Last Updated: December 20, 2022

How to Reheat Meatballs Using the Top 5 Methods – Storing and Reheating Frozen Meatballs

How to Reheat Meatballs

What goes best with spaghetti? The top answer we received was meatballs, and we wholeheartedly agree! Meatballs are a great side dish, along with also being a delicious entrée.

Meatballs are great for snacks for children and adults. They can be made with different ingredients, and many have their own family recipes. So, storing some leftover meatballs in your freezer will need the best reheating tips to avoid messing the food up.

That’s why we have our article on how to reheat meatballs with five convenient and efficient methods. You can try whichever feels doable for you!

5 Best Methods to Reheat Meatballs

When reheating meatballs, there is a thin line between overcooked and warm-up. If you overheat them, they will become dry and rubbery; if you heat them too little, they will remain cold and may turn soggy. Such a reheating dilemma!

So, what do you do in these circumstances? We would advise you to go through our top five methods that will give you perfectly reheated meatballs every time. These methods are efficient, and the results are pretty amazing.

You can use your oven, air fryer, microwave, crockpot, and stove to reheat the meatballs to get delicious, tender, and juicy results. But you must follow the steps and instructions correctly to get the best results. Moreover, some methods may work better than others, so try a different method if one doesn’t work for you.

We won’t keep you waiting any longer to get to the reheating methods.

1. How to reheat meatballs in a crockpot

top view of meatballs in a crockpot
Image credit: TalyaAL, Shutterstock

A crockpot is an easy and time-efficient kitchen appliance for reheating meatballs. You can just leave your meatballs to heat up while you do other work. It’s that easy!

Crockpots are great for sauce or sauceless meatballs; all you need is some water and, of course, the meatballs. It is tough to mess up meatballs when you reheat them in the crockpot. But still, follow our instructions carefully to avoid any mishaps.

Here are the steps for reheating meatballs in the crockpot:

Step 1: Thaw your meatballs beforehand. If you are reheating frozen meatballs, you must let them reach room temperature before doing anything.

Step 2: Put the meatballs into the crockpot. If it has sauce, add it in with one-fourth cup of water. The water will help not to make the sauce too thick. If you use dry meatballs, add a few drops of water frequently.

Step 3: Cover the crockpot with a lid.

Step 4: Set the heat low and let it reheat for 2 to 3 hours.

Step 5: Stir the meatballs occasionally to let everything reheat properly and not get burnt.

Step 6: Turn the crockpot off after everything has adequately reheated and served.

You may also like: How to Reheat Calamari

2. How to reheat meatballs in an oven

The oven is an excellent method when it comes to cooking or reheating any food. It takes less effort and gives the best results. This is also true for your leftover meatballs.

An oven can give you a perfectly reheated meatball meal, and it will taste as fresh as when you made it first. But, the oven reheating method will take some time, and you have to look out for not burning the outside layer.

Still, the oven works really well for reheating, so we want to show you two ways. One reheating way if you have sauce with your meatballs and another without sauce.

Here are the steps for reheating meatballs in the oven:

(a) Without Sauce

Step 1: Preheat the oven for 10 minutes at about 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 2: Line a tray or baking dish with a baking sheet.

Step 3: Place meatballs in the tray/baking dish.

Step 4: Cover the tray/dish with aluminum foil to retain moisture. If you want, you can sprinkle some water over the meatballs.

Step 5: Put them in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes. If you are reheating frozen meatballs, let them reheat for 30 minutes.

Step 6: Take them out and check if the internal temperature is 165℉. If it’s not, put them back in the oven for 5 minutes.

Step 7: Serve the reheated meatballs while they are hot.

(b) With Sauce

Step 1: First, thaw your meatballs and bring them to room temperature.

Step 2: Preheat your oven for 10 minutes at 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 3: Place a baking sheet on the baking tray.

Step 4: Mix a few tablespoons of water with your meatballs and sauce. It will help to keep the consistency of the sauce.

