6 Foods You Should Never Reheat In The Microwave

One starchy staple will surprise you.

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rice and chicken teriyaki in a black bowl

Sure, a microwave can reheat an endless variety of foods, but it really shouldn’t. Save yourself from a bout of food poisoning or just an unsatisfying, dried-out meal by keeping these leftovers off your rotating tray.

Rice

Rice contains spores of Bacillus cereus, a bacterium that can cause food poisoning. These spores can survive through cooking, and the longer that cooked rice stays at room temperature, the more likely it is the bacteria will grow and multiply. Make sure your rice is cooled quickly before refrigerating (within an hour) and reheated all the way through before eating. And if it’s over 24 hours old? Tossing it into the green bin is the safest bet.

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Coffee

Coffee’s acidity increases as it cools, giving it a bitter taste, and reheating it in the microwave further breaks down any remaining aromatics, producing a stale flavour. To avoid committing this coffee crime (and settling for a sub-par cup), store coffee in a well-insulated thermos — or start from scratch.

Hard-boiled eggs

Hard-boiled eggs can be cooked in advance for a great on-the-go snack, but if you prefer to eat them piping hot, avoid the microwave. Boiled eggs contains moisture, and steam will build up as they heat. The shell prevents the steam from escaping — meaning the egg will explode when you peel it. (Not a great way to start your busy morning.) The best way to reheat a hard-boiled egg is to place it in a bowl with boiled water, covered, for 10 minutes.

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Fish

The quickest way to tick off your co-workers is to reheat leftover seafood in the office microwave. It can be tricky to avoid over-cooking fish the first time around, and reheating it is a surefire way to dry it out, especially thinner fillets. Fattier varieties, such as salmon, will also produce more pungent aromas when reheated. Save yourself! Save your work mates! Serve leftover fish cold by adding it to a plate of grilled veggies or by flaking it into a warm taco or burrito.

Illustration of a fridge
10 Foods That Shouldn’t Go In The Refrigerator

Turkey

Microwaving day-old turkey will completely dry it out. It’s best to avoid reheating altogether and reserve leftovers for cold sandwiches and salads instead. If you’re desperate for a post-holiday hot turkey dinner, bring gravy to a boil then pour it over top of the poultry. This helps to warm it up without drying it out (and producing the gamey flavour that can come with microwave reheating).

Foods you’ve already reheated

Reheating leftovers from the refrigerator or freezer is a one-time-only deal. This is because the more times you cool and reheat food, the higher the risk of bacteria growth and food poisoning, as well as an increased likelihood of unpleasant off-flavours developing. Remove only what you plan to eat from the fridge for reheating, and go back for more later if needed.

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