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Exactly How To Reheat A Big Mac [I Test 4 Methods]

Have you ordered way too much McDonald’s and refuse to let it go to waste?

How about that lonely Big Mac just sitting alone in its cardboard box – surely you can just save it and reheat it later?

I have experimented with several different Big Mac reheating techniques to find out which one delivers the freshest burger while still keeping the bun soft and condiments edible.

(Psst. sorry lettuce, you’re just impossible to save).

These methods include:

I also give some tips on storing and freezing your precious Big Mac, should you be that way inclined (I had a lot of fun freezing Big Macs for this article!).

Ready? Let’s jump right in.

The best way to reheat a Big Mac

The best way to reheat a Big Mac is in a frying pan. Remove the lettuce and lone buns add place both patties in a medium-hot frying pan. Add 2 tablespoons of water to the pan and cover. Fry for 1-2 minutes, then toast the lone buns separately. Assemble and serve immediately after reheating.

Note: by lone bun I mean any bin without a patty stuck to it.

A note about my experiment

I purchased four Big Macs from my local McDonald’s and kept them in the refrigerator for a few hours before conducting my experiment.

I reheated each Big Mac separately in the pan, oven, microwave, and air fryer. I have based my verdicts on the following:

  • How fresh the Big Mac tasted and felt (think the texture of the bun, how the condiments fared, and if the meat wasn’t too dry)
  • How easy the Big Mac was to reheat (let’s face it, we don’t want a whole recipe to reheat a bit of leftover McDonalds…)

Reheating a Big Mac in a frying pan

To reheat a Big Mac in a frying pan, first, deconstruct the burger. Remove the lettuce add place both patties in a medium-hot frying pan (along with the bottom bun). Add 2 tablespoons of water to the pan and cover. Fry for 1-2 minutes, then toast the outer buns separately.

Assemble and serve immediately after reheating.

How to reheat a Big Mac in a frying pan:

  1. Bring a lightly oiled frying pan to a medium heat.
  2. Remove as much lettuce as possible from the burger.
  3. Remove the top bun and middle bun and place to one side.
  4. Add the top burger patty and the bottom patty-cheese-bun combination to the frying pan.
  5. Add two tablespoons of water to the pan and cover the patties with a lid or metal bowl.
  6. Fry for 1-2 minutes.
  7. Remove the lid or metal bowl and place the individual patty to one side.
  8. Flip the burger-cheese-bun combination and add the top and middle buns to the pan.
  9. Fry for a further 30 seconds.
  10. Assemble the Big Mac, add fresh lettuce and serve immediately.

Wow! That’s a long list for such a simple task, hey?

A few points to note. This is the method I’ve found to be the most optimal at rehydrating the burger and bun and giving it that freshly cooked feeling.

Adding the water to the pan and covering is crucial in transforming the stale buns and patties into something that’s not only edible but delicious. 

It also rapidly melts the cheese and introduces flavor back into the burger that other methods fail to do.

Verdict

This is by far the best way to re-invigorate your stale leftover Big Mac. The burger was juicy, the cheese was melted, and best of all, the bun was moist and pillowy!

No other reheating method comes close to achieving these results.

The secret lies in adding water to the pan and allowing the Big Mac to steam. The added moisture works wonders.

Reheating a Big Mac in the oven

To reheat a Big Mac in the oven, preheat it to 350°F (180°C). Remove any lettuce and outer buns. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of water over the top of the Big Mac and wrap it in foil. Reheat for 8-10 minutes, turning once. Toast the outer buns for 30 seconds, assemble, and serve immediately.

How to reheat a Big Mac in the oven:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C).
  2. Remove as much lettuce as possible from the burger.
  3. Remove the top and bottom buns and place them to one side.
  4. Sprinkle on one tablespoon of water on top of the remaining patty-bun-patty combo.
  5. Wrap the combo in a foil parcel and reheat in the oven for 8-10 minutes, flipping once halfway.
  6. Remove the Big Mac and let rest.
  7. Wet the top of the remaining Big Mac buns with a sprinkle of water and toast both buns in the oven for 30-60 seconds.
  8. Assemble the Big Mac and enjoy.

Adding the water to both the patties and the buns helps to reintroduce some well-needed lost moisture back into the Big Mac. 

Removing the lettuce can be a little fiddly, so this step is optional but highly recommended. 

Feel free to either add the lettuce back once the burger has reheated or go one step further and add some freshly chopped lettuce.

Verdict

Despite my best efforts to keep the Bic Mac moist, it was noticeably drier compared to reheating it in the frying pan.

It was still good – but the meat taste was lacking compared to when the burger was fried.

If you have several Big Macs to reheat in one go, the oven could prove quite convenient.

Reheating a Big Mac in the microwave

To reheat a Big Mac in the microwave, remove any lettuce and place it on a microwave-safe plate. Next, cover the Big Mac with a damp paper towel. Microwave in 30-second increments until the Big Mac is piping hot. Allow the Big Mac to rest for 30 seconds before serving immediately.

