Why You Shouldn't Microwave Leftover Potatoes

How many times have you appreciated your microwave while heating something in the kitchen? A million times or more, for sure. This kitchen appliance helps us reheat and prepare things in less time than usual, plus, it can help us cook elaborate dishes like risotto, and French toast, a morning favorite.

But, while preaching the benefits of this appliance, we also need to be careful and take the needed precautions to avoid using the microwave wrong. We must use microwave-safe dishes and containers, as there are some materials, like styrofoam or single-use plastic, that could break the microwave, or cause a tragic incident in our kitchens. Plus, there is food that should never go in the microwave so they don't get spoiled, or make us sick. There's a certain food that tastes delicious if roasted in the microwave but must never be reheated after being saved in the fridge. Yes, microwaving leftover potatoes can cause health risks and quite severe ones.

Microwaving potatoes can cause food poisoning

According to Real Simple, potatoes can have Clostridium botulinum, the botulism bacteria. When you cook potatoes and don't store them immediately, you might risk the bacteria growing.

The CDC explains that botulism is a rare but risky illness that attacks nerves and may cause breathing problems, muscle paralysis, and even death. Usually, the bacteria develop in spaces with low oxygen, like when a potato is wrapped with aluminum foil to bake it. The Healthy reports that foil protects the bacteria from the heat, and the food is more likely to be contaminated, which the microwave doesn't kill.

The safest way to have leftover potato is first to store it once is cooked. If it is kept at room temperature, any bacteria will continue growing, so don't wait until it cools down (via SBS). Save it in the fridge as soon as possible. 

Then, comes reheating. Besides preventing food poisoning, reheating potatoes in something that isn't a microwave ensures more flavor and crispy skin — you'll feel they were just made. Cooked Best suggests using the oven, but an air fryer would be just fine. Remember that the microwave is a way to cook potatoes quickly and easily, but not the best option to reheat them. It's all about preserving texture and watching out for your health. If you are cautious about cooking, storing, and reheating, you can avoid getting sick while still enjoying the potatoes' gold, crispy, and rich flavor.