reheating rice

3 Easy Ways To Reheat Rice to Make it Soft and Fluffy Again

Rice is delicious and incredibly versatile to eat with any main dishes. If this carb source is part of your meal prep, or you just cooked too much, you might need to store leftovers and reheat them for another time.

Wait, can you reheat rice safely? The short answer is, yes. But, you need to follow a simple food safety guideline of storing and reheating.

Cooked rice has been widely known as one of the most common causes of food poisoning. Luckily, you can prevent getting sick from reheating leftover rice by storing and reheating it correctly.

Keep reading to find out the easy and safe techniques to reheat this worldwide staple, so it stays flavorful, fluffy, and safe to eat!

Can You Reheat Cooked Rice Safely?

If you cook it in a rice cooker, you can keep it warm for several hours using the ‘keep warm’ feature. This kitchen appliance automatically switches to the ‘keep warm’ function after the cooking process is finished. This is an excellent option if you cook it in the morning and plan to finish it up for lunch or dinner. Always keep the lid on to prevent it from drying out quickly.

However, if you plan to eat it the next day or later during the week, keep it refrigerated in a shallow airtight container as soon as possible or within 1 to 2 hours after cooking to prevent bacterial contamination.

When it’s time to serve, take only enough to reheat. Refrigeration doesn’t kill harmful bacteria, but it slows down the growth. Thus, make sure to reheat the leftover until it is steaming hot all the way through. (*)

If you cook a lot more than your family will eat, it is always best to serve as needed and keep the remaining in the refrigerator. For meal prep, pack it in serving containers and keep it refrigerated as soon as it cools down. This simple rule applies to steamed rice, fried rice, rice salad, leftovers from a Chinese takeaway, and other dishes prepared with this starchy ingredient.

After sitting in the fridge for a while, leftover rice loses its moisture, and it becomes dry, tough, and clumpy. The key to reviving the cold, sad rice is by adding moisture back and creating a seal to let it steam. Make sure it is steaming hot all the way through. This way, you can make it soft, fluffy again, and most importantly, it is safe to eat. No matter whether you’re reheating in a microwave, stovetop, or oven!

Before reheating, make sure the leftover is safe to eat. Don’t bother risking your health if you have left it out overnight, it shows spoilage signs (off-smells, unpleasant taste, or slimy texture), or it’s been refrigerated for too long.

Now, let’s check our simple guide to warm up leftover rice, so it is as fluffy and flavorful as ever!

How To Reheat Rice In A Microwave

Reheating foods in the microwave is the most convenient and fastest option. However, it won’t give the best result if not done correctly. Here is what you should know about heating up leftover rice in the microwave.

  • 1. Transfer the rice into a bowl or a microwave-safe dish.
  • 2. Add a splash of water to make it soft and fluffy again. Don’t add too much water. Use only a tiny amount, enough to steam the rice.
  • 3. Break up any clumps with a fork.
  • 4. Cover the container with a wet towel.
  • 5. Cook on high power for 1 to 3 minutes. Reheating frozen rice needs a few minutes longer.
  • 6. Make sure that the rice is thoroughly heated before consumption.
  • 7. Done! Be careful when taking out the container because it will be steaming hot.

How To Reheat Rice On A Stove Top

  • 1. Transfer the rice into a pan.
  • 2. Add a splash of water. Start with a few tablespoons of water, add more during the reheating process if it still looks dry.
  • 3. Break up any big clumps with a fork.
  • 4. Cover the pan with a lid.
  • 5. Cook on low heat for a few minutes and stir occasionally.
  • 6. After thorough heating and all water has evaporated, the rice should be soft and fluffy again. Add more water during the cooking, if necessary. To add more flavor, you can also add a drizzle of oil or a small chunk of butter along with water.

Note: The stove top is also the best way to reheat fried rice. Simply add a teaspoon of cooking oil in a nonstick frying pan over medium heat, then add the fried rice in and stir until hot.

How To Reheat Rice In An Oven

  • 1. Place the rice in a baking dish.
  • 2. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of water for a single portion. Adjust the amount of water for a larger portion.
  • 3. Break up all clumps with a fork.
  • 4. Mix the rice and water thoroughly and spread evenly on the baking dish.
  • 5. Cover with the lid or aluminum foil.
  • 6. Bake at 300 ºF for 20 minutes or until it is piping hot all the way through. Reheating from frozen requires additional time.



Reheating rice is often associated with an unsafe practice that can make you sick. To prevent food poisoning, always keep leftover rice refrigerated immediately or maximum within two hours after cooking.

Reheat rice quickly in a microwave, saucepan, or in the oven. Follow our tips to reheat leftover rice safely, so you can always serve it warm and fluffy anytime you wish!

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*image by kamenzik/depositphotos

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