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One of the big problems with reheating food in a microwave or an oven is that it dries out the dish. To safely eat reheated food, it requires to be brought up to 165F or 75C.

How long on average, would a dish take to come up to this temperature when steamed in a domestic steamer? I'm thinking of something like mixed fried rice or meat biryani etc.,something where the steam can penetrate easily. I'd also be interested to hear if this would be a suitable method of heating frozen food, e.g. lasagne.

My theory is that this method would keep the contents moist, but at the same time not dry the dish out excessively.

I'd be particularly interested to hear of those with exposure to commercial steam ovens, as I believe these are frequently used for reheating food in hospitals etc.

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Steaming is an excellent method for re-heating. Your theory is correct, and can also work with frozen food. Most sources on the webs suggest steaming thawed leftovers for 5 - 8 minutes. However, a lot will depend on the density your product, or thickness of your pile of leftovers, and whether or not the product is frozen. This will be true regardless of whether you are steaming at home on the stove, or in a commercial steam oven. I don't think it's possible to be much more specific than that on time. The only way to be sure is to measure the temperature. This is, of course, one of the reasons why cooks who work in professional kitchens carry thermometers.

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  • Luckily the sort of dish that would reheat by steaming tends also to be suitable fro probe thermometers - and even very cheap ones can be good enough for this
    – Chris H
    Sep 24 at 15:19

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