Some meals make better cold leftovers than others. So when you are cooking meals that are good cold on the following day, just keep that in mind and make a bit more. Not only will you have a delicious pre-made meal for your meal prep or lunch box that does not need reheating, but you will also save a lot of cooking time and effort.
Whether it is savory meatloaf straight from the fridge or cold roast chicken between toasted rye bread, spread with mayonnaise, a slice of tomato, and a little salt and pepper and you got a perfect munch.
To make the most of your cooking time and your food budget, I have gathered 11 meals that make good cold leftovers to eat on the following day.
1. Roast Beef
Whether you’ve prepared a roast tenderloin or another more everyday cut-like eye of round, roast beef is one of the best leftover foods to eat cold. The full flavor of beef, usually seasoned with onion, garlic, and rosemary, is melded together perfectly the next day after it has cooled.
Some people believe that the taste is best when it’s cold when it comes to roast beef. This is because the flavors have time to meld, and the meat is firmer. When you eat roast beef cold, you can really appreciate all of the nuances of the flavor, from the spices to the juices that have concentrated in the meat.
Cold roast beef is also easier to slice perfectly thin. Sliced plain or with mustard, roast beef tops the list of cold meals many people love.
Cold leftover roast beef is ideal for meal prep, from sandwiches and Thai-style beef salad to roast beef and horseradish tortilla wraps; there are so many combinations you can enjoy.
Roast beef can be stored in the refrigerator for up to four days, making it a convenient leftover to have on hand.
2. Chicken Parmesan
Thin breaded chicken cutlets covered in mozzarella or provolone cheese and tomato sauce should be on anyone’s cold leftover staples list.
Even though the breading may not have retained its crispiness, the day after cooking, the crumbs will have absorbed the meat juices and seasonings it was prepared with, forming a delicious crust.
Cold leftover chicken cutlets are great for making sandwiches, wraps, or salads, whether topped with mozzarella and tomato sauce like traditional chicken parmesan or simply breaded plain.
Chicken parmesan will generally last in the fridge for about 2-3 days. However, depending on the ingredients and preparation, it may last a bit longer or shorter.
Cold meatloaf is a classic, almost as much as the warm version. Who doesn’t love the flavor and more solidified texture that cuts into firmer slices, perfect for a snack or made into a sandwich?
With a slightly sweet, tangy tomato glaze, it hardly needs ketchup to be a complete meal the next day.
My favorite cold meatloaf sandwich is made with slices of cold, leftovers turkey meatloaf, a few slices of American cheese on thick sourdough bread with some mayo, strong mustard, slices of pickle, and lettuce.
Leftover meatloaf can last in the fridge for up to four days. Just make sure to wrap it tightly or place it in an airtight container.
4. Peanut Sesame Noodles
Asian peanut sesame noodles top the list of vegetarian favorites that are fantastic as cold leftovers.
Something about sesame oil blended with soy and peanut sauce forms a crave-able sweet and salty coating for simple spaghetti or rice noodles.
Tossed on a wok pan with chopped red peppers, green onions, and sesame seeds or peanuts for crunch, this easy entree takes about 10 minutes to prepare.
Peanut sesame noodles are one of the dishes you can argue are superior cold, so take advantage and make a double batch when you prepare it.
Peanut sesame noodles will last in the fridge for 3-4 days. Be sure to store them in an airtight container so they will not lose their taste or texture.
5. Fried Chicken
Fried chicken hardly needs promoting as an excellent cold leftover. Although some fried foods are rather terrible when eaten cold, everything about fried chicken magically improves in the fridge overnight for picnics or next-day grazing.
The crust is more flavorful and doesn’t crumble as much when cold, not to mention the fat gets better absorbed into the chicken, too. Leftover cold fried chicken is a favorite for kids and adults alike.
My favorite way to use cold leftover fried chicken is to pull it from the bones and use it for a sandwich or turned into a chicken salad.
Fried chicken is undoubtedly one of the most popular cold leftovers and can be enjoyed as part of a meal or as a snack on the following day. It is important to note that fried chicken will last in the fridge for several days, but it is best to eat it within 4 days.
6. Spanish Potato Omelet
Spanish potato omelet, also known as Tortilla de Patatas, is a simple one-pan dish that is made with eggs, potatoes, and onions. It is very quick to prepare since it’s made with everyday pantry staples. The typical Spanish version doesn’t include cheese. Still, if you topped it with parmesan or cheddar, it only adds to the heartiness.
