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4 Ways to Reheat Rice

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Rice is unquestionably a staple in most homes since it’s easy to find and can be used in a variety of recipes. If you cook rice frequently in your household, there will be times when you make too much of the stuff and won’t know what to do with it. You can store it in the fridge, but the freezer burn makes the grains lose moisture and flavor, and it becomes unappealing to eat. Luckily, there are reheating methods you can use to ensure that an extra cup of rice can still be eaten.

Knowing how to reheat rice and using the proper warming methods are essential for reproducing the fluffy and light texture of each grain.  Below are the 4 easy ways to reheat rice after taking them out of the fridge.


Can You Reheat Leftover Rice?

It is widely believed that grains should never be reheated because they wouldn’t be safe to eat. This, however, is not the case. Just like what any healthcare professional will tell you, rice can be reheated, but you must take steps to ensure it is safe to eat. If you reheat leftover rice without properly storing it, there’s a risk of the food being contaminated with bacteria, regardless if it’s white or brown rice. Rice is more hazardous than other leftover meals because it may contain bacillus cereus germs, which is a bacteria that can survive some cooking processes. This bacteria is frequently responsible for food poisoning from reheated or cooked rice.

However, proper food management might help to avoid this. It’s important to follow the proper ways of reheating, storing, or cooking rice to ensure your household can eat a perfectly safe meal.


How To Store Rice

The trick to keeping your grains palatable even after reheating them is to store leftover rice properly. Once you’re done eating, you need to immediately put the rice in the fridge, particularly if you know you’ll be using or eating it within a day or two. Leftover rice that you won’t be using immediately can be stored in the freezer. Rice can be stored in the freezer for up to three months, however, it’s much better to consume it in a few days to avoid freezer burn.

How To Store Cooked Rice

Cooked rice is moist rice, so proper storage is essential in keeping your grains safe to eat. To store rice, break up the large clumps of rice and spread them in an even layer in microwave-safe containers. For single servings, you can also store them in Ziploc bags. Make sure to remove any extra air before placing them in the fridge. Take-out rice can be stored this way.

You can also store newly cooked rice. Once the rice has been cooked and served, place in wide containers, break the large rice chunks and spread evenly before swiftly chilling for approximately 30 minutes on the counter. Cover tightly with a lid and store it in the fridge. Never leave rice out at room temperature for longer than an hour. This is to keep the fluffy rice moist. This applies to all rice types, including wild rice.

A little note: it’s generally okay to consume cold, leftover rice the next day, as long as you’ve properly cooled and stored it in a microwave-safe container after cooking. When reheating, the rice should be kept out of the “danger zone” temperature, which is anything between 40°F and 140°F.


What is the Best Way to Reheat Rice?

Rice loses part of its moisture after being kept in the fridge overnight. It gets dried up, tough, chewy, and clumps together. However, there are four simple methods to bring your favorite staple back to life.

Reheating leftover rice for another meal serves two purposes. It not only warms the rice but also allows you to put moisture back in to make it as fluffy as the first time you cooked it. Some people like to add a little drizzle of oil or a piece of butter to help soften the rice and add a bit of flavor. This, however, is all up to personal choice, so you can do whatever you like.

There are four easy ways to reheat rice:

  1. Using a microwave
  2. Using a stove
  3. Using an oven
  4. Using the rice in a recipe

1. Reheat Rice in the Microwave

You can reheat rice in the microwave if you want to reheat your rice quickly. To microwave rice, place it in a microwave-safe dish or bowl and sprinkle with a couple of tablespoons of water per cup. Cover the dish with a damp paper towel and microwave for about 20 seconds for each cup, or until the grains are thoroughly warmed.

Use a bowl that is deep enough to allow you to stir without tossing the grains all over the place. When it gets heated on the outside edges of the dish in bigger amounts, remove the paper towel and stir it occasionally. This is because the rice in the center will still be cold, and stirring it will ensure that it warms more evenly.

2. Reheat Rice on the Stove

There are two ways you can reheat rice on the stove. One is to steam the rice until soft, and the other is to cook the rice. Steaming is as easy as placing the rice on a steamer and placing it over boiling water until the grains are soft and warmed through.

