This article was updated on 14/07/2023 for clarity and to incorporate new information.
In this article, I share the results of my pita reheating experiment, where I test 8 (yes 8!) different reheating techniques. I also share some tips for storing and freezing your pitas, to keep them as fresh as possible, for as long as possible.
In a rush? Here’s the short answer.
The best way to reheat pita is in a skillet. Heat the pan on a medium-high heat and put the pita in. Sprinkle a few drops of water around the outside of the pita and then cover with a lid. Steam the pita for 20 seconds, then remove the lid and crisp the pita on each side for a further 20 seconds.
How I tested reheating pita
Bread making is not my area of expertise, so I used this as an excuse to order from my favorite middle eastern takeaway. (yes, you did hear that right – I want ten pita breads with one hummus).
Pretty soon, the freshly baked pita breads turned up at my door and I put them away.
The following day, armed with leftover hummus, I tested eight different ways of reheating the pita bread:
- The skillet: The best method.
- On an open flame: Delicious if you want some char.
- The oven: Good for lots of pita.
- The microwave: Good for hard pita.
I know that’s only four, but I had several variations for each one, such as in the oven with and without foil. I was looking for a tasty pita with a soft inside and a slight crisp to the outside that you could use in all the ways you’d normally use pita!
Reheating pita bread in a skillet
Time: 2 minutes per pita
- Brush both sides of the pita bread lightly with olive oil (optional).
- Heat a heavy-bottomed skillet on a medium-high heat and put the pita bread into the skillet.
- Sprinkle a tablespoon of water around the outside of the pita bread and then cover the pan with a lid for 20 seconds.
- Remove the lid and heat the pita bread for a further 20 seconds on each side.
I tested this method with and without the additional water, and the water was the clear winner.
It added some moisture back into the pita, making it softer and less chewy. You need to be careful not to use too much though, or the pita can turn out soggy. And try not to get any water on the actual pita either.
Results: The skillet produced a great pita. It was soft on the inside and had crunch on the outside. But it’s not the most practical method because you’re limited to one pita at a time, which is why I knocked a point off.
Reheating pita bread over an open flame
Time: 30 seconds per pita
- Turn your gas stove to a medium-low heat. Use a hob that’s just a bit smaller than your pita bread.
- Lay your pita bread directly on the stove, flipping it every 1-2 seconds to prevent it from burning.
- When your pita starts to puff, quickly place it in a plastic bag or airtight container and seal for 30 seconds.
- Take the pita out and enjoy!
With this method, you can only really heat one (max two if you’re really good at multitasking) pita bread at a time. If you need to heat multiple, make sure you have something on hand to keep the pita bread warm.
This is a popular method of reheating pita bread because you get a lovely charred flavor on the outside. But you have to be really quick with the flipping, or the pita bread will burn.
The plastic bag trick at the end is to steam the pita, so it softens. You can skip this step if your pita doesn’t need rehydrating or you want a super crunchy outside.
Results: I was excited to try this method because it’s raved about all over the internet. It was fun to do, and the pita tasted delicious. But honestly it was too much effort to want to do every time I reheat pita.
Reheating pita bread in the oven
Time: 6 minutes
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
- Place a baking tray filled with a thin layer of water on the bottom shelf of the oven.
- Put the pita bread directly on a wire rack (you can use some crinkled foil here if you wish) above the tray of water.
- Heat the pita bread for 5-7 minutes.
The water creates steam as it evaporates, which moisturizes the pita, then when the water is gone the dry heat of the oven will crisp the outside of the pita up.
Other oven methods I tested included heating the pita in the oven by itself, heating it wrapped in foil, heating it wrapped in foil with some water sprinkled on it, and heating it in a wet paper bag.
If you just want a soft pita without any crunch, then wrap the pita in foil with a sprinkle of water. The pita will take a minute or two longer to heat through but will be soft and fluffy.
Results: The oven gets my vote as the easiest, most practical, and most accessible reheating method (and the slowest). You can reheat multiple pitas at once, and the pita tastes good. Soft on the inside, with some crisp on the outside.
Reheating pita bread in the microwave
Time: 30 seconds
- Cover the pita with a damp paper towel to keep them moist. I would reheating a maximum of 3 pita at a time.
- Heat the covered pita bread in the microwave for 30-45 seconds.
- Eat immediately.
Pita bread goes through several stages in the microwave.
First, the pita bread will go soft and moist, but it will quickly dry out and become tough and chewy before finally becoming crispy. Be very careful not to overheat your pita in the microwave if you want to keep it soft. 30-45 seconds should be enough.
Eat the pita as soon as it comes out of the microwave because when it cools down it will be dryer than sandpaper (I’m not exaggerating).
Results: I wasn’t a massive fan of the microwave. It was speedy, and the pita bread came out warm and soft – sounds great, right? But the cracks didn’t take long to show. After 5 minutes, the pita had become very dry. Only use this method if your pita is so hard it wont soften any other way.
Other ways to reheat pita bread
I didn’t test these methods myself but wanted to include them because they’re valid options.
- Grill/griddle: Rub each side of your pita bread with oil and then place it on the grill. Heat one side for 30 seconds before flipping the pita bread over and heating the other side. If you’re using an open grill, you’ll get a nice smoky flavor to the pita bread.
- Toaster: The toaster is without a doubt a quick way to reheat pita bread, but it will dry it out. I tested reheating naan bread in the toaster, which is very similar, and wasn’t impressed with the results.
- Air fryer: Air fryers are essentially mini ovens, so you can use them in the same way. I would sprinkle the pita with water and then wrap it in foil and heat at 350°F (180°C) for a few minutes.
How to store pita bread
To store your pita bread, put it in an airtight bag with all the air squeezed out and keep it at room temperature for up to 3 days. Alternatively, you can wrap the pita tightly in plastic wrap or foil. Avoid putting pita bread in the fridge because it will stale very quickly.
Pita bread is thin and airy, which makes it very vulnerable to drying out. The environment will suck moisture from your pita bread quicker than you can blink! To prevent this from happening, you need to remove as much air from surrounding your pita bread as possible.
A tightly sealed bag or plastic wrap are the best methods.
Top tip: if you’re using a heavy-duty freezer bag, suck the air out with a straw. You basically become a human vacuum sealer!
Can you freeze pita bread?
You can freeze store-bought pita in its packaging If the packaging is open, wrap the pita in plastic wrap and foil, putting a piece of parchment paper in between each pita to stop them sticking together. The pita will last up to 6 months in the freezer.
To thaw the pita bread, leave it on the counter for an hour or two. Keep the pita wrapped up in its packaging while it thaws. For a quicker method, sprinkle some water over the pita and heat it in the microwave for 10-20 seconds.
Don’t put frozen pita bread in the oven because it will end up crispy and hard.
See Also: How To Reheat Focaccia
How To Reheat Pita Bread [Tested Methods]
- Gas stove
- 1 portion pita bread
- 1 portion olive oil optional
- Brush both sides of the pita bread lightly with olive oil (optional).
- Heat a heavy-bottomed skillet on a medium-high heat.
- Put the pita bread into the skillet.
- Sprinkle a few drops of water (½ a teaspoon) around the outside of the pita bread and then cover the pan with a lid.
- Heat the pita bread for 20-30 seconds on each side.
- Take the pan off the heat and flip the pita a few times on the naked flame of the hob to crisp the outside*