Step 5: Put the meatballs with sauce in the baking tray and cover them with foil paper.

Step 6: Let it reheat for 20 to 25 minutes.

Step 7: After 10 minutes of reheating, check on the meatballs to see if they are not too dry. If it looks dry, add some water and stir the dish.

Step 8: After 25 minutes, take them out and serve them hot.

3. How to heat up meatballs in an air fryer

Air fryers have become a blessing in every household that has them. Because why not? It is efficient in cooking, reheating, and saving time. What do you need more? Reheating meatballs in an air fryer is actually a great way to get a fresh-tasting meal.

Every kitchen appliance has its ups and downs; for an air fryer, it is that it can dry the meatballs too much with the hot air circulation. If you overdo it, the air fryer meatballs may taste rubbery. Moreover, you can’t reheat meatballs with sauce in the air fryer. But, an air fryer is an easy way to reheat.

Here are the steps to warm up meatballs in the air fryer:

Step 1: Preheat your air fryer for 5 minutes at about 300 to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 2: Put the meatballs in the air fryer basket, but keep a small gap between them to let them reheat evenly.

Step 3: Reheat for 6 to 8 minutes.

Step 4: Take them out and check the temperature. If they have an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit, that’s great. If not, pop them in the air fryer for an additional 2 minutes.

Step 5: Then, take them out and serve them with sauce.

4. How to heat up meatballs in a microwave

When you are in a hurry, the microwave is your buddy! It will reheat your food in just a few seconds without much effort. It’s convenient when you don’t have time to use any other methods.

But we don’t advise using the microwave method to reheat meatballs. It can dry your meatballs out, and they won’t taste the best. The flavor will almost be gone, and you will eat it just because you are hungry. Still, if you want to reheat your meal quickly, we have got you covered.

Here are the steps for reheating meatballs in the microwave:

Step 1: Get a microwave-safe plate.

Step 2: Arrange the meatballs so they have some space between them.

Step 3: Use a damp paper towel or plastic wrap to cover the meatballs. It will help retain moisture.

Step 4: Put them in the microwave at 50% power or medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes at 30-second intervals.

Step 5: Add a few drops of water if the sauce thickens too much or the sauceless meatballs seem to be drying.

Step 6: Take them out and check the temperature. If the meatballs are at 165 degrees Fahrenheit, they are appropriately reheated.

Step 7: Lastly, serve them hot.

5. Reheat instructions for meatballs on the stovetop

You might be thinking this is the worst reheating method ever. But what if we tell you that you are wrong? Hear us out! We believe the best way to reheat meatballs is the stovetop method.

You can heat meatballs on the stove in two ways: in a skillet or in a pot. We believe many use the pot method, which usually gives a soft but bland meatball at the end. On the other hand, the skillet can retain moisture, provide a crisp outside and reheat the meatballs without making them dry or overcooked. If you have some time on your hand and want a flavorful meatball meal, the stovetop is the suitable method for you.

We will only be giving instructions for reheating meatballs in a skillet.

(a) With Sauce

Step 1: Preheat your skillet on low heat, and you can use oil or butter on the skillet.

Step 2: Put the meatballs with sauce in the skillet and add some water. It will not let the sauce thicken up.

Step 3: Reheat for 10 minutes and stir occasionally. If the water has evaporated, pour some more.

Step 4: Cover the skillet with a lid and reheat at a low temperature for 10 minutes.

Step 5: Don’t let the sauce boil. You want it just to simmer.

Step 6: Take them off and serve them hot.

(b) Without Sauce

Step 1: Butter your skillet properly and let it preheat on low.

Step 2: Add your sauceless meatballs to the skillet.

Step 3: Now, add a few drops of water to the meatballs and stir often.

Step 4: Add more water if necessary and keep stirring.

Step 5: Let the meatballs fry on all sides until golden or golden brown.

Step 6: Once appropriately reheated, take them off and enjoy.

