Seafood boils are one of life's great pleasures. So how do we reheat a leftover shrimp or seafood boil in a bag so we can extend the joy? So glad you asked! Let's talk about how to reheat your favorite seafood boil recipe (or your leftover seafood boil bag) without creating any rubbery texture!
If you've hosted your own delicious seafood boil party, you know how much work is involved. And if you had dinner at one of those popular seafood-boil-in-a-bag shops, that can cost a pretty penny.
Either way, you don't want to waste a single bite of a perfect seafood boil.
Keep reading to find the best method to reheat your treasured fresh seafood boil - whether you made it in a cauldron in your backyard, or brought your bag of seafood boil home from your neighborhood seafood shop.
But first, let's make sure you're working with the very best recipe for your cajun seafood boil, low country boil or seafood boil!
Seafood Boil Recipes and Seafood Boil Sauces:
Tips for how to heat up leftover seafood boil bag.
- Check your seafood before heating - the best reheating process in the world can't fix seafood that has already gone bad. If your seafood boil smells bad or has a slimy texture, toss it and start over.
- If you're reheating corn and potatoes with small, shelled shrimp, it's best to cut up the potatoes into smaller pieces so everything heats on the same timeline. Same if you're using smoked or andouille sausage links. Everything will be better cut into bite-sized pieces.
- Add moisture, if needed. If your leftover seafood boil is still covered in buttery seafood boil sauce, you're all set. If your leftovers are lacking sauce, add a few pats of butter or a few tablespoons of seafood stock. You can also sprinkle your leftovers with Old Bay, Cajun seasoning, cayenne pepper or your favorite boil mix.
- Use low heat - the easiest way to spoil your much-anticipated leftovers is to overcook your seafood. Keeping a low heat will help keep every type of seafood tasty and tender. So whichever cooking process you choose, keep your heat low. It will take a few minutes longer to heat through, but you'll be rewarded with amazing seafood!
Food Safety First!
With any cooked food, it's important to take note of how long the food is left out at room temperature when serving. Once your boil has been served the first time, it's important to package up leftovers and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator quickly to avoid bacterial growth.
If your leftover seafood boil has been properly packaged and refrigerated, heating it a second time will not present any food safety concerns.
But reheating the seafood should only happen one time. So once you've finished your leftover dinner, any additional seafood should be tossed.
How long does a seafood boil last in the refrigerator?
If your seafood boil was refrigerated promptly after serving and is kept at a safe temperature, it can be kept in the refrigerator up to 2 days.
Now that you have those key tips under your belt, let's start re-heating!
Recommended Reheating Options for Best Results
You'll find that I've tested various ways to reheat my leftover boils. Of all the different methods I've tried, here are the top 3 options for reheating different types of seafood in a bag:
#1 Reheating Method: Oven Bag or Foil Packet
If you've brought your seafood boil in a bag home from a restaurant, or cooked it in your own oven, you're likely dealing with an oven-safe bag. You can leave the seafood in the bag, but I recommend wrapping it in parchment and / or foil before baking.
I like to empty the bag contents (or spoon leftovers) into a parchment packet and then wrap in aluminum foil. If I still have a good amount of seafood boil sauce on the leftovers, the contents will steam beautifully. If the contents look dry, add a few pats of butter and a sprinkle of Old Bay Seasoning or Cajun boil seasoning.
Then bake your packets on a baking sheet in a preheated oven at 325℉ for 15-20 minutes, or until the contents are just heated through.
Open the packets (watch out for steam!) and serve with fresh lemon wedges.
#2 Reheating Method: Oven Casserole Dish
If you're running low on seafood boil bags, move your leftovers into a baking dish large enough to keep your seafood in a single layer. If needed, add a few tablespoons of butter and a sprinkle of your favorite cajun seasoning.
Cover the dish with foil and bake in a preheated oven at 325 degrees for 12-15 minutes, or until the seafood is just heated through. If you're heating baby red potatoes with your seafood, be sure they are cut into quarters, to be sure they heat through in the same time.
#3 Reheating Method: Stovetop Method
Probably the easiest method for reheating a seafood boil is to add your leftovers to a skillet large enough to hold everything in a shallow layer. If needed, add a few tablespoons of butter and seafood stock to the pan, along with a few pinches of extra seafood boil or cajun seasoning.
Cover the skillet and heat over medium-low heat until just simmering, then lower the heat and cook gently just until everything is heated through.
Reheating methods NOT recommended for heating up leftover seafood boil bag:
I'm begging you. Even if you have a microwave-safe plate. Even if you set the microwave on low temperature. Please don't reheat your seafood boil in the microwave. While it's a wonder of technology, microwaves notoriously heat unevenly, which is especially problematic when you are working with delicate seafood.
If your seafood boil has already been tossed in buttery sauce, steaming will pull the sauce off the leftover boil and inject hot water into the seafood. It's not a deal-breaker, just not the method that retains the most flavor.
As much as I want to tell you to drop your leftover boil bag into a pot of boiling water (twice boiled seafood boil, anyone?) I just can't do it. First of all, your bag probably has a tear or two in it already. That means your boiling water will be in your seafood quickly, watering down the butter sauce and generally making a mess of things. Just say no to boiling leftovers!
So have you chosen your favorite cooking method to reheat your seafood boil? You have three great options for bringing this delicious dish back to life. Just follow these simple steps and you'll be reliving your seafood boil glory days in no time.
Take a bow, chef!