are several ways you can reheat them to enjoy back in the comfort of your own home. As they say-waste not, want not.