Can You Microwave Ketchup?

Q. My kids like to eat much of their food with ketchup on it. Burgers, fries, grilled cheese sandwiches, eggs, even macaroni and cheese. Usually I heat up their food first and then add the ketchup later, but sometimes there are leftovers that are covered in ketchup. It would be nice if I could just heat up the leftovers for them to eat later, but I’m always worried about microwaving ketchup. I’ve always only eaten ketchup cold, so I’ve never tried to microwave it before and I’m worried it will taste weird and my kids won’t eat it. Then I’ll just end up throwing the food out anyways. So I’m hoping you can help save me some time and energy. Can you microwave ketchup?

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A. Your kids sound like most kids I know. Ketchup makes most things taste better, although I’m not sure about putting ketchup on mac and cheese! The good news is that yes, you can microwave ketchup. The bad news is that kids may find warm ketchup doesn’t quite taste the same as cold ketchup. Heating the ketchup will make the tomato smell stronger than it is when it’s cold, which may turn some people off. In terms of changing the flavour, it may simply just taste a bit more intense once it’s been warmed up.

Ketchup can burn quite quickly, so if you are going to heat it up, whether already on food or on its own, it’s best to microwave it on a low setting, and check on it frequently. It may also become a bit more liquid than it is when cold, but not so much that your kids won’t recognize it!

When heating ketchup in the microwave, make sure that the ketchup is in a microwave safe container, and then start by heating it in 15 second intervals at a low setting until the desired temperature is reached. Allow it to stand for a minute or two before eating to allow the heat to distribute correctly. Leftovers can be refrigerated for later use. Once ketchup has been heated in a microwave once, I don’t recommend reheating in a microwave a second time.

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