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

Ordering tempura is always such a treat.

I love the contrast of the crunchy outside and soft centers but find that the leftovers can go a bit soggy.

I experimented with four different methods of reheating tempura to see which one was best at getting the crisp back.

Hint: the air fryer was best, but the oven works too.

A note on my experiment

I ordered some tempura from a local restaurant (a mixture of vegetables and shrimp) and left it in the fridge overnight.

The next day, I tested reheating the tempura:

  • In the oven (a good consistent method)
  • In an air fryer (best result)
  • By flash-frying (crispy batter but can be greasy if you’re not careful)
  • In the microwave (not recommended, soggy and overcooked)

Tempura is very delicate, and you can easily overcook it in your quest to re-crisp it.

The other problem is ending up with soggy batter (I’m looking at you microwave).

My favorite reheating method was the air fryer, but if you don’t have one, the oven works well too.

Reheating tempura in the oven

Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Place pieces of tempura on a wire rack with a tray underneath to catch drips or crumbs. Bake for approximately 5 minutes, depending on the size, the number of pieces, and the size of the oven. Small toaster ovens heat more quickly, so check the tempura often.

How to reheat tempura in the oven:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
  2. Place the pieces of tempura on a wire rack. (don’t forget to put a tray underneath to catch drips or crumbs.)
  3. Bake for 5-7 minutes.
  4. Check the tempura every couple of minutes to avoid burning.

The tempura gets nicely crisp using a wire rack because it allows the heat to circulate properly.

If you have to use a baking tray, then flip the pieces halfway through so both sides can crisp up.

For extra crispiness, you can broil the tempura. 

But you need to watch it closely to avoid burning the batter.

My verdict

My oven results were very good but not perfect. 

To get a really crispy coating, you need to accept that the inside might be slightly overcooked.

I settled for a slightly less-crunchy batter because I wanted the vegetables to still have some bite.

Reheating tempura in an air fryer

Preheat the air fryer to 350°F (175°C). Arrange the pieces of tempura in the basket, leaving a little space around each piece. Lightly spray with oil if desired. Heat for approximately 2-3 minutes. Check the pieces regularly as the air fryer heats quickly and can burn the batter.

How to reheat tempura in an air fryer:

  1. Preheat the air fryer to 350°F (175°C).
  2. Place the pieces of tempura in the basket, making sure they don’t touch.
  3. Lightly spray with oil if desired. If your tempura is already quite greasy, skip this step.
  4. Heat for approximately 2-3 minutes.
  5. Check the pieces regularly.

Not overcrowding the basket means that hot air can circulate freely around the tempura, so each one crisps up nicely.

If the air can’t circulate properly, the crisping won’t be as efficient.

My verdict

The air fryer was quick and easy and produced almost-good-as-new-tempura.

Air fryers work very fast, so they can crisp the batter while not overheating the insides (unlike in the oven). 

Just be careful not to burn your tempura with this powerful heating method.

Reheating tempura by frying

Heat a skillet on medium-high heat with either some oil or butter. When the fat is hot, add the tempura and flash fry. Turn the pieces every so often, heating them for 3-4 minutes. Remove the pieces from the oil and place them on a paper towel to drain any excess oil. Serve while still hot.

Alternatively, you can use more oil and shallow fry the tempura. 

Although I don’t recommend this because I think the end results are overly greasy (there’s also a lot more cleaning up involved).

How to reheat tempura by frying:

  1. Place a little oil or butter in a skillet.
  2. Heat the skillet on medium-high heat.
  3. When the fat is hot, add the tempura and flash fry.
  4. Turn the pieces every so often, not allowing one side to burn.
  5. Heating the pieces for 3-4 minutes.
  6. Remove the tempura pieces from the oil and place them on a paper towel to drain any excess oil before serving.

Make sure that your oil is hot before adding the tempura to the pan, or the batter will soak it all up and become very oily.

The flatter your tempura is, the better this method will work.

If you have very bumpy batter or an awkwardly shaped tempura that won’t sit in the pan, it won’t crisp as well.

