How To Reheat Ribs In Microwave [COMPLETE GUIDE]

Ribs are a delicious, flavorsome dish that many people enjoy. Whether you have leftover ribs from a barbecue, a restaurant, or a homemade meal, reheating them properly is crucial to maintaining their taste and texture. One of the most convenient ways to reheat ribs is by using a microwave. However, it’s essential to understand the correct technique to ensure that the ribs are heated evenly and are still moist and tender. This comprehensive guide will provide you with detailed information on reheating ribs in the microwave, including power levels, cooking times, and additional tips for the best results.

Quick Answer: How To Reheat Ribs In Microwave

Reheating ribs in the microwave can be quick and effective if done correctly. Here are the basic steps:

  1. Preparation: Place the ribs on a microwave-safe dish, ensuring they are in a single layer and not stacked on top of each other. This promotes even heating and prevents the ribs from becoming soggy.
  2. Covering: Cover the dish with a microwave-safe lid or microwave-safe plastic wrap. This helps retain the moisture and prevents the ribs from drying out during the reheating process.
  3. Heating Time: Set the microwave to a medium power level. Using full power can cause the ribs to overcook and become tough. The exact time will vary based on the quantity and type of ribs, which will be discussed in detail in the following sections.
  4. Checking for Warmth: After the initial reheating time, check the temperature of the ribs. If they need further heating, continue in short intervals, checking after each one to avoid overheating.

When Not To Reheat Ribs In Microwave

While the microwave is a convenient tool for reheating many foods, there are situations where it may not be the best option for reheating ribs. If you are aiming for a crispy or charred exterior on the ribs, the microwave may not be the preferred method. In such cases, using an oven, grill, or air fryer would be more suitable, as they can help to reestablish the desired texture. Additionally, if the ribs are part of a dish that includes other components, using the oven for reheating all components simultaneously may be a better choice to ensure uniformity in temperature and texture across the entire dish.

Power Level To Reheat Ribs In Microwave

The power level setting for reheating ribs in the microwave is crucial. It directly impacts the texture and moisture retention of the ribs. Using a lower power level allows for more gentle and even reheating, reducing the risk of overcooking and toughness. Typically, a medium power level of around 50-70% is ideal for reheating ribs in the microwave. This level of power strikes a balance between heating the ribs thoroughly and maintaining their tenderness.

Cooking Time To Reheat Ribs In Microwave

The cooking time required to reheat ribs in the microwave varies depending on several factors, including the quantity of ribs, their thickness, and whether they are bone-in or boneless. As a general guideline, reheating ribs in the microwave should be done in intervals to prevent overheating. For approximately 1-2 pounds of ribs, the initial reheating time can range from 5-10 minutes at the medium power level. However, it’s essential to pause and check the temperature and tenderness of the ribs after the initial heating time. If the ribs are not fully heated, continue reheating in 1-2 minute intervals until they reach the desired temperature.

For thicker or bone-in ribs, a longer initial heating time may be required, with additional short intervals for checking and further heating. Boneless or thinner ribs will generally require less time for reheating.

Reheating ribs in the microwave can be a convenient and efficient way to enjoy leftovers or reheat precooked ribs. By following the proper techniques, such as using an appropriate power level, covering the ribs, and reheating in intervals, you can retain the quality and flavor of the ribs. However, it’s important to consider the desired texture and the nature of the dish when choosing the reheating method. With the information provided in this guide, you can confidently reheat ribs in the microwave and savor them as if they were freshly prepared.

How To Reheat Ribs In Microwave

Ribs are a savory and finger-licking delicacy loved by many. Whether you have leftovers from a barbecue or you simply want to enjoy your favorite ribs again, reheating them can sometimes be a bit tricky. While there are various methods to reheat ribs, using a microwave is one of the quickest and most convenient ways.

Microwaving ribs can save you time and effort, especially if you’re in a hurry and need a quick meal. However, it’s important to note that microwaving ribs may not yield the same results as traditional cooking methods like grilling or smoking.

When it comes to reheating ribs in a microwave, there are a few key steps to follow to ensure the best results. Here is a step-by-step guide:

  1. Preparation: Start by removing the ribs from the refrigerator and letting them sit at room temperature for about 10-15 minutes. This allows them to warm up slightly before microwaving.

