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How To Reheat Roast Beef – I Test 7 Methods

This article was updated on 14th September 2023 for freshness and to incorporate new information.

Roast beef is such a treat that it’s hard to imagine having leftovers. But if there is, what do you do with them?

The best way to reheat roast beef is in the oven. Preheat the oven to 250°F (120°C) and drizzle a few tablespoons of leftover juices or stock over the meat before covering it loosely in foil. Heat the beef until it has an internal temperature of at least 120°F (65°C).

How I tested reheating roast beef

After roasting a joint of beef for my Sunday dinner, I set about reheating the leftovers on Monday using seven different methods to find the best one.

I tested the following reheating methods:

  • In the oven: Beef came out succulent and moist.
  • In the microwave: Only suitable for slices.
  • In gravy or stock: Tender with a great flavor.
  • By steaming: Juicy and tender.
  • In a skillet: Okay for well-done meat.
  • In a water bath: Fiddly to set up but the meat was perfect.
  • In an air fryer: Not recommended, the heat is too harsh.

Roast beef reheating tips

For medium-rare beef, reheat it until the internal temperature of the beef is between 120°F-125°F. For medium, you want around 130°F and for well done, you want around 140°F.

For extra beef flavor, save any rendered fat from cooking the roast and then spread this over the beef before reheating it.

Low and slow is best when you’re reheating beef, so you’ll need to be patient!

Reheating roast beef in the oven (best for whole roasts)

Time: up to 90 minutes

  1. Take your meat out of the fridge and let it reach room temperature, this could take around 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat your oven to 250°F (120°C).
  3. Cover the whole or sliced beef loosely in foil and drizzle leftover juices or stock over the meat.
  4. Heat the beef until it reaches an internal temperature around 120°F (65°C). You can use a meat thermometer to measure this.
  5. The time it takes depends on the weight. But it can take up to 90 minutes for a big joint, so be patient.
  6. Let the beef rest for a few minutes before serving it for the heat to equalize.

By allowing the meat to reach room temperature first, you’re encouraging even heating. And using low heat will help make sure you’re just warming the meat instead of re-cooking it.

Don’t skimp on the juices. If you don’t have any spare juices use water flavored with herbs or Worcestershire sauce instead. And if you’ve got a whole roast beef, remove the foil for the last 15 minutes so that it doesn’t come out too wet. You could even sear the outside in a hot pan before serving to crisp the outside.

Results: This method was good and consistent if a little slow. The meat stayed pink in the middle and was succulent and moist. It’s also the only method that’s suitable for whole joints of meat rather than just slices.

Reheating roast beef in the microwave

Time: 2 minutes

  1. Slice your leftover beef and place the slices on a microwave-safe plate.
  2. Drizzle the meat with a few tablespoons of leftover juices or stock. You can also use water or even apple juice.
  3. Cover the beef with a damp paper towel to trap the steam.
  4. Microwave the meat in 30-second intervals until it’s warmed through, it will take 1-2 minutes depending on the thickness of the slice.
  5. Let the hot beef stand for a further 30 seconds before serving it.

Using such short time intervals ensures you won’t overcook the meat, and the breaks will give the heat time to equalize throughout the beef.

And always stick to heating two or three slices of beef at any one time. If you overcrowd the microwave, it will start heating unevenly and you’ll get some dried-out, tough spots, and some cold spots. Try to keep the slices even in terms of thickness too.

Results: The microwave didn’t perform badly. You’ll often be warned off using the microwave for reheating meat, but I’ve found as long as you go slowly, it works fine. My meat stayed juicy and pink and there was only a small amount of ‘browning’ of the cut edges.

Reheating roast beef in gravy

Time: 3-4 minutes

  1. Take the beef out of the fridge and cut it into slices about a ¼ of an inch thick.
  2. Let the beef slices reach room temperature.
  3. Make some gravy or use leftover gravy from the day before.
  4. Heat the gravy in a pan until it is just simmering.
  5. Take the gravy off the heat and add the beef slices.
  6. Let the meat heat for 3-4 minutes in the gravy and then serve.

It is best if you can use the juices from the beef to make the gravy, but any gravy will do. You can also use stock if you’re really struggling. Or even some water flavored with Worcestershire sauce

The slices should be thin enough to heat through quickly, but if they need some extra help you can put the pan back on the heat for a few minutes.

Results: This was probably my personal favorite method. The beef was super tasty because it was covered in yummy gravy. And the meat was still tender, although it wasn’t piping hot. So if you’re worried about food safety I’d avoid this method.

Reheating roast beef by steaming

Time: 3-4 minutes

  1. Take the beef out of the fridge and cut it into slices. Allow these slices to reach room temperature.
  2. Bring the liquid in your steamer to a simmer (you can use water, poaching liquid, or stock).
  3. Steam the beef slices for 3-4 minutes.

Steam is very hot, so the beef slices don’t need long to warm up. And I found that using thinner slices is better. If the slices are too thick, the outside will overcook while the inside stays lukewarm.

If you want to avoid too much browning of the meat, wrap it in foil (with a few holes poked in it for the steam). This will protect the meat but also slightly increase the heating time.

Results: Overall I was happy with how the beef came out It did cook a bit on the outside, but it was still juicy and succulent inside so I didn’t mind too much.

