4 Easy Ways To Reheat Leftover Rice

If you’ve ended up with too much rice for leftovers after a party or a big dinner, and you don’t know how to reheat it the next morning, then you’ll be happy to learn there are many different ways to reheat rice. 

Can you eat cold rice?

As long as you’ve properly cooled and stored your rice after cooking, it’s perfectly safe to eat cold, leftover rice the next day. With any cooked food, it’s important to keep it out of the “danger zone” of temperature, i.e. anything in between 40°F and 140°F.

Once the rice is cooked and served, cool the rice quickly in wide containers for about 30 minutes on the counter and then cover with a lid and place it in the refrigerator. Do not leave rice on the counter at room temperature for more than one hour. 

Can you reheat already cooked rice?

Yes, you can definitely reheat already cooked rice and there are multiple ways to reheat rice (whether that’s white rice, brown rice, or fried rice). My favorite way to reheat rice when I only have a small amount to eat is in the microwave because it keeps the rice moist and reheats quickly. You can also reheat rice on the stove and re-use the rice in a new recipe like garlic fried rice. Other options also include using the oven in large quantities or a steamer. 

How do you reheat rice without drying it out?

Adding some liquid over the rice before reheating helps to plump up the rice and rehydrate the grains while heating up. The best way to reheat rice without drying it out in the microwave is to add one tablespoon of water for every one cup of cooked rice and cover it with a microwave-safe lid or towel to create a steaming effect. 

Like other starches in the microwave, rice has a tendency to heat unevenly. To prevent drying out your rice, but wanting to evenly heat the grains, I like to stop it midway and stir with a fork or spoon and continue heating. 

Is it safe to reheat rice in the microwave?

Like heating up other hot foods in the microwave, you want to make sure to heat up the rice to a minimum temperature of 165 ℉. This temperature is recommended by the USDA for all reheated foods. There have been some fears over reheating rice due to potential bacterial growth while cooling, but you need to make sure to just reheat the rice to 165 ℉ and it will be safe to consume. As long as you microwave the rice to the appropriate temperature of 165 ℉, you’re in the clear. 

How to reheat white rice

Just like cooking rice from raw grains, there are multiple ways to reheat cooked rice too: in the microwave, in a steamer, on the stove in a frying pan, or even in the oven. When cooled properly and frigid overnight, sometimes the rice can be a little dry and needs to be rehydrated. 

Adding some water over the rice or oil on a pan when frying rice can help plump up the rice while reheating. Depending on the type of white rice you’re making you can add varying amounts of water to rehydrate it to the plump perfect morsels they were before. For long-grain rice, I like to add one tablespoon for every cup, and for short-grain, I add two tablespoons per cup. 

Can you reheat brown rice?

Yes, you can definitely reheat brown rice. My favorite way to reheat this type of rice, whether that’s long-grain brown rice or short-grain brown rice is to use the microwave because it’s faster or uses a steamer to really rehydrate the grains to make them plump again. 

Best way to reheat white rice in the microwave

The best way to reheat white rice in the microwave is super simple. You just want to make sure you rehydrate and reheat at the same time so you don’t end up with dry rice. It’s best to use a microwaveable bowl and something to cover the rice like a towel or lid so that it creates a steam effect and hydrates the rice. I microwave white rice for about two to three minutes or until it measures 165 ℉ with a thermometer. Please note that I have a 900-watt power microwave and it takes me two minutes to reach this temperature. Adjust your timing based on your microwave. 

Best way to reheat fried rice

One of my favorite leftovers is fried rice like garlic fried rice (sinangag Filipino) or Thai basil fried rice. I find that the flavor marinates overnight in the fridge and gets bolder in taste. Reheating fried rice is just as easy as white rice. 

Depending on the amount of fried rice you want to reheat, I like to either use a microwave or reheat rice on the stove. If you’re only reheating an individual or two portions, use the microwave for a quick and hands-free way of getting hot and steamy fried rice. Add about one tablespoon of water for every one cup of cooked fried rice and cover with a microwave-safe lid or a towel to create a steaming effect while it’s cooking (and it also prevents it from drying out in the microwave). Microwave on high for about 2 minutes until it’s piping hot. 

If you want to reheat a lot of fried rice, I would recommend reheating it straight on the stove in a large frying pan because it’s faster and you can reheat a large amount at one time. Make sure to stir the rice occasionally so all the grains warm up evenly. Since fried rice has oil, I don’t add oil onto the pan to reheat. 

Best way to reheat rice without a microwave

The best way to reheat rice without a microwave is reheating it using a steamer because the steam helps to rehydrate the rice properly. I like to steam the rice over water in a pot for about two minutes or until it reaches 165 ℉ in temperature for safety. It should feel plump, moist, and tender when it’s finished. 

To learn how to cook different types of varieties of rice below:

rice bowl in microwave

How to Reheat Rice in the Microwave

5 from 2 votes
The fastest way to reheat and rehydrate leftover cold rice in the microwave! All you need is a couple tablespoons of water, a microwavable bowl, and towel.
BY: Huy Vu
Prep: 1 min
Cook: 3 mins
Total: 4 mins
SERVINGS: 1 cup

Ingredients

  • 1 c cooked and refrigerated rice
  • 1 tbsp filtered water add more if using brown or short-grain rice

Equipment Used

  • microwave-safe bowl
  • microwave
  • towel or microwave safe lid
  • instant-read or laser thermometer

Instructions 

  • Remove your refrigerated rice and place it in a microwave safe bowl. Break apart some of the larger pieces of rice so that it heats evenly and faster.
    cold rice broken up in bowl
  • Sprinkle the water throughout the rice.
    adding water to rice bowl
  • Cover with a towel or microwave safe lid. Place in the microwave and cook on high for two minutes or until an instant-read (or laser) thermometer says 165 ℉.
    towel on top of rice bowl in microwave
  • Remove the towel, being careful of the steam and enjoy!
    rice reheated in a microwave

