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The Best Way To Reheat Paella – I Try 5 Methods [Pics]

There’s no such thing as a small portion of paella, so what do you do when you’ve cooked for six but only two of you are eating?

Some people say it’s impossible to reheat paella, but I’m here to debunk that myth.

I’ve personally tested several reheating methods to find out which one’s the best at delivering a paella that’s (nearly) as good as new.

No rubbery seafood or mushy rice in sight!

In a rush? Here’s the short answer.

What’s the best way to reheat paella? The best way to reheat paella is on the stove in a heavy bottom pan. Add your paella along with 1-2 tablespoons of water to the pan and cover it with a lid. Heat the paella on a medium heat until it’s warmed through. Your paella will be moist and flavorsome.

A note on my experiment

To find the best way of reheating paella, I cooked a large batch and stored it (most of it) overnight. It would have been rude not to taste some fresh!

The following day, I tested the following techniques to reheat the dish:

  • The oven
  • The microwave
  • The stove
  • A steamer

The stove proved to be the best method to keep the dish’s integrity. The oven wasn’t too bad, but the food was a bit drier than I would have liked.

I wouldn’t recommend the microwave because the seafood became very rubbery. 

The steamer is good if you like a wetter texture.

Tip: take the seafood out before you reheat the paella

The seafood in paella is really hard to reheat without overcooking it. Overcooked seafood is rubbery, chewy, and tasteless.

Not something you want in your paella. 

To get around this, I suggest taking any seafood out of your paella before reheating it. 

Reheat the rice using one of the methods below, and stir in the seafood near the end. The heat from the rice will warm the seafood up quickly, but it won’t be heating for so long it becomes overcooked.

Reheating paella on the stove

To reheat paella on the stove, place 2-3 tablespoons of water or stock into a heavy-bottomed pan and heat it on a medium heat. Add your paella, stir, and cover with a lid. The paella will heat through in 4-5 minutes. The lid will trap the steam, keeping the paella moist while retaining its tasty flavors.

How to reheat paella on the stove:

  1. Place a heavy-bottomed pan on the stove over a medium heat
  2. Add 2-3 tablespoons of stock or water.
  3. Add your leftover paella to the pan and stir to combine with the water.
  4. Close the pan with a lid to keep the steam from escaping.
  5. Heat the paella for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stirring is important on the stove to make sure the rice isn’t sticking to the bottom of the pan.

But you need to balance this with keeping as much moisture in the pan as you can.

Opening the lid to stir the paella too often will let out all the steam, and you could end up with dry paella. If the paella does start to go dry, you can always add more water in.

If you want to add a little bit of crunch to your rice, use oil instead of water or stock. This will give a fried rice effect.

My verdict

The stove was my favorite reheating method. The frying brought out the flavors of the dish more than any other method, especially the chorizo. 

The rice also had the nicest texture. It wasn’t mushy or overcooked but wasn’t dried out either.

Reheating paella in the oven

To reheat paella in the oven, put it in an oven-safe dish and sprinkle 2-3 tablespoons of water over it. Cover the dish with a lid or foil and put it in the oven at 300°F. Heat the paella for 15-25 minutes and avoid stirring it too much. The water will create steam and help keep the paella moist.

Heating the rice in the oven can very quickly dry out the ingredients, so you must try to lock in as much moisture as possible. Foil is your best friend in this case.

How to reheat paella in the oven:

  1. Start by heating your oven to 300°F and place your paella in an oven-safe dish.
  2. Spread your leftovers out slightly to separate the rice to some degree.
  3. Sprinkle a few tablespoons of water (or stock) over the paella.
  4. Tightly cover your dish with a layer of foil.
  5. Leave the dish to heat for 15 to 25 minutes.

I always opt for stock over water if you have the choice.

A few days in the fridge seems to mute the flavors of the paella. Adding some stock helps to bring them back to life.

Avoid opening the foil too much while reheating the paella.

Every time you take a peak or stir the dish, you’ll let some of the precious moisture escape, and you risk ending up with a dry paella.

My verdict

The paella tasted nice out of the oven, but it was a little dried out, and the texture of the rice seemed slightly overcooked (although I’m nitpicking here).

My advice is not to skimp on the extra water if you’re using the oven.

The oven would be a great method for large batches of paella that won’t fit in the microwave or are too big for a pan.

Reheating paella in the microwave

Put the paella in a microwave-safe bowl and cover it with a damp paper towel. Heat the paella for 30 seconds before checking it and stirring. If it is not warm enough, continue in 10-second increments. Avoid reheating any seafood in the microwave. Take it out before you heat the rice.

Seafood doesn’t reheat well at all in the microwave. The rice fares better, but it’s still easy to overcook it and end up with gummy rice. Slowly does it with the microwave.

How to reheat paella in the microwave:

  1. Place your leftover paella in a heatproof dish.
  2. Ensure there are no clumps by mixing the paella.
  3. Place a damp paper towel completely over the dish.
  4. Heat the paella for 30 seconds before checking the temperature.
  5. Continue in 10 seconds increments until it’s up to temperature.
  6. Let the paella rest for a minute before serving.

The damp paper towel should be touching the rice, not resting on top of the bowl. It will create steam which prevents the dish from drying out too much.

