Reheat Responsibly: 11 Foods You Should Never Reheat in the Microwave

Woman using a microwave


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French fries

Microwave Mishaps

After a long day, sometimes all you have enough energy for is heating up some leftovers and turning on Netflix. But while microwaves provide an easy and convenient solution for reheating food, not all dishes play nice with it. 

Take leftover salmon or french fries, for example. Pop them in the microwave and your crispy, golden fries turn into sad, soggy sticks. And that juicy salmon? It devolves into a dry, crumbly mush that leaves your microwave smelling like a fish market for days.

Here are 11 foods you should never reheat in the microwave — plus tips on how to properly reheat each dish so it stays fresh and delicious.

Scrambled Eggs


Reheating eggs — whether scrambled, fried, or hard boiled — in the microwave can leave them tasting rubbery and tough. If you have leftover cooked eggs that you'd like to warm up, your best bet is to do it gently on the stovetop over low heat, stirring or flipping frequently to distribute the heat evenly. 

Steamed rice and beans


Microwaving rice can turn its fluffy texture hard and unappetizing. Instead, try steaming rice in a pot over the stovetop. Add a small amount of water, cover the pot, and let it steam slowly for about five to 10 minutes to rehydrate your grains. If you must reheat rice in the microwave, add an ice cube on top to achieve a similar steaming effect.

Family Eating Pizza at Home Out of Pizza Box


I hate to break it to ya, but if you've been reheating leftover pizza in the microwave, you've been doing it wrong. When reheated in the microwave, pizza can turn into a soggy mess, with the crust losing its original crispness. For a crunchier, more satisfying slice, try reheating it in the oven on low heat for at least 15 minutes. This will heat your pizza evenly while preserving the crust's texture.

Salisbury Steak


Microwaving steak can leave it dry and overcooked, robbing the meat of its juicy, tender texture. Instead, reheat it in the oven for about 20 minutes, or on the stovetop on low heat to help it retain its moisture and keep the juices sealed inside. If it's still too dry, add a bit of broth or water and you've got an imitation Salisbury steak. 

Related: Where To Find Great, Cheap Steak in Every State

Chicken Marsala


Chicken, especially the breast, tends to become tough, dry, and chewy when reheated in the microwave. Instead, reheat it slowly in the oven or on the stovetop to ensure the meat stays juicy and tender.

Related: 50 Cheap and Easy Chicken Recipes

Cheesecake Factory Nachos
Cheesecake Factory


Throwing your nachos in the microwave can make the chips soft and the cheese rubbery. Instead, opt to reheat your nachos in the oven. Spread them out on a baking sheet, add some fresh cheese, and warm them at a low temperature. This will help maintain the crispness of the chips and ensure the cheese melts evenly without becoming tough.

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Baked Pasta Skillet


Pasta often heats unevenly in the microwave, resulting in spots that are too hot and others that are too cold. That, or you end up with hardened bits that are unappetizing to eat. Instead, try reheating it in a skillet on the stovetop and add a bit of sauce or water to rehydrate the pasta and make them soft and supple. 

Related: These Pasta Recipes Are Taking TikTok by Storm

French fries

French Fries

French fries become disappointingly soggy and gross when reheated in the microwave. Unless you like eating steamed fries, reheat them in an oven — or even better, an air fryer (if you have one) to help them retain that crispy and satisfying texture.

Related: 7 Top Tips for Cooking Frozen French Fries in an Air Fryer

Irish Guinness Brown Bread


Have you ever tried reheating a croissant in the microwave? Don't do it — it turns into a rock. In fact, microwaving most types of bread will turn it tough and dry. Instead, try wrapping your bread in foil and warming it in the oven on low heat. The foil will trap moisture to help the bread stay soft and delicious. 

Related: Pull-Apart Bread Recipes That Are Fun to Eat and Easy to Make

seafood boil
Ching C./Yelp


When reheated in the microwave, seafood can dry out quickly and leave an unpleasant smell that lingers for days. Instead, warm it up gently in the oven or on the stovetop to help it maintain its tender texture and minimize odors. Need to deodorize your microwave? Fill a bowl with white vinegar and water and let the mixture heat for about 2-3 minutes. 

Related: You'll Be Hooked: 20 Amazing Seafood Shacks Across America

breakfast pastry
breakfast pastry by Marko Milivojevic (None)


When you reheat pastries in the microwave, they can quickly lose their crispiness and become soggy or turn stale and dry. To preserve that delightful crunch, heat them up in the oven on low heat for about 10 minutes. This will ensure a more even distribution of heat to help preserve the pastry's crisp exterior and soft, gooey filling.

Related: 20 Essential Baking Tools That Every Aspiring Pastry Chef Needs