How to Properly Reheat Foods

Updated February 21, 2017

Freezing and refrigerating foods is a good way to prevent food loss. However, if foods aren't reheated properly, you can become sick. According to the Centers for Disease Control, food-borne illnesses begin with bacteria like Salmonella or E.coli. Foods must be reheated thoroughly and at the right temperature to kill any lingering, dangerous bacteria. It is not safe to eat foods that haven't been stored at temperatures of 4.44 degrees Celsius or below. Throw out any foods that smell bad or look discoloured.

Transfer leftover or takeout food from foam containers to a microwave-safe plate. Cover the plate loosely with plastic cling wrap.

Heat the plate of food for 1 minute on high heat. Open the microwave and poke the centre of the food with a food thermometer. The temperature should read 73.9 degrees Celsius. If the temperature is too low, remove the thermometer and return the food to the microwave, cooking for 30 more seconds. Test the food again and repeat until it reaches the desired temperature.

Use oven gloves or a towel to remove the food from the microwave. The food and plate will be hot. Do not handle a hotplate with bare skin.

Fill a pot half full of water. Place the pot on the stove and turn the stove heat on high.

Place the frozen vacuum-sealed bag into the boiling water. Boil the bag for 10 to 15 minutes.

Remove the hot bag from the stove to a bowl using tongs. Allow the bag to cool for a 2 to 5 minutes, then cut the bag open and transfer the contents to the bowl.

Preheat the oven to 191 degrees Celsius. Place frozen food on a baking tray or in a casserole dish. Pierce the thickest part of the food with the tip of the thermometer.

Heat the food for 10 minutes then check the thermometer. The temperature should read 73.9 degrees Celsius. If the food is not hot enough, return the food to the oven for more reheating.

Wear oven gloves to remove the baking tray from the oven. Carefully unwrap foods and serve them while hot.


Do not heat foods covered in plastic in the oven.

Things You'll Need

  • Microwave-safe plate
  • Plastic cling wrap
  • Food thermometer
  • Oven gloves
  • Kitchen towel
  • Pot
  • Tongs
  • Bowl
  • Baking tray
  • Casserole dish
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About the Author

As a former senior sales director with Mary Kay and the co-owner of a renovation company, Monica Patrick has firsthand knowledge of small business operations. Besides start ups, she has extensive skills in recruiting, selling, leadership, makeup artistry and skin care.