8 Foods You May Want to Second-Guess Eating Leftover

Some foods just aren’t as good the next day.

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Leftovers are a beloved tradition after holidays like Thanksgiving, but we know they come in handy on busy weeknights too. Sometimes it's just nice to have something homemade and delicious you can simply heat up and eat.

Unfortunately, not all foods lend themselves equally to reheating—this is something anyone who has ever tried to reheat french fries knows all too well. This doesn't necessarily mean you're doing anything wrong, it just means that some foods lend themselves better to reheating and others require special preparation.

To find out which foods fall into these categories, we talked to Chef Robbie Nicolaisen of The Hound in Auburn, Alabama, and Chef Brad Stevens of Dovetail in Macon, Georgia.


Nicolaisen and Stevens say you should avoid eating leftover eggs.

"Other than the texture becoming rubbery, reheating eggs can be bad for you if reheated too long or multiple times," Nicolaisen explained. "Eggs turn green from overcooking by the nitrogen oxidizing, and therefore can actually make you sick."

French Fries

Those crispy, delicious french fries are never quite the same when you reheat them at home.

"You typically want to avoid reheating french fries because restaurants cook French fries twice before serving," Stevens explained. "First, they blanch them and then they fry them. By the time you order them, they were already cooked two times."

This means that when you reheat french fries, you're essentially reheating them a third time. If you reheat them in oil to bring back the crispy texture, the end result will be extremely greasy.


As a general rule, Stevens only orders enough steak to consume in one sitting when he's out. He says steak doesn't hold up to reheating because when it's in the refrigerator, all the muscle fiber siezes up. The end result is dry and disappointing.

Non-Oily Fish

Non-oily fish such as sole or catfish are delicious when they're freshly prepared, but they leave something to be desired when you reheat them.

"Most types of non-oily fish dry out really easily when reheated," Nicolaisen noted.


Rice may look harmless, but believe it or not, it can be a potential source of food poisoning. That's right, bacillus cereus and other bacteria begin to develop in rice when it sits at room temperature. Subsequent refrigeration and reheating won't remove this bacteria, so it's best to cook the amount of rice you need for your meal and no more to eliminate the risk.


Zucchini and other varieties of squash can be a wonderful addition to your meal, but Nicolaisen doesn't recommend the leftovers.

"Due to their high water content, they typically become really watery and soggy when leftover," he stated.


If your favorite shrimp recipe doesn't taste quite as good the next day, there's a reason for that. Stevens says shrimp is all about the texture and mouthfeel. When you reheat it, that texture becomes rubbery and much less pleasurable. So just pop them in your mouth and enjoy them when they're fresh.

Chicken Wings

Stevens says that when you order chicken wings in a restaurant, they're generally cooked twice, just like french fries. Because of this, they tend to be tough and chewy if you reheat them a third time.

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