Meatballs are made of animal flesh that has been rolled into spherical shapes. You can have it as a complementary dish or the main entrée. Only a few other dishes can fit this definition because most foods are strictly treated as either side dishes or part of the main course.
The main reason why meatballs stand out is the variety of ingredients used in their making. As the consumer, you have a lot of choices on the kind of meat you want for your meatballs. The options range from pork to beef.
Most people are beginning to warm up to the idea of having meatballs made of non-traditional or classic choices, among them being turkey, lamb, and chicken.
Regardless of the meat type you choose, the final dish is a guaranteed delicacy as long as you prepare it correctly. Having a few packs of meatballs in your kitchen comes in handy because they are easy to prepare and compatible with most common dishes.
If yours are homemade, it’s advisable to make a handful every time you embark on the process and store the excess for later use. Doing this helps you evade the handiwork of cooking from scratch each time since you’ll only have to reheat the refrigerated leftovers.
Reheating meatballs is best accomplished using an oven. The recommended temperature is 350°F while the reheating time ranges between 10 to 15 minutes. Always ensure that the final internal temperature of the meatballs is 165° F.
If you are new to this, it’s important to note that not all reheating methods are right. Some leave the meat with a bad taste, too dry or unfit for consumption.
For the perfect results, you must first learn how to store the cooked meatballs, how to defrost them, and the most suitable reheating technique.
Storing Cooked Meatballs
Reheating meatballs means that there was an initial cooking process that led to the remainder of the same. Between the original cookout and the reheating, there is a storage process.
Most people ask:
Is it advisable to store cooked meatballs at room temperature?
Room temperature can only hold cooked meat within two hours. If not refrigerated by that time, harmful bacteria are encouraged to multiply, posing a health hazard to you.
Cooked meatballs must be stored under a 40° F temperature unless they’ll be eaten within two hours.
Can I store meatballs in a freezer?
Yes. This is by far the most effective storage method for long shelf life. Seal them in airtight freezer bags, place a tag with the storage date on the bags and arrange them in the freezer.
Avoid using bags or containers that let the air or water in to avoid damage.
How can I increase my meatballs’ shelf life?
Storing the meat in a refrigerator or freezer goes a long way in keeping them safe for consumption. Refrigeration extends their shelf life by 3 to 4 days while freezing can keep them fresh for 3 months. Airtight food wraps and aluminum foil play a great role in keeping your meatballs protected from contamination by other raw foods in the storage space.
Best Methods to Reheat Meatballs
As mentioned earlier, there are both accurate and inaccurate methods of reheating meat. It mainly narrows down to the cooking equipment you choose to use, the time taken, and the preparation you did before starting to reheat them.
The only way to achieve the desired results is by balancing the temperature range. This prevents your meatballs from underheating or overheating.
Using too much heat to reheat the dish will render it rubbery and dry since all the moisture will be drained from it.
On the other hand, underheating leaves the balls with a hot exterior surface while the inner parts remain frozen or cold. You are also advised to choose a method that leads to an even heat distribution inside the meatballs and on the crust.
You can reheat your cooked meatballs:
In the Oven
When it comes to reheating meatballs, the most effective results manifest when the heat is evenly circulated from the outside part to the innermost section.
Reheating in the oven works well for meatballs that are not covered with sauces.
It’d be disappointing to have overcooked meatballs that are burned on the exterior surface while the center remains frozen.
Follow these steps for remarkable results:
- Turn up your oven’s temperature dials to 350° F. Leave it to preheat.
- Wrap your meatballs in aluminum foil or place them on an oven-friendly plate. Baking sheets are also effective.
- Put them inside the preheated oven and let them cook for 10 to 20 minutes.
While at it, monitor the balls’ internal temperature at a close range. This will prevent them from being undercooked since the recommended temperature is 165°F. At this point, you can turn off the oven, take out the meatballs and serve them alongside other dishes.
