There’s nothing better than treating yourself to some tasty leftovers after a takeout night.
Fried rice is a staple of many Asian-themed restaurants, from spicy Thai food to savory Chinese recipes. While fried rice tastes delicious when fresh, it often loses some of its charms after a night in the fridge.
Reheating fried rice can be challenging even for the most experienced home chefs. If you use the wrong method, you may end up with a soggy, clumpy mess. Overheating can also ruin a plate of fried rice by drying out grains and destroying the flavor.
If you have leftover fried rice sitting in your fridge, you may be wondering how you can restore it to restaurant quality. You can try a couple of different reheating methods, though not all are created equal.
The best ways to reheat your leftover fried rice include:
- Frying pan
- Air fryer
- Fried or baked frittata
While the best method for you might depend on your preferences, we’ve found that the frying pan gives you a result that’s true to the original taste and texture of fried rice. However, any of these methods will work to warm up leftover takeout sitting in your fridge.
Read on to learn more about how to reheat fried rice, whether you’re dealing with egg fried rice, chicken fried rice, or any other variation on the dish. We’ll show you how to get the best results out of your leftovers every time with the tools you have sitting in your kitchen.
The Best Way To Reheat Fried Rice
There’s not necessarily a single best way to reheat fried rice. The right path for you will depend on your interest in factors such as taste, convenience, or nutrition. Some of the best methods for you might include:
- Reheating in the frying pan for the best texture and flavor
- Reheating in the microwave for ease and convenience
- Reheating in the air fryer for speed and taste
- Reheating in the oven for a healthier dish
- Baking into a frittata for extra nutrients
It may take some experimenting to decide which reheating method is best for you and your family. No matter which method you choose, you can use it for cooking just about any type of leftover fried rice, including those with meats and veggies.
Using the Frying Pan
Your favorite frying pan can make a great way to reheat fried rice. While it might take longer than other methods, it leaves you with a dish that’s true to its original taste and texture. Pan frying your rice will give you light, fluffy, and savory grains instead of a dry or soggy dish.
The best type of frying pan to use for fried rice is a large, nonstick variety. Both rice and eggs tend to stick to the bottom of the pan while frying, so using a nonstick option makes cleanup easier after eating.
The cooking surface of your pan should have plenty of space to spread out rice grains. A small, crowded pan won’t cook as quickly or efficiently as a larger one. You should be able to spread the rice out in a thin and even layer for optimal results.
You can reheat rice dishes with your frying pan in two main ways. You can stir-fry your dish using oil or steam-fry your rice with water.
Frying in Oil
If you’re looking for authentic flavor, stir-frying your rice in oil is often the way to go. Some of the most common oils used in Asian cooking include vegetable oil, soybean oil, sesame oil, and peanut oil. These have a high smoking point to withstand the heat needed to fry rice.
Remember that different oil types may add distinctive flavors to your dish. Peanut oil, for example, will result in a bold nutty taste, while soybean oil can lend a more vegetal flavor. You only need enough oil to coat the bottom of your frying pan.
You can stir-fry leftover fried rice in just a few simple steps:
- Add a small amount of oil to your frying pan and place it on the stovetop using medium-high heat.
- If you add any extra meat or veggies to your dish, add these first to cook and soften.
- Add your leftover fried rice and allow to cook, stirring frequently.
- If you plan on adding extra eggs, clear a space in the middle of your pan. Add the eggs and immediately scramble them until solid.
- Once your egg is cooked, and your rice is steaming hot, remove it from the heat and add any seasonings you want.
- Serve your dish hot using either bowls or large plates.
Steam-frying can help to preserve texture in your rice, giving you a light and fluffy consistency. While stir-frying can sometimes dry and harden grains, steam-frying prevents overcooking for grains that taste restaurant-fresh.
As with stir-frying, you will use oil to reheat your rice and add flavor. You’ll also add a small amount of water to prevent excessive moisture loss.
Steam frying is a little bit more involved than stir-frying, but in just a few steps, you’ll turn your leftovers into a delicious and authentic-tasting dish:
- Heat a small amount of oil on medium-high. You only need to coat the bottom of the pan.
- Fry additional meats and veggies until slightly browned.
- Add fried rice along with one to two tablespoons of filtered water. It’s best to use warm or room-temperature water to avoid any drastic temperature changes.
