How to Reheat Rice

Written By Olivia Sheppard

Published:

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!

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Cover
    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.
  4. Steam
    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.

  1. Contain
    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.
  2. Add Liquid
    Add a tablespoon of water or broth for every cup of rice within the container. 
  3. Cover
    Cover the container with its lid or with a damp piece of kitchen roll if it doesn’t have a lid.
  4. Reheat
    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:

  1. Heat
    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.
  2. Add Rice
    Add the rice into the wok, stir around and use a spoon or fork to break up any clumps.
  3. Cook
    Cook the rice until it is plump and heated through. This should take about 3 minutes.
  4. 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.  
What is the Best Way to Reheat Rice?

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.
Can You Reheat Rice Twice?

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.

How to Reheat Rice

5.0 from 1 vote
Course: SidesCuisine: InternationalDifficulty: Easy
Servings

4

servings
Prep time

5

minutes
Cooking time

10

minutes
Total time

20

minutes

Here are 3 methods for reheating rice.

Ingredients

  • Leftover Cooked Rice

  • Water or Stock

  • Star Anise, Cardamom or Mace Blades

Directions

  • How to Reheat Rice on the Hob
  • Place the leftover rice into a small saucepan, breaking up any clumps gently with a fork.
  • For each cup of rice, stir in a tablespoon of water or broth. Optional flavourings like cardamom, star anise, or mace blade can be added at this stage.
  • Seal the saucepan with a tight lid, using greaseproof paper underneath if necessary for a better seal.
  • Heat the rice over low to medium heat for 3-5 minutes until it’s completely heated through.
  • How to Reheat Rice in the Microwave
  • Transfer the rice into a microwave-safe container that can accommodate the amount you’re reheating.
  • Pour a tablespoon of water or broth over the rice for every cup you’re reheating.
  • If the container doesn’t have a suitable lid, cover it with a damp paper towel.
  • Microwave the rice on full power for 1-2 minutes, stirring here and there for even warmth.
  • How to Reheat Rice in a Wok
  • Warm up the wok and add a tablespoon of oil, like sesame oil for added flavour.
  • Toss in the rice, stirring and breaking up any large pieces.
  • Fry the rice until it’s fully warmed and looks plump, which typically takes about 3 minutes.
  • Incorporate any extra ingredients you desire, cook until done, and serve immediately, garnishing if you like with beaten egg, spring onions, and sesame seeds.

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