Home Cuisines Japanese How To Reheat Sushi – We Tested Every Method

How To Reheat Sushi – We Tested Every Method

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A woman holding a plate of maki rolls next to a microwave

Sushi that’s been left in the fridge overnight isn’t as good the next day. Rice starts to dry out, crunchy vegetables soften, and flavors become muted.

If you’ve just pulled leftovers out of the fridge, you may be wondering if it’s okay to reheat them? More importantly, what’s the best way to get the job done?

Our team bought a stack of different types of sushi and left everything in the refrigerator overnight. The next day, we tested different reheating methods to unravel which was best.

Keep reading to discover how to reheat sushi the right way. This is an essential guide that’s loaded with useful tips, so let’s dive in.

A large plate of various sushi varieties

How do I reheat sushi for the best results?

The best way to reheat sushi is to microwave it for 30 seconds on medium (500-watt power) next to a glass of water. Always heat in short 10 second bursts then do a touch test before deciding whether to continue heating.

It is easy to dry out the edges of fish and other fillings. So, if you only have one or two pieces of sushi then reduce the heating time.

  1. Add the sushi to a microwave dish, ensuring there is space around each piece.
  2. Place a cup of cold water in the microwave, next to the dish of sushi, to help stop your food from drying out.
  3. Heat on medium for 10 seconds, then check if the sushi has reached room temperature. Continue heating in 10-second increments until the sushi feels slightly warm.
  4. Remove from the microwave oven and serve immediately to enjoy tender fish and soft, moist rice.

What does sushi that’s reheated in a microwave taste like?

Rice: turns softer and a little moister.
Raw fish: better flavor than when chilled and an improved texture. Be sure not to overheat fish or you’ll cook it.
Nori: no improvement when heated, best to discard.
Vegetables: some veggies like asparagus or carrot are okay heated, but others like lettuce and avocado should be removed and tossed out.

Tuna nigiri
Rice and tuna both benefit from a short burst in the microwave.

Tips for reheating sushi in a microwave

  • Adjust the heating time based on the amount of sushi. One maki roll won’t need a full 30 seconds in the microwave.
  • If you have a large platter of sushi, reheat in small batches.
  • Heating times are based on a 1000-watt microwave set to medium power.
  • Remove ingredients like lettuce before microwaving as it will turn limp and unpleasant.
  • Consider heating ingredients separately if possible. For example, heat the rice and fish separately if you’ve got a plate of nigiri.

What temperature should sushi be when eaten?

Sushi is best served at room temperature which is in the range of 68-72°F (20-22°C). It can be eaten cooler, but the flavor of the ingredients won’t be as pronounced.

Can you revive sushi without reheating it?

If you’ve left sushi in the fridge overnight, you may want to revitalize it without using heat. This technique is a handy option if you’ve got maki rolls with veggies, tempura, and ingredients that heat will make limp.

You can do this by soaking a paper towel in a tablespoon of lemon juice or rice vinegar and a teaspoon of soy sauce. Then wrap the sushi in the towel and refrigerate it in an airtight container for a couple of hours. This hack will soften rice that has hardened as well as add flavor to the sushi.

How to avoid ending up with leftover sushi

For food safety and quality reasons, it’s better to eat sushi soon after it’s made. Unlike most foods where overordering isn’t a problem, try to order precisely, calculating how much each person is likely to eat. You can always buy extra side dishes to go with your sushi which can be stored for several days.

If you’re having a sushi party, guessing how much to make is much more difficult. A do-it-yourself night where everyone rolls their own is great fun and means you won’t overdo it.

Salmon sashimi on a white background
Salmon has a better taste and texture when it isn’t too cold.

How to heat sushi without a microwave

If you don’t want to heat leftover sushi in a microwave, you can also panfry, bake in an oven, or fry them. Of course, the final texture and flavor will be significantly different than the original sushi.

Pan-fry

If you’ve got inari, nigiri, or maki rolls then start by pulling them apart on a plate. You should separate the rice from any fillings and discard any nori. You can also slice big chunks into smaller pieces before cooking.

Add everything suitable for pan-frying to a wok with a tablespoon of heated oil. Cook on medium-high heat until the fish is browned and just cooked on the inside. Splash in your favorite sauce for extra flavor and color. Soy, teriyaki, oyster, unagi, or hoisin are all great options.

The whole process shouldn’t take more than a few minutes and you’ll get a tasty, cooked snack. Cooking sushi will also reduce the chance of foodborne illness.

Bake

Baking sushi is another option for reheating sushi. You can heat it at 325°F for eight minutes or just long enough to take the chill off the ingredients. After four minutes, it’s a good idea to flip each sushi to evenly heat the food.

You can also use a toaster oven if you’re in a hurry to eat. These appliances heat up much quicker than a conventional oven.

Baking may result in slightly crispy rice on the outside. The texture is quite pleasant and is much better than dry, crumbly rice.

Deep-Fry

If you enjoy deep-fried food, then try this method with your day-old sushi. Delicately remove any ingredients that aren’t suitable for deep frying, like lettuce or avocado.
Coat the sushi rolls in flour, eggs, and panko crumbs first. This will give them a delicious, golden crispy exterior.

To learn more about deep-fried sushi get the recipe here. You can also check out our handy list of uses for leftover sushi.

Vegetable maki roll on white background
Maki rolls are suitable for deep-frying.

Interesting reading:
What’s some good sushi for picky eaters?
What are some delicious dishes to serve with sushi?
Are soy paper and nori similar?

How long does sushi last?

It’s best to use sushi within 24 hours of purchase. Not only does the quality rapidly deteriorate after this time, but you also increase the risk of illnesses like listeria and E.coli. Although many people worry about raw fish, sushi rice is also a high-risk food that should be respected.

How soon should you refrigerate fresh sushi?

The rule of thumb for perishable food like sushi is that it shouldn’t be left at room temperature for longer than 2 hours. Be sure to transfer unused sushi to an airtight container and place it at the back of the fridge to avoid temperature fluctuation. If you won’t use it in the next 24 hours, then check out whether you can freeze sushi here.

A top down view of inari
The tofu coating of inari is fine for microwaving briefly.

The final verdict: Should I reheat sushi?

Food waste across our planet is a huge problem, so attempting to revive your sushi by gently reheating it makes sense. Just don’t expect miracles. The microwave gives most types of sushi a freshness boost, but it still won’t compare to the freshly made stuff.

If you can, try to avoid over-ordering and eat everything straight away. Not only does sushi lose quality rapidly, but you’re also opening the door to a range of bugs that thrive on this cuisine.