- Stir the water into the rice mixture and cover your pan with a tight-fitting lid.
- Once the water is absorbed, it will stop steaming. Remove the lid and turn the heat to high, stirring rice constantly until the rice is heated through.
- Serve your rice piping hot.
Tips for Frying
Whether you choose to stir-fry or steam-fry your rice, there are a couple of ways that you can bring your leftovers to the next level:
- Add extra veggies for more flavor and nutrients.
- Throw in an extra egg for better texture and more protein.
- Add meat to turn basic fried rice into chicken fried rice, shrimp fried rice, pork fried rice, and more.
- Add extra soy sauce, fish sauce, or oyster sauce for authentic umami flavor.
- Sprinkle on some red pepper flakes or fresh chili pepper to add some spice.
The frying pan is hands-down one of the best ways to reheat leftover fried rice. It gives you the same rich flavor and fluffy texture as fried rice straight from the restaurant.
Using the Microwave
Reheating fried rice in the microwave is one of the most popular methods thanks to its ease and convenience. It takes just a few minutes and won’t compromise the flavor of your rice. However, you may find the results to have a slightly mushier consistency than fresh fried rice.
When reheating food in the microwave, always make sure to use a microwave-safe bowl or plate. Avoid anything that contains metal, as it can end up causing a fire, destroying both your meal and your microwave.
Reheating rice in the microwave takes just a few quick steps:
- Set your microwave to the correct power.
- Add any oils or spices you want to your rice.
- Add one to two tablespoons of water to prevent dry grains.
- Cover your rice and place it in the microwave.
- Cook in increments of 30 seconds, stirring between each bout. It should take around one to two minutes of total cooking time.
- Once the rice is hot, allow it to sit for a moment before serving.
It’s best to cook fried rice at lower power in your microwave rather than a high one. At 50%, rice will be lighter and fluffier, with less clumping or mushiness. Lower power also helps to prevent you from accidentally overcooking your rice.
Remember that it will take longer to reheat rice at 50% power than at a high setting. You may have to add more 30-second increments to reach the right temperature.
While you can safely heat a fried rice dish at full power, the end result may be drier or mushier than it would be at a lower setting. You are more likely to overheat or dry out rice at 100% power.
If you’re in a hurry, you can heat your dish more quickly on a high setting than on a low one. You may be able to prepare your plate in just two to three 30-second stints.
Tips for Microwaving
If you decide to microwave your fried rice, there are a couple of things you can try to improve both taste and texture:
- Cover your bowl with a loose lid, saran wrap, or a wet paper towel to prevent moisture loss.
- Add some extra oil or butter before cooking for a more savory flavor.
- If you want to include extra meat and veggies, cook on the stove or in the oven before adding.
- Only reheat rice in the microwave once, as multiple sessions can destroy the texture of your dish over time.
Microwaving rice is a quick and convenient option when you’re short on time. You’ll get fluffier rice with less clumping if you microwave at lower power.
Using the Air Fryer
If you have an air fryer in your kitchen, it can offer a great way to reheat your fried rice leftovers. When appropriately used, it combines the speed of a microwave with the authenticity of pan-frying for a fluffy yet crispy consistency.
An air fryer works like a small, high-heat oven and can quickly dry out your fried rice if you’re not careful. You only need to cook rice for a few minutes to reach the right temperature. Any longer, and you may end up with dry or crunchy grains.
Air Frying Rice
In just a few quick steps, you can have air-fried rice hot and ready to enjoy:
- Spread rice in an even layer in your air fryer basket.
- Add any additional meat, veggies, or spices to your rice.
- Drizzle or spray with a light coating of oil for a fried texture.
- Heat on high for around three to five minutes or until rice is hot.
- Remove your rice and serve immediately.
Tips for Air Frying
There are a couple of ways that you can get better results when air frying leftover fried rice:
- Most air fryers have a limited capacity, so ensure you cook large amounts of rice in small batches.
- Cook add-ons such as veggies or meats before air frying.
- Stir larger batches halfway through cooking for a more even temperature.
- If your rice keeps coming out crispy, add a tablespoon or two of water for more moisture.
Air frying offers a quick and convenient way to get authentic-tasting fried rice. However, the texture may be slightly more crispy than rice fried on the stovetop.