How to reheat a Big Mac in the microwave:

  1. Remove as much lettuce as possible from the Big Mac.
  2. Place the Big Mac on a microwave-safe plate.
  3. Cover the Big Mac with a damp paper towel.
  4. Microwave in 30-second increments until the burger is piping hot.
  5. Allow the Big Mac to rest for 30 seconds before serving immediately.

A Big Mac will take around 60 seconds to fully reheat in a typical microwave.

The damp paper towel is crucial here. It introduces steam into the microwave, which the Big Mac then absorbs into the buns.

How can you test this? Just feel how hard and stale the top bun of your Big Mac is before microwaving it. Once fully reheated, the bread should be very malleable and soft. Like magic, almost!

Note – 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.

Verdict

The Big Mac was still perfectly edible. The bun was soft, and the cheese was all nice and gooey. 

What was it missing? Some of the meat flavor and general Big Mac ‘essence’. It’s pretty hard to describe, but the microwave almost dulls the flavors in the burger.

Overall still a good method in a pinch. Don’t forget to use a damp paper towel – it makes all the difference.

Reheating a Big Mac in the air fryer

To reheat a Big Mac in an air fryer, remove any lettuce and outer buns. Place the Big Mac in the preheated air fryer basket (350°F) and reheat for 4-6 minutes, turning once. Sprinkle on 1 tablespoon of water over the Big Mac to help rehydrate the patties. Toast the outer buns, reassemble and serve.

How to reheat a Big Mac in the air fryer:

  1. Preheat your air fryer to 350°F (180°C).
  2. Remove as much lettuce as possible from the Big Mac.
  3. Remove the top and bottom buns and place them to one side.
  4. Place the remaining Big Mac piece (patty-bun-patty) into the air fryer basket.
  5. Sprinkle one tablespoon of water over the top patty.
  6. Reheat for 4-6 minutes, flipping once halfway through.
  7. Remove the Big Mac and let it rest.
  8. Wet the remaining Big Mac buns with 1 tablespoons of water and reheat both buns in the air fryer for 20-30 seconds.
  9. Assemble the Big Mac and enjoy.

If you’re thinking this sounds quite similar to the oven reheating method, you’re not wrong.

In fact, an air fryer is just a glorified mini convection oven with a much stronger fan.

The result? A harsher cooking method that is perfect for fried foods, but not so much other food – including burgers.

Verdict

The air-fried Big Mac was noticeably dryer than all over reheating counterparts.

This is despite the attempts at reintroducing moisture into the burger.

Honestly, I can’t recommend this method. All of the other methods I mention here produced better results.

How to store a Big Mac

The best way to store a Big Mac is in an airtight container in the refrigerator. First, remove as much lettuce as possible from the burger. Next, tightly wrap the Big Mac in plastic wrap and place it into an airtight container. Keep refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Freezing a Big Mac

To freeze a Big Mac, remove any lettuce and pickles and cover tightly in plastic wrap. Next, place the wrapped Big Mac in a freezer bag and squeeze out any excess air. Big Macs can last up to 3 months in the freezer. But for best results, aim to use the Big Mac within 1 month of freezing.

Defrosting a Frozen Big Mac

The best way to defrost a Big Mac is in the refrigerator. Place the Big Mac in the fridge where it will fully defrost in 8-12 hours.

How long can a Big Mac last?

If you’re wondering how long your Big Mic will be safe to eat, here are a few useful timelines:

  • Room Temperature. A Big Mac kept at room temperature will be safe to eat for up to 2 hours.
  • Refrigerated. A Big Mac stored in the refrigerator will be safe to eat for up to 3 days.
  • Frozen. A Big Mac stored in the freezer will be best consumed within two months of freezing.

If you’re wondering whether your cold Big Mac that’s been left out overnight is safe to eat, the simple answer is no. The FDA says:

“Remember the 2-Hour Rule: Discard any perishables left out at room temperature for more than 2 hours, unless you’re keeping it hot or cold.”

U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Note that these are maximums, and the freshness and overall quality of your Big Mac will deteriorate rapidly after it’s first cooked. For best results, aim to store and consume your Big Mac as soon as possible.

The BEST Way To Reheat A Big Mac

Have you ordered way too much McDonald’s and refuse to let it go to waste?
How about that lonely Big Mac just sitting alone in its cardboard box – surely you can just save it and reheat it later?
I have experimented with many different Big Mac reheating techniques to find out which one delivers the freshest burger while still keeping the bun soft and condiments edible.
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Prep Time 2 mins
Cook Time 3 mins
Total Time 5 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 1 person
Calories 257 kcal

Equipment

Ingredients
 

  • 1 portion Big Mac
  • 2 tbsp water to create steam
  • 1 portion shredded lettuce optional

Instructions
 

  • 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.

Nutrition

Serving: 100gCalories: 257kcal
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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