  2. Wrap the ribs: To prevent the ribs from drying out during the reheating process, wrap them loosely in a microwave-safe plastic wrap or place them in a microwave-safe container with a lid. This will help retain moisture and prevent the ribs from becoming tough.

  3. Add moisture: To further prevent the ribs from drying out, you can add a small amount of liquid to the container or wrap. This can be water, broth, or a barbecue sauce of your choice. Adding moisture will help create steam, which will keep the ribs moist during microwaving.

  4. Microwave settings: Place the wrapped or covered ribs in the microwave and set the power level to 50%. This lower power level helps to heat the ribs more evenly and prevents them from becoming overcooked or tough.

  5. Microwave time: The time required to reheat ribs in a microwave can vary depending on the size and thickness of the meat. Start with short intervals of 1-2 minutes and check the temperature. Ideally, you want the ribs to reach an internal temperature of at least 165°F (74°C) to ensure they are safe to eat.

  6. Stir or rearrange: If you are using a sauce, take breaks during the microwaving process to stir or rearrange the ribs. This will help distribute the heat evenly and ensure all parts of the ribs are reheated properly.

  7. Resting time: Once the ribs are heated through, it’s essential to let them rest for a few minutes before serving. This allows the juices to redistribute and the meat to become more tender.

  8. Serve and enjoy: Finally, serve your reheated ribs and enjoy their delicious flavors!

Should I Reheat Ribs In Microwave?

While the microwave is certainly a convenient option for reheating ribs, it may not be the ideal choice for everyone. Here are some considerations to keep in mind when deciding whether to reheat ribs in a microwave:

  1. Texture and taste: Microwaving can alter the texture of the ribs, making them slightly softer and potentially less crispy. If you’re a fan of crispy and caramelized ribs, microwaving may not achieve the desired results. However, if you prioritize convenience over texture, then the microwave can still provide a tasty meal.

  2. Time constraints: If you’re short on time and need to reheat your ribs quickly, the microwave is an excellent choice. It can reheat ribs more rapidly compared to methods like grilling or oven heating.

  3. Convenience: Microwaving is a straightforward and hassle-free method. You don’t need to preheat any appliances or spend time monitoring the process. Simply pop the ribs in the microwave, set the timer, and let it do the work for you.

  4. Even heating: Microwaving provides relatively even heating, thanks to the rotating turntable or microwave-safe containers. This ensures that the ribs are heated consistently throughout, reducing the risk of undercooked or overcooked sections.

  5. Limited space: If you have limited kitchen space or lack access to outdoor grills or ovens, the microwave can be a practical solution for reheating ribs.

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In conclusion, while microwaving ribs may compromise some aspects of their texture and taste, it offers convenience and efficiency. If you prioritize these factors, then reheating ribs in a microwave can still be an enjoyable option.

Reheating Ribs Without A Microwave

If you prefer not to use a microwave to reheat your ribs, there are alternative methods you can consider. Here are a few popular options:

1. Oven: Reheating ribs in the oven is a popular method that yields excellent results. Preheat your oven to around 250°F (120°C). Place the ribs on a baking sheet or in a roasting pan and cover tightly with aluminum foil to retain moisture. Bake for approximately 20-30 minutes, or until the ribs are heated through. Remove the foil in the last few minutes to allow the ribs to become slightly crispy if desired.

2. Grill: Grilling is another fantastic way to reheat ribs, especially if you want to re-crisp the exterior. Preheat your grill to medium heat and place the ribs directly on the grates. Close the lid and cook for 5-10 minutes, turning occasionally, until the ribs are heated through and have desired char marks.

3. Stovetop: If you’re in a hurry, reheating ribs on the stovetop can be a swift and efficient method. Place the ribs in a frying pan or skillet with a small amount of oil or butter over medium heat. Cover the pan and let the ribs heat for about 5-10 minutes, turning occasionally, until they are heated through.

4. Sous Vide: For those who own a sous vide machine, this method can yield exceptional results. Simply vacuum seal the ribs and place them in the sous vide water bath at around 165°F (74°C) for 30-45 minutes. Once the ribs have reached the desired temperature, you can finish them by searing on a hot grill or stovetop pan to add a crispy exterior.

