This article was updated on 09/07/2023, and a new method was added; in a toastie machine
Got a lonely Big Mac sitting alone in its cardboard box and wondering if you can bring it back to life? You’re in the right place.
I’ve experimented with several different Big Mac reheating techniques to find out which one delivers the tastiest burger while still keeping the bun soft.
The best way to reheat a Big Mac is in a frying pan. Disassemble the burger and remove the lettuce and sauce. Then place both patties in a medium-hot frying pan. Add a tablespoon of water to the pan and cover. Fry for 1-2 minutes, then add the buns face down and toast them for a minute.
How I tested reheating the Big Macs
I purchased a load of Big Macs from my local McDonald’s and kept them in the fridge overnight.
The next day I tested reheating the burger five different ways (this was definitely a cheat day):
- In a skillet
- In the oven
- In an air fryer
- In the microwave
- In a toastie machine
After each method I tasted the Big Mac and noted how fresh it tasted and felt, as well as how how easy and quick the method was. I was looking for a soft bun and a moist patty.
How to reheat a Big Mac in a frying pan
Time: 2-3 minutes
- Deconstruct the burger, and scrape off the sauce and lettuce mix (set aside). Separate the buns and burgers as much as possible, but if any buns are stuck to a patty that’s okay.
- Heat a lightly oiled frying pan to a medium heat.
- Place the patties and buns into the pan, sprinkle a tablespoon of water around the edge of the pan, and cover.
- Fry the components for 1-2 minutes before removing the lid.
- Flip the patties and buns over and toast them for another 30 seconds.
- Assemble the Big Mac, add fresh lettuce and serve immediately.
Adding the water to the pan and covering is crucial for rehydrating stale buns and dry patties. The water turns to steam, and this softens the bread, keeps the burgers juicy, and melts the cheese.
Don’t use too much water though, or you’ll end up with soggy buns (ew).
Psst… feeling extra indulgent? Fry some bacon in the pan before you add the burger, then use the fat from the bacon as the ‘oil’. It’s not healthy, but it’s delicious.
Results: This was by far the best method at re-invigorating my stale leftover Big Mac. The burger was juicy, the cheese was melted, and best of all, the buns were moist and pillowy! It’s pretty quick too!
How to reheat a Big Mac in the oven or toaster oven
Time: 8-10 minutes
- Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C).
- Remove any sauce / lettuce from the burger, and the top and bottom bun.
- Sprinkle the remaining patty-bun-patty combo with water and wrap it in foil.
- Place this in the oven for 8-10 minutes (3-4 minutes in a toaster oven)
- Sprinkle the top of the remaining Big Mac buns with water and add them to the oven for the last minute of heating.
- Assemble the Big Mac and enjoy.
Again, the water will create steam and rehydrate the Big Mac.
I also tested just wrapping the whole thing in foil and heating it together, but because the burger is so big, it took too long to heat through and started to dry out. This could be a good methods for smaller burgers.
If the outside buns are really stale, you can wrap them in a damp paper towel before putting them in the oven. The moisture from the towel will soften them, and when it dried out they can toast.
Results: despite my best efforts to keep the Bic Mac moist, it was drier then the skillet burger, and the meat didn’t have as much flavor. But it was still a decent result, and if you have more than one Big Mac to reheat it’s pretty convenient.
How to reheat a Big Mac in the microwave
Time: 60 seconds
- Remove any lettuce and sauce from the Big Mac.
- Place the Big Mac on a microwave-safe plate and cover it with a damp paper towel.
- Microwave in 30-second increments until the burger is piping hot.
- Allow the Big Mac to rest for 30 seconds before serving.
A Big Mac will take around 60 seconds to fully reheat in a typical microwave, check on it often because once you overheat it, there’s no going back.
Try not to wrap the damp paper towel too tightly at the bottom of the Big Mac. If you do, you’ll end up with a soggy bottom bun. I learned this the hard way.
If you don’t want to use a damp paper towel, you can also sprinkle some water on the burger and microwave it in the box. Or put a glass of water next to the Big Mac in the microwave.
You also need to eat the burger asap after heating it in the microwave, because as it starts to cool down it will turn to cardboard (literally).
Results: The Big Mac was perfectly edible – the bun was soft, and the cheese was nice and gooey. But the flavors seemed muted and the burger didn’t seem as ‘fresh’ as the other reheating methods. An okay method in a pinch, but not the best.
How to reheat a Big Mac in the air fryer
Time: 2-3 minutes
- Set your air fryer to 350°F (180°C) and remove as much lettuce as possible from the Big Mac.
- Take off the top and bottom buns and place them to one side.
- Place the remaining Big Mac piece (patty-bun-patty) into the air fryer basket and sprinkle one tablespoon of water over the top patty.
- Heat for 2-3 minutes, flipping once halfway through.
- Wet the remaining Big Mac buns with a sprinkle of water and reheat both buns in the air fryer for 20-30 seconds.
- Assemble the Big Mac and enjoy.
If you’re thinking this sounds quite similar to the oven reheating method, you’re not wrong. An air fryer is a glorified mini convection oven with a much stronger fan.
The result? A harsher cooking method that’s perfect for fried foods, but not so much other food – including burgers.
Results: The air-fried Big Mac was noticeably dryer than all the other reheating methods… I’m usually a big fan of the air fryer, but not this time.
How to store a Big Mac
The best way to store a Big Mac is to let it cool to room temperature before putting it in a airtight container in the fridge. The Big Mac will last for 3 days, but the sooner you can eat it the better. The bread will get very stale in the fridge.
You can also remove any sauce, lettuce, or pickles from the burger and put them in a separate airtight container, if you leave them in the burger it might get soggy.
Psst… the Big Mac box isn’t airtight!
Freezing a Big Mac
To freeze a Big Mac, remove any lettuce and pickles and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or place it in a freezer bag. Big Macs will last up to 3 months in the freezer. But for best results, aim to use the Big Mac within 1 month of freezing.
When you want to eat the Big Mac, take it out the night before and let it thaw in the fridge overnight. If you leave it too late, you can also thaw a Big Mac on the counter in around 2 hours.
Then reheat it using one of the reheating methods above. Don’t try to reheat the Big Mac straight from frozen – this won’t work!
Related: How To Cook Burgers Without Smoke
The BEST Way To Reheat A Big Mac [Tested]
- 1 portion Big Mac
- 2 tbsp water to create steam
- 1 portion shredded lettuce optional
- Bring a lightly oiled frying pan to a medium heat.
- Remove as much lettuce as possible from the burger.
- Remove the top bun and middle bun and place to one side.
- Add the top burger patty and the bottom patty-cheese-bun combination to the frying pan.
- Add two tablespoons of water to the pan and cover the patties with a lid or metal bowl.
- Fry for 1-2 minutes.
- Remove the lid or metal bowl and place the individual patty to one side.
- Flip the burger-cheese-bun combination and add the top and middle buns to the pan.
- Fry for a further 30 seconds.
- Assemble the Big Cac, add fresh lettuce (optional) and serve immediately.