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How To Reheat Rice In The Microwave

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Rice is a staple in most homes; it is affordable and widely available. It is ideal to keep leftover rice in the fridge to enjoy for lunch or dinner the next day, but you have to know how to reheat it properly.

Not done right, rice can taste dry and stale once reheated, and that might lead you to throw the whole leftover batch away.

Reheating rice does not have to be intimidating or difficult, and you don’t have to spend long reheating rice if you use the microwave.

You might be worried that reheating the rice in the microwave might lead to it being dry and hard, but there are a few methods to use to prevent this from happening. 

How do you reheat rice in the microwave? Three methods work great to reheat rice in the microwave, which are the towel method, plastic wrap method, and glass of water method. All three of these help you reheat rice easily in the microwave with common items found at home.

Understanding how to reheat rice in the microwave will help you make the most of your leftover rice, and help you reheat it properly to have its best quality and taste!

Three Methods to Reheat Rice In The Microwave

If you are particularly pressed for time, or simply cannot wait to eat, using the microwave can help you warm up the rice in next to no time at all, with very little effort involved.

If you want to eat your rice with zero wait time, then you can even eat cold rice, as long as it has been stored correctly. Though, you’ll have to be more careful about looking for signs of spoilage.

You will hear different people all swear by varying methods used to reheat rice in the microwave, but here are three that all work wonderfully. You can choose which of the three methods works best for you.

1. Paper Towel Method

Reheating rice in the microwave using a paper towel is as easy as it gets. The paper towel works to trap moisture, which prevents the rice from drying out.

There is very little cleaning needed with this method, as you just use the bowl you are heating the rice up in, and you can throw the paper towel away when you’re done.

How to reheat rice in the microwave using a paper towel:

  1. Place the rice in an even layer on a plate.
  2. Cover the rice on the plate with a damp paper towel. Make sure the paper towel is just damp and not soaked in water. The damp paper towel will trap moisture, and ensure that the rice does not dry out.
  3. Microwave the rice for two minutes, checking on it every 30 seconds. Remove the rice once it has reheated evenly.

The damp paper towel works wonders to reheat rice to be plump and moist. The rice will need some extra moisture, and the damp paper towel provides this, while also ensuring that the moisture does not escape the rice at the same time.

Covering the rice also allows the rice to reheat evenly throughout.

2. Plastic Wrap Method

When you use plastic wrap to help reheat rice in the microwave, you are steaming the rice. This is one of the best ways to ensure that the rice is heating evenly throughout and that the rice retains essential moisture to not dry out.

How to reheat rice in the microwave using plastic wrap:

  1. Place the rice into a large bowl, but do not overfill the bowl, as there needs to be some space left for steaming.
  2. Add in three to four tablespoons of water to the rice. If you want the rice to have some extra flavor, you can add in three to four tablespoons of chicken broth or vegetable broth instead.
  3. Place the plastic wrap over the bowl, and make sure it is secured tight. Place this in the microwave and switch on to microwave on low for a few minutes. You will know the rice is ready when the plastic starts to balloon up and become steamy.
  4. Remove the bowl from the microwave and be sure to be extremely careful when removing the plastic wrap, as the escaping steam will be very hot and can lead to burns.
  5. Stir the rice to ensure it is warmed through evenly.

Using this method to reheat the rice means you can add in even more moisture in the form of water, or you can add in moisture and flavor by using chicken or vegetable stock.

The plastic wrap allows none of the moisture to escape, and as it heats, the steam warms the rice and keeps it moist and fluffy.

You do however need to remember to practice caution when removing the plastic wrap, as the steam can be extremely hot and can lead to serious burns!

3. Glass Of Water Method

Another helpful tool to use to reheat rice in the microwave is a simple glass of water.

By adding a glass of water to the microwave, standing next to the rice, you will be able to add additional moisture to the inside of the microwave, which once again prevents the rice from drying out, and gives it that extra moisture it needs to be soft and moist.

How to reheat rice in the microwave with a glass of water:

  1. Place the rice into a plate or a bowl, it does not matter which one.
  2. Fill a microwave-safe glass to around 2/3 full of water.
  3. Place the glass next to the rice in the microwave.
  4. Switch the microwave on to heat for 2 minutes, with both the glass of water and the rice inside.
  5. Once the two minutes are done, check that the rice has been heated evenly throughout. You can place it back into the microwave if it needs to be reheated for longer.
  6. Beware of the hot water in the glass, as it would probably be close to boiling, or boiling, and could cause some burns.

Using a glass of water side by side with your rice in the microwave to warm it up is one of the simplest tricks around.

The extra moisture in the microwave provided by the water allows the rice to remain moist and soft, and not dry and hard. Just remember to use caution when removing the hot water from the microwave!

Bonus Method: Reheating Frozen Rice In The Microwave

You can reheat frozen rice in the microwave without having to go through the process of thawing it first.

You will need to have the rice frozen in a plastic freezer bag for this method to work and make sure that the plastic freezer bag is safe to place into the microwave.

You will still be able to achieve fluffy, moist rice using this method, straight from the freezer to be reheated in the microwave!

Here’s how to reheat frozen rice in the microwave:

  1. Place the bag of frozen rice in the microwave, and open it slightly, to around an inch of opening. As the rice warms up in the microwave, the moisture in the bag works to steam the grains and allows the rice to taste as fresh and warm as it would if it were fresh from the pot.
  2. Switch the microwave on and check it every minute until warmed through.
  3. Pour the rice into a bowl or plate and stir it to get every grain of rice warm!

This saves you so much time having to thaw and then reheat rice, and using the method of thawing and reheating the rice in the bag allows it to stay moist and fluffy.

Related Questions

Is it safe to reheat cooked rice?

Many people have reservations about reheating cooked rice, as leftover rice is a common source of food poisoning.

However, if the rice has been placed in the fridge within an hour of being cooked, and is kept in an airtight container, it should be fine to reheat and eat within 2 days.

You need to ensure that the rice is steaming hot when you reheat it, and you should never reheat it a second time. If there is any rice leftover when you have reheated it, it should be thrown away.

How do you soften leftover rice in the microwave?

In order to soften leftover rice in the microwave, you have to introduce extra moisture to the rice.

This can either be by adding water directly to the rice or having a source of water, like a damp paper towel or a glass of water, in the microwave alongside the rice to give it enough moisture to soften up.

Reheating Rice In The Microwave

It is possible to reheat rice in the microwave and have it tasting fresh and soft once it is heated.

The three methods of reheating rice in the microwave, using a damp paper towel, plastic wrap, or a glass of water, all help to keep the rice moist during reheating in the microwave and prevent it from drying out and going hard.

All of the above three methods are such simple tricks to learn on how to reheat rice in the microwave successfully!

However, if you’re more of a visual learner and you just can’t decide which method to follow, here’s a great tutorial from the Scoff channel on YouTube! Check it out below.

Up Next: How To Reheat Rice In A Rice Cooker

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