Can You Microwave Chipotle Bowl? Easiest Reheating Methods

Can You Microwave Chipotle Bowl

Chipotle has become a go-to for customized, fresh Tex-Mex cuisine. Who can resist that perfect combo of cilantro-lime rice, black beans, salsa, guacamole, and your choice of tender meat or veggies piled high in a handy bowl?

But what about when you can’t finish that loaded-up burrito bowl in one sitting? Yes, you can safely microwave Chipotle leftovers to reheat your bowl later and enjoy those flavors all over again.

However, while nuking it is the quickest reheating method, the microwave can make some ingredients soggy. For best results, use an oven or skillet instead to add a touch of crispness back. Or, embrace the speed of the microwave and just be careful with reheating times.

Below we’ll explore the pros and cons of microwaving a Chipotle bowl, the best storage tips to maximize freshness, easy meal prep ideas, FAQs, and more. Grab those leftovers out of the fridge and let’s dig in!

Does Microwaving Ruin a Chipotle Bowl?

Microwaving does reheat Chipotle ingredients quickly, but it can negatively impact certain components, making them mushy or dry. Here’s how different elements typically hold up:

  • Rice: The microwave’s heat and moisture can make cilantro-lime rice gummy. Grains swell and stick together in mushy clumps.
  • Beans and salsa: While beans do okay, salsas and pico de gallo can emerge from the microwave with a dull or tinny flavor. Texture also suffers, going from fresh pico to a dull mush.
  • Cheese: Cheese melts best with direct bottom-up heat. Microwaves heat unevenly from the inside out. So cheese may bubble but won’t smoothly melt.
  • Lettuce: Lettuce becomes slimy and lifeless when microwaved. Always add fresh, crisp lettuce after heating the other ingredients.

Keep Microwaving Time Short

To best preserve your Chipotle bowl’s taste and texture, only microwave it in short 30 second sessions. Here are some tips:

  • Stop and stir the contents every 30 seconds to distribute heat evenly.
  • Once hot, remove after only 1-2 minutes total time. Overcooking leads to excess moisture and soggy rice.
  • Add any toppings like chips or lettuce after, not before, microwaving.

So while the microwave does work in a pinch, for the best results, consider these other reheating methods first:

Best Ways to Reheat a Chipotle Bowl


Reheating in the oven at 300°F for around 15-20 minutes keeps all ingredients crisp while thoroughly heating through. The dry ambient air crisps up the rice, cheese gets melty, and beans and meat heat evenly.

  • Pros: Maintains texture and taste.
  • Cons: Takes longer than other methods.


For a quick stove-top method, heat leftovers in a skillet over medium, stirring frequently, for 2-3 minutes until warmed through. The hot surface adds a bit of crispness and char.

  • Pros: Quicker than oven; crisps and chars.
  • Cons: Stirring required; potential to burn.


As discussed above, the microwave does rapidly reheat a Chipotle bowl in just 1-2 minutes. Just be vigilant about stirring and not overcooking.

  • Pros: Speedy; convenient for any microwaveable container.
  • Cons: Can overcook and make soggy if not careful.

Pro Tip: Add a splash of water before microwaving rice to steam and soften it if it has dried out and hardened during fridge storage.

Now let’s explore the best practices for storing those precious Chipotle leftovers…

How to Store Leftover Chipotle Bowls

To enjoy your extra Chipotle bowls for several days after your order, follow these storage guidelines:

Fridge Storage

For short term leftovers storage:

  • Let the bowl cool completely first before refrigerating.
  • Transfer to an airtight glass or plastic container. This prevents drying out.
  • Most ingredients keep 3-4 days.
  • Lettuce wilts fast; add fresh when reheating.

Freezer Storage

To freeze a portion for later (up to 2-3 months):

  • Again, allow the bowl to cool fully before freezing.
  • Seal tightly in a freezer bag, squeezing out excess air.
  • Leave lettuce and chips off before freezing as they’ll wilt and get soggy.
  • Thaw overnight in fridge before reheating.

Did You Know? Burrito bowls stay freshest when you customize them “ pymongo style” with each ingredient in its own side section of the bowl, rather than mixed all together into a mushy mess.

Easy Chipotle Bowl Meal Prep Tips

Making the most out of a Chipotle run by prepping some freezer meals? Here are some burrito bowl meal prep best practices:

Portion into individual containers before freezing. Grab-and-go! Wait until ready to reheat before adding lettuce again. Consider using microwavable rice pouches to avoid soggy rice. Make a big batch to load up your freezer. Refrigerate half, freeze half to mix up fresh vs. frozen.

Meal prepped burrito bowls = easy lunches ready fast all week!

When prepping your burrito bowls for the freezer, invest in some divider containers to keep the ingredients separate. This “pyramid style” packing keeps the rice, beans, salsa, etc from all blending together into a mushy mess. The divides allow you to mix and match toppings when reheating too.

You can also prep burrito bowl ingredients from scratch to pack into containers to freeze. Cook up cilantro lime rice and black beans in bulk. Portion out with diced chicken or steak, corn, cheese, etc. Customize with frozen toppings as you reheat!

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some common Chipotle leftover FAQs:

Should you take lettuce out before microwaving a bowl?

Yes, always remove lettuce first or it will wilt and become slimy during the microwave process. Wait and add fresh, crisp lettuce only after microwaving the other ingredients.

Do you have to stir while microwaving a burrito bowl?

Stirring halfway through reheating is recommended. This prevents hot and cold spots, and ensures everything heats evenly for better taste and texture.

Can frozen burrito bowls go straight into microwave?

No. You should always thaw frozen bowls overnight in the refrigerator first before reheating in the microwave or oven. Microwaving frozen bowls risks unsafe temperatures that could lead to food poisoning.

So whether you have leftover Chipotle waiting in the wings or want to meal prep your next visit, now you know the best reheating practices for your burrito bowls. Microwaving does work, but for improved taste and texture, go for the oven or skillet instead.

Now dive into those leftovers while they last! Just maybe order more next time so you aren’t stuck with tiny inadequate portions. We all know you’ll be craving more of that sweet cilantro-lime rice soon enough!

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