This article was updated on 5th July 2023 for clarity.
Japchae, also known as chapchae (잡채), is a super delicious and addictive Korean glass noodle dish. I’m sure you know this already, otherwise, you wouldn’t be here.
But how do you keep the noodles chewy and elastic when you have leftovers? I experimented with three different reheating methods to find out which one was best.
The best way to reheat japchae (in a skillet)
The best way to reheat japchae is in a skillet with a drizzle of sesame oil. Heat the skillet on low heat and add the leftover japchae along with a tablespoon of sesame oil. Stir the japchae continuously for 3-5 minutes until warm enough for you.
If you’re cooking the japchae from frozen, add a few minutes to the cooking time. And gently separate the noodle with a wooden spoon as they start to defrost.
You can use any oil you want, but I like sesame oil because of the flavor. Or if you have a non-stick pan, you can skip the oil completely.
Sometimes the noodles will be dry, in this case, you can add a tablespoon or two of water to the pan to help hydrate them.
I also tested reheating the japchae at a high ‘stir fry’ heat, but this quickly overcooked the noodles and turned them mushy.
Results: This was my favorite way to reheat japchae. Using a low heat really preserved the chewy texture of the noodles and gently brought out the rest of the flavors in the dish. And I like the fact you can saute a few veggies in the pan before adding the noodles.
Reheating japchae in the microwave
To reheat japchae in the microwave, place it into a microwave-safe bowl. Next, sprinkle 2 tablespoons of water over the japchae and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Reheat on full power in 15-second increments until piping hot, gently stirring the noodles in each interval.
Frozen japchae will need around 30 seconds longer.
You’ll need to eat the microwaved japchae quickly once it comes out of the microwave because the noodles will get very hard and dry once it cools down.
Results: The microwave is a good way of reheating japchae if you’re short on time, but the noodles were a little mushy compared to the skillet reheated batch. It’s a trade-off between convenience and perfect results.
How to store japchae
You can store japchae in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days, but you might find the noodles go a bit dry. To keep the noodles from sticking together too much, lightly toss them in oil before you store them.
For longer-term storage, you can freeze japchae.
How to freeze japchae
To freeze japchae, first, divide the dish into individual portions. Next, place each japchae portion into a labeled freezer bag and remove any excess air. For best results, use the japchae within three months.
And don’t expect the exact same texture as fresh japchae, the noodles will be softer.
To defrost japchae, simply place it in the refrigerator overnight. However, if you need to defrost japchae quickly, you have two options.
You can either place the freezer bag of japchae into a bowl of cold water for half an hour or reheat the japchae directly from frozen on the stove or in the microwave.
Read Next: How To Reheat Tteokbokki
The BEST Way To Reheat Japchae
- 1 portion japchae
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil or any other oil
- 2 tablespoons water optional
- Add one tablespoon of sesame to a skillet and bring to a low heat.
- Gently add the japchae and stir continuously for 3-5 minutes.
- Once the japchae has fully reheated, serve immediately.
- If you are cooking the japchae from frozen, add a couple of minutes to the cooking time above.