9 Hot Foods That Are Better Cold, According to Me

Even when I'm sober.

Photo: Scott Suchman/The Washington Post via Getty Images

A wise man, possibly Aristotle, once said, "He who is a fool enjoys pizza after 2:00 a.m., but he who purchases said pizza and then places it in the fridge to be enjoyed cold the next morning is truly enlightened."

If you're being honest with yourself, there is a part of you that agrees with this. It's okay, we're right there with you. I, for one, love many foods cold, either as much or even more than I do when they are properly heated. For instance, sometimes super spicy foods, like curry, are even more enjoyable when eaten cold the next day as the lower temperature provides a bit of cooling relief from the capsaicin. Additionally, as fat solidifies when it cools, certain dishes, also like curry, take on a more cohesive and decadent consistency after sitting in the fridge.

You might shake your head, shout obscenities or start composing an onslaught of poorly planned tweets in response to my thinking, but I only speak truths, just like that wise man from before who may or may not be Aristotle. Here are 9 foods that everyone needs to admit are much better cold instead of hot.


First off, pizza at any temperature is delicious. However, a slice of cold pizza first thing in the morning, especially after a long night, is actually kind of refreshing. The crust at this point will have lost its crispness, leaving you with a chewier, more cohesive slice in which the toppings have solidified—meaning you no longer run the risk of pulling cheese off all at once. Some very wise people even cook whole pizzas and then immediately refrigerate them to enjoy the next day. And by these people, I mean myself.


Don't shake your head at me. Yes, cold chili might not sound that appetizing, but I'm also not suggesting you eat an entire bowl of it. If you happen to prepare a large batch chili and keep it in the fridge to eat over the course of the week, occasionally having a spoonful of cold chili can be deeply satisfying. Think about it, when chili is cold it takes on a thicker consistency and with the fats both cooled and solidified, you can taste individual flavors and spices more clearly. Try it, you'll like it.

Fried chicken

Disclaimer: Fried chicken that is fresh out of the fryer cannot be topped. That said, very rarely do you have freshly prepared fried chicken. More often that not, the fried chicken you are about to eat has been sitting around for a while under a heat lamp. Either that or, if you're at a backyard cookout, by the time you grab a wing or drumstick, the chicken will be at room temperature. In this case, stick it in the fridge and enjoy it the next day instead. Cold fried chicken is so good that certain restaurants sell it as-is. One person's dislike is truly another one's delicious.

Spanish Tortilla

Spanish tortilla is classically served at room temperature. However, if you want to take it one step further, take whatever leftover tortilla you have and let it sit overnight in the fridge. Cold tortilla serves as a great midnight or mid-day snack because its texture firms up as it cools down, meaning you can enjoy it by hand as if it were a slice of pizza.


Leftover barbecue can be hard to come by, but if you're lucky enough to have some, enjoying it chilled is certainly an option worth considering. While hot and fresh barbecue (especially the Texas variety) is most enjoyable unadorned, cold barbecue is the perfect opportunity to get super saucy. The texture is a bit more rigid as all of the fats and juices have solidified, but don't let that stop you.


We can all agree that cookie dough is delicious, partially because of the temperature it's served at. The same, though, can be said for already baked cookies. Placing cookies in the freezer ensures they stay both fresh and deliciously chilled. The next time you bake a batch or order a box of Samoas or Thin Mints from your coworker's daughter, throw them in the freezer and taste the frozen difference.


Pie is most enjoyable at room temperature, period. However, an overnight stay in the fridge can help firm it up and transform it from a bubbling dessert to a nicely chilled breakfast item. Don't shake your head at me—you eat muffins (a.k.a. morning cupcakes) and donuts (a.k.a. fried sugar bagels) first thing in the morning, right? How is breakfast pie any different? We already do the savory version of it with quiche anyway.

General Tso’s Chicken

A disclaimer to you all: I am not saying that Chinese food as a whole, that which encompasses an entire nation's vast and diverse cuisine, is most enjoyable when eaten cold. I have neither the knowledge nor the first-hand experience to lay such a claim. However, General Tso's Chicken, the ubiquitous Chinese-American classic, is absolutely delicious when left to chill overnight. Cold General Tso's sauce is thick and sappy, a cross between a condiment and a jam. Slathered with that magical cold sauce, this take-out staple becomes a glorious way to welcome the day.


All pasta with red sauce is great cold. Really, all pasta with anything is awesome regardless of temperature. Lasagna in particular, though, is fantastic when eaten cold as it becomes a much more manageable beast to consume. With its slippery layers of pasta, sauce, cheese and whatever else, hot lasagna never stays together like you want it to. Order is preserved, however, when lasagna is eaten cold. After a night in the fridge, every bite includes a bit of each layer, perfectly distributed, just as it should be.

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