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Exactly How To Reheat Curry – I Test 4 Methods [Pics]

Whether you like hot Indian curry or a more delicately flavored Thai curry, leftovers should never be thrown away.

Everyone knows curry tastes better the next day anyway, right?!

But the best way to reheat curry is up for debate.

To settle this, I tested out four different reheating methods to see which one gave me the best flavor and texture.

And for good measure, I’ve also included some tips on storing your leftover curry.

In a rush? Here’s the short answer.

The best way to reheat curry is in a saucepan. Place your leftover curry in a saucepan and reheat it on medium heat until it’s piping hot. Add a few tablespoons of stock or water if extra moisture is needed. Stir the curry frequently to prevent it from sticking. Serve immediately.

A note on my experiment

After over-ordering from my favorite curry house, I put the leftovers in the fridge, ready for my tests the next day.

The reheating methods I tried were:

  • On the stove (best option for thinner curries)
  • In the microwave (okay but not great for seafood)
  • In the oven (a bit slow)
  • In a skillet (my favorite method)

My favorite option was heating curry on the stove (in a pot or a skillet). Frying the curry in a skillet really bought out the flavors. 

The microwave worked perfectly fine as well and was super quick. 

The oven warmed the curry but was too slow, and it was difficult to know when the curry was ready.

Note: I used butter chicken curry for my tests, but these methods work for any type of curry.

Tips for reheating curry

Here are some general tips for making the reheating process as smooth as possible.

  • Cut larger pieces of meat or vegetables up into smaller pieces. This will ensure they heat all the way through.
  • Your curry might thicken in the fridge. If you want to thin it out again, add some extra liquid a tablespoon at a time until it reaches your desired consistency. You can use stock, water, or even milk or cream.
  • Fresh rice is always best, but if you want to use leftover rice, reheat it in the microwave covered with a damp paper towel.

Related: How To Reheat Onion Bhajis

Reheating curry on the stove

To reheat curry on the stove, place it in a pot and heat it on medium heat until it’s piping hot. Add a few tablespoons of stock or water if extra moisture is needed. Stir the pot frequently to prevent the curry from catching.

How to reheat curry on the stove:

  1. Put the curry in a pot or pan and warm it on medium heat.
  2. If you want to thin the sauce, add some extra stock (or water) to the curry.
  3. Stir the curry frequently to prevent it from catching on the bottom of the pan.
  4. Heat the curry until it is near boiling point and then enjoy.

Taste the curry as you’re heating it and add in any extra seasonings you think it needs (if any).

I find a splash of lime juice helps liven up my curry leftovers. 

In Case You Go Overboard: How To Tone Down Lime Flavor

My verdict

My curry heated through pretty fast and tasted great – there’s nothing I didn’t like about this method (apart from having to wash the pan up).

You have good control over how fast the curry heats and how hot it gets, and you can easily alter the consistency of the curry as you go. 

This method is perfect for things like Thai curries, which have a thinner consistency.
For thicker curries, I recommend looking at the skillet method below.

Reheating curry in the microwave

Put a portion of curry into a microwave-safe bowl and cover it with a paper towel or plastic wrap. Microwave it for 60 seconds initially, and then heat in 30-second intervals until hot. Stir the curry between breaks to avoid cold spots, and allow it to rest for 30 seconds before serving.

How to reheat curry in the microwave:

  1. Transfer a portion of curry into a microwave-safe bowl and add some extra liquid (water or stock) to loosen the sauce.
  2. Cover the bowl with a paper towel or plastic wrap to prevent splattering.
  3. Heat the curry for 60 seconds and then continue in 30-second intervals until piping hot.
  4. Stir the curry during each break to ensure it’s heating evenly.
  5. Once hot, let the curry rest for 30 seconds before serving.

It’s not a good idea to heat seafood curries in the microwave because seafood (especially prawn) curries quickly turn rubbery.

If you’re reheating takeaway curry, don’t forget to get rid of the foil tray – it’s not microwave-safe!

If you’ve got some rice to reheat too, you can place it into the same bowl and reheat it with the curry. 

In this case, I would use a damp paper towel to cover the dish and keep the rice moist.

My verdict

This was the quickest method and great for reheating a single portion for lunch. 

The curry tasted delicious (it’s kind of hard to have a bad-tasting curry).

You’ve just got to be careful not to overheat the curry dry out the meat.

Reheating curry in the oven

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Spoon the curry into an oven-safe dish, adding a little extra water or stock to thin the sauce. Cover the dish with foil or a lid and heat for 15-20 minutes. Check on the curry every so often and give it a stir.

Timings will vary depending on your portion size and the type of oven you have. A toaster oven will be quicker.

