If you’re like me, you tend to cook more paella than you can could handle in one sitting (you know how heavy rice is in the tummy, right?). So what do you do with the leftover?
No need to dump all those expensive ingredients! You can still enjoy your leftover paella by reheating it in more ways than one.
But as always with reheating, there’s a catch here. Some reheating methods can dry out your paella or ruin the crispiness that makes it so yummy.
To help your leftover paella look, act and taste fresh, here are a few easy tips on how to reheat paella in a pan, oven or microwave.
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… But First, You Need to Store It Right
If you don’t store it properly, it will either taste bad or become downright poisonous. Especially if you made it with seafood!
And by properly, I mean that you have to store it in a tight or sealed container and place it in the refrigerator. This is to seal in the freshness that’s left in the dish and also to prevent the smell from leaking inside the fridge.
After eating your fill, let it cool down completely. It shouldn’t sit outside the fridge for more than a couple hours.
Once you got that right, your reheating options are a pan over the stove, in a microwave, or an oven.
Keep in mind, though, that you have to tone down your expectations if you opt for microwave or oven. As I’ll explain in the next section, with paella, the pan is the way to go!
What’s the Best Way to Reheat Paella?
The name says it all!
In Valencia, where the dish traces its roots, paella literally means “pan”.
It was previously known as Paella Valenciana. Since it would almost be considered a crime if you try to cook it using any other pots, over the years, paella as the “pan” has become synonymous with the actual dish.
So, the obvious answer is to reheat your paella in a pan.
The rationale behind this is the very same reason why it is being cooked in a pan to begin with. Pans are made to maximize the flavor potential of every dish. Paella the dish is no different, especially because of the strong flavors of the ingredients.
How to Reheat Paella in a Pan?
Did you use your perfect pan when you cooked your paella? If yes, use the same pan to reheat it!
Here’s what to do:
- Over medium heat, put a few drops of olive oil on the pan and spread it all over.
- Once the pan is hot enough, add in the paella and spread it evenly.
- Toss it continuously for a few minutes as you do with fried rice until it is heated evenly.
- If you find it too dry already, adding a spoon or two of chicken broth will give it a moisture boost.
The socarrat or the crispy bottom part of paella makes it even more special because it creates more character and texture to the dish.
Make sure not to set the flame too high when reheating because it might make your paella dry. Over medium flame, the olive oil makes up for the lost moisture and adds more flavor in the process.
How to Reheat Paella in a Microwave?
Reheating paella in a microwave isn’t too popular with foodies for a reason.
You guessed the reason: microwaving will make it soggy due to the condensation of steam. You don’t want to lose that crispy texture that paella is so popular for!
However, if you just need a quick paella fix, here’s how to do it:
- Use a microwave-safe container and wipe it with cooking oil, preferably olive oil.
- Place the paella in the container, preferably covering it with microwave-friendly plastic wrap on top.
- It is highly recommended that you reheat paella in the microwave in small portions. Or better yet, use a wider container so that the heating can be even. If not, you can just divide your heating period so you could stir it in between.
- The ideal heating period is one minute.
How to Reheat Paella in an Oven?
If you don’t have a microwave at home, an oven will do. However, it may take a significantly longer time.
Here’s how to reheat paella in the oven:
- Prepare the oven by preheating it to 250°F or 125°C for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Place your paella in a casserole or a wide baking pan. Make sure to spread it evenly in the container.
- When the desired temperature has been reached, place the dish in the center and reheat it within 20 to 30 minutes.
If you’re using an oven with a convection feature, you can just leave it there within the specified time. If not, you might need to break down the heating period to stir the paella occasionally.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Long Does Paella Last in the Fridge?
You only have 24 hours to store your paella in the fridge. Yes, that’s shorter than most other foods! The thing is, most paellas will have seafood as an ingredient. And seafood is very prone to early microbial spoilage.
On the other hand, if it is meat-based, you can have it stored for up to a week!
Can I Eat Paella From the Fridge Without Reheating?
While some dishes are as good eaten either hot or cold, it isn’t wise to eat your leftover paella straight out of the fridge. The main reason: risk of food poisoning.
That’s because the bacteria will attack your paella pretty fast. And reheating is the only way for those bacteria to get destroyed.
Also, since paella has a lot of fat content from the oil, seafood, and meat, eating frozen “cholesterol” might not be pleasing to the palate and might ruin the whole experience.
Can You Reheat Frozen Paella?
You can definitely reheat frozen paella, but only if you stored it immediately after it cooled down. Just let it defrost and heat it in your pan (preferably), microwave or oven, as I described above.
However, we have to admit that most cooked food will never taste exactly the same when you take it out of the fridge.
That’s because cooking induces chemical processes which bring out the best flavor in the dish. Of course, all of these juices get lost when the dish cools down. Especially after a day in the fridge!