Stew Science: Is It Really Better the Next Day?

To keep things short, yes, there are differences in the flavors of soups and stews that rest overnight, but these differences will not make or break your stew. The one exception to this is chili and other acidic and spicy dishes. As these dishes sit their flavor dissipates and loses the brightness it once had. In order to combat this, remember you may need to add acid or spice on the day you wish to eat your chili.

The effects of reheating: Cooling and reheating does not have an effect on the flavors of your stew.

The effects of aging: The age of your stew or soup does have minor effects on its flavors. So, remember to keep this in mind and re-season the soup or stew once it is reheated.

Overall, yes, aging and reheating soups and stews will have a minor effect on their flavors. But, as I said, these differences are minor and nothing that cannot be fixed. Reheating food should be treated the same as cooking food, you always need to taste and re-season your food before serving it.



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It’s a phrase you hear all the time: “This [stew] [soup] [long-cooked-thing-X] will be even better the next day!” It’s an appealing prospect. Most foods are best when they’re at their freshest, but a dish you can make in one large batch that doesn’t just hold up, but actually improves with time? That’s a make-on-Sunday, eat-all-week recipe right there.

But is it true? Does stew really taste better when you reheat it the next day, or even days later? I did some testing to find out.


There’s a bit of an intro before I get to the results, so I’ll give you the quick version right here: Yes, there are some minor differences in flavor with soups and stews that have been allowed to rest overnight or longer, though the differences are subtle and difficult to tease apart. It’s nothing worth altering your cooking schedule for.

Chili and other spicy, acidic dishes are the big exception: With time, their flavor becomes muted, losing brightness. But, again, if you were planning on making that big batch of chili on Sunday to eat through the week, that loss in flavor is nothing a little dash of hot sauce can’t solve on Wednesday.


It’s a straightforward question, but turns out it’s not so straightforward to test. Sure, you can make a single batch of stew, pull it out of the fridge each day, reheat a portion, and taste it, but without a side-by-side comparison, it’s impossible to tell whether those changes you think you’re tasting really exist, or whether they’re just in your mind. And if there are real changes, are they caused by the repeated cooling and reheating, or is time a factor?

Read the full article here.



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