The 5 Best Ways to Reheat Chinese Food

Spicy Chinese Take Out Food with Chopsticks and Fortune Cookies

The 5 Best Ways to Reheat Chinese Food

If you ordered Chinese food recently, chances are you have some leftovers that you want to reheat. While Chinese food can last for three to five days, it can be a challenge to reheat the leftovers so that they taste as good as they did when you first ordered them. To help you out, here are five methods that we recommend for reheating your leftover Chinese food. These methods will ensure that your leftovers taste just as delicious as they were before.

Reheating Chinese Food in the Microwave

The quickest and most convenient way to reheat Chinese food is by using a microwave. To ensure that your food is heated evenly and safely, follow these simple steps.

First, place your food in a microwave-safe dish. For best results, use a dish that is shallow and has a cover to help trap the steam. If you are reheating rice, add a splash of water to the dish to prevent the rice from drying out.

To reheat your food:

  • Start by heating it in short bursts of 30 to 60 seconds. Doing this will prevent the food from getting too hot and overcooking.
  • After each burst, check the food to see if it is hot enough.
  • If it is not, continue heating the leftovers at additional intervals of 30 to 60 seconds until the food is fully reheated.

Keep in mind that vegetables can become soggy if overcooked. To prevent this, place them in a microwave-safe plastic container and cover the container with a paper towel. This method will help to absorb any excess water and prevent the vegetables from becoming mushy.

Finally, halfway through the reheating process, take the leftovers out of the microwave and stir them. Doing so will ensure that the food heats evenly and prevents any cold spots.

Woman heating food in microwave oven
Reheating Chinese food in the microwave is the quickest and most convenient way to reheat leftovers.


Reheating Chinese Food in the Oven

When it comes to reheating leftovers, using an oven is usually a better option than a microwave. The oven is better because a microwave can heat items unevenly and cause sauces to separate in certain dishes. However, if you are in a hurry, the microwave is still a good option. But if you have some time, we recommend using the oven.

This method is especially useful when you have larger portions of leftovers to reheat, such as fried rice or dumplings. The oven can help return leftover Chinese food to its original state. Additionally, the oven is a safer way to reheat meats and seafood because they need to reach certain internal temperatures for food safety reasons.

If you want a crispy texture, such as with egg rolls or breaded chicken, we suggest the following. For small fried items like egg rolls or wontons, we recommend placing them on a baking sheet lined with foil and preheating the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, transfer the baking sheet into the oven and wait for the exterior of the food items to crisp up. Heat them for five to seven minutes for small items like egg rolls and 15 to 25 minutes for larger pieces of chicken or other fried meats.

Reheating Chinese leftovers with seafood requires a bit more attention since seafood is easy to overheat, which can make the food rubbery. So, it is important to reheat seafood leftovers at a low temperature until they are heated all the way through. Check the food often to ensure it is not overheating.

Man adjusts temperature and sets operating mode on modern oven in kitchen. Housekeeper prepares dinner using cooking appliance at home, sunlight
For larger amounts of leftovers, reheating Chinese food in the oven is a great method.

©Lenar Nigmatullin/Shutterstock.com

Reheating Chinese Food on the Stovetop

The stovetop is also an excellent way to reheat Chinese leftovers. This method is particularly useful for leftover soups or sauces because it takes only a few minutes to reheat them.

If you want to reheat leftover soup or stew from your favorite Chinese restaurant on the stovetop, keep it on medium-low heat and stir frequently. Reheating the soup too quickly and at too high of a temperature could ruin the taste.

Reheating Egg Drop Soup is a little more difficult since it is best to eat this soup when it is fresh. While Egg Drop Soup can last up to three to four days, it must be stored in an airtight container in the fridge and reheated correctly.

Besides soup and sauces, many kinds of Chinese leftovers, including vegetables, stir-fries, and Asian noodles, can also be reheated on a stovetop. If you own a stir-fry pan or wok, it will be even easier to reheat them.

