The microwave is a convenient, easy-to-use, and super quick way to heat up your leftover foods. While food is never quite as good coming out of a microwave as when it’s fresh, we can’t deny that it’s a good way to get warm food with minimal effort.

But some foods should never go in the microwave oven. Sometimes, it ruins the food completely. Sometimes, it’s because it can pose a safety hazard. Whatever the case, these are some foods to never reheat in a microwave.

Here Are 13 Foods To Never Reheat In A Microwave


1.    Rice

Microwaving rice the wrong way can lead to fried rice syndrome, a type of food poisoning caused by the Bacillus cereus bacteria. These types of bacteria can even live on through being cooked, and when rice is left out at room temperature, these bacteria can truly flourish.

  • It’s not that microwaving rice is terrible – it’s that doing so the wrong way is just plain bad for your gut.
  • Rice should only be left out to cool for less than an hour before being put straight into the fridge.
  • Then, when reheated, the rice has to be reheated thoroughly.

And if you’re thinking of heating up rice that has been around for more than a day by placing it in the microwave, don’t. It’s not worth the food poisoning. Just throw it out.

2.    Hot Chili Peppers

Chili peppers contain a component known as capsaicin, and this is essentially what causes them to be so hot and spicy. When you put these peppers in the microwave, the extremely high temperatures cause those compounds to vaporize. Luckily, this won’t cause them to explode.

But as you can imagine, the steam these peppers give off will be pretty intense. It can burn your throat and eyes due to how hot it is; this is so serious that people have had to evacuate buildings due to microwaved peppers! They may not explode, but what happens isn’t much better.

3.    Broccoli

Yes, this vegetable is very easy to heat up in the microwave. But it’s a waste to nuke broccoli, as it causes a whopping 97% of all its nutritional content to vanish.

On top of that, cooking broccoli usually already removes many of its naturally positive benefits. Steamed broccoli has 11% of its antioxidants completely stripped off – so you can only imagine what microwaving does!

4.    Potatoes

The good news is that it’s okay to put uncooked potatoes in a microwave, no problem. But if that’s the case, why is it on this list? Well, reheating potatoes that have already been cooked is the true problem.

Potatoes contain C. botulinum, a bacteria that grows on potatoes and can cause severe health issues. When cooked in aluminum foil, the bacteria are protected within the foil, so you have to eat it as soon as possible.

  • This means eating leftover potatoes is generally not a great idea.
  • If you really must, put them back in the oven without foil; this can heat and kill the bacteria.
  • Putting them in a microwave is a sure way to find yourself with a contaminated potato that may make you very, very sick.

5.    Chicken

Popping chicken in the microwave is unquestionably wrong for you. Why? First, understand that microwaves aren’t mainly known for killing off bad bacteria reliably. Now, chicken is a food that is very, very prone to bacteria growth, especially salmonella. See the problem now?

Raw chicken needs to be thoroughly cooked to kill the bacteria within them. Studies have found that those who cook chicken in a skillet are fine, while those who use a microwave to cook their chicken can wind up with some form of illness. This is because salmonella bacteria survive through the heating process. It’s safe to say chicken is one of the most prominent foods to never reheat in a microwave!

6.    Mushrooms

If you’ve already cooked mushrooms and there are leftovers, it may be better to throw them out right away or commit to reheating them properly. This is because mushrooms, like other types of fungi, are extremely vulnerable to bad bacteria and other microorganisms.

  • It isn’t easy to store and then reheat mushrooms in the exact right way.
  • Try to prepare only the amount of mushrooms you want instead of overcooking.
  • In most cases, any reheated mushroom – not just ones tossed in the microwave – will likely give you a tummy ache.
  • After cooking, you can put the mushrooms straight into the fridge and enjoy them cold if desired.


7.    Eggs

Whole eggs with shells on them should never be boiled in the microwave. The extreme temperatures reached during the microwaving process can lead to a lot of internal pressure. This goes for microwaving already hard-boiled eggs, too. Basically, eggs have a history of exploding in a rush of painfully hot steam and causing burns.

