Whether it’s a snack, a side dish, or the main course of your meal, meatballs make for a great choice because they’re easy to make at home yet delicious. There is no such thing as too many meatballs because you can simply freeze them for later.
What is the best way to reheat meatballs? The best way to reheat meatballs is using the stovetop, but the oven and the instant pot are also good alternatives. If you’re up for something different, you can also use the microwave or the air fryer.
The Best Ways To Reheat Meatballs
Classic meatballs are made with ground beef, eggs, breadcrumbs, and a few herbs and seasonings. Every household has its own recipe and they’re all delicious, especially if you happen to have an Italian nonna.
Even though they might look similar, they’re not to be confused with falafel, which is another kind of ball-shaped snack from the Middle Eastern cuisine, which can be considered a vegetarian alternative to meatballs.
In the Italian tradition, it’s expected to have leftover meatballs because you can make a big batch at once and then freeze some of them to cook later in the week or month. But you can also let cooked meatballs rest in the fridge to reheat them the next day.
The main thing to consider when you reheat homemade meatballs is whether they have sauce or not, in fact, meatballs with sauce require a more gentle reheating.
So if you are not sure of how to warm up meatballs, don’t worry because we have compiled a list of the 5 best ways for reheating meatballs, starting from the very best.
How to reheat meatballs on the stovetop
The stovetop is the best way to reheat fully cooked meatballs and sauce, but it’s also a great way to reheat frozen meatballs. Basically, the stovetop is the go-to method when you’re unsure on how to reheat meatballs because the results are great nonetheless.
The secret of reheating meatballs on the stovetop lays in how gentle this cooking method actually is on both the meatballs and the sauce.
For the same reason, this method is actually slower in comparison with the other ways that we’ll explain below, so arm yourself with a little patience.
If you’re reheating frozen meatballs, the first thing you want to do is to take them out from the freezer a few hours in advance. In alternative, you can use your microwave to defrost them quickly.
Here are the steps to reheat meatballs on the stovetop:
- Prepare a non-stick pan of the right measure to fit your meatballs. It would be better if there was a little space in between the meatballs, but the pan doesn’t have to be too large.
- You don’t need to preheat the pan, but if you’d rather do so, then preheat it on low heat for a couple of minutes, not more.
- Pour meatballs and their sauce inside the pan.
- Cook on low heat, being careful to move around the meatballs regularly and to stir the sauce at the same time.
- (Optional) Cover the pan with a lid.
- This method will require at least 20 minutes. If the sauce starts boiling, lower the heat and continue reheating until the meatballs are fully cooked.
- Turn off the stovetop and serve.
While being the slowest method, this is also the one that will guarantee the best results because it ensures that your meatballs are heated all the way through, while maintaining the sauce as delicious as when you first made it.
How to reheat meatballs in the oven
Don’t you have the time to keep an eye on your meatballs and stir the sauce continuously? You can reheat meatballs without sauce in the oven, but be aware that this method will also take some time.
For obvious reasons, you cannot reheat meatballs with sauce or gravy in the oven, so this method is limited to certain recipes. Nonetheless, it guarantees that your meatballs will be heated all the way through very gradually, which is the best way to achieve a perfect outcome and flavor.
Here are the steps to reheat meatballs in the oven:
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Extremely high temperatures risk turning the outer layer of your meatballs into a burned crust.
- Place your meatballs on a baking tray, or a casserole. Leave some space between them and do not pile them up onto each other, as they need to be cooked evenly on all sides.
- Cover them with foil to prevent drying.
- Put them in the oven and let them reheat slowly for around 15 minutes. The more meatballs you put at once, the longer the cooking time. 15 minutes should be enough for a small batch.
- (Optional) After 7-8 minutes, open the oven and move the meatballs around so that they reheat evenly.
- After 15 minutes, do a taste test to see if they’re heated well enough. If you have a kitchen thermometer you can check the internal temperature of the meatballs. They should be 165 degrees, especially if you reheat chicken meatballs.
- Keep them longer in the oven if the internal temperature is too low or if you feel they are not reheated enough, but check them every 3-5 minutes because they might burn quickly.
