How Many Times Can You Reheat Food Safely?

7 mins read

The most effective strategies to reduce bacterial risks in food are to cook and reheat it. When food is cooked or reheated long enough at a high enough temperature, most foodborne germs and viruses are eliminated.  Safely reheating food is a difficult task. Food should have a core temperature of at least 75 degrees Celsius. 

Failure to obtain the proper temperatures or employ the proper techniques may result in a soggy meal or, worse, food illness. There are various crucial elements to remember before preparing yourself to feast upon your meal, depending on the type of food you have on your plate and the reheating methods you use. Follow these simple guidelines to ensure your business is in line with the workplace health and safety policies. 

How Many Times Can You Reheat Food Safely?

The answer varies depending on the food item. However, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) suggests that food be reheated only once, therefore adhere to this recommendation wherever possible.

While the leftovers must be consumed within 24 hours, there are some foods that cannot be reheated. You should only reheat your food once because doing it more than once can cause difficulties. You should also make sure that your food is properly stored. Make sure the leftovers are totally cool before putting them in the fridge. When you put hot food in the fridge, it may produce toxins, which will increase when you reheat it.

Reheating Food Guidelines: How To Reheat Leftovers

The dish is technically safe to consume as long as you reheat leftovers to at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit each time. However, keep in mind that each reheat reduces the food’s quality: foods get overcooked, dry, or have a significant change in texture.

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Reheating Home-Cooked Meals

You can safely reheat leftover home-cooked meals an unlimited number of times. However, it is preferable to keep the number of times you do so to a minimum. You won’t need to reheat one sort of meal more than once in most cases. Separate and store meals in individual servings if you’re making them in bulk. This usually means that they will only need to be reheated once.

Can You Reheat Chicken?

Yes, contrary to popular perception, your chicken may be safely reheated. It must, however, have been thoroughly prepared and kept before reheating, and it must be steaming hot all the way through. It’s better to use a probe to verify the core temperature of a large piece of chicken. Reheating chicken can cause it to dry up and become inedible, so it’s best to add some fat, such as oil or butter, and break it into smaller pieces.

Can You Reheat Rice?

If not handled or reheated properly, rice — especially reheated rice — can cause food poisoning. Bacillus cereus bacterium spores may be present in uncooked rice, causing food poisoning. The heat resistance of these spores is astonishing, and they often survive boiling. Rice can be reheated, but only if it has been left out at room temperature for a lengthy amount of time. It’s ideal to serve rice right away after it’s been cooked, then let it cool for an hour before refrigerating it for a few days before reheating.

Can You Reheat Takeaways?

Takeaways are trickier. You have no idea how the food was cooked or if it was frozen or warmed before being delivered to you. If you plan to reheat your meal after purchasing it, you should inquire about how the food is made. This will tell you if you may safely reheat it. When reheating some meals, such as rice, there is an additional risk, so either ask the cook or don’t take the chance.

Are There Any Foods You Shouldn’t Reheat?

“Here’s a golden rule of warming food: never ever reheat high-protein dishes,” says nutritionist Lokendra Tomar of the Weight Loss Clinic. Avoid reheating spinach or other green leafy vegetables, carrots, potatoes, eggs, or chicken in the microwave.

Furthermore, mushrooms are the most likely of the foods on this list to make you sick, owing to their vulnerability to microbes. If you want to eat them the next day, make sure you eat them cold from the fridge because warming mushrooms is unhealthy for your stomach.

What Methods Of Reheating Food Are Safe?

reheating food
  • On the stovetop: Place the meal in a pan and fully heat it. When safely reheated, the food should achieve a temperature of at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit on a food thermometer.
  • In the oven: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Check that the interior temperature of the food reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit using a food thermometer.
  • In microwave: Stir, cover, and rotate thoroughly cooked food in the microwave for equal heating. Allow time for standing. Heat the food until it reaches a temperature of at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit throughout.
  • Slow cookers, steam tables, and chafing dishes are not recommended. Reheating leftovers in slow cookers, steam tables, or chafing dishes is not suggested because meals may spend too much time in the “Danger Zone,” which is the temperature range between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Bacteria proliferate quickly in these conditions.

Get Food Safety Training For Your Staff

If you are running a business that involves food, make sure your staff is well-trained and knowledgeable on reheating them. Also, ensure they have an HACCP Level 2 certificate that will show how well they know their job. This is important, so have them trained if they are still lacking this food safety training. 

Cynthia Harper

I’m Cynthia Harper, along with my two wonderful kids, Gian and Nellie, we’re living our best life here at the Evergreen State of Washington! And together, we are Health Fit Advice! I’ve dedicated myself to giving my kids the best life, and through that dedication, I learned about everything health under the sun!

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