How to Reheat Cottage Pie? [3 Methods Tested]

How to Reheat Cottage Pie
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As a lifelong lover of comfort food, cottage pie ranks high on my list of favorite meals. But enjoying it as leftovers can be tricky. How do you reheat cottage pie without turning it into a dried-out, mushy mess? I was determined to find the best reheating method, so I tested three popular options to see which one produced the perfect piping hot slice of cottage pie bliss. So, how to reheat cottage pie?

While the microwave is the fastest way, the oven-reheated pie tasted the closest to freshly made and had the perfect balance of hot meat and gravy with a golden, bubbling mashed potato topping. However, I can conclusively say the air fryer reigns supreme for reheating cottage pie.

With some tips and tricks, you can use each and every one of these methods. It all depends on the appliances you have at hand. Read on to see how the three methods fared in my extremely delicious experiment. Leftovers have never tasted so good!

Reheating Cottage Pie in an Air Fryer

Air fryers are all the rage these days and for a good reason. They make crispy, fried food with little to no oil. I was curious to see if my air fryer could revive leftover cottage pie and make it taste nearly as good as fresh out of the oven.

I first set my air fryer to reheat cottage pie in an air fryer to 350 °F (180 °C). This temperature is ideal for reheating most leftovers without drying them out.

Then I sprayed the inside of the air fryer basket with cooking spray to prevent the cottage pie from sticking as it reheated.

This is when you should add the cottage pie to the basket in an even layer, taking care not to overcrowd the basket. I reheated about 2-3 servings at a time.

Cook the cottage pie, stirring occasionally, until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 °F (75 °C). This takes about 10-15 minutes total, depending on how cold the leftovers are.

Ensure to check on the cottage pie frequently toward the end of cooking and stir again before the internal temperature reaches 165 °F (75 °C). This prevents overcooking and ensures even reheating.

The result is cottage pie that tastes nearly fresh out of the oven. The only downside is that the mashed potato topping doesn’t get as brown as when reheating in the oven.

Overall, reheating cottage pie in an air fryer is an excellent method if you’re short on time or want to avoid turning on your oven. I found it extremely simple and quick, but this is not my number one method, for it is kind of tedious.

Reheating Cottage Pie in the Oven

Reheat Cottage Pie in the Oven

Reheating cottage pie in the oven is my tried-and-true method. I find it preserves the texture and flavor the best. Here’s how I do it:

First, it’s important to preheat the oven to 350 °F (180 °C). While it heats up, remove the cottage pie from the fridge and uncover it. Let it sit for about 10 minutes, so it’s not ice cold going into the oven.

Place the cottage pie on a foil-lined baking sheet. Cover it tightly with foil and bake for 20-25 minutes, until the filling is bubbly. Check on it after 20 minutes and continue baking in 5-minute increments until it’s heated through.

Carefully remove the foil and continue baking for five more minutes to brown the top. The filling should be steaming hot, and the mashed potato topping should be lightly browned. All that is left is to let the cottage pie stand for 5 minutes, then dig in! The filling will stay saucy, the mashed potatoes light and fluffy, and the cheese melted.


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Using the Microwave to Reheat Cottage Pie

Here are the steps I follow:

Firstly, remove the cottage pie from the fridge and uncover it. Let it sit for about 10 minutes to warm up a bit, which will help it reheat more evenly.

Use the microwave defrost or reheat setting and enter a time of 2 to 3 minutes to start. Microwaves vary in power, so keep a close eye on your cottage pie. Once you put the pie into the microwave, check on it after the initial heating time. Stir it and continue reheating in 30-second bursts, stirring in between, until it’s heated through. Be very careful, as the dish and filling will be extremely hot!

The total reheating time for an average-sized cottage pie will usually be around 3 to 5 minutes. But keep checking to avoid overheating, which can lead to a dried-out mess.

Let your cottage pie stand for 2 to 3 minutes before enjoying it, as this allows it to cool slightly and allows the flavors to blend. The standing time is key to a perfect reheated cottage pie experience.

If you know you won’t be able to finish your pie during the week, you can always freeze it, and here’s how:

What Is the Best Way to Reheat Cottage Pie from the Fridge?

Cottage pie is meant to be enjoyed hot, so when I have leftovers, reheating is a must. After testing three popular methods, I found a clear winner for reviving my cottage pie and returning it to its warm, comforting glory.

Baking the cottage pie in the oven at 350 °F (180 °C) for about 15-20 minutes did a decent job of reheating it without drying it out. However, it took a while, and I had to keep a close eye on it to ensure it didn’t overcook. For a quick weekday lunch, the oven wasn’t ideal.

The microwave was undoubtedly the fastest method, needing only 3-5 minutes to reheat a single portion. However, it resulted in an uneven temperature, with some spots still cool and other spots scalding hot. The texture also became rubbery in spots. I wouldn’t recommend the microwave if you want your cottage pie to have the same great taste and texture as when it was first made.

Using an air fryer basket, I reheated the cottage pie in batches for about 5 minutes, shaking the basket once during cooking. The air fryer did an excellent job of reheating the cottage pie quickly while maintaining a crispy topping and moist filling. However, the air fryer was rather tedious and time-consuming for a large amount of leftovers.


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How Many Times Can You Reheat Cottage Pie?

After enjoying my cottage pie for dinner, I always have leftovers for at least another meal or two. But how many times can you reheat cottage pie before it’s no longer safe to eat? As a food safety precaution, I recommend only reheating cottage pie up to 3 times in total.

After that, bacteria growth becomes a concern, so I recommend making a fresh batch.

Each time you reheat cottage pie, it spends more time in the ‘danger zone’ between 40-140 °F, where bacteria grow rapidly. Reheating too often also causes the ingredients to break down, affecting taste, texture, and quality. [1]

When done right, reheating cottage pie in the microwave leaves it steaming hot all the way through with a texture almost as good as fresh from the oven. Give it a try, and enjoy your delicious leftover cottage pie!

How often do you make cottage pie? Do you usually have leftovers afterward? I can’t wait to hear from you in the comments below!

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