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How To Reheat Biryani – I Test 4 Methods [Pics]

Are those extra servings of biryani from last night tempting you again today?

But the rice is all hard and claggy?

Lucky for you I experimented to rind the best way to reheat your biryani and bring it back to it’s former glory.

In a hurry?

The best way to reheat biryani is in a skillet, frying it really helps to re-awaken all the wonderful flavors and aromas. Set your pan over a medium-low heat and sprinkle in 1-2 tablespoons of water or stock. Add the biryani to the pan and heat it for 5-6 minutes. You can also use the oven or the microwave.

A note on my experiment

I refrigerated enough biryani in airtight containers to try out four different methods of reheating.

I tested the following reheating methods:

  • In a skillet (by far the best flavor and texture)
  • In the oven (acceptable results)
  • In the microwave (okay)
  • In a rice cooker (not recommended)

My favorite method was the skillet. I loved the aromas and flavors that heating in the skillet achieved.

You can use the oven, but it’s difficult to heat right through without drying out the meat.

The microwave is also an option, but the rice can get a little gummy.

Related: How To Reheat Naan (who doesn’t love naan and biryani together?)

Reheating biryani in a skillet

Heat a skillet on medium-low heat with a few tablespoons of water. Add the biryani to the pan and cover it with a lid. Let it steam for 5-6 minutes, stirring frequently to ensure even heating. Meat or chicken biryanis may take a minute or two longer to heat up.

How to reheat biryani in a skillet:

  1. Heat a heavy-bottomed pan with a tight-fitting lid on medium-low.
  2. Cover the bottom of the pan with water or stock. You can also add some butter for a bit of extra flavor.
  3. Place the biryani in the heated pan and cover with a lid.
  4. On medium-low heat, steam for 5-6 minutes.
  5. Stir occasionally to distribute the heat evenly.

Heating your biryani in a skillet is quick and easy, but there are a few things you need to watch out for.

The rice will tend to clump together, so gently break up any sticky balls that form to ensure the biryani heats through evenly.

Also, rice tends to stick to the bottom of the pan if it dries out. So check often to make sure this isn’t happening. If the pan seems dry, simple add some more water or broth.

If you want to add a bit of crunch to your rice, use a high heat and add a little oil. This will give you more of a fried rice effect.

My verdict

Of the four methods I tried, heating biryani in the skillet gave the best results by far.

The rice was moist and fluffy without being mushy. 

And frying brought out the flavors of the biryani wonderfully. The other methods left the flavors a bit muted.

Reheating biryani in the oven

Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C). Place the biryani in a metal or glass oven-safe dish. Break up any rice that’s clumped together and sprinkle a few tablespoons of water or stock over the contents. Cover the dish with foil or lid with a tight seal and bake for 6-10 minutes, depending on quantity.

If you’re using a toaster oven, you can follow the above instructions but be aware that the biryani will heat up faster.

How to reheat biryani in the oven:

  1. Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C).
  2. Transfer biryani to an oven-safe dish.
  3. Spread the contents in a thin even layer, breaking up any clumps of rice.
  4. Add a few tablespoons of water or stock to the rice.
  5. Cover the dish with a lid or foil to keep steam in to avoid drying out the rice.
  6. Bake for 6-10 minutes, based on quantity.

Adding liquid is essential in the oven because without it, the rice would dry out. 

I check my biryani every few minutes to make sure there’s enough moisture in there. If there’s not, simply add some more water or stock.

Psst… I like to use stock because it adds more flavor.

Big pieces of chicken or meat will take longer to heat through than the rice. Consider taking these out and microwaving them, or you can cut them into smaller pieces.

My verdict

While the flavor and texture were pretty good, I noticed that the biryani ended up slightly drier than I would have liked.

Overall, I’d recommend the oven for mass heating. But for smaller portions, I’d go for the skillet.

Reheating biryani in the microwave

Put your biryani in a microwavable dish and cover it with a damp paper towel, making sure the paper towel touches the rice. Microwave the dish in 30-second increments until it’s heated through, stirring to ensure even heating during each break. 

How to reheat biryani in the microwave:

  1. Fill a microwave-safe dish with biryani.
  2. Gently break up any clumps with a fork.
  3. Cover the dish with a damp paper towel.
  4. Microwave in 30-second increments for up to 5 minutes.
  5. When the dish is heated through, remove it from the microwave and let it rest for 30 seconds before serving.

I suggest 30-second increments because this means you can check the rice often and stop heating it as soon as it’s warm enough.

This will prevent the rice from becoming overly gummy, which is a risk in the microwave.

Top tip: avoid heating seafood biryanis in the microwave as it results in a complete disaster. 

The fish will take on a rubbery, unappetizing texture and any flavor will disappear.

My verdict

The results from the microwave were okay, certainly acceptable for someone in a hurry (or who’s just really hungry).