Be careful when removing the paper towel because the steam that is released can easily burn you.

You can also sprinkle a few tablespoons of water directly onto the paella and then cover the dish with some pierced plastic wrap.

My verdict

My paella was okay out of the microwave. The taste was slightly dull and the texture a little sticky, but for a quick lunch, it was fine.

Ultimately, I wouldn’t recommend using the microwave to reheat paella unless you’re in a real rush.

Reheating paella in a steamer

To reheat paella in a steamer, add 2-3 inches of water to the bottom chamber and place the paella in the steamer basket. Let it steam for about 4-5 minutes. If you need to, you can set the paella on a plate in the steamer.

This method is perfect for dried-out paella. It’s the best method for re-introducing moisture, but some will find the texture of the rice too soft.

It’s also good for reheating seafood because it’s a pretty gentle method.

How to reheat paella in a steamer:

  1. Add 2-3 inches of water to the steamer or a pot on the stove.
  2. Place the paella into the steamer basket or in the mesh strainer. If the holes in your steamer are too big, you can put the paella on a plate in the steamer.
  3. Let it steam for roughly 4-5 minutes before serving.

If you don’t have a steamer, you could always try a makeshift steamer using a mesh strainer over a pot of boiling water.

The steamer uses second-hand heat, so it’s gentle in nature. Because of this, it deals with seafood quite well (although there’s still a chance it’ll overcook).

An even gentler method is to use a double boiler. In a double boiler, the steam heats the bowl, which then heats the paella. 

My verdict

The steamed paella definitely had a wetter texture than the other methods. I liked this because I like moist paella, but it would have been a little mushy for some people.

How to store paella

Store leftover paella in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer. Wait for the paella to cool to room temperature before storing it, and remove any shells before putting it in the airtight container. Paella will last for 3-4 days in the fridge or 3 months in the freezer.

Never leave your paella sitting at room temperature for more than two hours.

The rice and the seafood are magnets for harmful bacteria. I always aim to store my paella as soon as possible, but definitely within one hour.

Freezing paella

To freeze paella, separate it into portion-sized servings and place the cooled-down leftovers in a heavy-duty freezer bag. Squeeze as much air out of the bag as you can before laying them flat in the freezer. Paella will last for up to 3 months in the freezer.

If you don’t have freezer bags, you can use an airtight container, just cover the top of the rice with a layer of plastic wrap to protect it from the air gap.

Exposure to air speeds up freezer burn.

How to freeze paella:

  1. Allow your paella to cool down to room temperature for about an hour.
  2. Remove any shells from the paella.
  3. Portion the leftovers out and put them into heavy-duty freezer bags.
  4. Squeeze as much air out of the freezer bags as you can.
  5. Place in the freezer for a maximum of 3 months.

Note that shellfish generally doesn’t freeze well (the texture turns rubbery), so I would consider taking all the seafood out before you freeze it.

You can cook fresh seafood while you’re reheating the rice.

Pro tip: Write the date of freezing on the bag/container to ensure you don’t leave it in the freezer for too long.

How to thaw paella

The best way to thaw paella is to leave it in the fridge overnight. You could also place your bag of frozen paella in a bowl of room temperature water to speed up the thawing process. Or you can reheat the paella straight from frozen on the stove.

How long does paella last?

Paella is always better cooked in large batches, so it is important to know how long it can stay at specific temperatures.

Room temperature: You should never leave paella at room temperature for more than two hours, one hour in hotter climates.

The fridge: Paella lasts for up to 4 days in the fridge as long as you keep it in an airtight container.

The freezer: Paella will stay at best quality for up to 3 months in the freezer but will be safe to eat for many months after that.

Paella is always better served hot and fresh, so keep in mind that any storage method will cause the food to deteriorate to some degree.

However, using these reheating methods, you can still enjoy some delicious leftover paella!

The BEST Way To Reheat Paella

There’s no such thing as a small portion of paella, so what do you do when you’ve cooked for six but only two of you are eating?
Some people say it’s impossible to reheat paella, but I’m here to debunk that myth.
I’ve personally tested several reheating methods to find out which one’s the best at delivering a paella that’s (nearly) as good as new.
No rubbery seafood or mushy rice in sight!
No ratings yet
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Total Time 10 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Spanish
Servings 1 person
Calories 158 kcal

Equipment

Heavy bottom pan

Ingredients
 

  • 1 portion paella
  • 1 portion stock or water

Instructions
 

  • Place a heavy-bottomed pan on the stove over a medium heat.
  • Add 2-3 tablespoons of stock or water.
  • Add your leftover paella to the pan and stir to combine with the water.
  • Close the pan with a lid to keep the steam from escaping.
  • Heat the paella for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Notes

Tip: take the seafood out before you reheat the paella
The seafood in paella is really hard to reheat without overcooking it. Overcooked seafood is rubbery, chewy, and tasteless.
Not something you want in your paella.
To get around this, I suggest taking any seafood out of your paella before reheating it.
Reheat the rice and stir in the seafood near the end. The heat from the rice will warm the seafood up quickly, but it won’t be heating for so long it becomes overcooked.
 

Nutrition

Serving: 100gCalories: 158kcal
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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