These alternative methods provide a range of options to suit your preferences and desired outcome. Experiment with different techniques to find the one that works best for you.

What Reheating In Microwave Does To The Ribs

Reheating ribs in a microwave can have both positive and negative effects on the overall quality of the meat. Here are a few aspects to consider:

1. Moisture retention: Microwaving with added moisture, such as water or sauce, increases the chances of retaining moisture in the ribs. This prevents them from becoming dry during the reheating process. However, excessive microwaving or insufficient moisture can still result in dry and tough ribs.

2. Texture changes: Microwaving can affect the texture of the ribs. While grilling or oven heating can help maintain a crispy exterior, a microwave may soften the outer layer of the ribs. This is due to the lack of direct heat and caramelization that occurs during other cooking methods.

3. Heating consistency: The rotating turntable in a microwave, along with the nature of microwave radiation, helps distribute heat more evenly compared to other methods such as stovetop reheating. This ensures that the ribs are evenly heated throughout, reducing the risk of undercooked or overcooked sections.

4. Loss of smoky flavor: Reheating ribs in a microwave can cause a loss of the smoky flavor that is often associated with grilled or smoked ribs. This is because the microwave does not replicate the same cooking process as grilling or smoking, which infuses the meat with the distinct smoky aroma.

5. Time-saving advantages: Microwaving is the quickest method to reheat ribs, making it a great choice for those short on time. It allows you to enjoy your ribs without the lengthy preparation and cooking time required for other methods.

It’s important to note that these effects may vary depending on the specific microwave model, the size and thickness of the ribs, and the technique used for reheating. Adjusting factors such as power level, cooking time, and the addition of moisture can help mitigate some of the negative effects and improve the overall outcome when microwaving ribs.

Reheating ribs in a microwave can be a convenient and efficient method, especially when you're short on time. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can retain moisture and achieve evenly reheated ribs. While microwaving may not provide the same texture and flavor as grilling or smoking, it still offers a quick and satisfying way to enjoy leftover or pre-cooked ribs.

If you prefer alternative methods, options like oven heating, grilling, stovetop reheating, or sous vide can yield different textures and flavors. Experimenting with these techniques can help you find the method that best suits your preferences.

Ultimately, the decision of whether to reheat ribs in a microwave or not depends on personal preference, time constraints, and available cooking equipment. Whichever method you choose, be sure to enjoy your reheated ribs to the fullest!

Can You Restore The Initial Quality Of Ribs?

Ribs are undoubtedly one of the most mouthwatering and flavorful meat dishes that many people enjoy. Whether you’ve cooked them at home or had leftovers from a restaurant, sometimes you may find yourself needing to reheat those delicious ribs. While there are several methods to reheat ribs, using a microwave is one of the quickest and most convenient options available.

Microwaving ribs can be a time-saving solution when you’re in a hurry or don’t have access to an oven or grill. However, it’s essential to understand that microwaving can lead to uneven heating, resulting in dry or rubbery ribs.

Before diving into the details of reheating ribs in the microwave, it’s important to understand that reheating any leftover food will never fully restore them to their original quality. The texture and taste may differ slightly, but with the right approach, you can achieve a delicious and enjoyable meal.

When you first cooked the ribs, they were slow-cooked, smoked, or grilled to perfection. This process allowed the flavors to develop, the fat to render, and the meat to become tender. However, microwaves work differently; they emit microwaves that excite water molecules within the food, which then generates heat. The moisture and heat distribution in a microwave can be uneven, potentially resulting in dried-out or toughened ribs.

Nonetheless, with proper technique and attention to detail, you can still reheat ribs in the microwave and maintain a satisfactory eating experience. The key lies in preventing excessive moisture loss and avoiding overheating the ribs, which can lead to undesirable texture.

Tips For Optimal Reheating Results

To achieve the best possible outcome when reheating ribs in the microwave, follow these tips:

1. Preparing The Ribs For Reheating

Before microwaving, it’s crucial to prepare the ribs correctly to help retain moisture and flavor. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Remove the ribs from any wrapping or packaging, ensuring they are at room temperature before reheating. This allows for more even heating throughout the meat.

  • If the ribs have been refrigerated, let them sit out for a while until they are no longer cold. Cold meat takes longer to heat evenly in the microwave, and you may end up with overcooked edges and a cold center.

