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The Best Way To Reheat Pita Bread – I Test 8 Methods [Pics]

Pita bread is always best freshly baked. But it’s inevitable that you may have some pitas leftover.

How can you mimic that soft, pillowy goodness in your 2-day old pita?

In this article, I share the results of my reheating experiment, where I test 8 (yes 8!) different reheating techniques.

(The internet really hasn’t got any consensus on this topic.)

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.

What’s the best way to reheat pita bread? 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. Heat the pita for 20-30 seconds on each side, then an extra 10 seconds over an open flame to crisp the outside.

A note on my experiment

Bread making is not my area of expertise, so I used this as an excuse to order from my favorite middle eastern takeaway.

(yes, takeaway man, you heard 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 and tasted the results. 

I tested:

  • The skillet 
  • On an open flame
  • The oven
  • The microwave

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.

My favorite method was a combination of the skillet and the open flame. 

But if you don’t have a gas stove or you have multiple pitas to reheat, my next recommendation is the oven.

I don’t recommend the microwave unless you have a really hard pita that needs softening.

Reheating pita bread in a skillet

To reheat pita bread 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. Heat the pita for 20-30 seconds on each side, then an extra 10 seconds over an open flame to crisp the outside.

Time: 2 minutes per pita

Rating: 9/10

The skillet was my favorite method, but it loses some of its appeal if you don’t have a gas stove to finish the pita off on.

How to reheat pita bread in a skillet:

  1. Brush both sides of the pita bread lightly with olive oil (optional).
  2. Heat a heavy-bottomed skillet on a medium-high heat.
  3. Put the pita bread into the skillet.
  4. Sprinkle a few drops of water (½ a teaspoon) around the outside of the pita bread and then cover the pan with a lid.
  5. Heat the pita bread for 20-30 seconds on each side.
  6. Take the pan off the heat and flip the pita a few times on the naked flame of the hob to crisp the outside*

*optional, see reheating on an open flame for the exact method.

You can only reheat one pita bread at a time using this method. If you have several to reheat, you can keep the first ones warm in a saucepan with a lid on it.

I tested this method with and without the 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. Try not to sprinkle the water on the pita either.

If you do end up with a soggy pita, keep heating it until it crisps up.

The naked flame step is optional but HIGHLY recommended if you have a gas stove. It added some magic to the pita.

Verdict

The skillet, followed by an open flame, produced the best pita. It was soft on the inside and had a charred 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.

Also, if you don’t have a gas stove, the crisp outside will be harder to achieve. 

If these issues put you off, try the oven.

Reheating pita bread over an open flame 

To reheat pita bread on an open flame, pick a hob on your stove that’s just a bit smaller than your pita bread and turn it on to a medium-low heat. Put your pita bread directly on the stove, flipping it constantly so it doesn’t burn. When the pita starts to bubble and puff, it’s ready.

Time: 30 seconds per pita

Rating: 7/10

This one is only suitable if you have a gas stove, and even then, I recommend combining it with the skillet method above. If you’re in the electric stove camp, I suggest using the oven.

How to reheat pita bread on an open flame:

  1. Turn your gas stove to a medium-low heat. Use a hob just a bit smaller than your pita bread.
  2. Lay your pita bread directly on the stove, flipping it every 1-2 seconds to prevent it from burning.
  3. When your pita starts to puff, it’s ready.

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.

A saucepan with a lid will do fine (or use the oven, where you can reheat several pitas at once).

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. 

Imagine you’re one of those street vendors working so quickly people stop to watch.

If that’s too scary for you, find something to put over the naked flame, like a small metal rack. 

This will lift the pita bread away from immediate danger to prevent burning and ensure even heating.

Verdict

I was excited to try this method because it’s raved about on other blogs. Sadly (or not, if you have an electric stove), it didn’t live up to the hype.

Don’t get me wrong, it was fun to do, and the pita tasted delicious.

The problem was that there was nothing to remoisturize the pita with, so it was a little too dry. You’re also limited on volume.

When I combined the open flame method with the skillet and some water – that’s when the pita bread really shined.

Reheating pita bread in the oven

To reheat pita bread in the oven, preheat it to 350°F (180°C). Put a baking tray half-filled with water on the bottom shelf of the oven, and place the pita bread on the next rack up. Heat the pita bread for 5-7 minutes in the oven. If you don’t want a crisp outside, wrap the pita in foil instead.

Time: 6 minutes

Rating: 9/10

If you’re a fan of practicality, you’ll like the oven.

It doesn’t matter what type of oven you have, and you can heat more than one pita at a time. Plus, it produces a delicious pita!

How to reheat pita bread in the oven:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
  2. Place a baking tray with some water on the bottom shelf of the oven.
  3. Put the pita bread directly on a wire rack (you can use some crinkled foil here if you wish) above the tray of water.
  4. Heat the pita bread for 5-7 minutes.

