How Long to Reheat Chicken Curry in a Microwave? | 9 Great Tips!

So you’ve done your usual and ordered a little too much curry? (Nah, just kidding, there’s no such thing as too much curry). But if you have some left over and want to know how to reheat it, You’re going to need to know how long to reheat that chicken curry in a microwave. Well, this article will give you the answer, along with a load of other top tips, so you get a perfect result! Read on to find out more!

Stuck for Time? How long to Reheat Chicken Curry in a Microwave | Quick Answer

This all depends on the size of your portion. As a general rule, you should heat chicken curry for between two minutes and up to a maximum of five minutes. If you have frozen curry, it can take a lot longer.

As a good rule of thumb, work on around one and a half minutes per cup of curry. Microwaves aren’t like ovens, and they take longer to cook larger portions of food.

If you want some more detailed advice and tips, check out the rest of my article below.

Can you Reheat Chicken Curry in the Microwave?

Absolutely, curry is no different from any other meat and sauce-based dish. In fact, some people think that food that has been kept in the fridge overnight tastes even better!

The reason people worry about curry because they have heard horror stories about it, giving them an upset stomach. The truth is that this is more than likely a reaction to the spices as opposed to anything inherently ‘bad’ in the curry.

However, microwaves cook food slightly differently than a conventional oven, so it pays to observe a few important tips and tricks.

How to Reheat Chicken Curry in the Microwave | X Top Tips

1) Think about your portion size

Microwaves are pretty weird. Unlike conventional ovens, if you put twice the amount of food in a microwave, it generally takes around twice as long to cook.

The implications are that the cooking time for your curry will vary depending on how much curry there is. A larger amount of curry means a longer cooking time!

2) Make sure to use a microwave-safe container

Microwaves don’t just cook the food. If you choose the wrong dish, it can actually cause the internal molecules of the dish to ‘cook’ too!... Or melt.

That’s no good and a waste of curry!

3) Cover your curry… Loosely!

Just like with a pan, once your curry starts getting hot, it will produce steam. On the plus side, this steam is what is going to keep your curry nice and juicy.

The downside is that as liquid heats, it can start to bubble and spit, especially if you’ve got a lot of curry sauce… A dirty microwave? No, thanks!

We want that delicious curry sauce to stay in the bowl, for the time being, so we need to cover the curry with a lid.

But wait, we need to think about that too!


Because if we make the lid too tight, then we might actually create a pressurized container. This can be pretty dangerous to both you and your Microwave! A loose-fitting lid, with a gap for some steam to escape, is a good thing.

4) Microwave your chicken curry in bursts.

So we want a chicken curry that is piping hot all the way through, but we don’t want to burn it or dry it out…

What’s the best way to achieve the best of both worlds?

The answer is to microwave your curry in one-minute intervals, check the consistency and temperature, and decide whether it is ready to eat or needs another few minutes.

5) Know how Microwaves Cook | Stir your Curry

As we’ve already said, microwaves aren’t like a traditional oven. They don’t cook food from the outside in. They heat the centre section of the food, and this heat radiates out and cooks the rest.

What does this mean for you?

Essentially it means you will have to rearrange the food as it cooks to ensure that it gets an even blast of power. The easiest way to achieve this is to give it a quick mix and stir with a spoon.

Microwaving Chicken Curry | Safety Tips

Heating Curry in a microwave isn’t rocket science. But still, there are a few things that you should be aware of

1) Don’t Put Metal in a Microwave!

If you are trying to reheat a takeaway curry, it might seem super easy and convenient to Microwave it in the foil dish that it came in. Here is my advice…


Microwaves and Metal are not friends, not at all. Metal reflects the electromagnetic waves produced by your Microwave and can, in fact, concentrate them.

What this means in real terms? Lots of electronic sparks and a broken microwave! Non-metallic dishes only, folks!

Don’t believe us?

Check this out

2) Ensure your food is hot throughout!

When food cools to a certain temperature, it grows bacteria. This ‘goldilocks zone’, or as the USDA calls it ‘the danger zone’, is between 40°F and 140°F… Or, to put it in really simple terms, warmish to room temperature.

I’ll presume your food has been hot once before, and as it cooled down, it entered the danger zone for a little while. Meaning bacteria grew in the food.

