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Can You Reheat Stir Fry? Here's What You Need To Know..

Written By Kirsten
Updated On October 1, 2021

How To Reheat Stir Fry & Store It Safely

Stir fry can make a great left-over lunch for next day eating or even for meal prep, but you might be wondering whether it's safe to reheat the next day or if the taste will be altered. 

It is fine to reheat your stir fry as long as it is was stored properly in your fridge/freezer and you reheat it thoroughly until warm, you need to take care when storing not let your veggies go mushy in your stir fry sauce. 

To help out with storing and reheating your stir fry we've put together a short guide that will show you two methods of how to reheat your stir fry, tips for storing it and how to eat leftovers. 

How To Reheat Stir Fry 

Reheating stir fry is pretty simple and can be done in the microwave or stovetop according to preference, we will list both ways below. 

Microwave Method 

  •  Place your stir fry in a microwaveable dish and reheat at a medium heat setting. 
  •  Check-in one minute intervals to see when the stir-fry dish is becoming warm and steaming, stir it before your second interval. 
  • Be careful not to overheat the stir fry otherwise, it can make the veggies mushy or lead to dried-out meat.

Stove Top Method 

  • Empty your refrigerated chicken stir fry (or beef/veg) into your pan. 
  • Heat on a medium level until the sauce starts to bubble. 
  • Reduce to steam for around 5-10 minutes. 
  • Add some splashes of water if the food starts to become dry.

What About Frozen Stir Fry?

You can also reheat frozen stir fry with the methods above but they will differ slightly with a longer heating time, the reheating process can make stir fry pieces of chicken and stir-fried or sautéed vegetables dry, so it's best to thaw them out beforehand in the refrigerator.

Microwave Method 

  • To microwave, your stir fry put its freezer bag on a microwaveable plate or in its container that you used to freeze it in. 
  • Let it thaw in the microwave on a defrost setting until thawed all the way. 
  • Add some water if the food has become a little dry and heat in intervals taking caution not to overcook the veggies and meat.

Stove Top Method

  • Heat your frying pan on medium heat.
  • Add the frozen stir fry and break it up with a spatula bit by bit.
  • Simmer for at least 10-15 minutes adding water if needed.
  • Try to separate meat and fry it off first before the veggies to ensure it is heated through all the way without cold spots.

Are Their Disadvantages To Reheating Stir Fry?

The biggest drawback to reheating stir fry has to be the textured vegetable which can lose their crispy food texture once reheated with cooking methods such as the microwave. 

Some people also complain that storing the stir fry types of vegetables after cooking in the stir fry sauce can make them soggy as they absorb all of the salt and liquid from the sauce.

One way you can solve this is by storing the sauce and steamed vegetables separately, but you would have to know in advance if you were going to store the cooked food cold. 

To avoid any risk of harmful bacteria you must make sure you reheat types of food like stir fry to temperatures of 165 Fahrenheit as this kills foodborne bacteria. 

Tips For Storing Stir Fry

Stir fry leftovers can be stored in both a fridge and a freezer but you should ensure that you are storing the dish correctly to maintain taste as well as to keep the food from going bad. 

Storing In The Fridge 

  • Always eat your stir fry within 3-4 days of cooking.
  • Refrigerate within 2 hours of initial cooking.
  • Allow cooling to room temperature before storing. 
  • Seal in a plastic container or a plastic bag.

Storing In The Freezer

  • Eat the meal-prepped food for a month or two weeks for the best taste quality. 
  • Allow the stir fry to thaw in the fridge before reheating. 
  • Use freeze friendly plastic bags which are zip lock or plastic containers for the frozen foods. 
  • Reheat properly when thawed as thick chunks of meats can be hard to fully reheat.

How To Store Stir Fry Veggies 

If you want to get ahead and keep some stir fry veggies in the freezer as frozen meal-prep foods then you will need to store them the following way -

  • Cut up all of your stir fry veggies into small bite-sized pieces.
  • Blanch the veggies for 3 minutes total in boiling water. 
  • Drop them straight away into an ice bath once boiled. 
  • Leave for around 10 minutes to stop the veggie from cooking any more. 
  • Allow them to dry in a colander and use a paper towel to get rid of any moisture left on the veggies. 
  • Space the veggie evenly on a baking tray and flash freeze them for around three hours in total. 
  • Put in plastic bags and freeze with a date on each bag.

Ideas For Leftover Stir Fry

If you are stuck with some leftover stir fry from last nights dinner or Chinese takeaway then you can try the following methods to try and vamp your stir fry up.

  • Add in noodles - Adding in noodles can make a great meal and turn your leftover veggie stir fry into a great chow mein. 
  • Throw in some meat - Frying some chicken pieces or strips of beef can add some protein to your leftover stir fry and make it more of a meal.
  • Bulk it with rice - Cook some rice to add in with Chinese food leftovers to make the food more filling, just ensure that you heat to food back to 165F to kill any bad bacteria.
  • Make a chow mein - Not only can you add noodles but you can revamp your whole stir fry by adding in some soy sauce, stock and garlic to make a new dish!

Last Words

To conclude, stir fry can be safely reheated after cooking in either the microwave or on the stovetop with little issues, simply add some water to the dish if it starts to dry out during the reheating process. 

Always reheat frozen types of food like stir fry till 165F to make sure they are safe for eating and store them properly in airtight bags and containers to preserve the quality of the stir fry, you will have to reheat frozen stir fry for longer periods to make sure it's heated through properly.

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