Curry night at mine always means one thing: leftovers!
If you’ve got a few leftover onion bhajis in the refrigerator, I’m here to show you how to reheat them and get them as close to new as possible.
I have personally experimented with six different reheating methods:
- Under the grill
- In the oven (at 300°F and 350°F)
- In the microwave (not recommended!)
- Reheating by shallow frying [+ deep frying & air fryer]
- A combination of the microwave and grill
If you’re in a rush, here’s the best way to reheat onion bhajis.
The best way to reheat onion bhajis is under the grill. First, microwave the bhajis for 5 seconds. Next, place the onion bhajis under a medium-hot grill for 4 to 5 minutes, turning once. Reheating the bhajis using the microwave and grill combination ensures a piping hot middle and crispy outside.
Reheating onion bhajis under the grill
The grill is one of the best ways to reheat onion bhajis. It works best for flatter bhajis. If your bhajis are quite thick, I recommend using the oven.
The grill is quick and crisps the outside of the onion bhaji nicely.
- Microwave your onion bhajis for 5 seconds (optional).
- Put the onion bhajis under a medium grill for 4-5 minutes, flipping halfway through.
Keep an eye on the bhajis while they’re under the grill. 5 minutes is an estimate, and you may need more or less time depending on the size of your bhajis.
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.
The optional microwave step addresses this issue.
The preheated bhaji needs less time under the grill, which means less chance of the dreaded burnt outside, cold inside scenario happening.
I wouldn’t recommend microwaving bhajis for more than a few seconds though because it can play havoc with the texture.
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.
My bhajis were pretty flat. The grill probably wouldn’t fare as well if you had more ball-shaped bhajis.
Reheat onion bhajis in the oven (or toaster oven)
The oven is a great fuss-free way of reheating onion bhajis.
It yields a nice crispy outside, with a softer inside. The oven is perfect for thicker bhajis that risk burning on the grill.
- Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C).
- Spray your bhajis with a light coating of oil (optional).
- Heat your bhajis in the microwave for 5 seconds (optional).
- Spread the bhajis out on a wire rack and put them in the oven.
- Heat the bhajis for around 5 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. I also suggest turning the bhajis halfway through to make sure both sides get a nice even crisp.
If you don’t have a wire rack that you can use, I suggest crumpling up some tin foil. The aim is to not have the bhajis laying on a flat surface, and using a bit of creativity and some foil you can easily achieve this.
The microwave step is helpful if you have thicker bhajis.
A quick spin in the microwave pre-warms the bhaji meaning it doesn’t need as long in the oven to get the middle piping hot. For a thicker bhaji, this means the outside won’t burn before the inside cooks.
I also tested heating the bhaji at 350°F (180°C) but the results weren’t as good. The bhaji heated up quickly but the crispiness wasn’t as uniform. The outside was great but the middle was a tiny bit soggy.
The difference was negligible but one had to come out on top.
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.
I can’t see anyone complaining about oven-heated bhajis, but for maximum crispiness, the grill is a better option.
Reheat onion bhajis by re-frying
Re-frying your bhajis will give you the closest texture to fresh bhajis as that’s how they’re cooked in the first place.
However, it’s really (and I mean REALLY) easy to overcook the bhajis by re-frying them.
I’d only suggest frying if you have pre-prepared partially cooked bhajis, or you want them super crispy. Or you’re pretty experienced with shallow frying.
You can deep fry or shallow fry.
Deep frying method
- Heat your deep fryer to 320°F (160°C).
- Drop the bhajis in for 15-30 seconds.
- Take the bhajis out and let them rest for a minute before serving.
Shallow frying method
- Turn your stove onto a 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 in 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.
Only fry 1-2 bhajis at a time. This is good practice for two reasons:
- Overcrowding will reduce the frying oil’s temperature.
- You can watch all of them at once, and don’t end up overcooking one because you didn’t get round to it in time.
You need to be really careful not to burn the bhajis, they’ll cook VERY quickly. Drop them in, flip them and take them out.
As you can see from the picture, I left my bhaji cooking for too long and it came out burnt (it was still tasty though!).
A cooking thermometer will make sure the oil doesn’t get too hot. And cooking tongs make it super easy to flip the bhajis so you’re not messing around for 20 seconds (by which time the bhaji has burnt).
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, you can see the one I shallow fried is much darker than the other samples.
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.
Reheating onion bhajis in the air fryer
Air fryer bhajis are becoming more popular as a healthier version of the famous indian snack.
You can also use them to reheat the bhajis.
- Heat the air fryer to 350°F (180°C).
- Put the bhajis in the air fryer and heat them for 1-2 minutes.
The bhajis will be super crispy without needing to use loads of 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.
What about the microwave?
Microwaved onion bhajis are so far from what an onion bhaji should be I can’t recommend it as a reheating method.
Bhajis that have only been heated in the microwave will be soggy with no trace of the crunch that makes them so good. And after 30 seconds, they’ll be pretty much inedible. Dry, tough, and chewy.
I’d rather eat them cold than eat them microwaved, THAT’S how bad they are.
If you’re at work and you have limited options, check if you have access to a toaster first. This does a far better job than the microwave.
If you find a toaster, great! But don’t get too excited and put the bhaji straight in. You need to invest in 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 smokey and if you’re unlucky, the toaster might catch on fire!
You may have to cut the bhajis in half so they fit in the toaster. But trust me, anything is better than the microwave.
Can I make onion bhajis in advance?
Yes, you can make onion bhajis in advance. It’s best to make flatter bhajis as they will reheat better. You don’t have to worry about the edges burning or the inside being cold. Cook the onion bhajis 70-80% of the way, and finish them off while reheating.
You can store the bhajis in the refrigerator or the freezer depending on how far in advance you want to make them. To reheat them, either use the oven or refry them.
How to store onion bhajis
To store onion bhajis, wait for them to cool then put them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. They’ll last 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. Do single layers separated by a paper towel. This helps to prevent soggy, greasy bhajis.
Don’t leave your onion bhajis out on the counter for more than 2 hours, or an hour in a hot climate. At room temperature, bacteria can rapidly replicate on your bhajis and render them unsafe to eat.
How to freeze onion bhajis
To freeze onion bhajis, lay them out on a baking tray in a single layer and flash freeze for 1-2 hours. This quick freezing will help them retain their texture and stop them from sticking together.
Once they’re partially frozen, transfer the bhajis to a heavy-duty freezer bag and squeeze all the air out.
It’s important to get as much air out as possible from the freezer bag to prevent freezer burn. If you have a straw handy, you can use this to suck the air out.
To thaw the onion bhajis, leave them in the refrigerator overnight.
Can I freeze raw onion bhajis?
I don’t recommend freezing raw onion bhaji batter because raw onions don’t fare well in the freezer. They lose their shape and texture and become mushy. They’ll work fine in dishes like stews where you cook them down, but not in raw or fried dishes.
How long do onion bhajis last?
Onion bhajis will last 3-4 days in the refrigerator and up to a month in the freezer. After a month the quality will start to deteriorate, but they’ll still be safe to eat.
The Best Way To Reheat Onion Bhajis
- 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.