Rice is the perfect side dish for anything from a steak dinner to seafood classics or even vegan tofu and the star ingredient in lifelong family favorites like Arroz con Pollo or Mexican Rice. If you love rice as much as we do, you’re most likely part of the community that can, and does, eat rice at least once a day! With hectic schedules, some people prefer to cook their meals in advance and have them ready in the fridge to simply heat and enjoy – even their rice!
Have you tried meal prepping or batch cooking yourself? If you do or are curious about saving time by pre-cooking your meals, rice can also be cooked for later and enjoyed with a similar texture and taste as if it were freshly made. So yes, reheated rice can still be amazing. You just have to keep in mind a few tried and successful tricks. Also, remember that rice is not always reheated the same – it all depends on the method you choose and if you’re heating it with other foods.
How to Store Leftover Rice
Like many other ingredients, when reheated, the texture of rice will vary. After being cooked, rice might lose moisture and form clumps, as the grains dry out and turn a bit chewy and tough. However, if you store and reheat it properly, you will enjoy next-day rice with its signature fluffy and light texture. But, before we get into reheating, it’s important to learn how to properly store it!
Take a look at these tips:
- For safety, it is recommended to enjoy refrigerated, cooked rice within 4 days.
- Let grains cool down and do not leave unrefrigerated for more than an hour.
- Store in the fridge using airtight containers as they will help the grains maintain their texture better by holding onto more moisture.
- Rice (cooked and uncooked) can be frozen, and it will last longer!
- Freeze rice in labeled bags, squeezing out any extra air to prevent freezer burn.
- Thaw frozen rice in the refrigerator overnight or heat it by following any of the reheating methods listed below.
4 Different Methods to Reheat Rice
You read that right! Depending on what you have on hand and time available, there are different methods to getting perfect reheated rice: on the stove, in the microwave, in the oven or stir fried. Take note and start recreating that fluffy texture of your favorite grains, even if you’re having leftover rice.
Note: Do not reheat rice more than once. To reduce waste, only reheat the quantity you will be enjoying. If you find you have too much extra rice, get creative and turn it into a new recipe like Spicy Salmon Rice Croquettes.
1. Use the Stove to Steam Rice
For the stovetop method, 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.
2. Reheat in the Microwave
Cut down on time by steaming or reheating your grains in the microwave. This is the most convenient and speediest technique. Use a microwave-safe container and have a paper towel on hand – the secret to this method.
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.
3. Heat Rice in the Oven
As the microwave method is recommended for smaller servings, the oven is best if you’re reheating rice for more than one person. 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.
Use this method for a simple side dish for dinner or reheat your rice in your meal! Reuse your extra rice or batch precooked rice in this recipe for Rice and Turkey Stuffed Peppers. As it calls for cooked rice, use what you have on hand like Mahatma® Brown Rice or traditional Mahatma® White Rice.
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.
Like any of the other techniques, you can use this method to stir fry any rice variety – and yes, you can make fried rice with brown rice! Use this method for a fun chicken and rice dinner or stir fry your precooked rice directly into your favorite fried rice recipe. Try it out in this Miso Fried Rice using Mahatma® Jasmine Rice.
Reheating Rice Dishes
If you’re wondering which rice dishes are best suited for reheating, we’ve got good news! Nearly everyone of your favorites will be as delicious as when freshly made. There are just a few exceptions, like risotto or other cream-based rice dishes.
Also, if you’ve ever felt frustrated because you reheated your meal in the microwave and part of it ended up cold – there’s a solution! For a heated through meal, we recommend you heat it in layers or, in other words, in small portions or part by part if you’ve kept your ingredients separate.
Try reheating this Roasted Cauliflower Rice Bowl in smaller portions on each plate, if serving for a family dinner, or reheat each ingredient portion on its own if you stored it separately before combining.
With all of these tips and tricks for storing and reheating your rice, you can worry about food waste and get back to enjoying your favorite Mahatma® Rice variety any time of day. Try these tips using a new meal idea today from our recipe selection, like a paella recipe or our jasmine rice recipe.