Can You Compost Cooked Vegetables?

can you compost cooked vegetables
You can add cooked vegetables to the compost bin with other leftover food. Composting cooked foods is not nearly as common as composting raw foods, but there are numerous benefits to composting cooked food waste.

For instance, cooked vegetables quickly rot and contain a high proportion of nitrogen, which are beneficial components for many compost piles. You shouldn’t put cooked veggies in your compost heap if they were prepared using oils that could harm the composting process. 

Various factors can affect your compost pile’s quality, including the oils used in the kitchen and any other products you add to your heap.

Composting cooked vegetables requires a procedure somewhat distinct from the one used for composting other types of compost materials.

\Before you throw your cooked vegetables into the compost pile, here’s something you need to consider:

  • Cooked vegetables break down quickly. Once cooked, vegetables decompose and decay quickly, which is unhygienic and can cause unpleasant odors. Composting a little rotting food is fine, but adding too much could invite unwanted visitors to the compost pile and put its quality at risk.
  • Cooked vegetables are nitrogen-rich and have moisture. An excessive amount of either component may hinder the compost from heating correctly and also generate unpleasant odors. Adding items to the compost pile, high in carbon but low in moisture, such as paper, straw, and sawdust is the best way to achieve a balanced compost pile.
  • It is vital to keep compost piles a safe distance from any water sources. You should never add cooked vegetables to a compost heap located in a region prone to runoff.
  • Avoid composting veggies mixed with dairy products or oils. To keep your composting experience as stress-free as possible, you shouldn’t compost veggies combined with meat scraps or dairy products. Composting should also not be done with vegetables splattered with fats, sauces, or excessive salt.

Is It Ok to Put Cooked Food in Compost?

Disposal of cooked food in the compost pile is not a problem. However, if we make this choice, it will be followed by several challenges that need to be dealt with appropriately; otherwise, the composting process may have a negative outcome.

To begin, cooked items, mainly cooked meats, may cause the entire process of composting food to be anaerobic.

The composting process is aerobic; therefore, an anaerobic outcome will impede the whole process. The breakdown of meats can produce microorganisms that disrupt the composting process and cause issues with odor and acidity.

It is unclear whether cooked food can contribute more carbon or nitrogen to the compost. Most of the material may be organic matter, which can be added to the compost bin without issue but may not contribute significantly to the brown-to-green material ratio.

The decomposition of cooked food produces unpleasant odors in regular compost. Plant scraps, including coffee grounds and vegetables, may fare better because they emit less odor.

Certain foods, particularly fats, meats, and dairy products, emit a foul odor as they rot, and these scents draw insects and other vermin to the mixture.

Any type of food, whether prepared or not, will attract pests such as rodents, biting flies, raccoons, or bees. We will draw them to the compost, and they won’t stop at anything to get inside it. For this reason, you should get an enclosed compost bin on Amazon.

Cooking fats make vegetable waste unhealthy for your compost. Using cooking oil within a composting bin attracts pests.

It can coat organic materials, slowing down the breakdown process. Only use hot compost if you want to compost oil and grease from your kitchen.

How Long Does It Take for Cooked Vegetables to Decompose

Most veggies have a decomposition time ranging from 5 days to one month.

What Cooked Veggies to Compost?

Compost can be made from any vegetable, regardless of whether it has been cooked. The ability of vegetables to break down in compost is unaffected by cooking.

What you add to the cooked vegetables is what can hurt your compost pile. It would be best to prepare compostable veggies using simple methods like steaming.

Common compostable veggies include:

  • Onions: Onions that have been chopped, crushed, juiced, or diced decompose more quickly in compost than whole onions. Because of their high acidity, we should only add onions to compost in small quantities.
  • Potatoes: Potatoes that have been baked, sautéed, boiled, or roasted are all excellent composting options. You can also include the potato peels.
  • Leafy greens: Your compost could benefit from adding spinach, collard greens, kale, or arugula.
  • Cruciferous veggies: Composting is an excellent use for cruciferous vegetables, including kohlrabi, cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower. Brussels sprouts and kohlrabi.
  • Squashes: You may compost all squash, including those grown during summer and during winter.

You shouldn’t have any trouble composting cooked veggies as long as they don’t contain any substances that could attract pests, such as salt, oil, and sugar.

What Cooked Veggies Not to Compost?

Composting vegetables cooked with additional ingredients like excessive oil, sugars, sauces, animal products, and too much salt is not recommended.

However, you do not need to be concerned about the preservatives because they, too, will be broken down during the decomposition process.

How to Compost Leftover Veggies

Composting cooked veggies is a straightforward process. Store the food scraps in a large, enclosed container since this will help prevent pests from getting in.

It only takes a few easy steps to compost cooked vegetables, and here’s how to do it:

  • You should adequately strain cooked veggies. That will help reduce the high moisture content, and controlled moisture benefits the composting process.
  • Chop the vegetables into small pieces. Composting the vegetables will hasten the rate at which they decompose. Depending on when you’d rather chop the ingredients, you can do so either before or after the cooking process.
  • Combine vegetable scraps with other ingredients for the compost, including coffee filters, chicken poop, paper towels, tea bags, eggshells, or grass clippings. When adding cooked vegetables to compost, wait a day or two before mixing them in with the rest of the compost, and the decomposition of organic matter will proceed more quickly.

What Else to Make With Leftover Cooked Vegetables

If you would prefer not to decompose your veggies, there are numerous other alternatives in which you may reuse them, including the following:

  • Making a nutritious soup and then freezing any remaining portions.
  • Making omelets using a varied and healthy vegetable mixture.
  • Create a hearty salad that you may enjoy with other household members.
  • They are delicious when grilled with fish and served on pocket bread.
  • Give it to a close friend who has trouble maintaining a healthy diet.


Discovering composting as a way of life or even better, as nature’s way of recycling, Ana dedicates her time to trying out new methods of composting at home. Her goal is to share everything that she’s learned in the hopes that it will help others discover the amazing rewards of composting.

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