17 Foods You Should Never Reheat the Next Day

Cooking more than you can finish is quite common, especially when you cook for more than one person. However, while many foods, such as meat and pasta, are generally safe to reheat after 24 hours, you risk ingesting bacteria with other meals. So, be careful when reheating the 17 following foods.


Photo Credit: Nishihama/Shutterstock.

Reheating rice is bad when you don’t refrigerate it within two hours of cooking. The bacteria Bacillus cereus lives in cooked rice and multiplies at room temperature; even reheating doesn’t kill it. The NHS says consuming it causes vomiting and diarrhea, so it’s best to just boil a new batch of rice.


Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

Heat in the microwave doesn’t penetrate chicken equally, leaving some parts undercooked and exposing you to bacteria like salmonella. Whilst you can reheat chicken, it’s advised to let the meat dry out first for this reason. Just bear in mind that the proteins in chicken can also upset your stomach when reheated!


Photo Credit: Lotus Images/Shutterstock.

Catfish are only great to eat when freshly prepared, so unless you don’t mind eating tasteless fish, it’s better to avoid reheating it. You should also always avoid reheating any type of fish more than once, as this allows illness-causing bacteria to grow in them.

Oil-Cooked Meals

Photo Credit: LightField Studios/Shutterstock.

Whether you’re using olive, flaxseed, corn, or rapeseed oil, you should be careful about reheating meals prepared with it. The smoke produced from heating oils introduces acrylamide into your food, which the FDA explains is a cancer-causing agent. The more times these oils are heated, the more this becomes a problem.


Photo Credit: Cesarz/Shutterstock.

Leaving potatoes to cool at room temperature, sealed, and unrefrigerated is a great condition for the Clostridium botulinum bacteria to grow. Even when refrigerated, reheating potatoes doesn’t guarantee the killing of this nerve-damaging bacteria, putting you at risk of life-threatening illnesses.


Photo Credit: norikko/Shutterstock.

Enzymes and microorganisms quickly eat up the proteins in cooked mushrooms, making them fragile to store for long hours after cooking. Even mushrooms left in the refrigerator for more than 24 hours can give you an upset stomach, regardless of how much you reheat them.


Photo Credit: BearFotos/Shutterstock.

Spinach is rich in nitrates, an organic dietary compound that offers cardiovascular benefits. However, when reheated or even overheated on the first cook, nitrates develop into nitrosamines, carcinogenic compounds that a ScienceDirect study concluded can cause kidney and liver cancers.


Photo Credit: Nedim Bajramovic/Shutterstock.

Like spinach, turnips are also rich in nitrates, meaning that reheating them could expose you to cancer-causing compounds. This isn’t all, though; turnips are also full of water, providing favorable conditions for bacteria to grow. This makes them dangerous to reheat if they’ve been kept at room temperature for over two hours.


Photo Credit: Karl Allgaeuer/Shutterstock.

Reheating or even just overheating eggs can oxidize their proteins and nitrogen, making them green and potentially causing illness. This is especially dangerous if the eggs haven’t been properly stored or if they have been taken out of safe storage for over an hour. So, don’t eat those green eggs and ham!


Photo Credit: New Africa/Shutterstock.

Zucchini and other varieties of squash are vegetables with high water content. Cutting them open until the next day makes them too soggy to enjoy, and heating them up makes this even worse. The only workaround is to reheat it in a skillet over intense heat, ensuring the stored water evaporates quickly.


Photo Credit: itor/Shutterstock.

Carrots are another nitrate-rich vegetable that becomes toxic when reheated or overcooked. Many people claim you can remove nitrate from carrots by washing and peeling them, but over 90% of the nitrate content is stored internally, meaning they will remain as dangerous.

Baby Food

Photo Credit: Prostock-studio/Shutterstock.

You should never reheat baby food in a microwave, but this is for a very different reason than other foods on this list. Microwaves are known to unevenly warm up food, leaving some parts too hot and some undercooked. Naturally, this makes baby food an absolute no-no for microwave reheating.


Photo Credit: Liudmyla Chuhunova/Shutterstock.

Reheating shrimp is a terrible idea, but this isn’t about your health. Instead, it’s about missing out on the pleasure of eating them, as they develop a dry, rubbery texture when reheated. The smell of stale shrimp also makes consuming it the next day unpleasant altogether.


Photo Credit: Maslova Valentina/Shutterstock.

Leftover lasagna is another food that’s prone to quick bacteria growth when left at room temperature. If you haven’t refrigerated it immediately after cooking it, the ingredients lead to a haven for food-borne illnesses. Lasagna also becomes increasingly bland after each reheat, so it’s really not worth it.

Food With Coconut Milk

Photo Credit: SAM THOMAS A/Shutterstock.

Coconut milk is very healthy, but unlike many other types of milk, it’s plant-based, and heating it up over extended periods or multiple times can cause it to change into oil. Surprisingly, this means that you risk consuming unhealthy amounts of cholesterol by reheating coconut milk.

Food With Sucralose

Photo Credit: Chris LayKK/Shutterstock.

Sucralose is an artificial sweetener found in salad dressings and barbecue sauces and is generally safe to consume. However, a study published by the NLM reveals that when exposed to high temperatures, sucralose breaks down into toxic chlorinated compounds, which are known to have carcinogenic effects.

Food From Buffets

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

We’ve reached the end of our list, but looking through it, you’ll see a common theme: bacteria will infest food left at room temperature for hours. This is why the final food you should never reheat is any food from a buffet, as you simply have no idea how long that food has been left out!

More From Planning To Organize

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

18 Common Behaviors That Will Make People Lose Respect for You

18 Pets You’re Forbidden to Keep in the U.S.

17 Things You Should Never Eat for Breakfast