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How To Reheat Pulled Pork – I Test 8 Methods

It would be a crime to throw out leftover pulled pork, but what’s the best way to bring it back to its former glory?

I tested out 8 different ways of reheating pulled pork to find out which one was best.

The best way to reheat pulled pork is in the oven. It’s reliable and the pork will come out juicy and tender. Preheat the oven to 250°F (120°C) and spread the pulled pork out in a baking dish, adding 1/4 cup of stock or juices as well. Heat for around 30 minutes.

How I Tested Reheating Pulled Pork

I made some delicious pulled pork (using this recipe) and left it in the fridge overnight. The next day, I tested reheating it in:

  • The oven: A good reliable method.
  • The microwave: Great for re-crisping the chicken.
  • The stove: Quicker to the oven.
  • In a steamer: Good for small pieces of chicken.
  • In an air fryer: Good for crispy pork.
  • In a sous vide machine: Slow but worth it.
  • On a grill: Good for smoky flavor.
  • In a slower cooked: Avoid this method.

I was looking for a reheating technique that resulted in moist, juicy, tender and flavourful pork.

Tips for Reheating Pulled Pork

It’s best to avoid high heat when you’re reheating pulled pork because this can dry out and toughen the meat. The methods you’ll find here are all gentle.

The other important thing is to add some liquid to the pork as you’re reheating it. It will lose moisture in storage so you need to add this back in. You can use leftover juices, apple juice, broth, or water. But try and avoid water because it doesn’t have much flavor.

Reheating Pulled Pork In The Oven

Time: 30 minutes
Rating: 9/10

  1. Preheat your oven to 250°F (120°C).
  2. Place your pulled pork in a glass or ceramic dish and add around ¼ cup of broth, water, or apple juice per portion of pulled pork. You can also use BBQ sauce.
  3. Cover the dish tightly with foil to lock in the moisture.
  4. Reheat the pork for 20-30 minutes, stirring it halfway through.

The exact timings will vary depending on how full your baking dish is. I recommend using a glass or ceramic dish because they don’t heat up as fast so will heat the pork more evenly.

A metal baking dish will heat the edges quickly and you may end up with some burnt bits (although this could be a positive for you!).

Results: The oven method was a bit slow, but the resulting pork was deliciously moist and flavorful. And it’s reliable – you’ll get good results every time. The oven is also super useful if you have several portions of pulled pork to reheat at once.

Reheating Pulled Pork In The Microwave

Time: 2 minutes
Rating: 7/10

  1. Place 1-2 portions of pulled pork in a microwave-safe dish.
  2. Add a few tablespoons of liquid (e.g broth or apple juice) to keep it moist.
  3. Cover the dish – a microwave-safe lid or plastic wrap works, but make sure to leave a tiny vent.
  4. Heat the pulled pork for 1 minute and then continue in 30-second intervals. Stir the meat during each break.

Short bursts of heating with stirring in between help avoid hot spots forming in the pork.

The microwave is only suitable for heating smaller portions of pulled pork, if you overfill the bowl you wont get even heating.

Results: The microwave was the fastest method and despite its bad reputation, my pulled pork was pretty decent! There weren’t any tasty crispy bits, but the meat was juicy and tasted fine. I’d definitely use the microwave again if I was in a hurry.

Reheating Pulled Pork On The Stove

Time: 12-15 minutes
Rating: 8/10

  1. Heat a heavy-bottomed pan on the stove over medium-low heat.
  2. Add the pulled pork along with ¼ cup of extra liquid per portion (broth, sauce, or juice).
  3. Cover with a lid and heat the pork for 12-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Keeping the heat gentle gives the pork time to absorb the extra moisture. If you think the pork could benefit from some extra flavor, you can replace a small amount of the liquid with butter.

If you want to crisp the pork a bit, turn the heat to high once all the liquid has been absorbed and flash-fry the pork.

Results: The stovetop method gave me good control over the heat and moisture levels while I was reheating the pork, and the end result was good. The meat was juicy and soft, overall a decent method.

Reheating Pulled Pork In The Steamer

Time: 5 minutes
Rating: 7/10

  1. Set up your steamer (an instant pot’s steam function works too!), ideally using broth or apple juice and the liquid instead of water.
  2. Spread out the pulled pork in the steamer basket.
  3. Steam for about 5 minutes.

Don’t overcrowd the steamer basket – the steam needs to be able to circulate properly.

And if you don’t have a steamer or an instant pot, you can create a makeshift steamer with a pan, a sieve, and a lid. Fill the pan with water and rest the sieve on top.

Results: Steaming is gentle heating method and infused moisture into the pork, leaving it lovely and tender. But one downside is it’s not ideal for already sauced pork or pork with a lot of added flavor because the steam can wash it off.

Reheating Pulled Pork In An Air Fryer

Time: 3-5 minutes
Rating: 7/10

  1. Spread the pulled pork out in a single layer in the air fryer basket.
  2. Cook at 350°F (180°C) for about 3-5 minutes.

Just like with the steamer, you shouldn’t overload the air fryer basket. The air needs to circulate properly to heat the pork.

And watch closely to avoid over-cooking the pork. An air fryers heat can be very harsh and it will only take a few minutes to burn the pork.

