How to Reheat a Rice Dish


Rice is not the staple for most Americans that it is in other cultures, but it is still widely eaten. That means leftover rice will often be found in the refrigerator - and rice generally doesn't do well in the refrigerator and usually gets hard and crunchy. Plain rice is easily used up in casseroles or by making fried rice, but finished rice dishes are best reheated directly. Follow these directions to properly reheat leftover rice.

Things You'll Need

  • Microwaveable bowl
  • Plastic film wrap
  • Large spoon or flexible spatula
  • Instant-read thermometer (optional)
  • Select a bowl at least 50 percent larger than the leftover rice dish to allow room for stirring. Stirring is very important in microwave usage, to compensate for their uneven heating.

  • Transfer the leftover rice dish from its storage container to the microwaveable bowl. Crumble the clumps of rice to break them up and allow more even heating. If there are any especially delicate ingredients such as fish or leafy vegetables, remove and reserve them.

  • Add 1 tbsp. of cold water for every cup of leftover rice. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap, and poke a small hole for steam to vent through.

  • Microwave the rice for one minute on high power, then let it sit for one minute. Stir, and repeat. Continue until the rice is very hot, and some of the ingredients are making popping sounds in the microwave. This will take approximately one minute per cup of rice. Add any reserved ingredients, and stir.

  • Return the rice to the microwave one final time, and heat it for another 30 seconds. The food should be at 160 degrees F or higher, when tested with an instant-read thermometer. Allow the rice to rest at least one minute, while the temperature equalizes throughout, then serve immediately.

Tips & Warnings

  • These instructions assume you are using long-grain rice, which becomes rather dry and hard when cold. If you are using shorter-grain rice, you can omit the added water if you wish.
  • Do not reheat the leftovers a second time. The quality of the dish will deteriorate, and the risk of food-borne illness will increase sharply.

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