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What is Sensor Reheat?

Updated on July 31, 2012

How to Use Microwave Oven Function Sensor Reheat

I recently bought a new microwave oven, and on it I found a new feature: Sensor Reheat. This feature is supposed to simplify microwave cooking by using the built-in Panasonic "Genius sensor" to detect steam and then just cook the food long enough to get hot.

Since the manual's instructions are brief, here are my step-by-step instructions to help you figure out how to use this automatic feature.

I hope that my instructions on how sensor reheat works will save you some time and frustration.


Add liquid and cover with vented lid or plastic wrap

You can use the sensor reheat function to heat up leftovers, canned foods, casseroles, etc. If the food is dry, you will need to add a little liquid before cooking. Add a few tablespoons of water to casseroles, or add gravy or other sauces.

Use a microwave safe dish and cover it with a vented lid or plastic wrap with holes in it. This part is very important. Steam has to escape.

Use a Microwave Plate Cover Like This

Nordic Ware Microwave 10.5 Inch Spatter Cover (Assorted Colors)
Nordic Ware Microwave 10.5 Inch Spatter Cover (Assorted Colors)

I like this one because it has steam vents along the edges and a handle in the center so you can take the cover off without getting burnt. It's also a bargain price!



Pyrex Glass Measuring Cup works Well for Steaming Vegetables in Microwave
Pyrex Glass Measuring Cup works Well for Steaming Vegetables in Microwave

Place in microwave, push buttons

Ah.. Here's the easy part.

Push sensor reheat, and then push start.

Once you become familiar with how hot your microwave gets your food, you may optionally push the more/less button, if your microwave has one. This will cook it for less time or more time than usual.

(This is the correct instructions for the Panasonic NN-SN797S microwave.. if your microwave is a different model, check the owner manual.)


Panasonic Microwave Oven Sensor Reheat Mode
Panasonic Microwave Oven Sensor Reheat Mode

Smell the food cooking..... Listen for two beeps!

Having a microwave cook automatically, with no preset time, can be kind of scary! (well, at least the first time you do it...)

My Panasonic microwave beeps 2 times when it detects steam. Yours may as well.

Once it detects steam, it starts a timer countdown sequence.

You can, of course, take it out early, if you don't trust it... But if you open the microwave door before steam is detected, then the sensor reheat won't work right.

I find that I can usually smell the food for a little while before steam is detected.


Let it Cool.... and Enjoy

Let it Cool.... and Enjoy
Let it Cool.... and Enjoy

Recommended Dishes and Cookwear for Microwave Cooking

Sensor Reheat Troubleshooting

If it doesn't work right, here are some possible reasons why:

The dish you are using may not be microwave safe. Follow these instructions to test to see if it is microwave safe.

Was the outside of your plate or dish wet? Make sure the outside of your dish is dry... If it's wet, then it may cause the microwave to sense steam too early.

Was the microwave oven cavity warm before beginning? If so, you will have to wait until it cools off. If it's already warm, the sensor won't work correctly.

Not all foods work well with sensor reheat.. My owner's manual says to not use it with: bread, pastry products, raw or undercooked foods, beverages, or frozen foods.

You may also want to try a different microwave cover with more or less vents. Bigger vents or more of them may cause the food to be undercooked, and fewer vents or less of them can cause it to overcook. So there may be some trial and error.

Does Sensor Reheat work for you?

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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      This is interesting information about the microwave I did not know about.

    • CanvasArtPrint LM profile image

      CanvasArtPrint LM 

      6 years ago

      thanks for the tips, it does now!

    • intermarks profile image


      6 years ago

      I never know it will work that way, I never bother how it work, but I just pressed the button and let it run. Thanks for the detail explanation.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      oops. I was wondering what that button was for. :) Thank you! ~blessed~

    • Craftypicks profile image

      Lori Green 

      6 years ago from Las Vegas

      I have it but never used it before. Thank you

    • treehousebrando1 profile image


      6 years ago

      Neat. Good to know when I look for a microwave in the future.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      My microwave does not have it, but it will be useful for when I come across one.

    • Mickie Gee profile image

      Mickie Gee 

      6 years ago

      When we remodeled our kitchen a few years ago, our new microwave came with "sensor reheat". I love it! I never knew how it worked, though, until I read your page. Thanks for the information.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I always wondered what that did. Thanks, as my microwave has this button but I've never taken the time to work out how to use it.

    • LaraineRoses profile image

      Laraine Sims 

      6 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      We have a very old microwave oven. I can't believe that it still works but .. it does! This lens will come in handy some day I am sure, for just how long can a microwave stove keep on cooking!! Angel blessing for this useful, instructional lens.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Very easy how to, thanks!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      very helpful

    • Sher Ritchie profile image

      Sher Ritchie 

      6 years ago

      Thanks for explaining how it works!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Hey thanks for the step by step instructions.


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