A Little Spritz Of Cooking Spray Does Wonders For Reheating Food In The Oven

Reheating leftovers can be a real culinary gamble. The mouthwatering dish you enjoyed the night before might emerge after reheating, as an unrecognizable, rubbery disappointment. But what if we told you there's a secret that can breathe life back into your reheated food? The trick is to coat the leftovers with cooking spray before popping them in the oven.

Cooking sprays, whether they're made from canola, olive, or another type of oil, are primarily fats. By lightly coating the food with fat, you're essentially enabling the browning process to occur while it heats up in the oven resulting in a shiny golden crust. This is an important step, as most leftover foods have lost their crispy exterior and succulent center. 

The outer layer has absorbed moisture from the atmosphere and upon reheating, they can easily end up limp. In other instances, leftovers dry out especially if they weren't stored in a sealed container, therefore, losing their original luster and appeal. Either way, a little spritz of cooking spray can help revive the taste, texture, and appearance of leftovers, making them nearly as delightful as they were when first served.

How to reheat food in the oven to near perfection

While the mere notion of using cooking spray to rejuvenate leftovers is enticing, it's important to marry this technique with the proper reheating process for optimal results. First, understand which foods are best reheated in the oven, these include fried foods, pizza, seafood, crusty breads, baked goods, and roasted meats.

Depending on the dish, preheat your oven to a moderate temperature, typically no more than 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Transfer the food to an oven-safe dish or a baking tray and spread it out evenly to allow for uniform reheating with no cold spots. Lightly spritz the food surface with cooking spray while holding the spray bottle a few inches away from the food. The goal is to have a thin even layer of oil that aids in retaining moisture and encourages browning.

For dishes prone to drying out, you might consider covering them with aluminum foil for the initial phase of reheating, which will help retain moisture. However, for the last few minutes, you can remove the foil to let the surface brown and become crispy. Depending on the thickness and type of the dish, the reheating time can vary. But generally, most leftovers reheat well between 10 to 20 minutes. Once thoroughly warmed, carefully remove the dish from the oven, plate up, and enjoy the revitalized taste and texture that a touch of cooking spray has helped deliver.