  • If desired, you can lightly brush the ribs with some cooking oil or melted butter before microwaving. This will add a touch of moisture and prevent them from drying out during reheating.

2. Reheating Time And Power Settings

Microwave settings can vary, so some experimentation may be needed to find the ideal time and power level for reheating your specific ribs. Generally, a lower power setting will help to avoid overcooking while maintaining moisture. Here’s a simple guideline to follow:

  • Start with a lower power setting, such as 50% power, to ensure gradual and gentle reheating. This will help prevent the ribs from becoming tough or chewy.

  • Set the microwave timer for short intervals initially, around 1-2 minutes, to avoid overheating the ribs.

  • Pause and check the progress after each interval. This will allow you to assess how the ribs are reheating and adjust the remaining time and power level accordingly.

3. Adding Moisture

Moisture is crucial when reheating ribs as it helps to prevent them from drying out. Here are some ways to add moisture during the reheating process:

  • Place a small microwave-safe dish filled with water next to the ribs on the microwave turntable. The water will help create steam, which can keep the ribs moist.

  • Alternatively, cover the ribs with a damp paper towel or microwave-safe plastic wrap. This will help trap the moisture within the ribs and enhance the overall juiciness.

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4. Reheating In Intervals

Reheating ribs in the microwave can be a delicate process. To ensure even heating and retain moisture, it’s best to reheat them in intervals. This method allows for incremental reheating while minimizing the risk of overcooking or drying out. Here’s how to approach it:

  • Place the ribs in a microwave-safe dish, ensuring they are spread out evenly and not overlapping. This will promote even heating.

  • Set the microwave to the desired power level (preferably 50%) and begin reheating for a short interval, such as 1-2 minutes.

  • After the set interval, pause the microwave, open the door, and carefully turn the ribs over. This will help redistribute heat and moisture.

  • Resume reheating for another interval. Repeat this process until the ribs are heated through, ensuring you check the progress after each interval to avoid any unwanted texture changes.

5. Resting Time

Once the ribs have finished reheating in the microwave, it’s crucial to let them rest for a few minutes before serving. This minimizes moisture loss and allows the hot spots to even out through residual heat. Resting also enhances the tenderness and juiciness of the meat.

  • Remove the reheated ribs from the microwave and cover them loosely with aluminum foil or a clean dish towel.

  • Allow the ribs to rest for approximately 5-10 minutes before serving. This will help redistribute the juices, resulting in a more flavorful and enjoyable eating experience.

Reheating Ribs More Than Once

While it’s generally recommended to reheat food only once to maintain its quality and safety, reheating ribs more than once can be done if done correctly. Here are some important guidelines to keep in mind:

  1. Use the appropriate reheating technique: When reheating ribs multiple times, it’s best to use alternative methods rather than relying solely on the microwave. Grilling or using an oven can provide more even heating while maintaining the desired texture.

  2. Refrigerate promptly: After reheating the ribs for the first time, if there are any leftovers, cool them rapidly. Place the leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate within two hours of the first reheating. Proper refrigeration prevents bacterial growth and helps maintain food safety.

  3. Reheat with caution: When reheating ribs that have already been reheated once, it’s important to handle them with care. Overheating can cause the meat to toughen or dry out further. Use lower heat settings and shorter intervals to avoid overcooking.

  4. Store and consume within recommended guidelines: It’s crucial to follow safe food handling guidelines when reheating ribs multiple times. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), cooked meat, including ribs, should be consumed within 3-4 days of cooking. Beyond this time, the risk of bacterial growth increases.

Reheating leftover ribs in the microwave presents a convenient and quick option when time is limited. While microwaving may not fully restore the initial quality of the ribs, following the tips and techniques outlined in this guide can help prevent drying out, overcooking, and toughening of the meat.

Remember to prepare the ribs adequately before reheating, adjust the time and power settings on your microwave, add moisture during the reheating process, and reheat in intervals to ensure even distribution of heat. Additionally, be cautious when reheating ribs more than once to maintain food safety and quality.

Reheating ribs in the microwave can be a fantastic way to enjoy the delicious flavors all over again, without the need for extensive cooking time. With a careful approach and attention to detail, your reheated ribs can still provide a satisfying eating experience that will leave you longing for more.