Results: The air fryer is excellent if you want some crispness on the edges of the pork, but not ideal if you want super juicy meat. My pork was a little dry when it came out of the air fryer, but it’s nothing a bit of barbecue sauce couldn’t fix.

Reheating Pulled Pork With Sous Vide

Time: 45 minutes
Rating: 9/10

  1. Heat water in your sous vide setup to 165°F (74°C).
  2. Place vacuum-sealed pulled pork in the water bath.
  3. Leave it for around 45 minutes (exact timings will vary depending on portion size and the thickness of the bag).
  4. For extra texture, flash-fry the pork in a hot pan for a minute or two.

The temperature of the pork will never get above 165°F (74°C) with this method, so there’s no chance of it overcooking. This also means there’s no harm in leaving the pork heating for a little longer than you think it needs

You can set up a make-shift sous vide machine by making a water bath, but it can be very hard to keep the water at the correct temperature for the amount of time you need to heat the pork.

Note: Make sure the bag you’re using is safe for use in hot water. Most are, but it’s always good to double-check.

Results: Sous vide reheating is slow, but if you plan ahead you’ll end up with pork that’s almost indistinguishable from the fresh stuff. The one (pretty big) downside is you’ll need a sous vide machine, which not very many people have.

Reheating Pulled Pork On The Grill

Time: 30 minutes
Rating: 8/10

  1. Wrap the pulled pork in two layers of foil, along with a few tablespoons of extra liquid like stock or juice.
  2. Set your grill up with two zones. I.e only heat one side of the grill.
  3. When the side of the grill not being directly heated reaches a temperature of 225°F (107°C), add the pulled pork to this side (also known as the ‘cool side’).
  4. Close the lid of the grill and heat the pork for 20-30 minutes.
  5. Once the pork is hot, you can open the foil package and move it to the direct heat side to crisp it up slightly. If it’s already shredded you can crisp it in a pan.

I recommend using two layers of foil because you don’t want the bottom to rip and all the moisture to drip out.

The two-zone grill method allows the pork to heat up slowly so it doesn’t dry out.

Results: Grilling the pork gave it a more smokey flavor than the other reheating methods, and it’s ideal if you have the grill set up for something else. But not so ideal if you have no other plans to set the grill up!

Method To Avoid: Slow Cooker / Crock Pot

Some sources recommend using slow cooker (or crock pot) to reheat pulled pork, but the USDA advises against this.

Because the slow cooker will take so long to get the meat up to temperature (a few hours), it could end up spending too long in the ‘danger zone’ and become unsafe to eat. I also find that pulled pork gets overly mushy when it’s heated for too long.

Bonus Method: Use The Pulled Pork In A Dish

Pulled pork is one of the most versatile ingredients out there, so you never have to let it go to waste even if you don’t feel like eating it as it is. Here are some great recipes to try:

  • Pulled pork fried rice
  • Pulled pork stuff sweet potatoes
  • Pulled pork ramen
  • Pulled pork sandwiches 
  • Pulled pork breakfast hash
  • Pulled pork mac and cheese

You can simply take the leftover pulled pork, chop it up and add it into your dish towards the end of the cooking time.

How to Store Pulled Pork

Cool your leftover pulled pork to room temperature and then pack it into an airtight container or a resealable bag. Add in any leftover juices, or a little bit of broth or sauce to keep the pork moist. Keep the pork in the fridge for 3-4 days.

If you have a lot of pork, divide it into smaller portions to cool so it’s quicker. You don’t want the meat sitting out for more than 2 hours.

How To Freeze Pulled Pork

Pulled pork also freezes really well. 

  1. Cool the pulled pork to room temperature.
  2. Separate the meat into serving-sized portions.
  3. Transfer the meat to a heavy-duty freezer bag or a vacuum bag.
  4. Remove as much air as possible from your freezer bag and seal. Or seal your vacuum bag.
  5. Freeze the pork for up to 6 months, or up to a year if it’s vacuum sealed.

Portioning the pulled pork out means you only have to thaw as much as you’re going to eat so none will go to waste.

If you have a vacuum sealer, use this – it really helps the pork stay moist. To remove air from a freezer bag, you can use the water displacement method. Dunk the open bag in a bowl of water and this will force all the air out. Removing all the air significantly reduces the chance of the pork developing freezer burn.

How To Reheat Frozen Pulled Pork

You can thaw the pulled pork in the fridge overnight and then reheat it in the oven or on the stove. If you’re in a hurry you can use the defrost setting on your microwave or hold the packaged frozen pork under cold running water.

If you vacuum sealed the pork, you can also reheat it straight from frozen in a sous vide machine.

How To Reheat Pulled Pork [Tested Methods]

In this short recipe, I show you the best way to revive and reheat your leftover pulled pork.
5 from 1 vote
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Course: Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: How to reheat pulled pork
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 1 person
Calories: 168kcal


  • 1 portion Pulled pork


  • Preheat your oven to 250°F (120°C).
  • Place your pulled pork in a glass or ceramic dish and add around ¼ cup of broth, water, or apple juice per portion of pulled pork. You can also use BBQ sauce.
  • Cover the dish tightly with foil to lock in the moisture.
  • Reheat the pork for 20-30 minutes, stirring it halfway through.


Serving: 100g | Calories: 168kcal

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