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The Best Way To Reheat Jambalaya [I Test 5 Methods]

Have you just caught yourself reminiscing about your leftover jambalaya?

Well, here’s some excellent news. When reheated, this flavorful comfort food is the gift that just keeps giving.

I’ve tried various reheating methods to ensure my jambalaya doesn’t end up mushy or dried out.

Whether cajun or creole, the last thing you want is to jeopardize jambalaya’s signature textures. 

Read on to find out all about reheating this delicious dish. I also take a look at how to store it for maximum freshness.

The best way to reheat jambalaya is on the stove. Add some water or stock to a pan and heat it on a medium heat. Add the jambalaya and cover it with a lid. The lid will trap the steam and keep the dish moist. You can also use the microwave if you’re in a hurry, but the rice will get a little sticky.

A note on my experiment

I prepared jambalaya for dinner (Yum!) and then stored my leftovers overnight in the fridge. 

The following day, as my jambalaya craving kicked in again, I set about testing various reheating methods to see which one would best restore my dinner to its former, flavor-rich glory.

The reheating techniques I tested included:

  • Reheating jambalaya on the stove (excellent method all-around, quick, and easy)
  • Reheating jambalaya in the oven (can become a little dry)
  • Reheating jambalaya in the microwave (quick but not great for retaining flavor and texture)
  • Reheating jambalaya in a steamer (good for adding moisture to dried out jambalayas)

The stovetop method was the best for retaining taste and texture. It was quick, convenient, and really reignited the dish’s flavors.

Although the easiest option, reheating in the microwave proved a little disappointing and turned my jambalaya gummy. 

Note that reheating seafood often gives it a rubbery texture, so opt for a veggie or chicken-based one if you’re preparing a jambalaya in advance.

Or take the seafood out before you heat the dish, and add it back in just before serving. The hot rice will heat the seafood.

Related: How To Reheat Paella

Reheating jambalaya on the stove

Reheating jambalaya on the stove in a heavy-bottom pan is the best way to retain its taste and texture. Layer the bottom of the pan with water or stock, add your leftovers and cover with a lid to trap steam. Heat your meal on medium heat for five to ten minutes or until heated to your satisfaction.

How to reheat jambalaya on the stove:

  1. Select a heavy-bottom pan and cover its base with water or stock.
  2. Add your jambalaya and seal the pan with a lid.
  3. Turn the stove to medium heat.
  4. Allow the jambalaya to reheat for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Serve, and enjoy.

In terms of retaining flavor, you cannot fault this method. The steaminess of the pan ensures that the rice warms up but doesn’t become mushy, and the added moisture at the beginning of the process prevents the dish from drying out.

There is a risk of your jambalaya sticking or burning when you heat it on the stove, but to prevent this, just make sure you don’t leave it unattended and stir it every so often.

If you want to add a little bit of crunch to your rice, use olive oil instead of water or stock. This will fry the rice.

My verdict

I definitely found this the best way to warm my jambalaya.

Heating it on the stove retained and reignited my meal’s signature flavors and kept the texture true to its original state. In fact, a little steam and sizzle even brought out the natural smokiness of the sausage.

Reheating jambalaya in the oven

To reheat jambalaya in the oven, place it in an oven-safe dish and add 2-3 tablespoons of stock or water before covering it with foil or a lid. Set the oven to 350°F (180°C) and allow 15-25 minutes for it to heat through, depending on the portion size. Avoid stirring the dish too often.

The oven produces a nice jambalaya, but it can be a little drying, so don’t hold back on adding the liquid.

How to reheat jambalaya in the oven:

  1. Set your oven to 350°F (180°C).
  2. Place jambalaya in an oven-safe dish, preferably a thick-walled one like a casserole dish.
  3. Add 2-3 tablespoons of stock (or water) to the dish.
  4. Cover the dish with foil (or a lid) and seal tight to retain moisture while heating.
  5. Place in the oven to heat up for 15-25 minutes, depending on portion size.
  6. Stir and serve.

Fifteen minutes will be enough to reheat one healthy portion of jambalaya, but larger quantities will need more time in the oven.

I recommend not stirring your jambalaya while you’re reheating it. You want to keep the foil sealed and the moisture locked in.

Opening the foil to stir your dish too often will let all the moisture escape. 

You can stir the dish just before serving to ensure it’s all evenly heated.

My verdict

This method isn’t the fastest, but it produces good results. 

My jambalaya kept its texture and flavor, although it was slightly dryer than when I cooked and served it initially. 

If you’re not in a hurry, this is an easy and consistent way of successfully heating jambalaya of any portion size.

Reheating jambalaya in the microwave

To reheat jambalaya in the microwave, place it in a microwave-safe bowl and cover the rice with a damp paper towel. This provides moisture. Heat your jambalaya for 30-60 seconds, or until it’s steaming. Once done, allow it to stand for a minute before serving to allow the heat to distribute evenly.

The microwave is a really convenient way of reheating jambalaya and produces okay results if you’re careful. But you will compromise the texture of the jambalaya. The taste can also be a little flat.

How to reheat jambalaya in the microwave:

  1. Place your jambalaya in a microwave-safe dish.
  2. Cover the dish with a damp piece of paper towel. Make sure the paper towel is touching the rice, not resting on the top of a bowl.
  3. Zap the jambalaya for 30 to 60 seconds or until the dish is steaming.
  4. Remove from the microwave and allow to stand, covered, for an additional minute.
  5. Remove the paper towel, serve, and enjoy.