When reheating Asian noodles, it is best to use a nonstick skillet over medium heat instead of a microwave, as noodles tend to thicken after being refrigerated. You can also freshen up the leftovers by adding fresh vegetables to the noodles.

Boiling water in the pot on the stove in the evening
Reheating food on the stovetop can help preserve its original texture and flavor.

©JRP Studio/Shutterstock.com

Reheating Chinese Food in a Steamer

If you are looking for a way to reheat your leftover vegetables, rice, or dumplings, using a steamer is a great option. First, place the food that you want to reheat in the steamer basket. Use an electric steamer or a stovetop steamer, depending on what you have available.

Next, fill the steamer with two to three inches of water. Then, turn on the steamer and let it heat up until the water starts to boil and steam is produced. Finally, let the food cook for about five to ten minutes. Once your food is properly heated, carefully remove the steamer basket from the pot using oven mitts or tongs.

It is important to note that this method is not recommended for reheating crispy leftovers, such as orange chicken or spring rolls. The steam will make the food soggy and take away its crispiness.

Steamed mixed vegetable in black pot. Healthy vegetable concept.
Steaming leftovers can reheat them without drying them out.

©Marian Weyo/Shutterstock.com

Reheating Chinese Food in an Air Fryer

If you have leftover Chinese food like egg or spring rolls and breaded chicken, such as Orange Chicken, an air fryer can help restore their crispiness.

Follow these simple steps for egg rolls to get the best results.

  • Bring the egg rolls to room temperature before placing them in the air fryer. If they are cold, the air fryer will not warm their centers.
  • Preheat the air fryer to 350°F, then place the food in the air fryer basket in a single layer. Allow it to warm up for a couple of minutes before putting the egg rolls inside.
  • Leave the egg rolls in the air fryer for one minute.
  • Flip the egg rolls over and put them back in the air fryer for another minute on the other side.

Breaded meat dishes like orange chicken can also be reheated this way in your air fryer. However, be careful not to leave the chicken in too long because you need only a few minutes to reheat food in the air fryer. Three to five minutes is the most time you will need to reheat chicken.

 Woman cooking with modern Air fryer
Air fryers reheat fried Chinese dishes while retaining their crispiness.

©Hazal Ak/Shutterstock.com

The Best Way to Store Leftover Chinese Food

It is important to remember that all food items contain bacteria, some of them harmful. Cooking kills bacteria, but improper storage can make your leftovers unsafe. Bacteria tend to grow the fastest between the temperature range of 40-140°F. If you store your leftover Chinese food in the fridge at 32°F, it is safe to eat for up to four days.

We recommend putting your leftovers in the fridge immediately. Also, transfer the food out of the takeaway boxes and put it in an airtight container. The takeaway containers allow air to flow into the food, which increases the growth of bacteria and causes the food to become stale quickly.

Before using any of the above methods to reheat, make sure that the food is still good. A simple smell check should help you identify this. If the food smells bad, throw it away as it is not worth the risk of food poisoning.

We also recommend reheating Chinese leftovers only once. Reheating them more than that increases the chances of food poisoning, and the food may not taste as good with each reheat.

glass food container with lid is insulated on white. Food storage, quality, transparent, comfortable, kitchen, restaurant, cook, airtight
Always store your Chinese food leftovers in airtight containers.

©Mikhail Palanin/Shutterstock.com

In Summary

Chinese takeaway is usually inexpensive and a great way to enjoy delicious food. Moreover, one of the advantages of ordering Chinese takeout is that you often have leftovers. However, it is important to store them quickly and safely to avoid any risk of food poisoning.

There are several ways to reheat Chinese food leftovers, such as using a microwave, an oven, or a stovetop. Additionally, you can also use an air fryer or a steamer. Regardless of the method you choose, you can make your leftovers as tasty as they were when you first got them.

To top