Does Sushi Need to Be Heated?

Does sushi need to be heated? This raw question may cross the mind of sushi lovers who’ve ended up with leftovers. While sushi is traditionally served chilled or at room temperature, there are ways to gently reheat your sushi without ruining the delicate flavors and textures.

Sushi does not actually need to be heated. In fact, it is typically served between 68-72°F, a pleasant coolness that complements the tender raw fish. However, some people may prefer their sushi a little warmer. The good news is that warming up leftover sushi is totally possible without cooking the fish or making the rice mushy.

Methods like the microwave, toaster oven, stovetop, and simply letting it sit out can all be used to take the chill off your leftover sushi. With care not to overheat the fish or dry out the rice, you can give new life to yesterday’s sushi. The trick is using low, gradual heat around 300-325°F.

Want to learn the ideal reheating techniques? Read on to get tips that will have your sushi tasting restaurant-fresh in no time. Discover the best practices for bringing out the full flavors of your sushi without ruining the delicate texture. Give those leftovers a second chance at greatness!

Sushi Is Traditionally Served Cold

Authentic sushi is served chilled or at room temperature. This keeps the raw fish fresh and firm.

Properly made sushi rice gets its signature sticky texture when the grains cool down after cooking. Heating sushi rice can ruin this texture, turning it mushy.

So sushi does not need to be heated when freshly made. In Japan, sushi bars take pride in their sushi being served cool and crisp.

The Ideal Temperature for Sushi

Sushi chefs recommend serving sushi between 68°F-72°F (20°C-22°C). This cool yet gentle temperature allows you to fully taste the soft, buttery fish and seasoned rice.

Serving sushi any colder, like straight from the fridge, can make the fish seem too firm and numb more subtle flavors.

Can You Heat Up Leftover Sushi?

While sushi shouldn’t be served hot, that doesn’t mean leftovers should be tossed. With care, you can gently reheat sushi without ruining it.

The keys are using low, gradual heat and not overcooking the fish or drying out the rice.

Here are some reheating methods to try:

Room Temperature

  • Simply allowing sushi to come to room temperature (68°F-72°F) can take the chill off.
  • Remove refrigerated sushi and let it sit out 10-15 minutes before eating.


  • Heat sushi in the microwave at 50% power for 30 seconds.
  • The low power and short time gently warms without overcooking.
  • Rotate and check often to prevent hot spots.

Toaster Oven

  • Toast sushi in a 300°F-325°F oven for 6-8 minutes.
  • Keep a close watch to avoid overcooking.
  • Adjust time as needed based on your toaster oven.


  • Place sushi pieces on a cool stovetop burner.
  • Let ambient heat gently warm the sushi for a few minutes.
  • Avoid direct contact with a warm burner to prevent burning.

Tips for Reheating Sushi

Follow these tips to get the best results when reheating sushi:

  • Use multiple small batches – Don’t overcrowd sushi pieces so they have room to heat evenly.
  • Keep time short – It only takes a minute or two of gentle heat to take the chill off sushi.
  • Check frequently – Peek in often to monitor doneness and prevent overcooking.
  • Add moisture – Lightly brush or spray sushi with water before heating to prevent drying out.
  • Bring rice to room temperature first – Let rice sit out 10-15 minutes before reheating fish to prevent overcooking the rice.

Should You Reheat Sushi with Fish Roe?

Fish roe, or eggs, can be more delicate than sliced fish. Reheating sushi rolls with roe requires extra care.

Lightly warming temaki hand rolls with roe should be fine. But avoid reheating nigiri or maki rolls topped with roe. The direct heat can damage the texture of the eggs.

For best results, gently peel roe pieces off and enjoy separately at room temperature. Reheat the remaining ingredients as normal.

Can You Reheat Spicy Tuna Rolls?

Spicy tuna rolls feature raw tuna mixed with spicy mayo. The mayo-based sauce makes these rolls more prone to spoiling.

Only reheat spicy tuna rolls within 2 hours of serving. Quickly bring to room temperature before the mayo goes bad.

Discard any rolls with an off smell or look. Don’t take risks with raw seafood!

Not Recommended Ways to Reheat Sushi

Some conventional reheating methods don’t work well for delicate sushi:

Microwaving Too Long

High heat and extended microwave time can quickly dry out sushi rice and overcook fish.


Excessive oven heat over 300°F can bake the rice dry before fish warms through.

Hot Water

Sushi absorbs water like a sponge, damaging the texture.

Fried Sushi

Frying ruins the light, fresh appeal by making it heavy and greasy.

Hot Plate

Direct contact with a hot plate surface can overcook exterior before interior warms.

Reheating Large Batch

Heating a large amount together leads to uneven cooking.

Enjoy Sushi at Its Best

Sushi is meant to be enjoyed fresh and cool. But with care, leftovers can be briefly warmed to take off the chill without ruining the taste and texture.

Gently bringing sushi to room temperature is ideal. Methods like the microwave, toaster oven, and stovetop can also work when used cautiously.

With these reheating tips, your leftover sushi will taste as delightful as the day you brought it home!

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Bill Kalkumnerd
Bill Kalkumnerd

I am Bill, I am the Owner of HappySpicyHour, a website devoted to spicy food lovers like me. Ramen and Som-tum (Papaya Salad) are two of my favorite spicy dishes. Spicy food is more than a passion for me - it's my life! For more information about this site Click

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