If there’s one thing I always cook too much of, it’s rice! No matter how hard I try, there’s also a portion left in the pot. Fortunately, you don’t have to throw it out. Contrary to popular belief, you can reheat rice the next day.
The reason there is this misconception that reheating rice is dangerous is because if you leave it out at room temperature for extended periods then it could harbour bacteria. It is not the way you reheat it. It is the way you store it beforehand that could be dangerous.
How to Reheat Rice on the Hob
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.
The best method for reheating rice depends on your needs: The stovetop is ideal for fluffy rice, the microwave is the quickest and most convenient, and the wok is best for adding flavour and extra ingredients.
Tips for Reheating Rice
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.
- 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.
- Stir Occasionally: When reheating, stir the rice occasionally to ensure even heating throughout. This is especially important when using a microwave or a stovetop.
- Moisture Retention: To keep the rice from drying out, add a small amount of water before reheating. If using a microwave, you can also place a damp paper towel over the container.
- Defrost Safely: If you’ve frozen your rice, defrost it in the fridge overnight rather than on the worktop to minimise bacterial growth.
Reheating rice more than once is not recommended due to the risk of food poisoning from bacteria that can survive the first reheating. Always ensure rice is hot all the way through and only reheat what you intend to eat. It’s best to cool and store rice promptly after the initial cooking.