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 205.4kcal | Carbohydrates: 44.51g | Protein: 4.25g | Fat: 0.44g | Saturated Fat: 0.12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.12g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.14g | Sodium: 2.33mg | Potassium: 55.3mg | Fiber: 0.63g | Sugar: 0.08g | Calcium: 16.25mg | Iron: 0.32mg
Course: Side Dish, Sides
Cuisine: Asian
Keyword: microwave rice, reheating rice
Did you cook this recipe?Tag @HungryHuy or #hungryhuy–I’d love to see it!
rice in steamer pot

How to Reheat Rice in the Steamer

5 from 1 vote
When you have an individual or small amount of rice to reheat, then using a steamer is a great option. Learn how to use a steamer to reheat rice for extra tender and moist rice.
BY: Huy Vu
Prep: 1 min
Cook: 5 mins
Total: 6 mins
SERVINGS: 1 c

Ingredients

  • water
  • 1 c cooked and refrigerated rice

Equipment Used

  • pot or pan that fits the steamer
  • rice paddle
  • instant-read or laser thermometer

Instructions 

  • Add about two inches of water in a pot or pan and place the steamer on top.
  • Remove the rice from the fridge. Break apart large clumps of rice and place them evenly on the steamer so it cooks properly.
    rice broken up in steamer pot
  • Turn on the heat to medium-high and cover the steamer with a lid.
    lid on top of steamer pot
  • Steam for about 5 minutes or until the internal temperature of the rice reads to 165 ℉ (use an instant-read or laser thermometer to reach this safety temperature).

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 205.4kcal | Carbohydrates: 44.51g | Protein: 4.25g | Fat: 0.44g | Saturated Fat: 0.12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.12g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.14g | Sodium: 1.58mg | Potassium: 55.3mg | Fiber: 0.63g | Sugar: 0.08g | Calcium: 15.8mg | Iron: 0.32mg
Course: Side Dish, Sides
Cuisine: Asian
Keyword: leftovers, reheating rice, steamer
Did you cook this recipe?Tag @HungryHuy or #hungryhuy–I’d love to see it!
oven reheated rice

How to Reheat Rice in the Oven

5 from 1 vote
If you’ve got a lot of cold rice you want to reheat, then warming up rice in the oven is a hands free and easy way to get a large amount of steaming rice on your table. This method is ideal for larger batches of rice and it fits more cups of rice than a steamer or a microwave.
BY: Huy Vu
Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Total: 25 mins
SERVINGS: 6 c

Ingredients

  • 6 c cooked and refrigerated rice
  • 6 tbsp filtered water add more if using brown rice or short-grain rice

Equipment Used

  • oven
  • oven safe pan or dish
  • Foil
  • instant-read or laser thermometer

Instructions 

  • Preheat your oven to 300 ℉.
  • Remove your cold rice from the fridge and break the bigger pieces of rice apart while placing them evenly on your baking dish.
    cold rice broken up in baking dish
  • Sprinkle the water evenly on the rice.
    sprinkling water on rice
  • Cover tightly with a piece of foil and poke about 6 holes in the foil with a knife.
    covering baking dish with aluminum foil
  • Place the dish in the oven and cook for about 10-20 minutes or until the internal temperature of the rice reads 165 ℉ with an instant-read or laser thermometer. If your rice is still a little hard after 20 minutes, add one or two more tablespoons of rice, stir with a spatula, recover with the foil, and continue cooking for 5-10 minutes or until plump.
    fluffed rice, reheated in the oven

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 205.4kcal | Carbohydrates: 44.51g | Protein: 4.25g | Fat: 0.44g | Saturated Fat: 0.12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.12g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.14g | Sodium: 2.33mg | Potassium: 55.3mg | Fiber: 0.63g | Sugar: 0.08g | Calcium: 16.25mg | Iron: 0.32mg
Course: Side Dish, Sides
Cuisine: Asian
Keyword: leftovers
Did you cook this recipe?Tag @HungryHuy or #hungryhuy–I’d love to see it!
rice reheating in a pan

How to Reheat Rice in a Pan

5 from 1 vote
Sometimes a great way to reheat leftover rice is to turn it into fried rice! Use this recipe for a tasty morning after meal or if you have lots of rice to reheat.
BY: Huy Vu
Prep: 1 min
Cook: 5 mins
Total: 6 mins
SERVINGS: 3 cup

Ingredients

  • 3 c cooked and refrigerated rice
  • 2 tbsp avocado oil or other neutral oil

Equipment Used

  • frying pan or wok
  • turner or spatula
  • instant-read or laser thermometer

Instructions 

  • Heat the pan or wok over medium heat and add the oil.
    adding oil to cast iron pan
  • Add rice and quickly break apart to separate the larger clumps into smaller pieces so it reheats more evenly.
    breaking up rice into small pieces in pan
  • Add the rice and use the turner or spatula to move the rice around while cooking evenly heat the rice. Cook for about 4-5 minutes or until the rice is about 165 ℉ with an instant-read or laser thermometer.
    fluffed rice reheated in a pan

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 287.91kcal | Carbohydrates: 44.51g | Protein: 4.25g | Fat: 9.78g | Saturated Fat: 1.2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.38g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6.73g | Sodium: 1.58mg | Potassium: 55.3mg | Fiber: 0.63g | Sugar: 0.08g | Calcium: 15.8mg | Iron: 0.32mg
Course: Side Dish, Sides
Cuisine: Asian
Keyword: leftovers
Did you cook this recipe?Tag @HungryHuy or #hungryhuy–I’d love to see it!

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