On the Stovetop
The stovetop method of reheating meatballs is suitable when sauce is involved. It involves a low and slow exercise that leaves the dish tender and soaked in sauces. This prevents your meatballs from drying out or getting inadequate heat at the center.
Steps to follow:
- Place your cooking pot on top of the stove. Set the flame at a low range.
- Add the meatballs and sauce to the pot and place a cover over it.
- Keep stirring from time to time. This keeps the meatballs and sauce well supplied with heat.
- Let the dish reheat for 15 to 25 minutes and remove the pot from the stovetop before it starts to boil. This prevents it from overcooking.
- Let it rest and serve.
This method is also recommended for reheating frozen meatballs without having to defrost them first. But, if you choose to heat unthawed meat, you should also be ready to deal with the excess water that melts into the pot as the process proceeds. This calls for a thicker sauce or more seasoning to create a balance.
In the Microwave
If you are looking for a fast way to reheat your meatballs, using a microwave is your best bet. It is effective and time-saving. Before starting the process you should be prepared for the mess that’s about to occur in your microwave. Unlike the first two methods, this reheating mechanism leaves some crumbs on the surface. It is not advisable to add sauce to the plate on which you’re using for the process.
The common law of microwave reheating dictates that you set the heat at a low temperature. Our team advises that you set the power levels at 65 to 70% to prevent overheating. If not, your meatballs will come out chewy and dry.
To prevent these occurrences, follow these simple steps:
- Take out your microwave-friendly container and prepare it by placing paper towels at the base. This helps absorb excess liquids and maintain the texture of your meatballs.
- Arrange the meat on the paper towels. Avoid piling them on each other as it may alter the distribution of heat.
- Use a paper towel or moist cloth to cover the meatballs. This prevents the evaporation of moisture.
- Set the microwave power at 70 percent, or an equivalent of medium heat.
- Press start and set the 1-minute timer. If the meatballs are not yet at an internal temperature of 165° F, restart the timer for 15 more seconds.
- Remove your meatballs from the microwave and serve hot.
You Might Ask
People have many questions concerning the reheating process of meatballs. With the above guides, you’ll have no problem hacking this.
Nevertheless, some issues need clarification to avoid confusion on the matter. Here are some of the most asked questions:
Can I Reheat Meatballs More than Twice?
The more you store the meatballs, the more the chances of losing their original taste. Reheating once gives you a chance to redeem the tenderness and flavors through seasoning or the addition of sauce. The second reheating process may not be as effective, but it’s not prohibited either.
To avoid such a scenario, store cooked meatballs in bulk and reheat only a certain portion, at a time, within 3 to 4 days of refrigeration.
You can do the same with cooked meatballs stored in a freezer, which lasts for up to 3 months.
What to Serve with Meatballs?
This type of food is versatile, meaning that it complements other different types of vegetables and sauces.
If you’re not in the mood of eating more than two different dishes, be assured that meatballs can satisfy your appetite on their own.
Here’s is a list of ideas on what to serve together with reheated meatballs:
- Roasted potatoes
- Mashed potatoes
- Egg noodles
- Steamed vegetables
- Meat broth or gravy
The list goes on and on, as some people prefer serving even uncommon dishes besides meatballs. That said, you can serve anything as long as it fits your day’s description of a perfect meatball dish.
You can never go wrong with meatballs as they taste great with most other dishes on the menu. From the initial cooking process, storage of the leftover meatballs, to the reheating process, you have to be careful about the amount of heat you subject them to.
As versatile as they are, meatballs are as easy to make as they are to get spoiled. Avoid using too high or low temperatures during reheating. The cooking equipment you choose should determine the next steps to follow.
Keep tabs on the internal temperature because the external one can easily dupe you into believing that the meatballs are ready for consumption, only to be disappointed by frozen and tasteless interior parts. You can experiment with as many side dishes as you like, or serve the meatballs as an independent meal.
Related: Best Frozen Meatballs – Reviews 2021: Top 5+ Recommended