How to Reheat Frozen Meatballs

Meatballs are great leftovers because you can just freeze them for months and reheat them for family gatherings, guests, or just a quick snack. But reheating room-temperature meatballs and frozen meatballs is pretty different. We experimented ourselves!

Our research and reheating experiments found two methods that are great for quickly reheating frozen meatballs. You will be shocked to find a process here that seems sketchy, but trust us, it works.

Next time you have a house guest or hold a large family dinner, make extra meatballs in advance to get some free time on an actual day. So, let’s not keep you waiting anymore and jump to the frozen meatballs reheating instructions.

1. Reheating frozen meatballs in an air fryer

Step 1: Preheat the air fryer for 2 to 3 minutes at 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 2: Place a baking sheet in the air fryer basket and add the frozen meatballs.

Step 3: Spray with a mixture of oil and water.

Step 4: Reheat it for 10 to 15 minutes, but check on it after 10 minutes.

Step 5: If they are done, take them out of the air fryer.

Step 6: Add them to spaghetti or pour some sauce and enjoy.

2. How to microwave frozen meatballs

Step 1: Thaw the frozen meatballs beforehand. Keeping them in the fridge for about an hour or two is better.

Step 2: The frozen meatballs will release some moisture. Use paper towels to soak the extra liquid up.

Step 3: Use paper towels to line a microwave-safe bowl and put the meatballs on top. It will help to avoid getting soggy and mushy meatballs.

Step 4: Use 50 percent power to heat the meatballs for 5 minutes. 40-second intervals are good for maintaining proper heating.

Step 5: Take them out and enjoy them hot.

Ways to Store Meatballs

Storage is the utmost important part of the whole reheating process. If you don’t store your cooked meatballs properly, they can grow bacteria and make you sick, even if they are well reheated.

Storing cooked meatballs is very easy. You can freeze them in the freezer or keep them in the fridge; it depends on how long you want to store the meatballs. Moreover, you will only need plastic wrap, freezer bags, and airtight containers to store them properly.

1. In the Fridge

If you are storing the meatballs in the fridge, remember that they will only last for 3 or 4 days. Again, if it’s meatballs with sauce, it will stay fresh for only 2 or 3 days.

1. To store your meatballs, let them reach room temperature first.

2. Then, use plastic wrap to wrap them tightly. Make sure there is no air inside. If you have meatballs and sauce, this step is optional.

3. Put them in the plastic freezer bags and store them in your fridge.

2. In the Freezer

Storing meatballs in the freezer is a great idea. Sauceless meatballs will last for 6 months, and with sauce, they will last for 2 months in the freezer.

1. Always cool your meatballs to room temperature before doing anything.

2. If you have dry meatballs, use plastic wrap to wrap them tightly. You can skip this if you have meatballs with sauce. 

3. There is another way, which is flash-freezing. Put your sauceless or with-sauce meatballs on a tray lined with parchment paper. Then put them directly in the freezer for an hour or until solidified.

4. Now, put the meatballs into airtight containers or freezer bags.

5. Don’t forget to label them with the storage date.


How many times can you reheat food?

You actually have no limit to reheating home-cooked meals. However, the more you reheat your food, the more the quality and taste of the food will decline. So, it’s better to store in portions to avoid any contamination and repeated reheating.

How long can food sit out at room temperature?

Food shouldn’t be at room temperature or any temperature above 90 degrees Fahrenheit for more than 2 hours.

A Chance with Meatballs

cooked meatballs and sauce in a bowl
Image credit: Vladislav Chusov, Shutterstock

Now that you know all the reheating and storage methods, you have a chance to get excellent results when reheating meatballs. You don’t have to worry anymore about leftovers, even if they are with sauce. Our methods will be convenient for anyone trying to get the best results.

If you have tried any of our reheating methods, let us know. Share your experience or any problems you may have faced. We will be happy to help. Have a great day!

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