Whether you've ordered takeaway or made your own onion bhajis, they are a treat any day of the week! If you've got some leftovers, you might want them the next day. Reheating onion bhajis isn't the easiest thing. Get it right, and they'll be just as good as before (if not better). Get it wrong, and you'll end up with a soggy, chewy ball of awfulness. Fear not, I'm will give you 7 of the best ways to reheat onion bhajis, along with the good and the bad with each method.
The best way of reheating onion bhajis is to 'double cook' them. Start them off in the microwave to get the centre nice and hot before giving them a blast under the grill to crisp up the exterior. Other methods work well, such as using the oven or quickly refrying them.
Want to learn more about reheating bhajis? Here's my ultimate guide.
Can Onion Bhajis be Reheated?
Onion bhajis can be reheated. While they aren't too different from other foods, they need a little extra attention. Bhajis are normally fried in hot oil. But, because of how bhaji batter is made, you'll find that they turn a little soft and soggy if they are left standing.
They turn soft for a few reasons. First, the longer you leave them, the more chance the oil held within the bhaji can start to cool and soak into the crispy outer layer.
Secondly, bhajis are made almost entirely of chopped onion (as you'd expect). Onions have a moisture content of around 86%. When cooked, the cell walls, holding in this moisture, break down. When they are warm, this moisture steams the bhaji from within. You'll get a nice fluffy bhaji when fresh, but when left standing or chilled overnight, this makes onion bhajis soft.
Can You Eat Cold Onion Bhajis?
You can eat cold bhajis (provided they have been cooked first). Generally, most health agencies recommend eating leftover cold food within 3 – 4 days. After this time, you'll find that the food is past its best and isn't particularly appetizing. Of course, bhajis, like any other food, must be refrigerated if you aren't going to eat them immediately.
I prefer a nice hot bhaji, and I am sure you will too. But to achieve this, we need to have a quick run through my guide on reheating onion bhajis. Here are some great ways to do it: -
What is the Best Way to Reheat Onion Bhajis?
You are looking for a crispy exterior and a soft, golden interior, right? Here are some methods to get your bhaji up to temperature and tasting great.
Refry Your Bhajis
You bhajis turned out perfect the first time you refried them, so there is no reason why it shouldn't work the second time. Therefore, you might think this is the best way to reheat onion bhajis…
To get things crispy, you need the oil to be pretty hot, around 190°C to be precise. And you've got to remember that the outside of your bhaji has been cooked once before. So, there is a very real danger of the outside turning a little too 'well done'.
According to a publication of the Institute of Food Technologists: -
"Overfried foods at higher temperature and longer frying time than the optimum frying have darkened and hardened surfaces and a greasy texture due to the excessive oil absorption".
Another thing to consider is that when you fry bhajis, they tend to make oil pretty dirty, pretty quickly.
If you go too low on the temperature to counter overcooking, you may find that your bhajis go soggy instead, so it is a fine balance to strike.
Reasons you might want to try refrying your Bhajis
- Provided the oil is hot enough, you are guaranteed a crispy exterior
- Let's face it, deep-fried food tastes divine
- It's how bhajis are cooked in the first place, so there is no reason why this wouldn't give a good result
Reasons to avoid this method
- It does require a bit of effort
- It is easy to overcook your bhajis
- Double the fat means double the calories
Using Frying to Reheat Your Bhajis | Top Tips
- Make sure your oil is hot enough, use a piece of bread to check the oil's temperature.
- Reheat your bhajis in batches. Don't overcrowd the pan, or they will turn soggy
- Serve straight away if you've used this method. It won't take long for your bhajis to go soggy again.
Oven Bake Your Bhajis
This is one of my favourite methods of reheating onion bhajis. I love how simple it is. Stick your bhajis on a lined baking tray, heat the oven to 170°C, pop them in for 10 – 15 minutes, and that's about it! Simple, right?
You should have a bhaji that turns relatively crispy on the outside and is still nice and soft on the inside.
There are a few minor downsides to be aware of, however. Unlike with frying, the oven may dry your bhajis out a little bit, so they won't be quite as soft as when you first had them.
Reasons you might want to Use Your Oven to Reheat Onion Bhajis
- It's super easy and convenient
- It produces very consistent results
- It's pretty much mess-free!
Reasons to avoid this method
- Your bhajis will be a little drier than the first time you ate them
- With larger bhajis, the inside lags behind the outside, meaning there is the possibility to overcook the outside.
- It takes a while to preheat the oven.
Reheating onion Bhajis in the Oven | Top Tips
- Don't go too high on the heat. While you might want to speed up the process, go too hot, and you'll cook the outside while leaving the inside untouched.
- Give your bhajis a little room on the tray
- Keep a good eye on the bhajis. They should be golden in colour, not dark brown!
Use the Microwave
When it comes to convenient methods of reheating onion bhajis, the microwave wins, hands down. A quick ping of a couple of consecutive minutes will be enough to get your bhajis piping hot inside. It's like magic!
If there is one thing that microwaves are not good at, it is making food crispy. Sure your bhajis will be hot, but they won't have that lovely crunchy exterior that we all love. There are things a microwave is good at, like reheating curry, but maybe not so much for bhajis.
Again, it's a trade-off. Convenience means you'll sacrifice a little bit of quality.
I guess it depends on how hungry you are?
And remember, double the number of bhajis means double the cooking time, so if you are reheating a big batch, this method might be no quicker than using the oven!
