Reheating Food: Microwave Safety for Stove Top and Oven Cooked Dishes

Reheating food is a common practice in many households, especially for those who love to cook in bulk or enjoy leftovers. However, there are often questions about the safety of reheating food in a microwave, particularly if the food was initially cooked on a stove top or baked in an oven. This article aims to provide comprehensive information on microwave safety for reheating stove top and oven-cooked dishes.

Is it Safe to Reheat Food in a Microwave?

Yes, it is generally safe to reheat food in a microwave, provided that certain precautions are taken. Microwaves heat food by producing radio waves that excite the water molecules in the food, causing them to vibrate and produce heat. This process can heat food quickly and efficiently, but it can also lead to uneven heating if not done correctly. Therefore, it’s important to stir or rotate the food halfway through the reheating process to ensure even heat distribution.

What Precautions Should be Taken When Reheating Food in a Microwave?

  • Use microwave-safe containers: Not all containers are safe for microwave use. Some plastics can melt or release harmful chemicals when heated. Glass, ceramic, and certain types of plastic containers labeled as microwave-safe are generally safe to use.

  • Stir or rotate the food: As mentioned earlier, microwaves can heat food unevenly. To prevent this, stir or rotate the food halfway through the reheating process.

  • Do not overheat: Overheating can cause food to dry out or become tough. It can also lead to burns if the food is touched immediately after being removed from the microwave.

Are There Any Foods That Should Not be Reheated in a Microwave?

While most foods can be safely reheated in a microwave, there are a few exceptions. These include:

  • Raw or rare meats: These can become tough or overcooked when reheated in a microwave.

  • Foods with a high sugar content: These can become extremely hot and may cause burns.

  • Foods in cans: Cans can explode if heated in a microwave. Always transfer the food to a microwave-safe container before reheating.


In conclusion, it is generally safe to reheat stove top and oven-cooked dishes in a microwave, provided that certain precautions are taken. Always use microwave-safe containers, stir or rotate the food for even heating, and avoid overheating. Be aware of the few types of food that should not be reheated in a microwave, and always handle reheated food with care to avoid burns.