Reheating Thai Food – The Ultimate Guide
Hot and spicy, sweet and savory, crunchy and delicious, noodles and rice – these are just a few descriptions that come to mind when we consider Thai food. There are so many Thai food options, and there is certainly something for everyone.
Thai food is known for having a bit of spice in every dish. This type of culinary delight typically contains light ingredients with heavy flavors that can be spicy and aromatic. Even if you don’t like the food, the smell is always delicious.
But, honestly, how can you NOT like Thai food? There are tons of different options to choose from just as there are multiple options for Italian, Chinese, American, or Mexican dishes. Each culture of cuisine has a number of dishes and surely a little something to fit anyone’s tastes.
Thai food is most delicious when it is freshly cooked but what about reheating Thai food? Can you reheat Thai food and it still be a culinary treat? Yes, you can reheat Thai food in the oven, microwave, or stovetop. The best way to reheat Thai food depends on what type of dish it is since, like all ethnic foods, there are many types of dishes.
Also, you may be interested to know that sometimes the reheated food is even more flavorful because while it was stored away in between meals, the spices and sauces soaked in even more.
We’ve created an ultimate guide to walk you through reheating some of the most popular Thai cuisines that you might come across. We will share with you the reheating tips and methods for several dishes so you will be fully prepared.
Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about reheating Thai food.
Your Guide to Reheating Thai Food
Reheating Thai food is relatively easy. Most types of Thai cuisine can be reheated in multiple methods. The purpose of this guide is to get you as much information as possible for reheating various types of Thai food.
If we miss a dish that you totally love, don’t worry. Many of these dishes can be reheated in similar methods so you should be able to refer to instructions for a dish with similar ingredients.
We will cover many dishes in this guide but first, let’s cover a list of some of the most common Thai dishes.
- Tom Yum Goong
- Som Tum
- Tom Kha Kai
- Gaeng Daeng or red curry
- Pad Thai
- Pad Krapow Moo Saap
- Thai fried rice
- Phat Kaphrao
- Pad See Ew
- Thai BBQ chicken
- Pad Krapow
These are just a few of the most known or most popular Thai dishes. That being said, there are hundreds of dishes and just no way we could cover them all here. We’re going to do our best to cover a good number of them, though.
Tom Yum Soup
Tom yum is a hot and sour style of soup. The most common tom yum is known as tom yum goong and it has shrimp added to the mix. This is one of the most popular Thai dishes known for the hot and spicy flavor.
This is not your typical soup, it is full of flavorful ingredients like shrimp, bird’s eye chilies, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, Thai roasted chili paste, lemongrass, mushrooms, and all sorts of spices.
If you want to freeze your soup before reheating it, check out this guide to freezing soup.
Because this is a soup, it is best reheated on the stove but it can also be reheated in the microwave. Both of these methods work quite well and you won’t lose any of the flavor or deliciousness of your soup.
There is ONE particular tip you should keep in mind that might help your reheating process. If you can easily pull out the shrimp and set it aside, you should. Shrimp tends to shrivel when reheated and this just preserves the shrimp.
Reheating Tom Yum Soup on Stovetop
- Pour your soup into a pot that is the appropriate size.
- Remove shrimp from soup mixture and set aside (optional but recommended).
- Warm on medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. You can cover with a lid as well and it will heat more thoroughly.
- When the soup is warm, add the shrimp back in for about 1 minute.
- Remove from heat and enjoy.
Reheating Tom Yum Soup in Microwave
- Place soup in a microwave safe dish.
- Remove shrimp and set aside.
- Cover dish with a paper towel.
- Heat for 3 minutes, stirring every minute. You may add time in minute intervals if the soup is not warm enough.
- When soup is heated near to desired temperature, add shrimp back in and heat additional 30 seconds.
- Serve and enjoy.
Reheating tom yum soup is one of the easiest reheating processes you will find in this guide. The good news is that many Thai dishes are soup based and could potentially be this simple as well.
Are you ready to discuss the next menu item?
Som Tum – Green Papaya Salad
Som tum is a spicy salad made with shredded green papaya and additional salad type ingredients. Som tum also has a popular form that is a Vietnamese dish. These are quite similar and both are very good.
While this menu item is referred to as a salad, it is served warm and therefore also needs to be reheated when you serve up leftovers.
Som tum commonly includes ingredients like roasted peanuts, roasted cashews, Thai chili paste, fish sauce, garlic, bird’s eye chilies, shredded green papaya, shredded carrots, tomatoes, and snake beans.
It is also common to add shrimp or beef slices to som tum if you want to add meat to the recipe. You could also serve meat as a separate dish as well. Som tum is typically made on the stovetop and resembles a pasta or stir-fry noodle dish when it is done.
This dish is relatively easy to make and is also quite easy to reheat. The key to reheating is to not end up with soggy ingredients. But don’t worry, it’s a simple process.