The issue was that the biryani lacked some flavor and didn’t have the same vibrancy as the day before.

The texture of the rice was good, but only because I was cautious not to overheat it.

Reheating biryani in a rice cooker

Put one teaspoon of water per serving of biryani into the rice cooker. Fill the rice cooker with leftover biryani and select cook. Once the water has boiled away, the cooker switches off, and your meal is ready to serve. 

Avoid putting too much water into the cooker at first, as you can always add extra later if you need to.

How to reheat biryani in a rice cooker:

  1. Add biryani to the cooker.
  2. Place one teaspoon of water into the rice cooker for each serving of biryani.
  3. Select cook and switch on.
  4. Wait for the rice cooker to turn off before checking that the mix is heated all the way through.
  5. Add a little more water if the mixture is not fully heated.
  6. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until the biryani is hot.

 As you only need a minimal amount of water to heat your biryani in the rice cooker, it’s easy to add too much at first.

It’s better to add a little less than you think you need and add more later.

My verdict

The rice cooker heated the rice, but I would be concerned that not all rice cookers would be able to get chicken/meat to an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).

For that reason, I can’t really recommend it.

How to store biryani

You should store your biryani in the fridge, where it will last for up to 4 days (but the taste and texture start to deteriorate after two days). Before you put the rice in the fridge, cool it to room temperature and then scoop it into an airtight container.

To cool the rice down quickly, spread it out in a thin layer on a baking sheet.

This will let the heat escape more easily. Another option is to put the pot of rice in a cold water bath.

Top tip: biryani can be pretty smelly, but covering the airtight container with aluminum foil or plastic wrap can help contain it.

Can you freeze biryani?

Yes, you can successfully freeze biryani for up to 2 months. Once the mixture has cooled, place it in an airtight container. If you’re using freezer bags, remember to remove the air before placing them in the freezer. Separate larger quantities into smaller portions for ease of reheating.

How to freeze biryani:

  1. Wait for the biryani to cool to room temperature.
  2. Separate into smaller portions.
  3. Put the biryani into airtight containers, preferably heavy-duty freezer bags.
  4. Remove as much air as possible from the freezer bag (see note below if using a container). 
  5. Pack containers into the freezer.

If you’re using a container, put a film of plastic wrap over the top of the rice to protect it.

Too much air exposure = freezer burn. 

To get the air out of freezer bags, you have a few options.

  • Squeeze it out with your hands
  • Suck it out with a straw
  • Submerge the open freezer bag in water and force the air out (my favorite option)
  • Use a vacuum sealer (the best option, if you have one)

Always make sure the rice is cool before you freeze it. Otherwise, condensation will turn into rice crystals, which will ruin the texture of the rice.

It’s best to freeze the rice in portions because it can be hard to separate once it’s frozen. 

How to thaw biryani

To thaw biryani, take it out of the freezer the night before you want to use it and leave it in the fridge. It should be defrosted the next morning. If it’s not, or you’re in a hurry, hold the frozen biryani under a running tap. 

You can also use the microwave, but as a general rule, I try to avoid defrosting things in the microwave because it can be unpredictable. 

Once the biryani has thawed, you can reheat it in a skillet, oven, microwave, steamer, or rice cooker.

How long does biryani last?

You can store biryani in the fridge in an airtight container for between 2 and 4 days, or for up to 2 months in the freezer.

Never leave biryani out at room temperature for more than 2 hours (1 hour in hot and humid climates). Rice is very susceptible to food-poisoning bacteria, so always play it safe.

Read next: what to serve with biryani

How To Reheat Biryani – I Test 4 Methods [Pics]

Are those extra servings of biryani from last night tempting you again today?
Well, if you’re still hesitant, don’t be.
So long as you plan on enjoying your re-heated biryani within four days, you’re good to go.
I‘ve been reheating rice-based dishes for years without any ill effects.
So set aside your worries and follow along as I show you the four methods I’ve tried to get the best results.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: biryani, how to reheat biryani
Prep Time: 1 minute
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 6 minutes
Servings: 1 person
Calories: 144kcal


  • 1 portion biryani


  • Heat a heavy-bottomed pan with a tight-fitting lid on medium-low.
  • Cover the bottom of the pan with water or stock. 
  • Place the biryani in the heated pan and cover with a lid.
  • On medium-low heat, steam for 5-6 minutes.
  • Stir occasionally to distribute the heat evenly.


As you know, rice tends to stick to the bottom of the pan if it dries out.
Check often to see that it is not burning and that there’s sufficient moisture to avoid catching.
You may need to add a little extra water or broth to get the best results.
If you want to add a bit of crunch to your rice, use a high and add a little oil. This will give you more of a fried rice effect.


Serving: 100g | Calories: 144kcal

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