Rice is a staple ingredient and the star of many dishes in nearly every cuisine there is. It is so versatile, can add some extra nutrition to a dish and can also pad it out to be a really satisfying meal.
Rice is easy to make but it can be so easy to end up with lots of leftover rice that you are going to want to use again rather than waste. Rather than eat your rice cold, is there a way (or ways) in which you can reheat it safely?
To reheat rice, you can either warm it through in a saucepan with a splash of liquid, microwave it or stir fry it in a wok. Reheating rice is safe, even though some people think it can be dangerous.
How to Reheat Rice
You may have heard that you should never reheat rice due to it being dangerous to consume once reheated.
Rice contains bacteria that are not killed by usual cooking processes, but the best way to avoid this becoming harmful is in the storing of the rice. Ensure it is cooled down as quickly as possible and stored in the fridge for no longer than 4 days.
You can definitely reheat rice as long as you do it correctly. Here are the best methods for safely reheating rice:
How to Reheat Rice on the Stove
The key to getting next-day fluffy rice is reheating it with plenty of moisture, so steaming on the stovetop is the perfect option!
- Spoon into Saucepan
Scoop the leftover rice into a small saucepan. You may want to gently break it up with a fork if it has clumped together but don’t do this vigorously or you risk break individual grains.
- Add Liquid
Add a tablespoon of water or broth for every cup of rice in the saucepan. You could also add in other flavourings at this point such as a cardamom pod, star anise or a mace blade.
Cover the saucepan with a tight-fitting lid. If you don’t think the lid is tight-fitting then add a sheet of greaseproof paper over the top before securing the lid over the top.
Steam the rice over low to medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes until thoroughly warmed through.
How to Reheat Rice in the Microwave
The microwave might not be the most glamorous method for reheating food, but it’s definitely the fastest and most convenient.
Scoop the rice into a microwave-safe container. This could be a bowl, dish or container but choose one that will comfortably contain the rice quantity you want to reheat.
- Add Liquid
Add a tablespoon of water or broth for every cup of rice within the container.
Cover the container with its lid or with a damp piece of kitchen roll if it doesn’t have a lid.
Reheat the rice on full power for a minute or two, stirring occasionally to ensure it is reheated thoroughly and evenly.
How to Reheat Rice in a Wok
This method is great if you are reheating your rice and planning to add additional ingredients such as cooked vegetables or egg:
Heat up your wok and add a tablespoon of oil. Sesame oil adds a particularly nice flavour if you’re serving it up alongside Asian-inspired dishes.
- Add Rice
Add the rice into the wok, stir around and use a spoon or fork to break up any clumps.
Cook the rice until it is plump and heated through. This should take about 3 minutes.
- Add Additional Ingredients
Add in your additional ingredients and cook them until done and then serve. A whisked egg, a few sliced spring onions and a pinch of sesame seeds can work really well.
How to Reheat Rice Successfully
So now we know of a few methods to reheat your rice, here are a few tips to ensure that you reheat it as successfully as possible.
- Storage is Key – To prevent any potential harm to yourself when you reheat rice, make sure you store it correctly beforehand. The key is to cool and refrigerate leftover rice as quickly as possible.
Spread it out in a thin layer on a baking sheet or tray so it cools rapidly. Then, when cold, put into a container, cover and chill in the fridge. Keep no longer than 3-4 days in the fridge.
- Only Reheat Once – You must only reheat rice once otherwise, you are putting yourself at more risk of harmful bacteria growing which will not be killed off by the reheating process.
- Break Up Clumps – No matter what method you are using, use a fork or spoon to break up any clumps of rice to ensure that it all reheats thoroughly and evenly.
Is It Safe to Reheat Rice?
There is a common belief (or misconception) that you should never reheat rice. However, this is not true.
It is possible to reheat rice, but people must take precautions to ensure it is safe to eat. When cooking rice, make sure that it reaches a high temperature and that this temperature is constant.
Keep it out of the danger zone — between 40°F and 140°F — where bacteria can grow rapidly. Ideally, you want the internal temperature to be 165°F then serve the rice immediately after cooking.
Following these steps will reduce the risk of food poisoning. Do not reheat the rice more than once as this further increases the risk of food poisoning.
Reheating Rice FAQs
Still finding yourself with questions about reheating rice? Then these quick FAQs might help:
Yes, risotto rice can be reheated using the same method as you would use for any rice type. As always, it’s just important that you store it correctly once it has cooled down.
We would not recommend reheating rice twice. This can increase the risk of bacterial growth which can make you ill. Instead, stick to reheating it once only and store leftover rice in individual portions to make this easier.
Although possible, you should err on the side of caution when reheating food from the Chinese as you don’t know what process it has been through – i.e. whether it has already been reheated once.