Imagine the following scenario. You make some food, and put part of it in the fridge relatively quickly (often before I eat, so I save e.g. half for later).
Some time later, usually dinner the same day, or either lunch or dinner the next day, I re-heat that food.
So far, so good, I assume.

Now, the question is: what if I re-heat it (first time) for dinner, but it gets cold while eating, and I re-heat it the second time perhaps 20-60 minutes later?

A, is it safe at all, and B, if it can be, do I have to heat it to cooking temperature yet again, or can I simply heat it so it's pleasant to eat, this second time? I always heat it properly the first time around.


1 Answer 1


The real issue is the total time it spends in the "danger zone" (40-140 F, 4-60 C), not how many times it is heated, frozen or refrigerated. Those things may change the quality and make the food unpleasant, but that is a separate issue. Re-heating in and of itself is not inherently unsafe.

See also:

How do I know if food left at room temperature is still safe to eat?

  • "This time is cumulative, so it includes time bringing the food home from the grocery store, time before cooking, time after cooking, and so on" -- that seems to make it hard to ever have re-heated food be safe! Say it takes you 45 minutes finish shopping and to get home from the store, then you put it in the fridge, and it cools down in 15 minutes. 1 hour left for cooking and refrigeration, so say 15 minutes is left after that. Next time you heat it, you don't even have time to eat it without rushing! This seems extremely conservative, almost silly. Not to mention many fridges are 6-8 C.
    – exscape
    Oct 13, 2013 at 17:54

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