Why Use a Microwave to Reheat Onion Bhajis?
- It is the quickest method of reheating onion bhajis on my list
- Again, it is relatively mess-free
Reasons Why It Might Not Be the Best Method
- You won't get a crispy exterior
- It could take a long time if you are reheating more than a few bhajis
- It will make your microwave smell strongly of onions!
Microwaving Onion Bhajis | Top Tips
- Reheat your bhajis in one-minute bursts, have a feel, and if they aren't hot enough, give them another minute
- Remember, twice the food means twice the cooking time.
- If you do need to 'de-onion' your microwave. Cut half a lemon and place it in a bowl, giving it a 1-minute blast to neutralize any onion odour.
Use the Grill
The grill is a super convenient way to get cold bhajis up to temperature. It is one of my favourite methods.
To do it, all you need to do is place the bhajis on a grill tray or sheet over medium heat and give them a 6-minute blast on each side.
You should get a good result using this method. A crispy exterior, a nice fluffy interior and all of that delicious onion bhaji taste.
You will have to keep an eye on your bhajis, some grills can be pretty fierce, and you are cooking them using direct heat, so be careful that they don't burn!
Why Grilling Onion Bhajis Is Great
- It's pretty quick and easy
- You can see the bhajis cooking, meaning you'll get a good result
- It's easy to quickly control the temperature
Why Other Methods of Reheating Bhajis Might Be Better
- You can only cook one side of the bhajis at a time. This means there might be a 'soft' section in the middle.
- Messing around with grill pans and flipping the bhajis can be a pain. Mind your fingers!
- Other methods are a little more convenient.
Grilling Onion Bhajis | Top Tips
- Set your grill to medium heat and place the bhajis apart on a grill pan so then the heat can reach all sides.
- If you need a little extra crispiness, turn the heat up to high just before the allotted reheating time is up
- Watch your bhajis like a hawk when they are on the grill. It is easy to overdo it!
An air fryer is actually a really great way to reheat bhajis. You are practically combining all of the best methods in one. You get a little oil added to the bhajis, making them soft on the inside and crunchy on the outside!
You also get indirect heat, meaning the centre of your bhaji should stay the right consistency.
Using an air fryer to reheat bhajis is also pretty convenient. Throw a few in, add a splash of oil, and let your air fryer do its thing! Around 5 – 10 minutes should be plenty of time to reheat your onion bhajis.
Why Air Frying Is Great for Reheating Onion Bhajis
- It is super easy
- It is relatively quick
- It can give a really good result
What Makes It Not So Great
- Air fryers move the food around constantly. This could cause your bhajis to break up!
- Not everyone has an air fryer
- You can only reheat a small number of bhajis at once
Air Fryer Onion Bhajis | Top Tips
- Don't overcrowd your air fryer. A few bhajis at a time is plenty
- Don't add too much oil. Remember, your bhajis have been deep-fried already, so they may be reaching their saturation point.
- Work in 5-minute blasts. Just as with deep frying, air fryers can overcook the bhajis if you aren't careful!
Shallow Fry Your Onion Bhajis
If digging the chip pan or deep fat fryer sounds like a real nuisance, then shallow frying your bhajis could be a possible solution when reheating them. You gain convenience, cleanliness and you can also cook a few at a time.
I find medium heat works well. You need to look for the 'goldilocks zone'… not too hot, not too cold, just right. Too hot will cause the exterior of your bhajis to burn. Too cold, and you will be there all day (and still won't get crispy onion bhajis).
I normally add about a tablespoon of oil to a good quality frying pan and then place it over medium heat. Once the oil starts to shimmer, I add the bhajis and give them the occasional shake and toss until they are about done.
Bhajis are rarely perfectly spherical, so it can be a bit fiddly to ensure all sides are covered. Still, if you persevere, it should work out alright.
Reheating Onion Bhajis using shallow frying, the good.
- It is relatively easy to do, and you aren't using loads of oil
- Provided you are patient, you should be able to get them almost back to their original best
- You can cook a few at a time
And the not so good…
- This method can take a while and is inconsistent. Often you'll end up with one crunchy side and one soggy side.
- It requires constant tossing and turning to get an even reheating of your bhajis
- Shallow frying can make your clothes pong of onions
- It can be tricky to get the interior of the bhaji piping hot
Shallow frying Onion bhajis | Top Tips for Success
- As with deep frying, don't overcrowd your pan. I'd say a maximum of 4 bhajis is enough
- Never leave a frying pan unattended. You should be in the kitchen at all times while reheating your bhajis.
- Aim to cook each side of the bhaji for about 4 minutes
Reheating Onion Bhajis | Quick Reference Guide
Ok, I get it. There are quite a few methods above, and they aren't all that easy to remember. Don't worry. Here's a quick reference table of all of the above to help you out when you are in a rush.
2 Minutes per 2 bhajis
6 minutes per side
4 minutes per side
2 minutes per 2 bhajis then 3 minutes per side under the grill
When reheating onion bhajis, the main problem is that you are trying to achieve two goals. Crunchy outside, soft centre. Often most cooking methods are weighted to either one side or the other, but rarely both. I've found the combination method to be the most successful in getting around this. It takes a bit of effort, but it is well worth it. Instead of reheating bhajis, why not learn to make your own? My oven cooked bhaji recipe is actually pretty healthy.