Reheating Som Tum on Stovetop
- Heat a small amount of butter or oil over low to medium heat.
- Place som tum in heated pan.
- Sauté for 5-7 minutes or until warm
- Stir frequently
- Remove from heat and enjoy
When you use a sauté-type process, it helps preserve the integrity of the dish.
Reheating Som Tum in the Microwave
- Place in a microwave-safe container.
- Cover with a damp paper towel.
- Microwave 3 minutes, stirring at 1-minute intervals. You may not need the full 3 minutes and you may need an additional minute.
- Serve and enjoy.
Reheating Som Tum in the Oven
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Place som tum in an oven-safe dish.
- Cover with aluminum foil
- Bake for 15-20 minutes or until well heated.
- Remove from oven and enjoy.
Pad Thai is another of the most popular and well-known Thai dishes you might be familiar with. Everyone loves a noodle meal and this stir-fry noodle dish simply can’t be outdone.
Pad Thai is easy to make in large batches and the best part is you can change up the ingredients or added items as well. You can add various meats and vegetables and make pad Thai however you want to essentially.
Pad Thais is typically made on the stovetop but could also be made in the oven initially. This dish is made with rice noodles, eggs, and then some veggies and meat added to your liking. There are numerous ways to make this cuisine but the essential part is rice noodles.
Pad Thai is easy to make and is another dish that is also quite simple to reheat. The noodles reheat well and typically any meat or vegetables you might have in your noodles would also reheat just fine.
Funny enough, one of the best ways to reheat pad Thai is in the microwave.
Reheating Pad Thai in the Microwave
- Place Pad Thai in a microwave-safe dish
- Put an ice cube in the middle of the noodles or add about 1 TBSP of water
- Cover your dish with plastic wrap
- Poke a couple of small holes (a triangle of 3 works well) in the plastic wrap for steaming purposes.
- Microwave for 1 minute and 30 seconds.
- Remove the plastic wrap and enjoy!
Reheating Pad Thai on the Stovetop
- Warm a small amount of oil or butter in a pan over medium heat.
- Add Pad Thai to heated pan and toss to coat in oil or butter. This step will help revive the noodles so they taste fresh.
- Sauté for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Serve and enjoy.
Reheating Pad Thai in the Oven
- Place pad Thai in an oven-safe dish and spread out
- Drizzle a small amount of olive oil over the dish and stir in
- Cover with aluminum foil
- Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes
- Remove from oven, serve, and enjoy
Thai BBQ Chicken
Chicken is a staple meat of every culture it seems and Thai certainly pulls the ranks with this tangy and savory BBQ chicken. Thai BBQ chicken is usually grilled but could also be baked. This is a delicious and flavorful dish that certainly set Thai food apart and should not be overlooked.
The best BBQ Thai chicken is marinated in a BBQ-based sweet and sour sauce with a tasty garlic flavor. You can marinade any type of chicken in the sauce depending on what you have available. It is common to use legs and wings and grill them but you could also have great success with breasts and thighs as well.
Typically, these are grilled on medium heat but grilling is not always a feasible option so don’t sweat that step as you can always make in the oven.
When it comes to reheating Thai BBQ chicken, it is quite easy to do. You can reheat using the stovetop, the oven, or the microwave.
In this case, the oven is the preferred method because the chicken tends to hold up best that way. It’s super easy to accomplish and your chicken will be flavorful and just as good as the first time around.
Reheating this dish on the stovetop is an option but this tends to dry your chicken out a bit if you are not careful.
Reheating Thai BBQ Chicken in the Oven
- Stir chicken up. You may need to add a tablespoon of water if the sauce appears to be dry.
- Place in an oven-safe dish and cover with foil.
- Bake at 375 for 20 minutes or until chicken is warmed through. ‘
- Remove from oven.
- Serve with rice or veggies and enjoy.
Reheating Thai BBQ Chicken in the Microwave
- Place chicken in a microwave-safe dish.
- Stir up chicken to revive sauce before heating.
- Microwave for 2 minutes, stirring at 30 second intervals.
- Stir gently to avoid making chicken fall apart. The stirring process is primarily to distribute heat evenly and move the sauce around for best results.
- Grab a fork and enjoy.
Reheating Thai BBQ Chicken on the Stovetop
- Place the BBQ chicken in a skillet and turn to medium heat.
- Heat chicken in skillet on medium heat for 7 minutes, stirring frequently.
- If your sauce appears to be drying out, lightly drizzle some water over the chicken and stir.
- When chicken and sauce are heated to desired temperature, remove pan from heat.
- Serve up with sides or rice and enjoy.
Thai Fried Rice
Most of us are familiar with fried rice, and let’s be honest, it’s one of our favorites. When it comes to culinary dishes from various cultures rice is always a classic winner. Thai fried rice certainly takes the cake.