Using the Oven
Frying or microwaving rice often adds more oil to the dish, which can increase levels of unwanted compounds such as unsaturated fats.
If you’re looking for a healthier reheating method, you may choose to cook your fried rice in the oven. You’ll use fewer fats and oils for a healthier, diet-friendly dish.
While the oven is an excellent way to reduce fat content, it doesn’t produce results as authentic as methods such as frying or microwaving. Rice will likely be drier and lose some of its flavors during the process. You’ll be left with a softer texture and a milder taste.
Always make sure to use an oven-proof dish when reheating fried rice in your kitchen’s oven. Materials such as plastic or cardboard can melt or even catch on fire. Not only will you make a mess of your oven, but you may introduce toxic compounds into your food.
Cooking at 300℉
Cooking rice in the oven is easy, though it can take longer than most other methods to reach the right temperature. There are just a few steps you should follow for deliciously hot fried rice:
- Preheat your oven to the correct temperature. It’s best not to go too far above 300℉ to avoid drying out your dish.
- Mix in any add-ons or seasonings you want to include with your dish.
- Add rice to a baking dish and spread out in a thin, even layer. Spritz with some water to keep your rice moist and fluffy.
- Cover the dish with aluminum foil or a fitted, oven-proof lid to prevent moisture loss.
- Cook for around five to ten minutes or until rice is heated all the way through.
- Uncover and allow the rice to sit for a minute or two before serving.
Tips for the Oven
If you want to make the most of oven-fried rice, there are a couple of tricks you can try to avoid a dry texture or a bland flavor:
- Before cooking, add some spice using freshly cooked chili or dried red pepper flakes.
- Remove your cover during the last few moments for a crispier texture.
- Be careful to heat only as long as necessary to avoid a dry consistency.
- Avoid cooking at high temperatures, as you’ll be more likely to dry out rice grains.
Reheating rice in the oven is a healthy way to cook your leftovers, but it doesn’t offer the most authentic texture. However, the oven is a perfectly acceptable option for heating fried rice in a pinch.
Making a Frittata
If you want to shake things up and add variety to your diet, you can turn leftover fried rice into a delicious frittata.
A frittata is not only a unique and easy way to reheat fried rice but also adds more nutrients to your dish. Extra eggs will give you more protein with each serving alongside vitamins and minerals such as iron, folate, Vitamin A, and more.
You can make a frittata on your stovetop in just minutes using a frying pan and a spatula:
- Whisk some eggs or egg whites into your leftover fried rice.
- Add a small amount of oil or butter to your frying pan and heat on medium-high.
- Form your rice mixture into patties and fry on each side until golden brown.
- Serve hot with your favorite sides.
Oven frittatas take a little bit longer to cook than stovetop versions, but they are healthier and require less babysitting:
- Heat your oven to around 425℉.
- Whisk eggs or egg whites into your rice and form patties.
- Place patties in a coated, oven-safe dish. For a more crispy texture, spray or drizzle oil on the surface.
- Cook for ten to fifteen minutes or until heated through.
- Serve frittatas fresh out of the oven.
Tips for Frittatas
If you want to fry up the perfect frittatas, there are some tricks that you can try:
- If you’re having trouble keeping your frittata together, try adding a small amount of dairy, such as milk or cream.
- Omit oil from oven frittatas for a low-fat option.
- Add fewer eggs for a crispier texture.
Frittatas are a great way to use leftover fried rice if you want something different. You can even save them for later for a convenient, protein-packed snack.
Knowing how to reheat fried rice properly is essential to keeping you and your family safe.
Always make sure to store leftover fried rice properly to avoid foodborne illnesses. Pathogens such as Bacillus cereus can quickly grow on improperly stored fried rice.
You should keep your rice in an airtight container in either the fridge or the freezer. Fried rice lasts around three to five days in your refrigerator or three to four months in your freezer. When reheating, always make sure your rice reaches an internal temperature of around 165℉.
Knowing how to reheat fried rice can help you to make the most of your leftovers.
The best way to enjoy leftover fried rice is by heating it up before serving. You can try several different methods, from a quick zap in the microwave to a short stint in the air fryer.
Frying rice on the stovetop will often yield the best taste and texture. When done right, your dish will be nearly indistinguishable from fresh takeout. However, other methods also have their advantages. Whether you use your oven or your air fryer, you’re sure to get a tasty result.