Fish and chips are a great and filling comfort food, so sometimes you may get a little carried away and make too much, or get an extra serving to go. Whichever case, you now have leftover fish and chips and are wondering just how to reheat them to get them as close to their original state as possible. Here’s how.
How to reheat fish and chips
Reheating fish and chips is all about getting the food hot enough while still retaining the original texture as much as possible. This won’t be easy, since some methods will turn your food soggy, and some will dry it out too much. But by tweaking the heat level and the moisture content you can get your food as close to the original as possible.
The key step before any of that though, bring the fish and chips out of the fridge. Let them sit for at least 30 minutes at room temp so they reheat better. This will mean less time spent actively reheating, and a much more even heat distribution, especially in the fish. Below I’ve outlined what to do for each reheating method. Which you choose is up to your preferences and what you have available in your home.
In the oven or the air fryer
I’m talking about oven and air fryers at the same time since they work roughly the same, and can be used in the same way to reheat your food. The instructions are the same for the oven or the air fryer, just remember to not add any cooking oil to either when reheating. Perhaps a drop or two of water so the food won’t dry out too much, but don’t add a whole tablespoon.
Bring the fish and chips to room temp, otherwise you will need to account for the extra-cold food.
Do not heat up the oven/air fryer before loading it, since you need it to slowly come to temp at the same rate as the food. Otherwise the fish and chips will be much hotter on the outside than the inside, with the added bonus of becoming a dried out mess.
Load the air fryer or oven, and make sure the chips are closer together than the fish. The fish is larger and forms a larger mass, so the chips need to be huddled together to warm up at the same rate.
Choose a temp setting. I recommend whatever temperature your device has for medium-low. You’re going to heat up the food slowly, to get it evenly heated throughout. Blast it on the highest setting and the outside will dry out faster than the inside can warm up. So it’s better to reheat at a lower temperature but get a nice, even result. This can take about 15 minutes, depending on how hot your over or air fryer is, and how hot you want your food to be.
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In a skillet or pan
Another option is to reheat your fish and chips in a shallow, wide pan, or a skillet. Make sure the food is at room temp before you reheat it, otherwise it won’ be evenly heated. Stovetop reheating brings the food closer to the flame itself so it works differently compared to an oven or air fryer. In a sense it works more like a very low heat grill.
So being your fish and chips to room temp, that’s about 30 minutes out of the fridge at least. Add them to your pan, even if they’re crowded. No oil ! Turn the heat on low and put a well fitting lid onto the pan. Let the food sit like that for 3-4 minutes. The take the lid off, and drain any moisture right into the pan. At this point you can flip the fish since it’s generally thicker than the chips, but you could also flip as many of the chips as you can. Cover the pan again and let it sit like that on low heat for another 3 minutes, again making sure the chips are crowded.
By this point the food should be hot enough, it’s been 6-7 minutes. You can check it with a food thermometer if you want, but in general it won’t be necessary. Of course this also depends on how hot you like your food to be. Personally I like my food to be screaming hot, and I get very upset at lukewarm food. I know many people don’t mind cooler food, that’s okay.
If you’re anything like me, if the fish and chips aren’t hot enough you can throw them back into the pan for another 2 minutes.
Microwaving fish and chips would turn them soggy
If you’re not worried about texture, then you can also microwave the fish and chips. Place them on a microwave-safe plate, and reheat on medium. If you leave them uncovered they will dry out, if you cover them they will get soggy but heat more evenly. Your call.
Microwaving is the fastest method indeed, but the least effective in terms of texture. I wouldn’t use it for anything that’s meant to still be crispy out the outside but soft on the inside. That being said, you can’t beat convenience, and if you want fish and chips right this second then it’s the fastest way. Depending on your microwave, you could have food in 2-3 minutes, assuming medium heat settings.
How long do fish and chips last in the fridge ?
Fish and chips will last at least 48h in the fridge in an airtight container. The fish will be just fine, the chips will become wrinkly and dry out so manage your expectations. There’s always the option of just reheating the fish, and frying new chips, in the oven or air fryer or in a pan, whatever works for you.
Can you freeze fish and chips ?
You can freeze fish and chips in an airtight container and they’ll be good for about a month. That being said, the texture will be very off, for the fries at least, and the fish will also be softer, spongier, but this does work well enough in a pinch.
Keep in mind that when you plant to cook your fish and chips from the freezer, they will drop a lot of moisture to the oven and air fryer are the best options if you’re cooking from frozen. You could let them defrost completely and come to room temp and use any of the other methods we talked about before.