Paella is a traditional Spanish dish of fried rice with a variety of vegetables and meat (usually seafood). It is delicious and usually served in huge portions, which makes for excellent leftovers. However, is it safe to reheat paella? How to reheat paella at home?
To reheat paella at home, you can use the microwave, the oven, the steamer, or the stovetop. The best way to reheat paella is on the stovetop in a frying pan, as that helps retain the original moisture and texture of the dish. However, it’s essential to heat the paella, as seafood dishes have a higher tendency towards food poisoning.
While the stovetop isn’t the only way to reheat paella, it’s certainly the best. It will retain heat and texture while staying moist. Of course, there are other concerns to reheating paella (and leftovers in general) as well: you want to avoid food poisoning and bad seafood at all costs.
How to Reheat Paella
There are four effective ways to reheat paella. Of course, you can do it with another method (like in an air fryer or toaster oven), but these devices could dry out the paella. The main concern when reheating paella is to keep it from drying out. Here are the four common ways of reheating paella.
Reheating Paella in the Microwave
Of course, the easiest way to reheat anything might be in the microwave. For paella, it works much the same way as any other dish. To prevent drying out, sprinkle a few teaspoons of water on your dish (enough to add some moisture, but not enough to make the dish soggy).
It’s best to cover your dish with a paper towel. Start with a minute and stir every thirty seconds. If it isn’t warm enough, continue heating it in thirty-second intervals until it is hot. If you don’t stir between thirty-second intervals, the paella will heat unevenly, and some parts will be extremely hot while others won’t warm up at all.
Microwave Pros and Cons
Pros: The microwave is quick and easy and doesn’t involve dirtying an extra dish or pan.
Cons: The microwave is more likely to dry out the paella, especially the rice.
Reheating Paella on the Stovetop
While it’s not as easy as the microwave, the stovetop is the best way to reheat paella. It’s the most similar way to how paella is made and will stay crispy without drying out. Refrying paella is the easiest way to get the original texture of cooked paella without using the oven or taking too much time.
To reheat paella on the stovetop, heat a little olive oil in a pan and add the cold paella with a quarter cup of water. Saute it all until it’s heated through. After that, your paella should be ready to eat (again).
Stovetop Pros and Cons
Pros: The paella will taste the closest to its original texture and be ready in minutes.
Cons: It is more labor intensive and easier to burn to the paella.
Reheating Paella in the Oven
You can also reheat paella in the oven. It’s a little bit of a long process but results in soft and moist paella. Oven paella tastes like original paella and is less work for you but involves more waiting and patience. You’ll need a ceramic dish with a cover (you can also cover it in foil).
Preheat the oven to 350℉ and add about a half cup of water to the paella. Cook it for 20-25 minutes. Although this method takes longer, it leaves the paella with a similar texture and flavor to when it was originally cooked. The added water will absorb into the rice, making it moist without becoming soggy.
Oven Pros and Cons
Pros: The oven takes less work and reheats the paella thoroughly without drying it out.
Cons: It takes time to preheat the oven and heat the paella. You’ll also use an extra dish.
Reheating Paella in the Steamer
If you own a steamer, it’s a great way to reheat any rice-based dish. Steamers were made to heat dishes with moisture, so anything with rice works perfectly. It will soak up the steam and heat thoroughly quickly. It’s an easy process that doesn’t take much effort on your part.
To reheat paella in the steamer, spread your dish evenly along the bottom of the steamer basket. Steam it for about eight minutes. If you love moist and tender rice, reheating paella in a steamer is the way to go.
Steamer Pros and Cons
Pros: The steamer doesn’t take long and keeps the entire dish warm and moist.
Cons: Not many people own a steamer and it can be a pain to set up and clean.
How to Store Paella
As with any seafood leftovers, it’s essential to store paella properly. Food poisoning is never enjoyable, and foods with fish or shellfish are at a higher risk. Leftover seafood goes bad quickly, so you must store your paella properly and eat it within two days.
To store paella, keep it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. If you got a takeout container from the restaurant that isn’t airtight, transfer it to a Tupperware with a tight lid. Look for these signs to know when it’s time to throw the dish away:
- A rancid or sour smell
- The slimy coating on the seafood
- Gray color around the edges
- Discolored spots
- More than three days in the refrigerator
If you have leftover paella, you might have some more specific questions on reheating paella. Here are some related questions and their answers.
Can you reheat paella the next day?
You can reheat paella the next day, as long as the seafood elements don’t smell funky or have a coating of slime. Paella is generally still safe to eat for at least a day or two if it is stored properly.
How long does paella stay good?
Rice stays good in the refrigerator for up to a week. However, the limiting factor in a paella dish will be the meat. Seafood has the shortest shelf life of any meat, especially once it’s cooked. Your leftover paella will be good for a day or two after it is first cooked.
Can you eat cold leftover paella?
If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of reheating it, you might consider eating it directly out of the fridge. While this is sometimes safe, you must inspect the seafood in the dish before eating it. It’s best to heat the paella to prevent sickness.
Although the most accurate way to reheat paella is on the stovetop, you will get similar results in a steamer and the oven. The microwave works well but has an increased chance of drying out the dish. As long as the fish in the paella hasn’t gone bad, you can enjoy leftover paella again!