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How To Microwave McDonald’s – Ultimate Guide

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Whether you love egg McMuffins with McCafe for breakfast, or a Quarter Pounder with fries for dinner, you occasionally have to deal with leftover food. For those instances, what is the best way to microwave McDonald’s leftovers without ruining the freshness?

From cheeseburgers to apple pie, McDonald’s has fast food meals and finger-licking desserts that appeal to everyone’s cravings. But how do you microwave McDonald’s once the food has cooled down?

For starters, the packaging from McDonald’s is not microwave safe. McDonald’s food is served in wrappers, boxes and paper cups that are constructed to hold hot food items, but not to reheat food inside of. Furthermore, leftover food requires proper storage and reheating to stay within the safe food handling guidelines.

With the extensive variety of choices on the menu, you need to keep in mind each food requires different heat setting, reheating durations and specialized techniques to make the fast food taste fresh and hot again.

The main issue we face is how to reheat McDonald’s in the microwave once it has lost temperature. Hot Big Mac with crispy fries sounds like a perfect meal to fill your hungry belly, but is there safe and easy way to microwave McDonald’s?

Is it safe to microwave McDonald’s?

According to the USDA temperature danger zone guidelines, leftovers are considered to be perishable. As a result, the fast food items need to be refrigerated or frozen within 2 hours to avoid increased bacteria growth or spoilage.

Reheating a McDonald’s burger or coffee in the microwave is quick and easy when you don’t have much time to cook. However, it’s important to recognize that not all fast food packaging is microwave friendly.

McDonald’s food can be microwaved, but steer clear of the original packaging. Make sure to check the label on the bottom of the cup, boxes or paper wrapper to determine if it is safe to use in the microwave. 

If you are reheating burgers, remove toppings like lettuce and tomato because they will just turn out nasty. 

For any fries, apple pies, or chicken nuggets, carefully nuke. Overcooking will make them dry and unappealing, while a rapid build up of steam will make the food moist and soggy.

Can you microwave McDonald’s?

In order to determine if you can microwave McDonald’s food, start by evaluating what type of disposable packaging you are working with. 

You want to avoid any plastic and metal materials. Here are reheating instructions for McDonald’s menu items:

  • Burger: In general, it’s recommended to deconstruct the bun, meat patty, and toppings to microwave a McDonald’s burger. This method helps to heat the layers evenly so that the patty is fully reheated. 
  • Chicken McNuggets: Over order chicken nuggets on purpose because the are great meal to freeze and eat at any time. However, you want to avoid using the original paper box to microwave McDonald’s chicken nuggets. Transfer the McNuggets to a microwave-safe container or preheated crisper pan to bring the old nuggets back to life. 
  • Fries: The fries from McDonalds fries box are served inside a cardboard container that is lined with a grease-resistant coating. These chemical ingredients are not suitable to place in microwave. I recommend to using a microwave-safe plate lined with parchment paper to microwave McDonald’s fries so that they turn out hot and crispy. 
  • Apple Pie: When reheating apple pie from McDonald’s, it’s best to avoid using the original box the pie came in. Again, the disposable pie box contains a coating inside that can be harmful and may leach onto the food. Furthermore, the box might trap moisture inside which can cause a soggy pie crust. Microwave a McDonald’s apple pie on a microwave safe plate lined with parchment paper or on top of a preheated crisper tray.
  • Oatmeal: The takeout cup is not microwave friendly, so you do need to be more cautious when reheating the porridge. Reheating oatmeal causes bubbles to form inside the thick mixture that may superheat and explode. To safely microwave McDonald’s oatmeal, stop and stir every 30 seconds to pop the bubbles. 
  • McCafe: Paper cups are commonly sealed with glue along the seams and lined with wax coating. The containers are designed to hold hot beverages, but can’t stand sudden high heat. Therefore it is not safe to microwave McDonald’s coffee cups.Transfer the java into a microwave-safe mug to reheat your favorite beverage. 
  • Boxes: McDonald’s burger boxes are made with carton papers that can be used in the microwave. Just make sure to not microwave an empty box because it can burn and cause fire. 
  • Wrappers: Cheeseburger works best to microwave McDonald’s wrappers for less than 35 seconds. Moisture can build up inside the paper wrapper that will make the bun too soggy. However, if you sandwich requires more time it’s best to avoid the paper wrapper because it is coated with a grease resisting lining that can overheat and leach onto food. 