Reheating roast beef in a skillet (good for well-done meat)

Time: 2-3 minutes

  1. Slice your beef into thickly cut slices. Around 1-inch thickness is good.
  2. Cover a skillet with a thin layer of oil or fat and heat it over medium heat.
  3. When the pan is hot (i.e the meat sizzles when it touches the pan), place your beef into the pan.
  4. Quickly sear each side (for up to 30 seconds) and then remove the beef.

Avoid using too much oil or fat as it will make the beef greasy, although you can always pat any excess grease off with a paper towel if needed.

The reason for cutting the beef relatively thickly is to try and ensure there is still some pink meat in the middle. If you don’t care about this, thinner slices are fine too.

Results: This wasn’t my favorite method because the outside browned significantly and was extremely hot. The inside was still pink, but only lukewarm. For pink beef, I preferred the methods that heated the beef more evenly, but the skillet would be fine for well-done beef.

Reheating roast beef with sous-vide

Time: Varied
10/10 (if you have a sous vide machine)

  1. Package your beef in a heat-proof vacuum bag and remove all the air before sealing.
  2. Set your sous vide machine to a few degrees lower than the temperature you originally cooked the beef to.
  3. Put the beef into the water and leave it to heat. Slices will take around 10-15 minutes, while whole roasts will take between 1-2 hours.
  4. If you have a whole roast and want to crisp the outside, sear it in a really hot pan for a few seconds at the end.

If you don’t have a sous vide machine, you can use a makeshift water bath but it will be tricky to measure and maintain the water temperature.

It can be tricky to tell when the meat is done with this method, but luckily because the meat will never get hotter than the temperature you set the water to, you can leave it there for hours without worrying about it overcooking.

Results: The moisture loss for this method is close to zero, which is perfect.  The meat remained rare to medium-rare and didn’t cook at all. It was as good as new! But you really need a sous vide machine to use this method, which most people won’t have.

Methods I don’t recommend: Air fryer

I tested reheating my beef in the air fryer at 300°F (150°C) wrapped in foil with some of the leftover juices to keep the meat moist. But overall I thought the air fryer was just too harsh of a method for something as delicate as roast beef, and you’re better off using the oven.

How to store roast beef

Let the beef cool down to room temperature, but don’t let it sit out longer than two hours. You can slice larger joints in half to ensure that the meat cools down in time. Once cool, wrap the beef tightly in plastic wrap or place it in an airtight container and store it in the fridge for up to 3 days.

I avoid cutting the beef into slices for storage because this increases the surface area exponentially and means it will dry out a lot quicker.

If you do have slices of beef to store, I recommend putting them in a container or Ziplock bag with some drippings. The drippings will help keep the beef moist and juicy.

Can you freeze roast beef?

Roast beef will freeze well and freezing it allows you to extend its life by up to 3 months. It’s best to freeze bigger chunks of meat so you can lock the juices in, but be aware these will take a long time to defrost so you’ll have to plan ahead when you want to eat it.

How to freeze roast beef

  1. Allow the roast beef to reach room temperature and then place it in the fridge for a few hours to cool down.
  2. If needed, divide the beef into portions but try to avoid cutting it into slices.
  3. Wrap the beef tightly in a layer of plastic wrap followed by a layer of foil. 
  4. Label and date the packaging before placing it in the freezer.
  5. The roast beef will last for 2-3 months when frozen. 

The double layer of wrapping helps protect the beef from freezer burn. Slices of beef are also more susceptible to freezer burn, and they will dry out quicker than bigger cuts of beef. If you must freeze slices, place them in a freezer bag with some leftover juices. The juices will help to keep the meat moist.

How to thaw and reheat frozen roast beef

Always thaw your beef in the fridge before reheating it. If you reheat roast beef from frozen, it will heat very unevenly. Whole joints of beef can take up to a day to fully defrost. Once the beef has thawed, you can reheat it in the oven or slice it up and use the microwave.

If you have slices of beef, you can speed up the thawing process by holding the slices under cold running water or using the defrost setting on your microwave.

Creative ways to use up leftover beef

If this reheating business sounds like too much faff for you, why not repurpose your leftover beef and use it in a stir fry, burritos, or a grilled cheese sandwich!

How To Reheat Roast Beef [Tested Methods]

In this short recipe, I show you the best way to revive and reheat your leftover roast beef.
4.50 from 2 votes
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Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American, British
Keyword: reheat roast beef
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 1 person
Calories: 170kcal


  • 1 portion roast beef
  • 3 tbps juices or stock


  • Take your roast beef out of the fridge and let it reach room temperature.
  • Preheat your oven to 300°F (150°C).Wrap the whole or sliced beef loosely in foil and drizzle leftover juices or stock over the meat.
  • Place the foil package directly on a wire rack in the oven.
  • Heat the beef until it reaches an internal temperature (use a temperature probe if you have one)  just below 120°F (65°C). The time it takes depends on the weight. But it can take up to an hour for a whole joint, so be patient.
  • Let the beef rest for a few minutes before serving it.


If you’ve got a whole roast beef, remove the foil for the last 15 minutes so that it doesn’t come out too soggy.
You could even sear it in a hot pan before serving to crisp the outside.


Serving: 100g | Calories: 170kcal

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