Never Have Cold-In-The-Middle Leftovers Again With One Trick

Leftovers are one of the great pleasures of living in the modern era. Thanks to the magic of fridges and microwaves, everything from homemade casseroles to leftover Chipotle bowls can taste even better the next day — or even the next week. But there's nothing worse than a cold-in-the-middle meal thanks to a bad round in the microwave (although the microwave isn't the only way to reheat leftover food, it's usually the most convenient, and leftovers are all about convenience).


Luckily, there's a way to ensure you'll never experience the tragedy of cold-in-the-middle leftovers again, and it's super simple: Just arrange your food in a donut shape on a plate before heating. Like so many ingenious food hacks, this microwaving tip comes to us from TikTok. Creators there say that spreading leftovers out in a ring shape on the plate ensures even heating and no cold bits. It makes sense — the donut shape maximizes surface area, and if there is no middle, how can the middle be cold?

More hot tips for microwaving leftovers

Of course, the ring hack only works for dishes that can be easily spread out on a plate, like pasta and rice. But here's a microwaving tip that will work for your soup and pizza too: Place the dish on the outside of the microwave turntable, rather than in the middle. This hack works because microwaves have high and low-intensity areas, which can create cold spots. If the food is placed on the outside of the microwave tray, it will get exposed to more parts of the microwave as it does little laps, and thus it will heat more evenly.


Another hot tip: Cover your leftovers while reheating them. Covering the food with a microwave-safe lid or wrap keeps it from drying out and ensures it gets heated all the way through (just make sure there's a vent to let steam escape). Bonus: Covering the food also prevents exploded food bits from getting all over the inside of your microwave.

Why your leftovers are worth reheating

Although some people think leftovers are gross, I am a firm believer that almost any meal can taste even more delicious when reheated the next day. And it's not just me — there's actually scientific evidence that some foods taste better as leftovers. The flavor molecules in many aromatics and spices such as onion, garlic, and black pepper are fat-soluble, meaning they will diffuse more throughout the fat in a dish over time, resulting in amped-up and better-balanced flavor. This effect is particularly notable in spice-heavy dishes like chili, curry, or meatloaf.


As delicious as day-old food can be, I think we can all agree that the main attraction of leftovers is their convenience. There's nothing like a steaming hot home-cooked (or restaurant-cooked) meal ready in just a few minutes. Now that you know how to reheat food evenly, you'll be making the most of your leftovers and eating like microwave royalty in no time.