- Take them out and serve.
Do you only need to prepare a very small portion and reheating meatballs in the oven sounds like a waste of time and electricity? If you have an instant pot, you can try using one of the several options to reheat food that this kitchen appliance has to offer.
How to reheat meatballs in the instant pot
Instant pots are growing increasingly popular among foodies, because they’re not only meant for pressure cooking but can provide a large variety of functions and thus help you cook, warm, sauté, steam, and reheat your food.
With your instant pot, you can also reheat frozen meatballs directly from the freezer. How? Well, it’s basically just like cooking them from zero.
Here are the steps to reheat meatballs in the instant pot:
- If you’re reheating uncooked frozen meatballs, pour all the necessary ingredients in the pot. If you’re reheating cooked meatballs, just pour the meatballs and sauce inside the pot.
- Add ¾ of a cup of water.
- Mix everything so that the sauce coats the meatballs.
- Cover the instant pot with the lid (better if a glass lid).
- Press the Steam button.
- Set the pressure to High for 5 minutes.
- Do the Quick Release, open the lid, and serve.
As you can see, reheating meatballs in the instant pot is really easy and quick, so it’s the ideal method when you’re in a hurry, or if you suddenly have guests over and you want to present them with a fabulous snack, for example.
How to reheat meatballs in the air fryer
The air fryer is not the first thing you think about when you want to reheat meatballs, nor the most conventional method. But if you don’t have an instant pot and you’re running late, this is a good method that gives good results.
You can’t reheat meatballs with sauce with the air fryer, but any other type of meatball is fine. You can use your air fryer or the air fryer option of your microwave if you have a 4-in-1 unit.
Here are the steps to reheat meatballs in the air fryer:
- Preheat the air fryer at 350-400 degrees for 5 minutes.
- Place meatballs in the air fryer basket, making sure there’s little space between them so they can heat evenly.
- Cook for 7-10 minutes at 350-400 degrees.
- (Optional) Cook for another 2 minutes if you want to add a crispy finishing.
- (Optional) Warm the sauce separately on the stovetop and pour it on your meatballs.
- Place on a serving dish and enjoy.
You may not believe it, but you can actually get great results by reheating meatballs in the air fryer, so if you’re lacking time you can give it a try. After all, when you’re out of options the air fryer will always be a better option than the microwave.
How to reheat meatballs in the microwave
Can you reheat meatballs in the microwave? Of course, you can! But should you? Well, let’s say that if you’re in a rush and the alternative is not eating at all, the microwave can be a good option.
It’s not that microwaves ruin meatballs, but there are many other options that would probably give you better and more appetizing results. But if you don’t care about the details and just wish to reheat your meatballs quickly, then the microwave is the method for you!
Here are the steps to reheat meatballs in the microwave:
- Cut the meatballs into small pieces, so that they can heat more evenly inside and out. Unless you have an inverter microwave, this is a necessary step.
- Place them on a microwave-safe plate.
- (Optional) If you reheat meatballs without sauce, cover them with a damp cloth to avoid drying them out.
- For the average 1000 watts microwave, reheat on medium heat for around 1 minute.
- Check to see if they reheated properly all the way to the core. If not, continue heating on medium until ready.
- Take them out and serve.
Can you reheat meatballs?
Not only you can reheat meatballs, you have plenty of options to make your dish once again delicious and tasty!
When you want to reheat meatballs with sauce, your best options are the stovetop and the instant pot, in order to preserve the sauce and all of its flavor. Overall, the best way to reheat meatballs is in a pan on the stovetop, because it’s slow and gentle on both meat and sauce.
When reheating meatballs without sauce, on top of the two options above you can also use the oven and the air fryer. The oven is by far the best way to reheat meatballs without sauce.
When you’re in a pinch or just really hungry, the quickest way to reheat meatballs is to use the microwave. If you’re reheating meatballs without sauce, cover them with a damp cloth so they don’t get too dry.
So that’s it, now you know all the best ways to reheat meatballs, ranked from the slowest to the quickest. All that’s left is to choose the one you like the most and prepare a fantastic meal for you and your family!