Food

17 foods that absolutely taste better refrigerated

Perhaps you don't own a microwave or maybe you're just too lazy to heat up leftovers. No matter the reason, you've probably noticed some foods, such as fried chicken and meatloaf, simply taste better cold.

There's very likely a scientific explanation — in some cases, refrigeration may lead to better texture — but frankly, we're more interested in eating and judging for ourselves. And this phenomenon isn't limited to leftovers; it also works for some of our favorite beverages and snacks, such as coffee, peanut butter and Twix bars.

So forget what you know about proper serving temperatures, and enjoy these 17 foods straight from the fridge.

1. Fried chicken

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Much of the magic of cold fried chicken comes from the meat and crust having time to develop their flavors. But as the crust softens, it also sticks to the meat a bit, making for easier, more enjoyable eating. Also, a few hours in the fridge allows the fat from frying to seep into the chicken, always a good thing.

RELATED: Savannah's mom's homestyle fried chicken recipe

2. Lasagna

The pasta firms up, the mozzarella develops a slightly crusty consistency, and the sauce turns tangier and just a little bit solid. In other words, refrigerating lasagna makes for a new and improved pasta experience.

RELATED: 15 lasagna recipes you have to try

3. Layer cake

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A night in the fridge gives the frosting time to seep into and moisten the cake layers, while also crusting a bit on the surface. The result is layer cake that's more complexly textured than when freshly baked. Chilling also amps up the sweetness, so if you're a sugar fiend, leftover cake will be your jam.

4. Pizza

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Cold pizza doesn't need another cheerleader, but as the king of straight-from-the-fridge treats, it's earned its place on this list. Even if you only have crusts leftover, stick those in the fridge and dip them in whatever sauces or condiments you have on hand.

5. Doughnuts

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Fresh, piping hot iced doughnuts are a thing of beauty, but the window for peak doughnut perfection is small. Avoid disappointment by popping those pastries in the fridge. The chill crisps up the sugary icing while the doughnut itself stays soft.

RELATED: Crazy doughnuts you need to check out, because we're obsessed!

6. M&M's

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Cold M&M's are a bit like M&M's on steroids. The refrigerator hardens these button-shaped chocolate treats, giving them some bite, so they're more fun to eat. Chilling also bumps up the sweetness of the candy shell, making that distinct M&M's flavor more pronounced.

RELATED: M&M's new Easter flavor has been leaked — and we can't wait to try it

7. Roasted potatoes

3-Ingredient Crispy Oven-Roasted Potatoes
Michael White makes 3-ingredient roasted potatoes
Nathan Congleton / TODAY
Rating:
( rated)
Servings:
4-6
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Refrigerated roasted potatoes taste so good, because they've had extra time to absorb their seasoning, even if that just means salt and pepper. Cold spuds also have a surprisingly wonderful consistency — they firm up on the outside but stay soft and fluffy on the inside.

8. Peanut butter

You don't need to refrigerate every type of peanut butter — natural, unprocessed varieties should go in the fridge — but we strongly recommend it. When this beloved spread is cold and firm, it has the perfect consistency for scooping. Enjoy a spoonful or two for a healthy, protein-packed snack.

9. Coffee

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Iced coffee is more thirst-quenching than hot, but when you're sipping cold brew, it's also less acidic, which makes for a smoother, sweeter beverage. Many find it gentler on the tummy, too. Plus, if you add milk and sugar, you can pretend you're drinking a coffee milkshake.

10. Tim Tams

These Australian imports feature chocolate cream sandwiched between malted chocolate biscuits, dipped in a thin layer of chocolate. Like most chocolate cookies and candies, they're even better chilled. In this case, refrigerating bumps up the crunch factor. Cold Tim Tams are also far better suited to a Tim Tam Slam, which involves biting the corners off a Tim Tam and using it as a straw for coffee, milk, hot chocolate or other drinks.

RELATED: Tim Tams: Australia's most popular cookie finally comes to America

11. Steak

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Fans of cold steak say the meat has better flavor and texture than when it's hot off the grill, and they love adding it to salads, sandwiches and grain or rice bowls. Stick to leaner cuts and be sure to season generously— there's something indescribably satisfying about cold slices of steak sprinkled with flaky sea salt.

12. Thin Mints

Rating:
( rated)
Servings:
70 cookies
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Chilled chocolate is a no-brainer, but refrigerating Thin Mints is really about the mint, which gets brighter and more refreshing. Once you've had a cold Thin Mint, a room temp one will taste undeniably flat.

13. Stuffing

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Whether piled onto a sandwich or eaten by the forkful, cold leftover stuffing is a post-Thanksgiving must. A night in the refrigerator allows the flavors to develop and gives this holiday favorite a more substantial, meaty structure. True fans make double or triple batches, so there's plenty to enjoy straight from the fridge.

14. Meatloaf

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Like stuffing, we think refrigerated meatloaf has more flavor and better texture. It's also a recipe that doubles and triples easily, so get smart and make extras to enjoy the next day. It's especially great on sandwiches.

RELATED: Should you keep ketchup in the fridge or pantry?

15. Frittata

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Try Al's easy veggie frittata recipe (with bacon!)

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Try Al's easy veggie frittata recipe (with bacon!)

Play Video - 3:46

You could easily reheat a frittata, but why would you? In the fridge, the eggs and veggies magically gel together, lending the frittata a firmer, almost spongy texture that's strangely appealing (and easier to eat).

16. Twix

As with Tim Tams, Thin Mints and M&M's, the chocolate part of Twix only gets better after some time in the fridge. But there's more: The cookie crisps up, while the caramel hardens just enough to be pleasantly chewy. In other words, this is a triple threat of a candy bar that really shines when cold.

17. Fruit pie

Cold pie holds together better than hot, so it's easier to cut and easier to eat — you can even pick it up with your hands. You also won't burn the roof of your mouth on cold pie, and the juice won't dribble down your shirt. But the number one reason to eat pie straight from the fridge: It makes the best breakfast ever.

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Should you keep ketchup in the fridge or in the pantry? Heinz says...

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