You went out. You had spectacular Chinese food. Now you have a ton of leftovers, and you don’t want to ruin them.
Figuring out how to reheat great Chinese food appropriately is the key to enjoying your meal a second time.
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Can You Reheat Chinese Food?
Wait, is it even possible to reheat Chinese food?
Yes. Of course.
Anything that has been refrigerated or frozen can be reheated. An entire industry has been created around this concept.
But, of course, some foods are better reheated in different ways than others.
For example, foods that have been fried or breaded often do better when reheated in an oven or in an air fryer, and foods that have been baked or grilled are better when reheated back in the oven or on the grill.
When it comes to Chinese food, the best method for reheating is honestly probably going to be the oven or the stovetop, depending on what you have in your leftovers.
Should You Reheat Chinese Food?
Now you know you can reheat Chinese food.
But should you?
It’s a good question.
Chinese food can carry all kinds of foodborne illness-causing bacteria if not stored and reheated properly, just like any mixed-ingredient takeout food.
Be sure to do your own research to follow proper storage and reheating guidelines.
To get you started, I have linked this article from the BBC on what you need to know about reheating takeaways.
How to Reheat Chinese Food in the Oven
Reheating Chinese food is one of the preferred ways to get your food back to its original glory because many of the dishes are either breaded and fried or sauteed and grilled.
Follow these steps to return your Chinese food to its original tasty glory:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Place your food in a shallow, oven-safe container and cover with foil.
- If you have multiple dishes, use multiple containers, making sure to spread your food out in single layers to be sure it will heat thoroughly and more quickly.
- Bake for 10 minutes and check that the internal temperature of any thick foods is 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
- If you have finger foods like egg rolls or chicken wings, wrap each individually in aluminum foil and follow the same process.
How to Reheat Chinese Food in the Microwave
It is not recommended to reheat Chinese food in the microwave as you run the risk of ruining the dish.
Moist, tender chicken or steak can turn rubbery and flavorless in moments.
But, if it’s all you have to work with, just take great care and go slowly.
- For crispy dishes, place the food on a microwave-safe plate uncovered.
- Heat for 2 minutes before checking the internal temperature for 165 degrees Fahrenheit. If the food is not ready, cook for another minute and repeat the process until it is ready.
- For any other dish, place the food in a microwave safe-dish and cover the food loosely with a damp paper towel so the food does not dry out.
- Heat using the automatic reheating option or at 40 percent power.
- Cook for 3 minutes at a time, checking your food to see that it is thoroughly heated through and has reached ideal temperature.
How to Reheat Chinese Food in an Air Fryer
When reheating Chinese food in an air fryer, you are going to get mixed results.
For noodle and rice dishes, you can’t really use the air fryer basket, so you will have to find another method.
For individual foods like eggrolls and chicken wings, you can heat them up in no time, with excellent crispy effects by following these directions:
- Preheat your air fryer to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Place your Chinese food loosely in the air fryer basket, with plenty of space in between items, and cook for 5 minutes.
- Check the temperature and cook for another 2 minutes if necessary.
How to Reheat Chinese Food on a Grill
Reheating Chinese food on a grill can be tricky because of the grate.
If you are dealing with noodles, mixed small ingredients, or rice, place your food in a shallow aluminum pan.
If you are reheating individual finger foods like egg rolls or chicken wings, you can wrap each food individually in foil then follow these directions:
- Heat your grill to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Place the food in foil or in its dish on the grill, away from direct heat.
- Cover the dish or close the grill and cook for 15 minutes.
- Check the food for the internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Cook for another 5 minutes if necessary.
How to Reheat Chinese Food in a Toaster Oven
The toaster oven can be a lifesaver, helping you reheat your favorite Chinese food leftovers when you have no other options.
For the best results using a toaster oven, use these steps:
- Preheat your toaster oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Place your food in a shallow, oven-safe dish and cover to prevent it from drying out.
- Cook for 20 minutes and check for the internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Cook for another 5 minutes if necessary.
How to Reheat Chinese Food in a Pan on the Stove
For all foods except individual finger foods, the stovetop is probably your best option for Chinese food leftovers using these directions:
- Heat a large skillet or a wok on the stove to medium high heat.
- Drizzle olive oil into the bottom of the pan to create a thin layer.
- Once the oil starts lightly smoking, place your Chinese food leftovers in the pan and toss until heated through. It should not take more than a few minutes.
- If you’re working with a soup, simply place the soup on medium heat in a sauce pan until heated through.
For your individual finger foods, see the oven or air fryer reheating options.
WINNER – The Best Way to Reheat Chinese Food Is Using the Stovetop and the Oven
With Chinese food, you really need two options. There cannot be a single winner if you have multiple dishes. Individual foods like egg rolls and wings need to be heated in an oven where they can cook through and retain their crispiness.
For all other dishes, you really need the heat and oil on the stovetop to get the food back to its original state.
What do you think? Do you have any tips for reheating Chinese food? Let me know in the comments below.