Unfortunately, even unshelled eggs are not safe from this, as the inside of the egg can still experience a buildup of steam within. This means the extremely hot steam can rush out on your hands and/or face when you cut the egg open.

8.    Fruit

Specifically, we’re talking about frozen fruit. But why would anyone put frozen fruit in the microwave? Apparently, some people find zapping them in the device for a short while is a quick way to defrost fruit they’ve forgotten to move out of the freezer.

What’s the issue with this? Doing so opens up fruit to receiving carcinogens, effectively removing many of the favorable properties and health benefits you would have gotten from them.

On top of that, it can lead to illness and cause your immune system to go down when you eat those forcefully defrosted fruits later. Your best bet is to defrost frozen fruit in your fridge a few hours before they’re needed or even overnight.

9.    Red Sauces

Red pasta sauce can still taste delicious after being nuked in the microwave. But there’s just one problem. No matter how quickly you’re trying to microwave a vat of red pasta sauce, it will explode and ruin the inside of your microwave.

The tomato chunks in red pasta sauces can block steam from escaping the sauce properly. Then, all of a sudden, the sauce explodes outwards due to built-up pressure – and you’ll be left to clean up the horrible mess that comes out of it.

Even if there aren’t tomato chunks in our pasta sauce, it will likely still be too thick to have the steam escape from within easily. It’s best to put a saucepan on the stove and stir the sauce on low heat until it’s warm instead.

10. Processed Meat

All processed meats are generally unhealthy thanks to all the preservatives they are stuffed with that help them extend their shelf life. When you microwave those meats, though, the bad chemicals within the processed and refined foods begin to change in composition, making them even worse for you.

The resulting microwaved processed meats may contain oxidized cholesterol thanks to the radiation from the microwave. This can, in turn, cause an increased risk of heart disease. Not to mention that processed meats have all sorts of bad effects, from causing weight gain to resulting in decreased positive thinking, and even lessen your energy levels.

11. Bread

Putting bread in the microwave for a variation of warm toast isn’t end well for you. It isn’t going to cause any health or safety hazards, luckily, so there’s a positive. Still, we wouldn’t recommend trying to reheat bread in the microwave.

  • The gluten within it, as well as the sugar and starch, gets a little weird when it is microwaved.
  • Then, when the bread cools off so you can eat it without yelping at the heat, a reaction occurs, leading to the bread going very hard and chewy.
  • That’s a surefire way to ruin a snack!

So, what should you do instead? Use foil to wrap your bread and put it in the oven. Although it takes a little longer, it will also taste and feel much better.

12. Leafy Greens

Leafy green foods such as spinach, celery, kale, and more often find their way into our leftovers. But electrical engineering professor Mark Golkowski explains that some vegetables have different properties that can cause microwaves to spark. This will not only burn your veggies but also break your appliance.

In addition, some studies have found that many leafy greens contain nitrates that can turn into nitrosamines when exposed to a microwave’s heating process. These nitrosamines are worryingly carcinogenic, removing all positive qualities of your greens and making them dangerous.

13. Food That Has Already Been Reheated

Taking some leftovers out of your fridge and heating them up in any way at all is something you can only do once. The more times you have cooled, heated, cooled, heated, and cooled and heated food again, the greater the chances that bacteria have grown on the food and become dangerous to eat.

    • This means you should portion your leftovers. Take only what you need and reheat just that, and leave the rest in the fridge for later.
    • It doesn’t matter if you reheat on the stove first and want to reheat in the microwave next; it’s all bad when you reheat too many times.


Final Thoughts On Some Foods To Never Reheat In A Microwave

There are plenty of reasons that the microwave isn’t the best option to reheat food. With that being said, we totally understand the appeal. Still, it maybe isn’t the best idea to microwave these particular foods unless you want to deal with negative aftermath ranging from digestive issues to illness, and from explosions to messes.

But don’t worry! Practice some positive thinking and turn to the stove, or even an oven, instead. You’d be surprised how much better food can taste when not reheated the so-called lazy way. The fact that these other reheating methods don’t cause food poisoning or pressurized steam attacks is even more of a welcome bonus.