Best cooking method to preserve vitamin C
Cooking Tips

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Healthiest Cooking Method to Preserve Vitamin C

What is the healthiest method of cooking
to maintain Vitamin C?

  1. Boiling
  2. Steaming
  3. Roasting
  4. Microwaving
  5. Grilling

Before you scroll down to see the answer, what do you think is the answer?


The answer is 4. Microwaving.

Vitamin C is a very fragile water-soluble vitamin. Produce that is exposed to heat > 70 degrees F can have some of its vitamin C content destroyed.

You may then wonder how you can get produce cooked without the necessary higher than 70 degrees F heat. That’s the advantage of microwaving because the food isn’t exposed to heat per se. Microwaving is a way of stimulating the atoms in a food and as they move around and collide with each other, they produce energy and thus cook your food. Most produce contains enough water that you don’t even need to add any water to the dish.

The Next Best Approach

The next best approach would be stir-frying or steaming because the produce is only in contact with heat for a short time. When stir-frying, you can start out with a very hot pot, stir your food around for a very short time and then finish the cooking process on a lower heat. The beauty of steaming as compared to boiling is that the produce isn’t sitting in the water where all the nutrients drain out and get thrown away with the water.

Serve Immediately
Don’t let your food sit around before serving it. During that first hour, 4-17% of Vitamin C can be lost. It can go up as high as 7-35% during the second hour. Consider adding fresh fruits, vegetables and their juices to dishes after the cooking process is completed.

If you have to boil your produce to cook it, then save the water for making soup or stew. The Vitamin C is still in the water.

Both roasting and grilling leave the produce exposed to high heat for too long a time. That's not to say that any of these methods should be avoided. But it does say that you need to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables to cover you for the possible destruction of vitamin C both in the storage and cooking processes.

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