Like a quiche that many people prefer to eat cold, the Spanish potato omelet makes a delicious next-day dish easily eaten cold and on the go. It’s perfect for breakfast or lunch and great with a small salad too.
The Spanish potato omelet will last in the fridge for 3-4 days, but it is best to eat it within two days.
Check Out This delicious Spanish potato omelet recipe with vegetables.
7. Chinese Style Beef And Broccoli
Many of us are not strangers to eating Chinees leftovers out of the box on the following day. But out of all the Chinese favorites, beef and broccoli make one of the best eaten cold.
Thinly sliced beef and fresh broccoli florets, cooked with onion, lots of garlic, and fresh ginger, combined with a sauce of soy, oyster sauce, sugar, and sesame oil form an easy weeknight dinner, served over rice or on its own is a perfect combination to eat cold.
Thanks to cornstarch in the sauce, it thickens to perfection in the fridge, and the broccoli absorbs more of its flavor, so no one will complain about eating this well-loved entree without heating it up the next day.
And besides, you can never eat too much broccoli, whether hot to cold! It’s packed with fiber, vitamins, and minerals and low in calories.
Chinese-style beef and broccoli can last in the fridge for 3-4 days.
8. Rotisserie Chicken
It is hard to go wrong with cold rotisserie chicken when it comes to cold leftovers. Whether prepared simply with salt, pepper, and lemon, or with lots of fresh herbs, or a barbecue glaze, rotisserie chicken is a delectable cold leftover to eat the following day.
Whether looking for a quick chicken salad, wrap, tortilla, or sandwich for lunch on the go or snack for school, cold leftover rotisserie chicken is perfect for all of that.
Whether store-bought or homemade, rotisserie chicken is typically stored in the fridge for 3-4 days, but it is best to eat it within 2-3 days because the chicken starts to get dry and leathery.
A recent study has shown that people who eat cold pizza tend to be happier than those who don’t, and I am not surprised. Cold pizza for breakfast is practically iconic whether you have a hangover, or not.
Whether it is a classic pepperoni or chicken pizza, when it cools down overnight in the fridge, different flavors begin to marinate and blend together as one marvelous pizza flavor.
Leftover pizza, eaten the next day should never be microwaved if you don’t know what to turn it into a soggy mess. If you really must, heat up your slice on the grill, in the oven, in the skillet, but the cold is certainly the best way to go.
Leftover pizza can be stored in the fridge for up to four days. For the best results, try to eat the pizza within two to three days. Although pizza is tasty when eaten cold, eventually, it will go bad and turn rubbery.
However, if you have left your pizza in the box on the kitchen table overnight, read my latest post here before you grab a slice. Can You Eat Pizza That Was Left Out Overnight?
10. Baked Glazed Ham
Ham shouldn’t be reserved for only Easter and Christmas since it is easy to prepare and can be a crowd-pleaser any time of year.
Have you found yourself making several trips to the fridge after the holidays holding a sharp carving knife and a slice of bread?
I am sure you have because there’s hardly anything better than cold ham leftovers.
Sliced cold ham is super versatile. It is delectable just as it is and really needs nothing else. Salads, sandwiches, ham, and cheese rolls, there are so many things you can do with leftover ham.
Cooked ham lasts in the fridge for about 3-4 days. Make sure to wrap it well in plastic wrap or foil to prevent it from getting dry and stale.
11. Chicken Enchilada Casserole
Chicken covered in a creamy white cheese sauce and layered with cheese and tortillas may only sound good when piping hot and fresh out of the oven. Still, surprisingly, it is also delicious eaten cold the next day.
This one-dish dinner that is simple to make is more an assembly dish than anything since the prep only requires layering tortillas with sauce, chicken and cheese, and more tortillas before topping with enchilada sauce.
When served cold the next day, chicken enchilada casserole is absolutely delicious. It provides an excellent staple to add to your meal prep routine, making your effort in the kitchen go a long way.
Chicken enchiladas casserole is best eaten cold on the following day. Still, it will last 3-4 days in the fridge before it loses the taste and starts going bad.
How to cut your grocery bill in half? Check Out These 11 Best Blogs For Cheap And Healthy Meals For The Whole Family!