My verdict

Frying resulted in the crispiest batter out of all the methods I tried in this experiment.

However, you need to be careful as you could end up with overly-greasy tempura (especially if you’re deep-frying).

Reheating tempura in the microwave

Place the tempura pieces on a paper towel-lined microwave-safe dish. Put the tempura in the microwave and heat for 15-30 seconds. Remove the pieces of tempura from the microwave and allow them to rest for 30-seconds before serving.

How to reheat tempura in the microwave:

  1. Line a microwave-safe dish with a paper towel.
  2. Place the evenly-spaced tempura pieces on the paper towel.
  3. Put the tempura in the microwave and heat for 15 seconds (longer if needed).
  4. Remove the pieces of tempura from the microwave.
  5. Allow the tempura to rest for 30-seconds before serving.

The paper towel will soak up any excess grease or moisture that leaks out.

It’s best to allow the tempura pieces to rest a little bit before serving, as the steam trapped inside the batter can burn your mouth if you’re not careful.

My verdict

This was my least favorite method and not one that I would recommend.

I was left with rubbery shrimp, mushy veggies, and horrible soggy batter.

How to store tempura

Prepare an airtight container lined with a paper towel. Allow the tempura to cool to room temperature before placing each piece carefully into the container. Keep the pieces in single layers, separating each layer with parchment paper. Store in the refrigerator for no more than two days.

Don’t put your tempura in the refrigerator until it has cooled down. 

The hot air from warm tempura will produce condensation that will drip onto the batter, making it soggy.

Also, keep in mind that some tempura will store better than others.

Wet vegetables, such as zucchini, won’t store well. Excess water will leak into the batter, turning it mushy.

Shrimp and root vegetables like pumpkin will keep much better.

Can you freeze tempura?

Yes, you can freeze tempura, but it will be hard to recreate that ‘just-fried’ crispiness when you reheat it. 

I would advise against freezing high water content vegetables such as zucchini. These vegetables will just turn to mush.

Root vegetables like pumpkin don’t suffer from this problem, so you can freeze them just fine.

Shrimp tempura also freezes well.

Use any frozen tempura within three months.

How to freeze tempura:

  1. Place a piece of parchment paper on top of a baking tray.
  2. Lay each piece of tempura out on the parchment paper, making sure they don’t touch.
  3. Flash freeze in the coldest part of your freezer.
  4. Once frozen (2-3 hours), remove from the freezer.
  5. Place the frozen pieces of tempura into a freezer bag.
  6. Remove the air from the freezer bag (to reduce the risk of freezer burn) and store it in the freezer. 
  7. Use the tempura within three months.

Flash freezing the tempura first means you can quickly grab a handful whenever you want and don’t have to worry about everything sticking together.

To remove the air from your freezer bag, dunk the open bag in a bowl of water. This will force the air out, and you can seal the bag.

Top tip: you can also just freeze the tempura batter. Pour it into an ice cube tray and then transfer the cubes into a freezer bag.

How to reheat frozen tempura

Remove the frozen tempura from the freezer just before cooking, don’t thaw it. Thawing tempura causes the batter to go soggy and ruins the texture. Place the frozen pieces straight into the oven/air fryer and heat them at 400°F (200°C) until crispy.

Exactly How To Reheat Tempura

In this short recipe, I show you the best way to revive your leftover tempura.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 0 mins
Cook Time 7 mins
Total Time 7 mins
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Japanese
Servings 1 person
Calories 145 kcal

Ingredients
 

  • 1 portion tempura shrimp, vegetable, etc

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
  • Place the pieces of tempura on a wire rack. (don’t forget to put a tray underneath to catch drips or crumbs.)
  • Bake for 5-7 minutes.
  • Check the tempura every couple of minutes to avoid burning.

Notes

The tempura gets nicely crisp using a wire rack because it allows the heat to circulate properly.
If you have to use a baking tray, then flip the pieces halfway through so both sides can crisp up.
For extra crispiness, you can broil the tempura.
But you need to watch it closely to avoid burning the batter.
 

Nutrition

Serving: 100gCalories: 145kcal
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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