Microwave reheating is by far the quickest and easiest method for warming up leftover jambalaya. 

However, it doesn’t always do your meal any favors.

It can quickly turn jambalaya cloggy and gummy. Also, any seafood components take a real knock and turn quite rubbery (although you can always take any seafood out before reheating the dish).

I would proceed with caution when it comes to timing and heat for 30 seconds first, then check and see if this dish needs any more heating. Going slowly means there’s less chance of the dish overheating.

If your microwave offers different power levels, opt for a medium heat.

If you don’t have any paper towels handy, sprinkle 1-2 tablespoons of water into the dish and cover it with pierced plastic wrap. The water adds moisture, and the plastic wrap will trap it.

My verdict

The microwave is undoubtedly the most convenient method, but I wouldn’t recommend it if you have a different option. 

My jambalaya came out okay, but it was a lot more stodgy than the previous day, and the tastes were muted.

Reheating jambalaya in a steamer

To reheat jambalaya using the steaming method, begin by placing your leftovers in a sieve. Bring a pot of water to boiling point and rest the sieve over the steam that it creates. Cover the sieve to trap the moisture and heat the jambalaya for 5-6 minutes.

You can also put the jambalaya on a plate in a traditional or bamboo steamer. 

The steamer is a good way to moisten up dry jambalaya. It’s also suitable for reheating seafood jambalaya because it’s less harsh than the other methods I’ve mentioned.

How to reheat jambalaya in a steamer

  1. Fill a pot with water and place it on the stove on medium to high heat.
  2. Put leftover jambalaya in a sieve.
  3. Rest the sieve over the boiling water in the pot.
  4. Cover the sieve with a lid to retain moisture and distribute heat.
  5. Once the jambalaya has reached a satisfactory temperature, remove it from the stove.
  6. Plate, serve and enjoy.

Although this is not necessarily the quickest or most accessible method for reheating jambalaya, it consistently produces good results and adds moisture to dryer leftovers. Make sure to keep an eye on your food to ensure it does not become gummy and overcooked.

My verdict

The jambalaya that came out of the steamer was moist and fluffy. If you like your jambalaya a little on the wetter side, I recommend this method.

How to store jambalaya

To store leftover jambalaya, keep it in a sealed container in the fridge and eat it within 3 to 4 days. Alternatively, you can store it in the freezer for up to 6 months in a suitable container or vacuum-sealed bag. If you have any seafood shells in the dish, remove these before storing it.

Freezing jambalaya

You can freeze leftover jambalaya for later use in an airtight freezer-safe container or a freezer bag with as much air removed from it as possible. Wait for the jambalaya to cool to room temperature before freezing it. Jambalaya will last up to 6 months in the freezer.

How to freeze jambalaya:

  1. Wait until your jambalaya is sufficiently cool.
  2. Portion your leftovers out.
  3. Place one portion worth in an airtight container or heavy-duty freezer bag with the air removed.
  4. Freeze the jambalaya for up to 6 months.

You don’t want to put warm jambalaya in the freezer because this will cause ice crystals to form, which will ruin the texture of the rice. 

To remove the air from a freezer bag, you can squeeze it out or use a straw to suck it out. I always use a straw. My party trick is sucking all the air out of a freezer bag in one go (don’t worry, I promise this is a joke). 

If you’re using a container, cover the rice with a layer of plastic wrap to protect it from the air above it.

Less exposure to air = less chance of freezer burn.

It’s best to freeze individual portions separately, so you don’t end up having to reheat more jambalaya than you need. Never re-freeze thawed jambalaya. It won’t end well (the rice will go all mushy). 

How to thaw jambalaya

There are two great ways to thaw jambalaya. The first is to take it out of the freezer ahead of time and place it in the fridge, allowing it to thaw naturally overnight.

The second, which works better for freezer bags, entails placing your frozen leftovers in a bowl or vat of warm water until they are defrosted and ready for reheating.

Or you can just reheat the jambalaya from frozen. Simply add some extra time to the reheating methods above.

How long does jambalaya last?

Due to its deliciousness, jambalaya is best cooked in copious quantities, and it is no surprise that we wouldn’t want any of it to go to waste. 

Fortunately, leftovers last pretty well. Here is an overview:

  • Room temperature: you should consume room temperature jambalaya within one to two hours. If it’s been out longer than two hours, it needs to be thrown away.
  • In the fridge: kept in the refrigerator in an airtight container, jambalaya will last 3 to 4 days.
  • In the freezer (ideal leftovers storage method): you can keep jambalaya for up to six months when frozen in proper containers or airtight bags.

The BEST Way To Reheat Jambalaya

Have you just caught yourself reminiscing about your leftover jambalaya? Well, here’s some excellent news. When reheated, this flavorful comfort food is the gift that just keeps giving.
I’ve tried various reheating methods to ensure my jambalaya doesn’t end up mushy or dried out. Whether Cajun or Creole, the last thing you want is to jeopardize jambalaya’s signature textures.
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Cajun
Keyword: jambalaya, reheat jambalaya
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 12 minutes
Servings: 1 person
Calories: 161kcal



  • 1 portion jambalaya
  • 1 portion water or stock


  • Select a heavy-bottom pan and cover its base with water or stock.
  • Add your jambalaya and seal the pan with a lid.
  • Turn the stove to medium heat.
  • Allow the jambalaya to reheat for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Serve, and enjoy.


Serving: 100g | Calories: 161kcal

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