When you reheat food, you should now have a clear idea which food requires certain time, temperature and method for the best results. Always check to see if the packaging is labeled as microwave safe, otherwise transfer the food to a dish that you know is safe to use.

The disposable packaging is made with different materials that are grease- and water- resistant. Linings, coatings and packaging materials react differently when used inside the microwave. 

How long do you need microwave McDonald’s meal?

Fast food from McDonald’s reacts differently when heated in a microwave, but I recommend to always use a plate or cup that is labeled as microwave-safe. The USDA safe handling procedures recommend leftover food to be reheated to an internal temperature of 165°F or 74°C.

In addition, here are general guidelines for how long you need to microwave McDonald’s meals:

  • Avoid overheating food using one long cycle.
  • Reheat using intervals of 35 seconds for coffee drinks.
  • Reheat a burger patty or chicken nuggets by flipping each side for every 30 seconds for to heat fully.
  • Stir oatmeal between each period of time.
  • Start with medium power-level to reheat fast food in the microwave.

The microwave reheats food in the blink of an eye, without using pots and pans. It saves a lot of time and effort, but there is a fine line between heated and overcooked. 

So of the time, temperature and microwave power level. Beware the reheating guidelines and treat every meal differently. 

Things to know before microwaving McDonald’s meal

Some microwaves don’t come with a rotating place, therefore it is especially important to ensure uniform heating. Stir and turn the dish so that you avoid cold areas inside the food. 

There is no need to make another stop at McDonald’s when you have cold leftovers sitting in the fridge. Learn these essential tips before you microwave McDonald’s food:

  • If uncertain, transfer the food or drinks to a microwave-safe dish to reheat.
  • Add parchment paper to remove moisture, absorb grease and make fried foods crispy.
  • Use a microwave crisper pan for the best results when reheating McNuggets, fries and hot apple pie.
  • Avoid using takeout containers in the microwave unless absolutely necessary.
  • Always partially open the box, wrapper or cup lid before placing into the microwave. 
  • Try to heat up with original packaging for less than 35 seconds per cycle.
  • To reheat meat, seafood, or dairy, give enough time and spread the food in even layers. Fully reheat to an internal temperature of 165°F or 74°C to avoid causing any food borne illnesses from bad bacteria. 

Even for people who love McDonald’s, the microwave is a basic necessity to reheat old food. It can absolutely refresh cold leftovers in a matter of minutes. 

Use a microwave safe container instead of fully relying on the to-go cups, boxes, wrappers and packaging. Glue is used to hold the containers together, which can pose a health hazard with toxic fumes or chemicals that can leach onto food when heated suddenly. 

Follow these reheating tips to safely microwave your leftover McDonald’s. Stick to the danger zone recommendations for time and temperature, and fully reheat all leftovers to an internal temperature of 165°F or 74°C to follow safe food handling procedures.

Best way to microwave McDonald's


Sunday 20th of November 2022

I bought a plain grilled chicken yesterday but didn't eat it so put it in the fridge in the box it cames in. Is it safe to eat? How can I reheat it?


Sunday 20th of November 2022

Yes, it should be safe to eat if you put it in the fridge within 2 hours. Place the chicken breast on a microwave safe plate and cover with a damp paper towel. Nuke on high for a minute or until the internal temperature reaches 74 degrees Celsius or 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

Chuck price

Thursday 14th of April 2022

Can you microwave your pancake plastic container?


Friday 15th of April 2022

Unless the plastic McDonald's pancake container says microwave safe on the bottom, I would not. All plastics are not microwave safe, therefore you should probably transfer them to a microwavable plate with a damp paper towel over the top and nuke for 30 seconds.