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How To Keep Fish Warm After Cooking (Step by step guide)

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Sometimes your guests may not arrive on time. The food gets cold, and you have to reheat it. However, reheated dishes, especially fish, lack the flavor and aroma of freshly prepared food. You may also wish to bring a warm fish dish to a picnic.

There are a few ways to keep fish warm, depending on the type of dish you have prepared. Baked, boiled, steamed, or sautéed fish are easy to keep warm in slow cookers. However, keeping fried fish warm and crispy requires proper use of the oven. 

In this article, I will tell you how I keep fish warm for hours. You will also get to know how to transport warm fish for a picnic. So, let’s get into it!

5 Ways To Keep Fish Warm After Cooking

I have tried many methods to keep my cooked and fried fish warm. Some of these options are capable of keeping the dish warm for hours. So, here are the methods I recommend for you to try.

Use the Oven 

One of the first methods is using the oven, especially for crispy fried fish. Fried fish is the most difficult to keep warm and crispy. They have to be eaten right after frying to enjoy the crispiness. However, you can keep them warm for 20 to 30 minutes after frying them using the following method: 

Step 1

Cook your fried fish as usual. Right after cooking, you have to place it in the oven to retain the crispiness and warmth. 

Step 2

Preheat your oven to 200°F-250°F. Then place the oven rack and put a baking sheet on top. The baking sheet will prevent the outer layer of the fried fish from getting soggy and soft. 

Step 3

Now, place the freshly fried fish in a single layer on the baking sheet. You can cover the fried fish with foil paper, but do not completely wrap the fish. Otherwise, the outer layer of the fried fish may get overcooked. 

This way, the fried fish will stay warm and crispy for about 15 to 20 minutes. If you keep the fried fish for over 30 minutes in a preheated oven, it will become dry. 

I have also used a preheated oven to keep other types of fish dishes warm. Put the fish stew, curry, or any fish dish in a casserole dish. Wrap the dish with a kitchen towel and place it in the preheated oven. If you are using a dish without a lid, wrap it well with foil paper. This will keep the heat and moisture inside.

Also, remember that cooked food should have a temperature above 140 degrees F. Cooked food should not be below 140 F for too long because bacteria will contaminate it. 

Slow Cooker

I use a slow cooker to keep my fish soup, stew, or curry warm for hours. Many slow cookers have a “warm” setting that will keep the food warm without cooking it. But if your cooker does not have the option, use the low setting option on the cooker to keep the food warm. 

However, it also means the fish will slowly continue to cook. If you do fear overcooking the dish, you have to act smart. Do not completely cook your dish. Put it in the slow cooker to get cooked. Or, you can put the dish in the cooker an hour before the guests sit down to dinner. This way, you do not have to be concerned about your fish getting overcooked.

Chafing Dish

You’ve probably wondered how the foods in buffets stay warm and fresh for hours. Well, this is because of the hitting system of the chafing dish. 

If you are a regular party thrower, you should have some chafing tables. It will save you a lot of time. You can serve many people at once and keep the food warm for hours. Chafing dishes have a simple heating system. It does not need to be constantly overlooked by you. Hence, you can enjoy the party with others. 



Have a cooler in your house? Well, they are not just great for keeping food and drinks cold; they are also useful for keeping them warm. The cooler boxes are made to trap heat inside. 

First, you need to line the inside of your cooler box with tin foil paper. Then put your cooked fish in a casserole dish or any other dish with a lid. Take more foil paper and completely cover the dish. To keep the food warm for hours, you will need heating packs.

You can make heating packs at home with clean cotton socks and rice. Pour some rice into the socks and heat them in the oven for 3 minutes. 

For packing, place a kitchen towel on the bottom of the cooler, then the fish dish and heating pads. Finally, place another towel on top and close the cooler. The fish will stay warm for a long time. Also, check the temperature of the fish from time to time. It should be above 140 degrees F all the time. 

Use a Casserole 

Want to keep your fish warm for some time? You can simply use a casserole dish for that. The casserole dish should be made of ceramic or cast iron as they keep the heat for a longer time compared to metal and aluminum pots. You may also wrap the casserole with foil paper or newspaper to retain the heat even more. 

How to Transport Warm Fish From One Place To Another?

As I mentioned earlier, you can use a cooler or an insulated carrier to take cooked fish to the picnic venue. Any fish recipe, except fried fish dishes, will stay warm for hours in such carriers. 

Traveling with fried fish and keeping it warm and crispy is tricky. If you put fried fish in a contained box, the heat will get trapped inside. This will turn the steam from hot food into moisture. As a result, the outer layer of the fried fish will get soggy.

So, you will need a special insulated carrier with holes to carry fried fish. Put some newspaper or paper towel in the carrier, and place the fried fish in a single layer. Make sure you do not cover the venting holes. 

The holes will allow air to circulate in the carrier and keep the inside dry, and the paper towels will also absorb some of the moisture. Thus, the fried fish will not lose its crispiness. 

How To Reheat Fried Fish

Sometimes, your guests may not finish all the fish you have prepared. It is perfectly okay to refrigerate your leftover fish, but not for more than 4 days. During this time, you can reheat the fish and eat it with no problem. 

Again, reheating fried fish is different from reheating fish curry. Here is how you can reheat fried fish: 

  • Preheat your oven to 250 to 350 degrees F.
  • Take the fried fish from the refrigerator and leave it at room temperature for a while to melt any ice. Meanwhile, the oven will get heated. 
  • Place a baker’s cooler rack or oven rack in the oven. Now, put aluminum foil or baking sheets on it.
  • Next, take the fried fish and place them on the rack in the oven. Let them heat up for 10 to 15 minutes. 
  • Use a food thermometer to check if the fish has reached 145 degrees Fahrenheit. This is the safe temperature to eat reheated fried fish. 

Although the taste and texture of the fried fish will not be like the freshly fried ones, they will still be crispy and delicious. 

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