This article was updated on 2nd July 2023, and we added a new reheating method; the air fryer.
Curry night at mine always means one thing: leftovers!
If you’ve got a few leftover onion bhajis in the fridge, I’m here to show you how to reheat them and get them as close to new as possible. In a rush?
The best way to reheat onion bhajis is under the grill. First, microwave the bhajis for 5 seconds. Then place the onion bhajis under a medium-hot grill for 4 to 5 minutes, turning once. You can also use the oven or re-fry the bhajis.
How I tested reheating onion bhajis
I went to my local Indian takeaway and put in an order for a load of onion bhajis, ate a few because how could I resist, and then put the rest in the fridge overnight.
The next day, tested six different reheating methods:
- Under the grill (broiler): My favorite method.
- In the oven: A fuss-free option.
- Shallow frying: Easy to burn the bhajis.
- In an air fryer: Great method if you have one.
- In a microwave: Soggy bhajis.
- In a toaster: Bonus method.
I was looking for a method that brought the flavors of the bhajis back to life and crisped the outside without drying out the middle. A tall ask, I know!
How to reheat onion bhajis under the grill/ broiler
Time: 4-5 minutes
- Microwave your onion bhajis for 5 seconds (optional, recommended for thicker bhajis).
- Put the onion bhajis under a medium grill for 4-5 minutes, flipping halfway through.
For thicker bhajis, a lower grill temperature is better. Under high heat, the outside of the bhajis may burn before the inside has cooked. The optional microwave step addresses this issue by giving the middle of the bhaji a head start.
Results: The grill was my favorite method. It heated the bhaji evenly and both sides crisped up nicely. A few stray onions that were sticking out had started to burn slightly, but that would be easily remedied by moving the bhaji slightly away from the grill.
Psst… My bhajis were pretty flat. The grill probably wouldn’t fare as well if you had more ball-shaped bhajis.
How to reheat onion bhajis in the oven (or toaster oven)
Time: 10-15 minutes
- Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C).
- Heat your bhajis in the microwave for 5 seconds (optional).
- Spray your bhajis with a light coating of oil (optional) and spread them out on a wire rack. Put the wire rack on the middle shelf in the oven.
- Heat the bhajis for 10-15 minutes or until they are heated through. Thicker bhajis might need a little longer.
- Flip the bhajis halfway through cooking to get both sides crispy.
The oil helps to ensure the bhaji crisps up nicely, but if the bhajis are already pretty greasy, you can skip this step.
If you don’t have a wire rack you can use, I suggest crumpling up a sheet of tin foil. The aim is to not have the bhajis laying on a flat surface, so the hot oven air can circulate around the whole bhaji. If one side of the bhaji is resting on a baking tray, it won’t crisp up as effectively.
I also tested heating the bhaji at 350°F (180°C) but the results weren’t as good.
Results: A good option and super convenient if you have lots of bhajis to reheat at once, or for thicker bhajis that will benefit from a gentler method of reheating. My bhajis were crisp on the outside and soft on the inside (although not as crispy as the grilled bhajis).
How to reheat onion bhajis by re-frying
Time: 5 minutes (including oil heating time)
- Turn your stove onto medium-high heat.
- Fill a deep-sided frying pan with around 1” of oil and slowly heat it to 320°F (160°C). You can use a cooking thermometer to measure this or use the wooden spoon trick. Place a wooden spoon in the oil, if bubbles form around the spoon the oil is ready.
- Carefully place the bhajis into the oil with a pair of tongs and heat for 5 seconds on each side. As soon as you see the bhajis start to brown, flip them over.
- Take the bhajis out and check they’re warmed through. The middle should be piping hot.
- Leave the bhajis to rest for a minute before serving.
Note: to deep fry the bhajis, heat your deep fryer to 320°F (160°C) and drop the bhajis in for 15-30 seconds.
Re-frying your bhajis will give you the closest texture to fresh bhajis because that’s how they’re cooked in the first place. However, it’s really (and I mean REALLY) easy to overcook the bhajis.
I’d only suggest frying if you have pre-prepared partially cooked bhajis, want them super crispy, or if you’re pretty experienced with shallow frying.
Only fry 1-2 bhajis at a time to avoid overcrowding and so you don’t end up accidentally burning a bhaji because you didn’t flip it on time.
Results: I can see this method working really well and giving you an almost perfect texture, but you can’t take your eye off the ball. I did and I burnt the bhajis. If you’re making onion bhajis in advance and you’ve only cooked them 70% of the way, you should definitely consider re-frying them.
How to reheat onion bhajis in the air fryer
Time: 4-5 minutes
- Set the air fryer to 350°F (180°C).
- Put the bhajis in the air fryer and heat them for 4-5 minutes.
Air fryer bhajis are becoming more popular as a healthier version of the famous Indian snack and you can also use one to reheat the bhajis.
The only thing you need to watch out for is overcrowding. You want to make sure all the bhajis have enough airflow around them so they crisp up properly. If you have loads of bhajis to reheat, consider doing them in batches.
Results: My bhajis were super crispy without needing to use any oil. Make sure you don’t leave the bhajis in the air fryer for too long, it’s very strong and they can burn quickly.
Bonus method: reheating onion bhajis in the toaster
If you’re at work and you have limited options, check if you have access to a toaster (it’s better than a microwave!)
If you find a toaster, great! But don’t get too excited and put the bhaji straight in. You’ll need some toaster bags first.
These ingenious inventions catch any grease to ensure none falls in the toaster. Grease and toasters aren’t a great mix, things can get really smoky and if you’re unlucky, the toaster might catch on fire!
Psst… You may have to cut the bhajis in half so they fit in the toaster.
How to store onion bhajis
To store onion bhajis, wait for them to cool to room temperature, then put them in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. Lining the container with a paper towel will help soak up excess moisture and keep the bhajis crisp. For longer-term storage, you can freeze the bhajis.
If you have lots of onion bhajis don’t pile them on top of each other. Instead, make single layers separated by a paper towel. This helps to prevent soggy, greasy bhajis.
How to freeze onion bhajis
To freeze onion bhajis, lay them out on a baking tray in a single layer and flash freeze them for 1-2 hours. Once they’re partially frozen, transfer the bhajis to a heavy-duty freezer bag and squeeze all the air out.
The bhajis will stay at best quality for 3 months in the freezer.
This quick freezing will help the bhajis retain their crisp texture and stop them from sticking together once you bundle them into the freezer bag.
It’s important to get as much air out from the freezer bag as possible to prevent freezer burn. If you have a straw handy, you can use this to suck the air out. Or you can dunk the open freezer bag in a bowl of water to force the air out.
To thaw onion bhajis, leave them in the fridge overnight.
How To Reheat Onion Bhajis [Tested Methods]
- 1 portion onion bhajis
- 1 spray oil optional
- Heat your grill to a medium heat.
- Microwave your onion bhajis for 5 seconds.
- Optional: lightly spray the onion bhajis with cooking oil.
- Place the freshly microwaved onion bhajis under the grill.
- Grill for 2 minutes and then turn the onion bhajis over.
- Grill for a further 2 minutes, or until the bhajis are completely crispy.
- For thicker bhajis, a lower grill temperature is better. On a higher heat, the outside of the bhajis may burn before the inside has cooked.