You simply can’t really go wrong with fried rice but for some reason, reheating rice is one of the most challenging reheating methods to follow. You would think you could just toss it in the microwave and heat it up.
But here is the thing, for some reason, it always turns out dry or crispy when you reheat it. It seems like reheating rice always ends in disappointment and it certainly doesn’t taste nearly as good as the first time around.
But guess what? It doesn’t have to be that way. Reheating fried rice can be a success. You should reheat fried rice either on the stovetop or in the microwave. Are you ready for this next tip? The microwave reheats fried rice better than any other method.
You can reheat Thai fried rice in the oven but it is not highly recommended. The oven pulls out the moisture and it is challenging to maintain flavor and character of the rice without drying it out.
Thai fried rice is not your everyday fried rice. Thai fried rice is typically made with shrimp paste as well as various other vegetables, meats, and even sauces. The sauce can vary but in most cases, it has a bit of spice to it, as is common with Thai cuisine.
You can essentially add whatever meats or vegetables you like to Thai fried rice. You simply make it your own – but don’t forget the rice.
Reheating Thai Fried Rice in the Microwave – Option 1
- Place fried rice in a microwave-safe bowl.
- Cover fried rice tightly with plastic wrap.
- Poke a triangle of small holes into the plastic wrap for ventilation.
- Microwave for 2 minutes.
- Stir and check overall temperature.
- Cover and heat an additional minute if necessary.
- Grab a spoon and enjoy.
Reheating Thai Fried Rice in the Microwave – Option 2
- Place fried rice in a microwave-safe bowl.
- Dampen a paper towel and place it over the top of the bowl.
- Microwave for 2 minutes.
- Stir and check the temperature.
- Heat in 30-second intervals if further heating is needed, stirring every 30 seconds.
- Serve up and enjoy.
Reheating Thai Fried Rice on the Stovetop
- Heat butter in a skillet on medium heat.
- Add Thai fried rice to the skillet and stir in the butter.
- Heat in the skillet for 5-7 minutes or until the rice is warm.
Overview of Reheating Tips
We’ve covered many of the most popular Thai dishes in the above sections but there are many that have not been covered. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t see the menu item for the Thai cuisine you are looking for specific instruction to reheat.
Do you see anything above that has similar makeup to your dish? Maybe something with similar ingredients or sauces? We recommend that you try to find something above that is similar to the dish you are reheating and use the tips outlined there.
One thing you will notice is that many of these dishes have similarities in reheating methods and some of them are almost identical to others.
For instance, nearly every microwave reheating method shared instructs you to cover your dish with a damp paper towel or plastic wrap that you vent yourself. This is to ensure that the sauce or moisture of the dish is maintained in reheating and it truly works.
Reheating Thai food is fairly simple and nearly every dish has multiple reheating options for you to try it. These methods, as well as the dishes, are often versatile and can be altered to meet your needs and use the tools that you have on hand.
Don’t toss your leftovers out, put them to good use. You can store Thai food in the fridge for up to 5 days and you can even freeze Thai food and then reheat it using these methods as well. You will need to allow for thawing or defrosting if you do choose to freeze the leftovers and then reheat them.
Don’t be afraid to test things out or to reheat any type of Thai food you have that may need reheated. We’re quite sure your taste buds will thank you when they get to enjoy that Thai cuisine for a second time and it still tastes amazing.
We hope that this guide provides you with the ultimate resource for reheating your favorite Thai foods and that even if your food is not listed you feel confident enough with the resources provided to give it a try.
We’ve put together a question and answer section that provides valuable additional information. We hope you will check it out and see if it may be of use to you.
What Sets Thai Food Apart?
Every culture has their own unique cuisine with its own characteristics that make it great in its own way. Thai food is definitely in its own category as there is no other type of food that turns out like Thai food.
Thai food is set apart by the ability to mix the perfect amount of sweet, salty, sour, and spicy. Many Thai dishes pack quite a bit of spice to them. If you’re not a fan of spicy foods, this can often be altered or reduced.
What are the Most Common Vegetables in Thai Dishes?
Thai cuisine uses a variety of vegetables depending on the dish. Nearly every dish has garlic, shallots, and chilies (usually bird’s eye chilies). From there, the dishes can contain a multitude of various vegetables.
Carrots, lemongrass, bean sprouts, broccoli, eggplant, bok choy, and bamboo shoot are vegetables that you will commonly find in many Thai dishes.
Is Thai Food Healthy?
Thai food is nearly always a healthy option. Thai cuisine is heavy in spices like turmeric, ginger, coriander, and other spices that have numerous health benefits. Additionally, Thai food typically has a significant number of vegetables in the recipes as well.
There is not typically added sugar to the sauces in Thai food because the spices make all the difference in the flavor and they have perfected the art of sweetening their dishes just enough without adding sugar or artificial sweeteners.