There are few things more disheartening to find in the fridge than a container of cold, hard rice, fused together like a crumbly brick. Whether it’s take out rice, or leftover rice from a pot you made earlier in the week, it never looks promising when you pull it out from the refrigerator.
(Psst….click here for How to Cook Perfect Rice on the Stove.)
But there are a couple of ways of how to perfectly reheat rice, so that the grains stay fluffy, and don’t get gummy or lumpy or dry.
Best Ways to Reheat Leftover Rice
How to Reheat Rice on the Stove
To reheat rice in a pot on the stove, add a bit of water to the rice in the pot (about 2 tablespoons per cup), cover the pot, and heat it over medium low heat, stirring frequently until it is hot throughout. Don’t use a pot that is very deep, so you can stir easily, and the rice reheats more quickly and doesn’t get all smooched and broken while you are stirring it.
How to Reheat Rice in the Microwave
To heat rice in the microwave, put it in a microwave safe dish or shallow bowl, drizzle over a couple of tablespoons of water per cup, cover it with a damp paper towel and microwave it for about 20 seconds per cup, until it’s hot.
Use a bowl deep enough to allow you to stir without flinging the grains everywhere, but not so deep that it’s hard to easily stir the rice. For larger amounts stir it occasionally once it gets hot on the outer edges of the bowl. The rice in the middle will still be cool, so you want to redistribute the rice so it heats more evenly.
And, yes, it’s perfectly safe to reheat rice in the microwave!
These methods work with most kinds of rice: white, brown, basmati, jasmine, Texmati, black, even wild rice (did you know that wild rice is actually a grass?). And did you know that varieties like jasmine and basmati also come in brown rice versions?
However, using these methods to reheat risotto or other dishes made with Arborio or other very starchy short grain rice types or sticky or glutinous rice will get you hot rice, but not fluffy separate grains.
So, don’t just make enough for one dinner. Now that you know how to reheat it, you can multi-purpose that pot of rice all week long.
Tips for Make Ahead Rice
If you are making rice with the intention of reheating some of it later in the week, it’s a good move to cool it down quickly, so it doesn’t get clumpy and sticky and too soft sitting in a pot.
An easy way to do this is to spray a rimmed baking sheet or tray with nonstick cooking spray or cover it with parchment paper, and then spread whatever rice you plan to store on the sheet or tray. When it cools to room temperature, scoop it into an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 4 days.