Can You Microwave Sushi? The Pros and Cons of This Controversial Method

Categorized as Microwave Cooking
Can You Microwave Sushi

Sushi, a beloved Japanese dish, comprises vinegar-seasoned rice topped with a variety of ingredients like raw fish, veggies, eggs, and seaweed. Although normally consumed at a cold or moderate temperature, there could be occasions where you crave to heat it up. Instances such as having leftovers from the prior day or purchased sushi that you desire to warm can cause this.

So, is it safe and delicious to microwave sushi? And how can you ensure the proper microwaving technique to preserve its texture and flavor? In this article, we’ll address these queries, offering valuable tips on microwaving sushi to perfection.

Is It Safe to Microwave Sushi?

One primary concern is whether it’s safe to microwave sushi, particularly when it contains raw fish. The answer is affirmative if you adhere to a few essential guidelines.

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), raw fish should be cooked to an internal temperature of 145°F (63°C) to eliminate any harmful bacteria or parasites. With proper execution, microwaving can reach this temperature.

However, it’s worth noting that not all sushi incorporates raw fish. Some toppings, like shrimp, crab, eel, octopus, and omelet, are already cooked, making them safe for microwaving without any reservations.

Certain sushi toppings are even deep-fried, such as tempura, which poses no issue. Vegetarian toppings like cucumber, avocado, carrot, and tofu are also microwave-friendly, although they may lose some of their crispness and freshness.

Related: Can You Microwave Tofu?

The only sushi variety to avoid microwaving is the one containing mayonnaise or cream cheese. These ingredients are prone to spoiling and turning rancid when exposed to high heat.

Additionally, they can render your sushi soggy and greasy. If your sushi includes mayonnaise or cream cheese, it’s better to consume it cold or remove these toppings before microwaving.

Is It Tasty to Microwave Sushi?

Another aspect to ponder is whether microwaving sushi affects its taste. The answer depends on personal preference and the type of sushi in question. Some individuals enjoy their sushi hot and crispy, while others prefer it cold and moist. The impact of microwaving on the taste can vary among different sushi types.

In general, microwaving sushi can bring about various alterations in texture and flavor. Here are some potential effects:

  1. Rice may become dry and hard or mushy and sticky.
  2. Vinegar flavor may intensify or become less noticeable.
  3. Seaweed may turn chewy or brittle.
  4. Fish may become tough or rubbery, or dry and flaky.
  5. Vegetables may become soft or wilted, or even charred and bitter.
  6. Sauces may become runny or thickened, or even burned and caramelized.

As demonstrated, microwaving sushi can yield mixed results, depending on the approach and the specific sushi type. While some individuals may appreciate these textural and flavor modifications, others may find them less appealing. The best way to determine your preference is by trying it yourself.

How to Microwave Sushi Properly?

If you want to microwave sushi and maintain its quality and taste, make sure to follow the proper method. Here are some useful tips and tricks for microwaving sushi correctly:

  1. Utilize a microwave-safe plate or container, avoiding plastic wrap or aluminum foil as they can melt or cause sparks in the microwave.
  2. Arrange the sushi pieces in a single layer, leaving some space between them. This allows for even heat circulation and prevents the sushi from sticking together.
  3. Loosely cover the plate or container with a damp paper towel or a vented lid. This generates steam and moisture, aiding in maintaining the rice’s softness and moisture.
  4. Heat the sushi in a microwave at high power for a duration of 30 seconds to 1 minute, which will vary based on sushi piece size and quantity. Utilize a food thermometer to gauge the temperature of fish if practicable. An alternative method is to slice a piece of fish in half, ensuring it’s cooked all through.
  5. Flip the sushi pieces over halfway through the cooking time to ensure even heating.
  6. Allow the sushi to rest for a few minutes before consuming. This enables the heat to distribute evenly and allows the flavors to settle.
  7. Enjoy your microwaved sushi with soy sauce, wasabi, ginger, or any other condiments of your liking.

What Are the Benefits of Microwaving Sushi?

You might be wondering why anyone would consider microwaving sushi in the first place. After all, sushi is traditionally served cold or at room temperature, emphasizing freshness and delicacy. However, microwaving sushi offers several advantages that you may not have considered. Here are a few:

  1. Microwaving sushi enhances convenience and accessibility. You can quickly reheat leftover sushi from the previous day or warm up pre-made sushi purchased from a grocery store. No need to search for a sushi restaurant or prepare your own sushi at home.
  2. Microwaving sushi can make it more satisfying and filling. Some individuals find hot and crispy sushi more enticing and appetizing than its cold and moist counterpart. Additionally, microwaved sushi may impart a greater sense of fullness and satisfaction, as it expands in your stomach and provides more energy.
  3. Microwaving sushi encourages diversity and creativity. You can experiment with various sushi types and toppings to discover how they taste when microwaved. Additionally, you can incorporate additional ingredients or sauces to enhance the flavor and texture of your microwaved sushi, creating unique and delectable dishes.

What Are the Drawbacks of Microwaving Sushi?

Naturally, microwaving sushi is not without its drawbacks. Several disadvantages should be taken into account. Here are a few drawbacks of microwaving sushi:

  1. Microwaving sushi may reduce its authenticity and traditional appeal. By microwaving sushi, you may compromise some of its original charm and elegance. Additionally, certain sushi purists or enthusiasts may perceive microwaving sushi as sacrilegious or blasphemous.
  2. Microwaving sushi may diminish its healthiness and nutritional value. The microwaving process can lead to the destruction of some vitamins and minerals present in the fish and vegetables. Furthermore, microwaving improperly stored or not-fresh raw fish increases the risk of food poisoning or contamination.
  3. Microwaving sushi may diminish its overall enjoyment and satisfaction. Microwaved sushi might not possess the same level of tastiness or flavor as fresh or cold sushi. Additionally, it may leave you feeling bored or disappointed due to the loss of freshness and variety.


Microwaving sushi is a safe and viable option if executed correctly. However, its suitability depends on personal preference, as microwaving can introduce various textural and flavor changes. To determine your preference, it’s best to try microwaved sushi yourself and gauge your satisfaction.

I hope this article has adequately addressed your query regarding microwaving sushi and provided you with proper guidelines. If you have any further questions or comments concerning microwaving sushi or any other food items, please don’t hesitate to leave them below.

By Rosie Elliott

I’m Rosie. I’m a professional chef with experience in Western, Mediterranean, and Italian cuisine. I’ve been cooking for over 15 years, and I have two daughters that keep me busy!

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