19 Foods You Should Avoid Microwaving at All Costs

Written By Jill Taylor

Everybody loves the convenience of microwaving food, heating up leftovers at the push of a button, and preparing instant meals in minutes. However, not every meal is suitable for the microwave, and some can even be dangerous. Here are 19 foods you should never even consider putting in your microwave.

Leafy Greens

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Leafy greens are definitely an important part of a balanced diet, but it’s not a good idea to heat them up in the microwave. According to NPR, “leafy greens are high in iron,” which can “cause a spark”, so be wary of kale, spinach, and other dark leafy greens!

Eggs

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Ensure you keep eggs still in their shells away from your microwave! Eggs in their shells are known to explode when microwaved, which can be dangerous and messy to clean up! If you really want to microwave eggs, remember to remove the shells.

Processed Meats

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Although processed meats aren’t the healthiest choice, microwaving them could be even worse for your health. They contain chemicals and preservatives to help them last longer, and microwaving can cause their cholesterol to oxidize, which is bad for your heart.

Breast Milk

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While breast milk isn’t a staple food for most Americans, it’s incredibly important for a baby’s growth. However, the CDC suggests that “Microwaving can destroy nutrients in breast milk and create hot spots, which can burn a baby’s mouth.” Do not microwave breast milk for a happy and healthy baby.

Chili Peppers

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Spicy food can be really tasty, but your kitchen might get too hot to handle if you put chilis in the microwave. They release capsaicin, which is the chemical that makes them spicy, and when it goes into the air, it can irritate your eyes and lungs. This can be incredibly painful!

Potatoes

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A few risks are associated with microwaving potatoes; for example, if you don’t poke holes in them, they could explode! The uneven heat in a microwave can also cause the starch in the potatoes to burst or harden, making them inconsistently ‘gluey’ and tough.

Grapes

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For such a small food, you might be fooled into thinking that grapes are harmless when microwaved. However, grapes’ water content becomes steam when heated in the microwave, which could cause them to explode, just like potatoes. When cut in half, grapes can even ignite in the microwave!

Mushrooms

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If your mushrooms have been refrigerated after cooking, microwaving them should be safe, although if they weren’t, they could cause a nasty case of food poisoning. This is because their proteins and complex enzymes are destroyed if they’re not put in the refrigerator soon enough.

Processed Cheese

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While microwaving processed cheese isn’t dangerous, it might not be the best idea. It contains a lot of fat, which means that when it is microwaved, it can become really rubbery and greasy, which won’t make for a nice eating experience. Try applying your processed cheese to your food after microwaving.

Any Fruit With Skin

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Putting whole fruits such as apples or blueberries in the microwave can get rid of the beneficial nutrients in them, which means they won’t be as good for you. Furthermore, similar to grapes, fruit with skin can explode in the microwave, and the fruit’s insides can overheat and potentially cause burns.

Raw Meat

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The USDA states that raw meat heated in the microwave “can cook unevenly and leave cold spots where harmful bacteria can survive.” If you don’t stir or rotate your raw meat while cooking it in the microwave, it could be quite dangerous to eat, so be careful!

Food In A Plastic Container

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Plastic containers can be really helpful for storing leftovers and reducing food waste, but you should always remove food from the container before microwaving it. This is because plastic can melt in the microwave and release harmful chemicals, contaminating your food.

Bread

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Although microwaving bread isn’t dangerous, it also isn’t ideal. Heating bread in the microwave can cause it to become chewy and hard, as all of the moisture is taken out of it. Reheating bread in the oven instead can help to keep its light and fluffy texture.

Rice

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Think twice before you reheat your rice, as it may contain bacteria that can survive even after being cooked. This bacteria can then cause food poisoning, which will not be a pleasant experience. Leaving the rice out for too long after cooking or storing leftovers for too long can increase bacteria growth.

Frozen Meat

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The microwave is not your best option when you need to defrost frozen meat. Microwaving frozen meat can make it dry and tough, ruining the texture and reducing the juices. Although it’s not dangerous, defrosting meat in the microwave just isn’t the right method for good-quality meat.

Herbs And Spices

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Seasonings can add a lot of flavor to your favorite dishes, but herbs and spices are often quite dry. When you put something too dry in the microwave, it can quite literally catch fire, which is a major hazard for your kitchen. Some spices’ flavors can fade when microwaved!

Oily Foods

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Reheating oily foods might cause the cooking oil in the food to reach its boiling point, meaning you’ll lose out on nutrients and potentially release toxic chemicals. Business Insider recommends “to wait until after heating your food to add oil or oil-based sauces, and always stop microwaving if you see smoke.”

Coffee

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We’ve all forgotten about a half-finished cup of coffee before, and you’ve probably considered putting it in the microwave for 30 seconds or so to warm it up. However, this can cause your coffee to become really bitter because it produces more acidic compounds. It might be better to just brew another cup.

Seafood

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Finally, we’ve arrived at the controversial office topic: reheating seafood. Fishy leftovers in the microwave can create an unpleasant smell throughout your kitchen (or office breakroom), but it can also dry out your seafood, causing toughness and a rubbery texture. For the sake of your tastebuds and your coworkers, consider another option!

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