How to Reheat Christmas Dinner

Patricia S York
·3-min read

We can all agree that one of the best aspects of Christmas dinner, or any holiday dinner for that matter, is enjoying the leftovers. Whether you are returning home from a long day of after-Christmas sales shopping or simply have no energy left to even boil water for pasta, knowing there is a complete and delicious meal waiting for you in the refrigerator can bring tears of joy to your eyes. Sure, you could put a piece of ham and a spoonful of casserole on a plate and microwave it for a couple of minutes, but it is always best to reheat food in the way it was prepared. So before you start cutting on the ham or digging into that favorite side dish, let’s cover some ground rules for reheating leftovers.

How to Reheat Ham

Leftover ham is great to have on hand–it can be used in breakfast casseroles, sandwiches, or hearty soups. Storing whole, uncut pieces of ham will last longer in the refrigerator or freezer without spoiling or losing flavor, since there is less exposed meat, and it is easy to just cut off the portions that you need to use in your soup or sandwich. To reheat the whole ham, place the ham in a pan and add some moisture–drizzle leftover gravy or glaze over the ham, and pour in a little bit of water to the bottom of the pan. Tent the ham with foil to trap in moisture and cook in a 350°F oven for roughly 10 minutes per pound.

How to Reheat Casseroles

Vegetable dishes such as sweet potato casserole or green bean casserole are likely to get a bit soggy while stored in the refrigerator, so you should reheat at anywhere from 350º to 400ºF. Depending on the recipe and your preference, reheat casseroles covered or uncovered, although uncovering may dry it out.

If you stored your casserole in its original baking dish, set it out on the countertop for a few minutes to take the chill off–you don’t want any dishes cracking in the hot oven. Otherwise, spoon the leftover casserole in an oven safe container and set it in the preheated oven for about 10 to 20 minutes, depending on the size. Check the temperature with a thermometer; you are looking for an internal temperature of at least 165 ºF. The temperature rather than the time is your indication that the casserole is properly reheated.

How to Reheat Dinner Rolls

Southerners love to make homemade bread and dinner rolls for holiday meals, so don’t spoil your efforts by reheating them improperly. Use your oven of course, but warm your rolls in a baking dish. Placing rolls snugly together in a baking dish leaves the sides of the rolls soft, whereas separating them and heating on a baking sheet will result in a slightly crisper, possibly drier, outside crust.

Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350°F. After placing your rolls in a baking dish, brush with melted butter and sprinkle with coarse salt, if desired. Bake until warm, 7 to 10 minutes.

How to Cook a Ham for the Holidays

From slow cooker to oven, everything you should know.

How to Reheat Gravy

When reheating gravy, use a skillet rather than a pan to increase the gravy’s surface area–this will allow the gravy to reheat evenly and gently. Spoon the gravy into the skillet, because spooning will break up the gelled gravy into easy-to-reheat portions. Don’t heat the pan before adding the gravy. Start the cool gravy in a cool pan to reheat slowly. Stir the gravy as it reheats to help it heat evenly.