Safety Measures When Reheating Ribs

Ribs are a delicious and savory treat that most people can’t resist. They are best enjoyed when hot and fresh. However, leftovers can be just as tasty if reheated properly. Reheating ribs in a microwave can seem like a quick and easy solution, but it’s essential to do it right.

It’s essential to understand that reheating ribs can be risky if not done correctly. Bacteria can grow rapidly at a temperature between 40°F and 140°F, also known as the "danger zone." To avoid foodborne illnesses, follow these safety measures when reheating ribs:

  1. Reheat the ribs within two hours of taking them out of the fridge.
  2. Make sure the temperature of the ribs reaches 165°F before you eat them.
  3. Do not reheat ribs more than once.

Avoiding Common Mistakes In Microwave Reheating

Reheating ribs in a microwave can be tricky, so it’s essential to avoid common mistakes like these:

  1. Not covering the ribs: Cover the ribs with a microwave-safe lid or wrap to prevent them from drying out or splattering.
  2. Reheating for too long: Over-reheating ribs in a microwave can dry out the meat quickly. You should reheat them for a short amount of time, then check and reheat them again if needed.
  3. Using the wrong temperature: It’s best to use a low-heat setting to reheat ribs in a microwave. High-heat settings can overcook the ribs, leading to dry and tough meat.

Tips And Tricks To Reheating Ribs In Microwave

Reheating Ribs in a microwave may seem simple, but it’s essential to understand that different types of ribs can be reheated differently. Below are some tips and tricks on reheating ribs in a microwave to ensure that they taste as good as the day they were cooked.

Tip 1: Use The Right Container

Use a microwave-safe container to reheat your ribs. Glass dishes are a good option for reheating ribs in a microwave. Avoid using plastic containers as they may melt, releasing harmful chemicals that can contaminate your food.

Tip 2: Add Moisture

Ribs can dry out when reheated in a microwave. To prevent this from happening, add a little bit of moisture to the dish. You can add a tablespoon of water or broth to the container before reheating to keep the ribs moist and delicious.

Tip 3: Reheat The Ribs In Small Portions

Reheating the ribs in small portions will ensure that they reheat evenly. You can reheat the ribs in small batches and then combine them before serving.

Tip 4: Use A Low Power Setting

Using a low power setting will help to reheat the meat gradually, preventing it from overcooking and becoming rubbery and unpalatable. Lower power settings also ensure that the meat stays tender and juicy.

Tip 5: Monitor The Ribs

It’s essential to monitor the ribs while reheating to avoid overcooking. Check the ribs periodically to ensure that they don’t overheat. If they do, remove the ribs from the microwave immediately.

Tip 6: Let It Rest

Allow the ribs to rest for a few minutes before serving to allow the juices to distribute evenly throughout the meat. This will ensure that the meat is juicy and tender, making it easier to cut and chew.


If reheated properly, ribs can be just as delicious as when they were first cooked. However, it’s essential to follow safety measures, avoid common mistakes, and use the right container, power setting, and moisture to reheat the ribs. By following the tips and tricks provided in this article, you can enjoy perfectly reheated ribs without sacrificing texture or taste.


How Do I Reheat Ribs In The Microwave?

To reheat ribs in the microwave, place them on a microwave-safe plate and cover with a damp paper towel. Microwave on high for 1-2 minutes per rib or until heated through.

Can I Use The Same Method To Reheat All Types Of Ribs?

Yes, this method can be used to reheat all types of ribs such as baby back, spare, or beef ribs.

Is It Safe To Reheat Ribs In The Microwave?

Yes, it is safe to reheat ribs in the microwave as long as they are stored properly and heated to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit to kill any bacteria.

How Should I Store Leftover Ribs Before Reheating Them In The Microwave?

Leftover ribs should be stored in an airtight container or wrapped tightly in plastic wrap before being refrigerated. This will prevent bacteria from growing and causing foodborne illness.

Are There Any Tips To Ensure My Reheated Ribs Are Juicy And Not Dried Out In The Microwave?

You can add a few drops of water or broth to the ribs before covering them with a damp paper towel to help keep them moist. You can also brush them with BBQ sauce or marinade before reheating to add more flavor and moisture. Be careful not to overheat the ribs to prevent them from drying out.