The water creates steam as it heats, which moisturizes the pita, then the dry heat of the oven helps the outside of the pita crisp up.

Other oven methods I tested included heating the pita in the oven as it is, 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.

The two methods that didn’t involve any water resulted in a dry pita.

Verdict

The oven gets my vote as the easiest, most practical, and most accessible reheating method.

You can reheat multiple pitas at once, and the pita tastes good. Soft and moist on the inside, crunchy on the outside (but only if you want some crunch).

The only downside is that it takes slightly longer than the other methods, but not prohibitively so.

Reheating pita bread in the microwave

To reheat pita in the microwave, cover them with a damp paper towel before heating them for 30-45 seconds. Aim to eat the pita as soon as it comes out of the microwave, as it rapidly dries out within a few minutes. You can heat more than one pita at a time, but I would stick to two or three max.

Time: 30 seconds

Rating: 5/10

The microwave is good at softening pita temporarily. But after a few minutes, the pita will start to harden again, which is why I don’t recommend this method.

How to reheat pita bread in the microwave:

  1. Cover the pita in a damp paper towel to keep them moist.
  2. Heat the covered pita bread in the microwave for 30-45 seconds.
  3. 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.

You can make pita chips in the microwave in 3-5 minutes!

Be very careful not to overheat your pita in the microwave. 30-45 seconds should be enough.

Eat the pita as soon as it comes out of the microwave because in 5 minutes, when it’s cooled down, it will be dryer than sandpaper (I’m not joking). 

Verdict

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, which doesn’t leave you much time for eating.

Also, the parts where the damp paper towel was resting had gone a bit soggy.

The microwave will heat your pita but only use it as a last resort.

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

If you have a grill, you can use it to reheat your pita bread in a similar way to the skillet.

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 that will go perfectly with a barbecue. Just don’t take your eye off the pita or they’ll dry out.

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.

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. Alternatively, you can wrap it in plastic wrap or foil. The packaging has to be airtight to stop the pita from drying out. The pita will last for 3 days before completely drying out.

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!

Avoid putting pita bread in the fridge because it turns hard very quickly.

Can you freeze pita bread?

You can freeze store-bought pita in its packaging. Simply another layer of foil for protection. If the pitas are open, wrap them in plastic wrap and foil. Put a piece of parchment paper in between each pita to stop them from sticking together. The pita will last up to 6 months in the freezer.

Wrap the pitas as tight as you can to protect against freezer burn.

Try to use the pitas as soon as possible because the longer you leave them in the freezer, the dryer they will become.

To thaw the pitta bread, leave it on the counter for an hour or two.

Keep the pita wrapped up in its packaging. For a quicker method, sprinkle some water over the pita and heat in the microwave for 10-20 seconds.

Don’t put frozen pita bread in the oven because it will end up crispy and hard.

How to soften pita bread that’s gone hard

The best way to soften hard pita bread is to put it in the microwave wrapped in a damp paper towel. The damp paper towel will produce steam that will re-moisturize the pita bread. Make sure to eat the pita bread as soon as it comes out of the microwave because it will harden again quickly. 

The difference between Greek and Middle Eastern pita

Greek pita (left), Middle Eastern pita (right)

Middle eastern pita is the most common type of pita bread and has the famous pocket inside. It’s used for dipping or making pita pocket sandwiches. Greek pita is thicker, with a fluffier inside, and doesn’t feature a pocket. Greek pita is used more like a wrap to make gyros, plus dipping. 

What to do with stale pita bread?

If you think your pita bread is too far gone to make a sandwich with, here are some other ideas:

  • Make pita chips for a snack.
  • Make pita nachos.
  • Make pita pizzas (my favorite).
  • Make fattoush salad (a Lebanese dish).
  • Make breadcrumbs. Pita bread crumbs are surprisingly good.
  • Make fatteh (a chickpea, yogurt, and pita casserole).

The BEST Way To Reheat Pita Bread

Pita bread is always best freshly baked. But it’s inevitable that you may have some pitas leftover.
How can you mimic that soft, pillowy goodness in your 2-day old pita?
In this recipe, I share the very best way to reheat your leftover pita (after experimenting with 8 techniques!).
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Prep Time 2 mins
Cook Time 2 mins
Total Time 4 mins
Course Ingredient
Cuisine Middle Eastern
Servings 1 person
Calories 275 kcal

Equipment

Skillet
Gas stove

Ingredients
 

  • 1 portion pita bread
  • 1 portion olive oil optional

Instructions
 

  • 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*

Notes

*optional, see reheating on an open flame in the main post for more information.

Nutrition

Serving: 100gCalories: 275kcal
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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