There is a common misconception that cooked rice shouldn’t be reheated, however, that’s simply not true! You can and should reheat your rice, within four days of cooking of course. Not only does it help to cut back on food waste, but it’s a great way to organize your weekly menu with food that is ready to go for quick and easy meal prep.
This idea may have come about because if your cooked rice is stored incorrectly, it might lose moisture and form clumps, as the grains dry out and turn a bit chewy and tough. So, in order to avoid tasteless or even harmful results, we’ll show you how to store your rice and also offer four useful ways to reheat it with some recipe inspiration.
Cook and Cool Your Rice
Unless you’ve ordered takeout and have extra white rice on your hands, you will most likely be cooking your own rice. Whether you’ve batch cooked a large portion to divide up throughout the week or you’ve got some leftovers from dinner – it’s important to make sure your rice is properly cooked according to package instructions and cooled before you store it.
Note: If you’re making your rice to store for later in the fridge or freezer, make sure to pack it up within an hour of preparing it.
How To Store Rice
When you store your rice correctly, you can enjoy next-day rice with that signature light and fluffy texture. But, before we get into reheating, let’s learn how to properly store it!
Tips for Proper Storage:
- Store your rice in airtight containers so that they hold onto more moisture ensuring a better texture.
- You can also freeze your rice to make it last longer (cooked or uncooked)!
- Freeze your rice in labeled bags, squeezing out any extra air.
- Thaw frozen rice in the refrigerator overnight or heat it by following any of the reheating methods listed below.
Note: If you didn’t store your rice in an airtight container and now you need some help on how to use it, keep reading, we’ve got some recipe inspiration later on for you too!
How to Reheat Rice
The beauty of reheating your rice is that there are different methods to getting that perfect texture based on what you have at home. You can choose to reheat on the stove, in the microwave, in the oven or stir fry it in a skillet.
Note: Ensure that your rice is very hot when warming and don’t reheat more than once! To reduce waste, only reheat the quantity you will be enjoying!
1. Use the Stove to Steam Rice
To reheat your rice over the stove, you can use either a shallow pot or a skillet that has a lid.
Take rice out of the fridge, let rest, and warm to room temperature.
Add grains to the pot or spread over the skillet and splash with some liquid (water or broth, about 2 Tbsp per cup of rice). Cover tightly and heat over low heat, for about 5 minutes.
If there still are clumps, stir softly and occasionally to break them up. Remove from heat when steamed and heated through.
Using a lid over low heat helps to create steam, which will moisturize the rice until it gets back that fluffy texture. Use this method for a quick dinner side dish or to use in a Roasted Buffalo Cauliflower Bowl.
2. Reheat in the Microwave
Cut down on time by steaming or reheating your grains in the microwave. This is the most convenient and quickest technique. Use a microwave-safe container and have a paper towel on hand.
Serve rice in a microwave safe dish and break any large clumps. Distribute rice in an even layer.
Splash some water or broth over the top (about 2 Tbsp per cup of rice) and cover the plate with a damp paper towel or napkin.
Heat for short time intervals (30 to 20 seconds), fluff, and repeat for about 2 minutes or until heated through. If you use a deep bowl, note that rice can be heated on the edges but still cool in the middle, so make sure to stir at each interval for even reheating.
By covering with a damp towel, steam will be created and will prevent the grains from drying out. This will result in heated rice with a pleasant soft bite. Use this method if you’re in a rush or do not have a stove available. It is recommended to heat single servings and not large amounts of rice, perfect for a quick burrito bowl or filling.
3. Heat Rice in the Oven
Use your oven to reheat leftover rice when serving a crowd or a family dinner! You will need a shallow oven-safe dish and aluminum foil.
Preheat the oven to 300°F. Spread rice in an even layer over the baking dish, gently breaking up any clumps.
Splash with about 2 Tbsp water or broth per cup of rice. Use foil to cover the dish tightly.
Bake for about 20 minutes or until heated through.
4. Stir Fry It
If you’ve read our quick guide on how to make the perfect fried rice, then you may be aware that results are best when using leftover rice.
Heat oil in a pan or wok. Add rice right from the fridge and stir until coated and heated through, for about 3 to 5 minutes.
Add your favorite vegetables and protein, cook and enjoy.
Help! Rice Recipes Needed
If you’re one of the many who found this guide a day too late and didn’t store your rice in an airtight container or dried it out when reheating, have no fear! We’ve got some tasty ways you can still use up that rice without having to toss it all in the garbage bin.
These Spicy Salmon Rice Croquettes are made with a mixture of cooked rice, salmon, veggies and seasonings all deep fried to crispy perfection.
Combine it with other pantry staples like canned tuna to make an oven-baked Tuna Rice Puff.
Toss it into the skillet for a delicious homemade fried rice like this Bacon Fried Rice Recipe.
Combine it with your favorite filling and make your stuffed vegetables or try these Turkey and Rice Stuffed Peppers.
When done correctly, you can have the perfect light and fluffy rice any time! Make sure to start with quality ingredients like Carolina® Rice and the results will speak for themselves. Still need more ideas to repurpose your leftover rice? We recommend you give a try to this delicious rice pudding.