Want to learn how to reheat rice? It’s super simple no matter which of the 4 different methods you use. There are also some key things to keep in mind so you get fluffy rice, even when it’s already a day or two old. Don’t forget to try out these rice recipes near the end!

Instant pot white rice is fluffy and tender for a simple side dish.

Can you reheat cooked rice?

Yes, you can reheat cooked rice. Reheating rice is easy, and it only takes a few steps depending on the type of method. You can warm it back up with a microwave or the oven, steam it on the stovetop, or repurpose it completely in a skillet.

How to Reheat Rice

Rice can easily be made ahead of time, so it’s ideal for meal prep and reheating. But these tips also work well with simple leftover rice, too. Because it’s so versatile, it can easily be repurposed into something completely different the second time around. For the best results, use these tricks and tips for any type of rice.

Can you use the stovetop to reheat rice?

Yes, you can use the stove top to reheat rice. This method works especially well for large portions. This one will take a bit more time, but it won’t feel like it if you’re cooking more food for your meal. 

  1. Let the rice warm up to room temperature.
  2. Add rice to a pot or skillet with a splash or two of water or broth. 
  3. Break up any rice clumps to distribute it evenly.
  4. Cover rice tightly with a lid and let it sit on low heat for 5-10 minutes.

Using a lid for this method allows the rice to steam which creates a fluffy texture—as if it weren’t even leftovers! If you don’t have a fitted lid, using aluminum foil is a great way too. 

Serve instant pot white rice for dinner.

Is it safe to microwave already cooked rice?

The microwave method is the easiest and safest way to reheat rice. Whether it’s white, brown, or basmati rice, all you need is a little water and a damp paper towel. Follow these quick steps for moist rice:

  1. Scoop leftover rice in a microwave-safe container.
  2. Break up any rice clumps to create an even layer.
  3. Add 1-2 tablespoons of water or broth over the rice. You can even nestle an ice cube in the middle of the rice instead.
  4. Cover with a damp paper towel.
  5. Heat for 20-30 seconds, fluff, then repeat for up to 2 minutes until warmed through.

The damp paper towel creates a steamy cloud over the rice to prevent it from drying out. The splash of water or broth also adds moisture. If you don’t have much rice to reheat, the microwave is your best bet for small portions. 

Will the oven dry out rice?

No, the oven will not dry out rice if you follow these simple steps. The oven method is also an easy way to reheat rice for a crowd. Grab foil and a baking sheet to get started with this option.

  1. Preheat your oven to 300°F.
  2. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  3. Spread rice evenly throughout the baking sheet to break clumps.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes until heated through.

You could even sprinkle salt, pepper, or other seasonings to spice it up and create the perfect side dish.

How can I repurpose leftover rice?

The best way to repurpose leftover rice is to use it in a stir fry. Instead of adding water like in the other methods, you’ll add soy sauce and other condiments to a skillet, and voila! The perfect fried rice or Asian side dish. Here are the easy steps:

  1. Heat oil in a pan.
  2. Add rice straight from the fridge.
  3. Stir until heated through for 3-5 minutes.
  4. Add vegetables, protein, and seasonings.

Try out this Easy Chicken Fried Rice recipe that can be easily adapted to your taste preferences. 

A piece of shrimp is picked up with chopsticks from a bowl of fried rice.

How to Store Rice Properly

Rice can lose its moisture and fluffy texture if it’s not stored properly. Reduce the risk of it becoming too chewy and tough with these tips!

  1. Let the rice completely cool. To prevent the growth of a bacteria called Bacillus cereus, don’t let it sit on the counter for more than an hour.
  2. Once cool, put rice in an airtight container.
  3. Before placing a lid on the rice, put plastic wrap over the top of the container.
  4. Add the lid tightly over the plastic wrap and keep in the fridge for up to 4 days. 

If you don’t plan on eating your rice within 4 days, you can freeze it too! Simply put your cooled rice in a freezer-friendly bag, squeeze it tight before zipping it up, label it, and place it in the freezer flat. 

A big, white-speckled bowl full of cooked white rice with a small wooden spoon in the center holding some white rice.

Can you eat cold rice?

As long as you’ve properly stored your leftover rice, then it’s completely safe to eat cold. Remember that with any cooked food, you want to make sure the rice hasn’t spent more than an hour in the “danger zone” temperatures, between 40°F – 140°F. This is the range where bacteria like Bacillus cereus can grow. 

A metal spoon full of pressure cooker Mexican rice is lifted up from the bowl.

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