How to reheat curry in the oven:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C) and pour your curry into an oven-safe dish.
  2. Add 1-2 tablespoons of water or stock so the sauce is not too dry (give it a good stir).
  3. Cover with aluminum foil or a lid and heat for 15-20 minutes. Exact timings will vary, so check on the curry regularly after the first 10 minutes.
  4. Stir the curry halfway through heating.

If you have any larger pieces of meat or vegetables sticking out of the sauce, stirring the curry will help ensure these don’t dry out. 

If the curry sauce still seems dry at the halfway mark, feel free to add some extra moisture – however much you think is needed.

My verdict

This method worked okay. 

But I wasn’t a big fan. 

It was a bit of a hassle to check on the curry’s progress, and I had less control over the whole process than with the other methods.

The oven was also much slower than the other methods.

Reheating curry in a skillet

To reheat curry in a skillet, add some oil and heat it on high. Add the curry and a few tablespoons of extra liquid if needed. Fry the curry and stir continuously as it heats to stop the sauce from catching. If you have any handy, add a pinch of Garam Masala 1-2 minutes before the end of heating.

You’re essentially frying the curry here, so this method works best with thicker curries.

How to reheat curry in a skillet:

  1. Heat your skillet on high heat with a splash of oil.
  2. Add the curry into the pan, along with 1-2 tablespoons of extra water or stock to loosen the sauce. 
  3. Fry the curry, stirring continuously as it heats. It should take around 3-4 minutes to heat through.
  4. Add a pinch of Garam Masala and fry for a further minute and serve.

Since you’re using high heat, the sauce can easily catch on the bottom of the pan and start to dry out. Stirring helps prevent this. 

If you think the heat is too high, simply turn it down slightly.

Don’t worry if you don’t have any Garam Masala available. It’s not essential – it just helps to give the curry a ‘just-cooked’ flavor. 

My verdict

I loved this method. 

The high heat brought out all the complex flavors within the curry, and it tasted amazing! 

My kitchen also smelt great. 

The only issue is this method doesn’t work so well for watery curries because you can’t fry them – they reheat better using a lower heat.

How to store curry

To store curry, transfer the curry to an airtight container and place it in the fridge. Curry will last for 4-5 days in the fridge (unless it’s seafood, then eat it within 2 days). It’s best to keep any rice separately from the curry because otherwise, it will absorb all the sauce. 

Beware! 

Curry can stain plastic containers, so if you have a favorite one – don’t use it (or even better, opt for a glass container).

I always advise transferring any takeaway curry out of the container it came in and into a new one for storage. 

Takeaway boxes aren’t always airtight (and the curry will stink out your fridge).

Cool the curry slightly before storing, but it doesn’t need to be room temperature. 

Separating a big pot of hot curry into smaller containers will help it cool quicker.

Can you freeze curry?

The majority of curries freeze really well. Just watch out when you’re freezing a curry with lots of watery vegetables, as these can get quite mushy in the freezer. Curry will last for up to 6 months in the freezer. It will remain safe to eat beyond that, but you might notice a quality decline.

How to freeze curry:

  1. Allow the curry to cool down to room temperature and separate it into portions.
  2. Scoop the curry into airtight containers or freezer bags.
  3. Place a layer of plastic wrap over the top of the curry in the airtight container, or squeeze the air out of the freezer bag.
  4. Label and date the bags or containers.
  5. Store the curry in the freezer for up to 6 months.

I like using freezer bags because it’s easy to remove all the air, which protects the curry against freezer burn.

When I’m reheating the curry, I wash the bag out with a tiny bit of water to avoid leaving too much sauce behind.

If you plan to freeze any rice along with your curry, you can keep them in the same container, but I would avoid mixing the rice with the sauce before freezing.

How to thaw and reheat frozen curry

It is best to thaw your curry overnight in the fridge, especially if it contains big chunks of meat. But you can also use the microwave or the stovetop. On the stove, put the frozen curry in a pan along with a few tablespoons of water or stock. Heat it on a low heat until melted, then turn the heat up to medium. 

If the curry is stuck in its container, run it under the hot tap for a few seconds to loosen it. You’ll then be able to transfer it into the pan.

Exactly How To Reheat Curry

In this short recipe, I show you the best way to revive and reheat your leftover curry.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: curry, reheat curry
Prep Time: 0 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 1 person
Calories: 160kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 portion curry
  • 1 tbsp water or stock, optional

Instructions

  • Put the curry in a pot or pan and warm it on medium heat.
  • If you want to thin the sauce, add some extra stock (or water) to the curry.
  • Stir the curry frequently to prevent it from catching on the bottom of the pan.
  • Heat the curry until it is near boiling point and then enjoy.

Notes

Taste the curry as you’re heating it and add in any extra seasonings you think it needs (if any).
I find a splash of lime juice helps liven up my curry leftovers.

Nutrition

Serving: 100g | Calories: 160kcal

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