To cook the rice on the stove, add rice to a saucepan on low heat and add a tablespoon of broth or water for every cup of rice. Using a fork, break up any clumps of rice and cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid. Cook the rice for three to five minutes over low heat, stirring regularly, until it is reheated.

3. Reheat Rice Using an Oven

You can also revive your leftover grains using an oven. In an oven-safe baking dish or pan, combine the rice and a little splash of water. Break up any large clumps of rice with a fork, then cover with a tight-fitting lid or aluminum foil. Place the baking dish or pan in an oven and bake at 300°F for 20 minutes, or until the rice is well heated.

4. Use the Leftover Rice in a Recipe

Creating a new recipe out of your old rice is also a great way to reheat rice. This method is particularly ideal if you’re planning on using frozen rice. Since frozen rice has lost some of its moisture and texture, using it in a dish can add extra flavor to it and can make it appetizing to eat.


Leftover Rice Recipes

One of the best ways to use leftover rice is to incorporate it into your favorite rice-based dishes. Cooked rice is extremely adaptable, allowing you to create a variety of dishes. You could go the traditional, savory route or you may also make desserts if your rice isn’t seasoned. Simply put, there are plenty of possibilities. 

Fried rice is possibly the easiest way to reheat long grain rice. You can simply heat rice with olive oil on medium heat, stir fry in some vegetables, rotisserie chicken, and you’re done! This dish is so simple yet so delicious even picky eaters will eat it without fuss.

Other rice recipes you can use reheated rice on are:

  1. Bacon and Egg Fried Rice
  2. Creamy Chicken and Rice Soup
  3. Creamy Turkey and Rice Stuffed Peppers
  4. Congee Rice Porridge

Want to try out a rice-based recipe without using leftover rice?  You can check out other rice-based dishes on our site.


Final Note

Whether you want to reheat leftover rice in the microwave or you prefer reheating rice in the oven, saving what’s left of your rice means you get to save on food costs as well. As long as you store it in the fridge and cook it properly, you can enjoy fluffy rice that’s perfectly safe to eat.


Frequently Asked Questions:

Is rice good reheated in the microwave?

The microwave is a quick and safe way to reheat rice as long as it has been cooled and stored within 2 hours after cooking, is not ruined, and has been properly reheated to a safe internal temperature. Using a microwave to reheat rice is ideal if you’re in a hurry, but rice tends to dry out quickly using this method. To keep your grains from drying out too much, cover your microwave-safe bowl with a damp paper towel before microwaving your rice.

How do I reheat rice without a microwave?

Aside from reheating rice in the microwave, you can reheat cooked rice in the oven or on the stove. You can also incorporate it into a recipe, particularly if you have day-old rice.

Can you reheat already cooked rice?

You can reheat already cooked rice if you prefer to have warm rice to go with your meals. If you have a rice cooker, you can simply keep the setting in “Keep Warm” mode to keep the rice at its optimum serving temperature for hours. This is ideal if you prefer to keep your rice fresh instead of storing it in the fridge. Don’t have a rice cooker? You can check out our rice cooker guides and reviews for more details regarding these time-saving appliances.

How do you reheat rice without drying it out?

By reheating rice, you also risk losing most of its moisture. Adding additional liquid, like broth or water, to the rice before you heat it up helps rehydrate the grains. Just make sure you add just enough, or you’ll end up with mushy rice. One tablespoon for each cup of rice is usually enough.

Can you reheat fried rice?

Reheating fried rice usually uses the same methods as normal rice. However, the best way to heat leftover fried rice, whether homemade or take-out, is by frying it on the stove. Place the fried rice in a pan on high heat, add extra oil or broth as the rice reheats, and stir fry for 10 minutes or until piping hot.

Ji-hyun

Hailing from California, USA. Ji-hyun is a Korean American 🇰🇷🇺🇸 with two growing boys who eat their weight in rice each week. After graduating UCLA & becoming a mom she started We Know Rice as a guide for all the students and moms out there looking to cook healthy and filling meals.

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