Here’s the thing about bacteria…

They can make you really sick.

The best way to kill any vestiges of those pesky bacteria? Get your food nice and hot! Heat kills bacteria. The recommended temperature to get your Chicken curry up to is 75°C! At least!

That means you are going to have to give it a fair blast, especially if your curry was cold from the fridge.

3) Don’t push your curry’s shelf life…

We all love a curry, but it is a case of diminishing returns from the moment it has been cooked. Day-old curry? Absolutely fine. (Provided it has been refrigerated).

Any more than two days, you are pushing what is safe. Reheating food is safe… Reheating old food isn’t.

Do yourself a favour. If there is doubt about your curry’s freshness, bin it and make a new one.

4) Don’t Reheat More than Once

Ok, we get it. Reheating a chicken curry in a microwave is easy and convenient.


It is something that you should only do once. Every time you heat food, and it cools down, it enters the ‘danger zone’ again. Each time this happens, you increase the risk of creating bacteria that can be dangerous.

Reheat leftover curry by all means. But only do it once per curry, or you run the risk of food poisoning.

Microwaving Chicken Curry | FAQ

Still, got questions? No worries, here are some of the things I get asked all the time when it comes to reheating chicken curry in a microwave…

Is it Safe to Reheat Chicken in the Microwave?

Yes, it is. Chicken is no different from any other cooked meat. As long as you stick to some common-sense guidelines and ensure that your food is hot throughout, it is completely safe.

Granted, you might actually overdo it, in which case microwaved Chicken can become dry and chewy. Not my favourite kind of curry.

How do You Reheat Chicken in the Microwave without Drying it Out?

There are a few little tricks to make sure your Chicken stays all juicy. The first is to make sure that your cooking container is covered. As I said, you don’t want it to become pressurized. A great solution is to cover your bowl in food wrap. This will trap the moisture as your dish reheats but is weak enough to burst if the pressure gets too much.

How Long Should You Reheat Chicken and Rice in the Microwave?

It is super important to make sure old rice is heated through.

Because of its shape, it has a massive surface area with plenty of air gaps. Do you know what loves big surface areas and lots of air?


Add a little splash of water, cover your rice, and then microwave for a minimum of two minutes to make sure that it is really hot before serving.

Does Reheating Food Kill Bacteria?

Yes, it does. Reheating food will kill most bacteria.

But, and it’s a big but…

Certain bacteria release toxins that aren’t destroyed by high heat. This is often the case if you’ve left food out for a long time at room temperature. Staphylococcus is a prime example of a bacteria that release toxins. And it can make you seriously ill!

If you have left food out for more than an hour or two and it has been sat in the suspected ‘danger zone’, it is better to be safe than sorry.

Don’t reheat it, bin it!  

Where Can I Learn More About Reheating Food Safely?

Listen, if you are after professional guidance, why not head over to the food standards agency website? They have lots of expert guidance here.


How long to reheat chicken curry in a microwave? If we are doing it properly, anywhere between 2 and 5 minutes! It isn’t inherently dangerous, provided you apply a few basic rules and use some sense. As I said, a curry that has been kept overnight often tastes better than it did when ‘fresh’. What do you think, which is better? Next day curry or straight out of the pan? Let us know in the comments below!

Enjoy Making Curry Yourself?

Hey folks, thanks for reading this article. I hope you found it useful, and that you learned something new allowing you to make your curry extra special. Here are a few things that can really elevate your curry game to the next level. 

These are affiliate links, so if you use them I receive a small commission, but this won't cost you any extra. In all honesty, I use very similar items myself, and wouldn't hesitate to recommend them to my friends.

A Complete Curry Kit: - Literally, everything you'll need to make curry all in one place. Cookware, storage, utensils, even the spices! This is my dedicated guide to getting you up and running all for the price of few takeaways.

Curry pans: - You need one, and one only. A frying pan exactly like this is really easy to use, and is exactly the type that authentic Indian chefs use to make the type of curry that you'll have in your local takeaway. You can see my full reviews of several pans right here...

Spice Storage: - Being organised is half the battle in making great curry. Spices can be notoriously hard to keep tidy. That's why I tend to use a spice rack like this. You can arrange your spices by size, heat, or any way you choose. I've got a detailed review of several Indian spice racks in this guide.

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