10 Foods You Shouldn’t Reheat in Microwave

Microwaves are a marvel of modern kitchen convenience, but they aren’t ideal for heating all types of foods. Some foods can become harmful or lose their nutritional value when reheated in a microwave. Here’s a list of 10 foods you should think twice before zapping in the microwave.

1. Chicken

Reheating chicken in a microwave can be risky. Chicken contains a high density of protein, and reheating it can cause the proteins to break down differently. This can lead to digestive issues. If you must reheat chicken, ensure it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F to kill any potential bacteria.

2. Rice

Uncooked rice often contains spores of Bacillus cereus, a bacterium that can survive cooking. If cooked rice is left at room temperature, these spores can germinate. Reheating it in a microwave might not reach high enough temperatures to kill these spores, leading to food poisoning.

3. Potatoes

Potatoes, if left to cool at room temperature after cooking, can become a breeding ground for Clostridium botulinum, the bacteria that causes botulism. Reheating them in a microwave might not kill these bacteria, so it’s better to consume them immediately after cooking or refrigerate promptly.

4. Processed Meats

Processed meats can become harmful when reheated in a microwave due to chemicals and preservatives they contain. These can turn into carcinogens upon reheating. If you must reheat, do so at a lower temperature and for a shorter duration.

5. Leafy Greens

Leafy greens like spinach and kale may contain high levels of nitrates. When reheated, these nitrates can be converted into nitrites and then into nitrosamines, which are carcinogenic. It’s best to eat leafy greens fresh and avoid reheating them.

6. Eggs

Reheating eggs in a microwave can be dangerous as they can turn rubbery and overheat quickly, leading to a risk of them exploding. If you need to reheat dishes containing eggs, do it slowly at a lower temperature.

7. Mushrooms

Mushrooms have complex proteins that can be broken down by reheating, potentially causing digestive distress. It’s recommended to eat them fresh or reheat them gently on the stove rather than in a microwave.

8. Oil-Based Sauces

When oil-based sauces are reheated in a microwave, they can become unevenly hot and potentially cause burns. Additionally, the rapid heating can alter their flavor and texture.

9. Breast Milk

For mothers, reheating breast milk in a microwave can create hot spots that might burn the baby’s mouth. It can also destroy some of the beneficial nutrients. It’s better to gently warm breast milk in a bottle warmer or a bowl of warm water.

10. Certain Plastic Containers

While not a food, it’s important to mention that reheating food in certain plastic containers can release harmful chemicals into your food. Always use microwave-safe containers.


While microwaves are convenient, they’re not suitable for reheating everything. Being mindful of the foods you reheat can help maintain their nutritional value and avoid potential health risks. When in doubt, use the stove or oven for reheating to ensure both safety and quality.

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