Potatoes are perhaps the most versatile vegetable you’ll ever come across. There are many ways to make potatoes – roasting, boiling, frying, baking, grilling, braising, steaming, and the list goes on.
Similarly, you can make thousands of dishes with potatoes (both main and side dishes), such as French fries, wedges, mashed potatoes, a yummy potato side to serve with steaks, potato salad, casserole, potato soup, loaded potatoes; you name it, and it’s possible!
And while fresh potatoes are a treat, the problem comes when it is time to reheat the leftovers. If you’re not careful, you might not get the best results. For instance, your potatoes might not be evenly heated, they might dry out, or, worse, you might be left with a soggy mess!
So, what is the right way to reheat potatoes in the microwave? Should you even do it? Here’s everything you need to know.
Can you reheat potatoes in the microwave?
You can reheat potatoes in the microwave, but you need to be careful. Potatoes are rich in moisture so they might explode if you’re not careful. Similarly, the piping hot steam rising from the potatoes can really burn you. Plus, you need to make sure they’re properly stored before nuking them.
Leftover cooked potatoes can be harmful to you if they’re not stored properly and thoroughly reheated before you eat them.
Experts state that leaving cooked potatoes at room temperature for a few hours can cause bacteria to infect them. This is highly likely if the potatoes are in an airtight container or wrapped in foil while cooling. And reheating the potatoes doesn’t kill the bacteria.
Plus, reheating the potatoes very frequently can increase the chances of food poisoning. You must make sure they’ve cooled down completely and stored in the refrigerator properly after cooking. I also recommend removing the hooks and eyes in the potato skin where bacteria are usually found. If you don’t, these bacteria will start to multiply once you cook the potatoes.
How to reheat potatoes in the microwave
To reheat potatoes in the microwave, put them in a microwave-safe dish and nuke them at 50% power (or reheat setting) for up to 5 minutes. Make sure to rotate the dish and stir in between. Microwave in 30-second intervals until the potatoes reach a temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
Reheating the potatoes in the microwave is quick and easy, but they can dry out if you’re not careful. To prevent that from happening, cut them in half. Take a damp paper towel and wrap it around each half to retain moisture. Then microwave the potatoes for 2-3 minutes. You can also use microwaveable plastic wrap instead. Note that these instructions are particularly for pre-baked potatoes.
It’s also better if you take them out of the fridge 15 minutes before you want to heat them so that they come down to room temperature and then microwave them. Once you cut and wrap the potatoes, put them on a microwave-safe plate and chuck them in the microwave oven. Heat them until they’re hot enough or their internal temperature is 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
I also don’t recommend storing raw potatoes in the refrigerator. This is because the starch in the potato converts to sugar at low temperatures. Ultimately, this means that the potatoes will dry out. Instead, store them in a cool, dark place so that they don’t dry out when you microwave them.
Is it safe to reheat potatoes in the microwave?
It is safe to reheat potatoes in the microwave as long as they are properly stored in the refrigerator. But if they are left outside for a few hours to cool down, there’s a high chance of food-borne bacteria multiplying and infecting the potatoes. Even aluminum-wrapped potatoes left out to cool can be infected, and increase the chance of food poisoning.
When it comes to potatoes, you should know one thing: you can’t put them in the freezer. They can turn watery and mushy. This is why you should store them in the refrigerator.
And to do that, first, remove the aluminum foil from the baked potatoes and let them come down to room temperature. Once they’re fully cool, wrap them up in aluminum foil or plastic wrap again. Alternatively, you can store them in an airtight container.
In addition, you should tightly wrap cooked potatoes before putting them in the refrigerator so that they don’t dry out. Remember that cooked potatoes can lose their moisture and become crumbly if you refrigerate them without tightly sealing them.
Can you reheat potatoes in the microwave the next day?
Yes, it is possible to reheat potatoes in the microwave the next day. But you should make sure they are stored properly.
The potatoes are freshest the very next day but that doesn’t mean you can microwave them without any problem. You should only microwave them if they’re properly stored. In fact, if you store them correctly and in the right conditions, they can last for up to 5 days after being cooked.
How long should you reheat potatoes in the microwave?
The time for which you should reheat the potatoes in the microwave depends on the vegetable’s size and quantity as well as the microwave’s wattage. However, in general, you should only heat it for 3-5 minutes.
The time it takes to reheat a potato depends on the kind of potato you’re microwaving. Are you microwaving baked, raw, or cooked potatoes?
Similarly, potatoes that you just took out from the refrigerator will take longer than potatoes that are already at room temperature. And, of course, the quantity matters, too. For instance, one large potato might heat up faster than two medium-sized ones.
In addition to that, the microwave size and wattage also matter since the energy output affects how fast the appliance heats up the food.
Tips to reheat potatoes in the microwave
The key to successfully reheating potatoes in the microwave is to retain their moisture. It’s very easy to dry out the potato when reheating it. Plus, it should be cooled, cooked, and properly stored so that it doesn’t dry out. Other tips to keep in mind are:
- Wash the potatoes under running water and thoroughly scrub them to get rid of the dirt. Once you’re done, pat them dry and trim any marks you see using a paring knife.
- Poke 4-5 holes in the potatoes with a fork on each side. This will let the steam escape so that the potatoes don’t explode.
- Season the potatoes with salt and pepper and rub some olive oil to add some delicious flavors to them.
- Microwave the potatoes on high power for up to 5 minutes. Make sure you flip them halfway. You can also adjust the time based on the number of potatoes you have.
- You can check if the potatoes are fully done by piercing the center with a fork or paring knife. If they are a little hard, you can microwave them a little more so that they cook thoroughly.
- Let the potatoes cool down a little before eating them.
- To store the potatoes, make sure they cool down fully. You can reheat stored potatoes for up to 4 days, so you can make a large batch and refrigerate it so that you can have some the next day.
The Bottom Line
You now know how to reheat the potatoes in the microwave. It’s a little tricky and you can be left with dried potatoes if you’re not careful. But with a little bit of experimentation and a few tries, you can figure out how to reheat the potatoes in the microwave perfectly. Just make sure you store them properly so that you can reheat them and enjoy them without any problems!