Microwaving is the easiest and quickest method for reheating food. But very often the food you have reheated once in the microwave needs another warm-up. What should you do?
Can you microwave food twice? You can microwave food twice if you have cooled and stored it properly after reheating it for the first time. With this said, there are foods that you should avoid reheating multiple times, including those with high starch content.
This article explains why it isn’t always a good idea to reheat certain foods more than once, what is the correct way of microwaving food safely, and what are the exceptions.
Is It Bad to Reheat Food More Than Once?
There isn’t a set amount of times you can reheat food. You can reheat food as many times as you want. However, you need to not only reheat the food properly but also store and cool it the right way.
Additionally, there are exceptions—foods that you shouldn’t reheat more than once despite the reheating method you are using.
Even with foods that you can reheat more than once either in the microwave or using another reheating method, there is one thing to be aware of. The flavor and texture of the dish may suffer significant changes.
Dishes that have a high water content, such as soups and stews, can handle multiple reheating sessions.
Overcooking is the only problem that you may have with these dishes. The ingredients used in them will eventually get mushy and change the texture of the dish.
Dishes with a tougher texture and little water content, such as rice, pasta dishes, and cooked meats, will get even tougher and chewier.
Any time there is a chance to add extra sauce to the dish or some water, do it. You can also microwave these dishes covered to prevent the moisture from evaporating.
So, even if the dish is safe to be reheated more than once in the microwave, oven, or on the stovetop, you may not want to do it due to the texture changes it undergoes.
We should note, however, that in the majority of the cases you don’t get the chance to reheat the same dish too many times.
This is because the shelf life of leftovers is usually around 4 days. If you intend to keep the dish longer, we recommend you store it in the freezer.
Which Foods Can’t You Microwave Twice?
As mentioned above, reheating food multiple times is okay. You can microwave some of your favorite dishes more than once without sacrificing their texture.
But there are foods that you are not recommended to reheat twice in the microwave for safety reasons.
The first one on the list is rice which may contain Bacillus cereus. It is a pathogen that can survive high heat. It is best to err on the safe side and not eat reheated rice.
Other foods that you should avoid reheating twice are eggs, pasta, noodles, potatoes, and other starchy vegetables.
Experts believe that these dishes are not safe for consumption after being reheated a few times, especially when they were allowed to cool slowly.
The slower these foods cool the higher are the chances of harmful bacteria forming in them.
How To Reheat Food In The Microwave The Right Way
Before we discuss the key rule of reheating food in the microwave, you should first know how to store it to ensure food safety.
Start with storing the leftovers properly. First off, you need to let the dish cool completely before you transfer it into the fridge.
It is best to allow the leftovers to cool in the container you will be using to store them in the fridge. This way the food will cool faster, decreasing the chances of bacterial growth.
Secondly, if there is a lot of food left, divide it into a few portions. This is one of the best ways to help you avoid reheating the same portion of food twice or more.
And lastly, store the leftovers in the fridge only when they have fully cooled.
When it comes to reheating food in the microwave, the main rule to follow is that the dish should reach a temperature of 168°F.
This way you can reheat the food as many times as you want so long as the texture of the dish doesn’t suffer, and you cool and store it properly afterward.
As microwaves don’t heat the food evenly, cool spots may form in the food you are reheating, giving harmful bacteria excellent conditions to thrive.
For this reason, you should give the dish a good stir to make sure it is piping hot all the way through.