How to Reheat Chinese Food in an Air Fryer

Reheating Chinese food in an air fryer is an excellent way to bring back the crispiness and freshness of dishes like egg rolls, fried rice, and General Tso’s chicken. Unlike microwaving, which can make fried foods soggy, an air fryer rejuvenates leftovers by circulating hot air around them, mimicking the original cooking method. Here’s a step-by-step guide to reheating your Chinese takeout to perfection in an air fryer.

Preparing to Reheat

1. Preheat the Air Fryer

  • Start by preheating your air fryer to 350°F (about 175°C). This ensures the food starts reheating immediately upon entering the fryer, helping to restore its crispiness.

2. Arrange the Food

  • Transfer the Chinese food you wish to reheat to the air fryer basket. If you’re reheating multiple types of food, consider their texture and moisture content. Foods with similar characteristics can be reheated together.
  • For items like egg rolls or dumplings, place them in a single layer to allow for even air circulation. For saucier dishes like beef and broccoli, a heat-safe container within the air fryer basket can prevent messes and keep flavors intact.

3. Lightly Oil (Optional)

  • For dry or breaded items, a light spray of oil can help restore their original crispiness. However, use oil sparingly, as too much can make the food greasy.

Reheating Process

1. Cooking Time

  • Begin with a short cooking time — about 3 to 4 minutes for most items. Delicate foods like spring rolls might need less time, while denser foods like fried rice could require a bit more.
  • Halfway through the reheating time, shake the basket or use tongs to turn the items, ensuring they heat evenly.

2. Check for Doneness

  • After the initial cooking time, check if the food has been heated through and reached your desired level of crispiness. If not, continue reheating in 1-minute increments until satisfied.

3. Serving

  • Once the Chinese food is heated to your liking, carefully remove it from the air fryer and serve immediately. Be cautious as both the food and the air fryer basket will be hot.

Tips for Best Results

  • Do Not Overcrowd: Keep the air fryer basket uncrowded to allow for optimal air flow around the food, which ensures even reheating.
  • Adjust Temperatures for Delicate Items: For delicate items like thin noodles or lightly battered vegetables, consider lowering the air fryer’s temperature to 325°F (about 163°C) to prevent burning.
  • Reheating Rice: When reheating fried rice or lo mein, adding a few drops of water before heating can help prevent drying out, restoring some of the dish’s original moisture.


Reheating Chinese food in an air fryer is a quick and effective method to enjoy your leftovers as if they were just made. By following these steps, you can achieve the ideal balance of crispiness and warmth, making your takeout taste fresh once again. Whether it’s crispy egg rolls, succulent meats, or flavorful fried rice, the air fryer is your tool to revitalize leftovers in minutes.

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Bubbly Chef author