Chicken fried rice is a delicious takeout staple that is usually served in hearty quantities. Usually, leftover chicken fried rice does not reheat well, either coming up mushy or far too dry. When you’re ready to polish off the rest of last night’s dinner, what is the most effective way to reheat chicken fried rice?
The best way to reheat chicken fried rice is to stir-fry it in a pan with water. Adding water to the pan as the rice reheats keeps it from drying out. Chicken fried rice can also be reheated in a microwave, oven, or even in an air fryer.
The Best Way To Reheat Chicken Fried Rice
On The Stove
Re-frying the rice into a pan is the most effective method for reheating chicken fried rice. It will get your rice slightly crispy again, and keep everything from getting soggy.
To Reheat Chicken Fried Rice On The Stove:
- Add a tablespoon of oil or butter into a large pan over medium heat
- Empty the rice into your pan. Add one tablespoon of water for every cup of rice.
- Stir the rice continuously to keep it from sticking to the pan or burning. Keep over heat until the rice and meat are cooked through.
This method will keep your rice from getting stodgy, and will push it closest to the consistency it had when it was fresh. When you add the water, the steam will help to soften rice that has been hardened over a night in the fridge. Without the water, it is possible to further dry out or burn the rice.
This method also has the benefit of letting you customize the meal. If you have more chicken, seasoning, or vegetables you’d like to incorporate, add them shortly after you’ve added the rice. Adding new ingredients can transform the previous night’s leftovers into a whole new meal.
If using raw meat, cook it by itself first before adding it to the main dish. Remember that chicken should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165° (75°C) before it is safe to eat.
In The Microwave
This method is the most convenient, but it doesn’t always yield the greatest end result. There is a way you could make this method work, however. It takes careful timing and preparation; just tossing it in without rehydration will end in dry, unappetizing chicken fried rice.
To Reheat Chicken Fried Rice In The Microwave
- Set your microwave to 50% power. This will keep the rice from overcooking.
- Add 1-2 tablespoons of water per one cup of rice.
- Cover the rice. If you are using a microwave-safe container with a lid, make sure it is firmly attached.
- Heat for 2 to 3 minutes, stopping every 30 seconds to stir and fluff the rice. Stirring will also prevent cold spots.
- As it will be rather hot, let the rice sit for 1 minute before serving. This also allows the moisture to completely incorporate through the rice and meat.
If you cannot change the heating settings on your microwave, you can still achieve this end result at full power. The only difference is that your rice will be done much quicker; it will be ready in 40-90 seconds. Keep an eye on it as it cooks to check for doneness.
The key takeaways to reheating chicken fried rice in the microwave is to add moisture, and to stir it frequently. When you’re done, you should have a tasty fried rice that hasn’t turned too mushy. It will not be as crispy as the night before, but this is still a convenient way to rejuvenate your meal.
In The Oven
The oven would be the best way to reheat chicken fried rice if you have a large quantity of it. With a family-sized batch, methods like the frying pan or microwave will be too small to be timely or effective.
To Reheat Chicken Fried Rice In The Oven:
- Preheat your oven to 300° (150°C)
- Spread your rice in as thin a layer as possible on a cookie sheet or in a baking dish.
- Spritz the chicken fried rice with water, moistening the entire surface.
- Cover your cooking vessel with tin foil and bake for 18-20 minutes.
This is only a recommended method of reheating chicken fried rice if you have a sizable amount of it, or do not have another option handy. The texture of the rice will change in the oven, losing any crispness the rice may have had the night before. All the same, it is a feasible reheating method when feeding a crowd.
In The Air Fryer
Trendy and convenient, it seems there are few limits to what an air fryer can do. Besides on the stove, using an air fryer is one of the best ways to reheat chicken fried rice. Exercise caution, however: air fryers are powerful, which is why they’re able to cook things 20% faster than an oven.
How To Reheat Chicken Fried Rice In An Air Fryer
- Preheat your air fryer to 350°(176°C).
- Place your fried rice into the fryer basket and spread into an even layer.
- Lightly spray the rice with cooking oil, giving it a shake to ensure proper coating. This will help the leftover rice crisp up.
- Heat for 3-5 minutes. If you have a lot of rice, you may need to reheat in batches.
Using an air fryer to reheat chicken fried rice has all of the convenience of the microwave with the texture-reviving prowess of the frying pan. The only place it loses marks is in capacity: unless you have a girthy air fryer, you may find yourself heating in two to three sessions.
Is Reheating Chicken Fried Rice Safe?
Like all foods, there are certain circumstances in which you should not reheat chicken fried rice. If the rice has been left out at room temperature for more than two hours, it can begin to harbor Bacillus cerus.
Bacillus cerus is a type of bacteria that can cause mild digestional issues 6-15 hours after consumption. Since fried rice is so common a culprit for such issues, the phenomenon has been dubbed “fried rice syndrome”. It is estimated that there are 63,000 cases of fried rice syndrome each year in the US.
In short: yes, it is usually safe to reheat chicken fried rice. However, avoid doing so if the rice has been left at room temperature for more than two hours. While fried rice syndrome is not fatal or even serious, it is still best to play it safe.
While there are a number of ways to go about it, the best way to reheat chicken fried rice is in a frying pan over the stove. This will make for crispy, flavorful fried rice that is almost as delicious as it was the day before. Adding water will ensure that the grains don’t harden up in the process.
If you are looking for convenience, an air fryer may come to the rescue to resuscitate day-old chicken fried rice. Though, this technique may be cumbersome if you’re working with a lot of rice. The microwave and oven, while not the most ideal options, are still doable with the proper methodology.
Tiffany McCauley is a celebrated food and travel journalist and cookbook author known for her engaging stories on culinary adventures and cultural insights. With a background featuring collaborations with notable brands and publications, Tiffany brings a wealth of experience and a fresh perspective to Fanatically Food, where she champions taste, sustainability, and the art of cooking. Read More Here