Reheating Meals with Danny

Danny, you ask some excellent questions for a newcomer.
You will soon realize that you are saving both time and money using SV cooking and advanced meal preparation techniques.

Successful reheating your frozen prepared meals requires a balance between maintaining your initial degree of doneness and achieving a palatable service temperature.

Most people expect a mouth-feel temperature above a lot of SV cooking temperatures. Therefore we employ a finishing sear to proteins to elevate the food’s surface temperature which we perceive as we eat as well as enhancing appearance and flavour. This is easily done with a steak, chop, filet, etc. Those we reheat at or just below your original SV cooking temperature for about a half hour for anything under an inch thick. Thicker than that naturally means using a comparatively longer time, - not temperature.

We get into more challenging culinary territory when reheating mixtures or food in sauces. For them we usually only use advanced meal preparation techniques for thoroughly cooked menu items such as a Beef Stew or Pot Roast in Mushroom Gravy. Restaurants heat those items to 175F or higher for service by immersing the portion packages in boiling water for a predetermined time based on having the same mass or weight for every portion.
That’s very important.

For you at home it will initially take a bit of trial and error testing. Do yourself a favour and ensure all portions are the same weight when you package them. If you don’t have a kitchen scale, get one. It’s one of the basic kitchen tools of a competent cook or baker. And if you don’t have a digital instant read thermometer get one too.

Next, always temper ( completely thaw) your frozen portions for at least 24 hours near the top of your refrigerator. Be sure to allow air circulation around your food packages. I use a small wire cooking rack for this.

Start by immersing your food package in boiling water for exactly five minutes, flipping the package a few times to ensure even reheating. Add or decrease that time if the food temperature doesn’t please you. Time will vary by mass. Very small portions will only take 3 minutes to reheat.

Above all, keep a permanent detailed record of each of your meals. That’s the only way you will learn how to achieve consistently satisfying results. Details means recording the following: food item, food mass, reheat time, final food temperature, and comments on your results.

Happy cooking.


Thank you. I have two precision thermometers that confirm the temp shown on the Anova. I’ve made soft boiled eggs to perfection 3 dats in a row now. I love that. But last night I did back up and cooked a chicken quarter at 145 for 99 minutes. It was edible but a little disgusting too. Even my dog had to think it over before eating it. So, not going to be my first choice with chicken quarters. Now I’m back to grilling quarters to 175 F then sealing for use later.
The question is how long and at what temp to warm frozen precooked quarters before over cooking it.

145F for 99 minutes would work fine for chicken breast, but legs and thighs are generally considered much better when cooked at a higher heat.

I find chicken breast cooked at 145 to be excellent, and I highly recommend it.

Now, for some good news! When it comes to “re-heating” in a sous vide bath you can’t really “overcook” your food as long as you don’t reheat it to a higher temperature than that at which you initially cooked your food.
So for example, if you grill your chicken quarters, then vacuum seal, chill, and freeze them, you can reheat them in the sous vide bath at 160F or so for an hour - or even three hours - and it will not overcook! Read some of the past posts in this forum if you’re not already familiar with this - sous vide cooking really differs from “standard” cooking! Below I include a quote of something I myself posted a while ago that I think you might find useful.

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Try it again at a higher temp as @Mirozen suggested (I like 165°F for 2 hours followed by a few minutes on a blazing hot grill) and it’ll be your choice going forward. You don’t mention a finishing step to crisp the skin, like the aforementioned grill time. If you skipped that then it would explain most of the disgust factor.

The thing that put me on this path is I cook a wonderful stew and roast beef with mushroom gravy. But the receipt is way to much for me to eat. After 3 days I’m sick of ot. The remainder just goes into the garbage. It’s a long story to a chamber vacuum sealer and Sous vide. I hope this is my final stop in my journey
I’ll start keeping a journal of this new contraption. Thank you for your feed back all is appreciated

I didn’t do a finish on this I was curious to see how the seasoning worked as is. Next time I’ll grill it to finish. See how that changes the flavor

So limp, soggy skin right out of the bath? That certainly explains why even the dog was hesitant.

Just checking something, the 145F x 99mins was to thaw and reheat already cooked chicken hind quarters, wasn’t it?

To cook chicken it is best to cook to pasteurised. I use 140F x 4 hours for my bulk cooks of assorted chicken parts, which includes thighs and drums.

Danny, now your near-term objective is to build a convenient frozen inventory of your favourite meals so never again will you have to experience the sorrow and waste of that 3rd-day menu let down.

If any meals with pasta or rice components are among your favourites you will discover the starch components of your frozen and subsequently reheated meals soften in texture over time. It’s best to freshly cook the starch while your meal reheats.

May your journey continue successfully.