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How To Reheat Sushi

Leftover sushi from your favorite restaurant is a common occurrence for many. The good news is that there are many ways to reheat sushi including in a microwave, oven, air fryer, toaster and more. Here is our guide on how to reheat sushi.

Many people want to know how to reheat sushi. This is a loaded subject because it’s easy to get certain technical aspects of Japanese cuisine wrong as a newcomer; what is the difference between sushi and sashimi, for example?

How To Reheat Sushi

Both involve prepared raw fish, but sashimi is raw fish with no rice. Sushi can be rolls known as maki-sushi, it can be a bowl of rice with raw fish on top, also known as chirashi, and the cone rolled sushi is called temaki. The type with a piece of raw fish on top of a little mound of rice is known as nigiri, or onigiri.

Reheating sashimi may be the trickiest and not necessarily the best idea, but reheating a maki sushi roll, temaki, or even some leftover chirashi may not.

Our article will include tips that can be used for most varieties of sushi but it’s important to note that traditionally, sushi can and often does include cooked ingredients.

But does that mean you should reheat your sushi to make it HOT, or to bring it back to the room temperature it was created in? It would be easy to assume “reheating” in this case means “make it hot”.

Why Reheat Sushi?

Just because some sushi ingredients are cooked does not necessarily mean those ingredients show up on your plate hot or even warm. There are exceptions, such as with unagi, which is typically cooked in a toaster oven before being made into a roll or cone.

So in many cases what we are talking about isn’t reheating sushi as much as getting the food out of the cold fridge and softening up the rice, getting more flavor out of the meal, etc.

Why “reheat” sushi? The motivation is mainly about temperature. If you store sushi in the fridge overnight, the rice can get hard and the ingredients will have a lack of flavor typical of food that is served cold.

Basically, the colder a dish, the more potentially restricted the flavors can be, at least for sushi rolls and similar options. As the food approaches room temperature, more flavors and aromas are released.

The ideal serving temps for sushi? Basically room temperature, so the process of reheating sushi should add as little actual heat as possible; the goal is to get the food to room temperature without cooking the raw fish.

Tips for Reheating Sushi

  • Adjust the heating time based on the amount of sushi that is being reheated.
  • Include a glass of water in the microwave, this will help to make crunchy rice soft again.
  • If possible remove ingredients that are not suitable for reheating.
  • Reheat large quantities in smaller batches.
  • Heat in burst and check sushi as you go.
  • Roll the sushi in a nori sheet before reheating.
  • Separate ingredients such as rice and fish and reheat, if possible.

How To Reheat Sushi: Microwave

Likely the best method; you can control the heat using a microwave in ways that aren’t as efficient in an oven or toaster oven. Cover the sushi with a damp paper towel, this will trap steam and moisture and allow the sushi to heat more evenly and not dry out. Try microwaving the sushi in ten-second intervals on medium heat (medium for a 500-watt microwave oven), for up to three bursts.

Between each 10 second burst, check the sushi to see if it has come to room temperature or not. You should adjust the heating time based on the amount of food–a single sushi roll won’t take 30 seconds to get to room temperature the way a microwave full of rolls might. Pro tip:

How To Reheat Sushi in an Air Fryer

Preheat the air fryer to 325°F and air fry the sushi for four minutes, then turn the sushi over for another four minutes.

Different types and sizes of air fryers cook faster or slower. Adjust cook times accordingly.

How To Reheat Sushi in Oven

Preheat a conventional oven to 325°F and put the sushi in for four minutes, then turn the sushi over for another four minutes.

Be sure to let your oven preheat fully and err on the side of cooler temps if you aren’t sure about your kitchen equipment in terms of accuracy, etc. The idea is, as mentioned above, to get your sushi back to room temperature from the fridge rather than heating up the meal like a hot dog.

How To Reheat Sushi in Toaster Oven

Similar to the conventional oven, for eight minutes put the sushi in a toaster oven set between 300°F and 325°F. Your experience may vary, but it’s important to remember that a toaster oven will heat faster than a typical kitchen oven. You may need to adjust the heat accordingly if it feels like the sushi will get too warm.

Time To Reheat Sushi

Some prefer to simply remove their sushi from the fridge and place it on a stovetop and wait for it to warm back up to room temperature with no added heat. Some use the stovetop, but turn the oven on to let a small amount of heat contribute to the “natural” return to room temperature.

Reheating Sushi Hacks

It’s smart to remove certain ingredients from a sushi roll or other leftovers that won’t do so well the next day. One important culprit you find in some sushi–especially fusion sushi? Lettuce. Do yourself a favor and just pluck out the limp, wilted greens from your sushi before you try to reheat it. It may be smart to separate rice from fish if you are dealing with nigiri, heating them separately is a good thing to try first.

Some suggest deep-frying sushi or sushi rolls as an alternative to these methods, but this creates a fully cooked option, and departs from sushi in some ways there. In other ways, deep frying means potentially making fusion sushi, and the possibilities there are endless. It all depends on what aesthetic you are after.

If you are reheating sushi rolls, or any other type of raw fish and crispy seaweed combination, one thing you will note right away is that it’s impossible to make sushi seaweed or nori crispy again if it goes soggy. Some prefer to discard it altogether and eat what remains.

Instead of dining out and reheating your leftovers later, give making sushi at home a try. Here are a few easy sushi ideas you can make yourself.

Sushi Recipes To Make At Home

Try these sushi recipes at home and surprise your friends and family with your skills.

This article discusses preparing and eating raw fish. With any such article, the usual caveats apply; eating raw or undercooked food can potentially lead to food-borne illness. It is typically best to consume sushi and other raw fish meals the day they are prepared. Storing them overnight is typically fine but the longer you store raw fish in the fridge, the greater the likelihood that bacteria or other issues could become a problem.

Monique McArthur
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