When reheating rice, most of us go straight to the microwave, and within a minute or so, you have hot and steaming rice once again.
However, the microwave is not the only way you can reheat rice, and if you find yourself with some cold leftover rice and no microwave, it helps to know these other methods!
How do you reheat rice without a microwave? Other than using a microwave, you can reheat rice on the stovetop, in the oven, using an instant pot, or even the toaster oven! All these methods take a varied amount of time but leave you with some reheated rice to enjoy with your food.
Filling, versatile, and very affordable, don’t let your leftover rice go to waste just because you don’t have a microwave to reheat it in!
You do need to take some care when reheating rice to ensure it doesn’t dry out or become stodgy, so keep reading for step-by-step guides on how to reheat rice without a microwave.
Reheating Rice On The Stovetop
When rice is stored in the fridge, it can begin to dry out, so when you reheat it, you do need to add in some extra moisture to prevent it from drying out further, and to give you fluffy, moist rice.
To do this, you can use a pan and some water to steam the rice to reheat it.
This is how to reheat rice on the stovetop:
- Take the rice out of the fridge and allow it to sit for around 10-20 minutes to reach room temperature. Do not leave it out for longer than 30 minutes.
- Place the rice into a skillet that is large enough to spread the rice out evenly, so it heats evenly throughout.
- Add a tablespoon of water or vegetable stock per one cup of rice, to offer moisture.
- Cover the skillet with a well-fitting lid and switch it on to medium heat.
- Allow to heat and cook for 3-5 minutes, lifting the lid to stir the rice a few times.
- The extra water or vegetable stock will steam and reheat the rice with some added moisture, and the rice will turn out fluffy and light.
Make sure that the rice is heated thoroughly throughout, and that there are no cold patches or super hot patches. Stirring the rice helps to distribute heat evenly, and helps to fluff the rice up quite a bit.
Steaming the rice on the stovetop is a fairly quick and easy way to reheat it, and is probably the best way to get fluffy, hot rice in just a few minutes, without using a microwave.
Just make sure to not let the rice become too hot, as this could lead to it sticking to the bottom of the pan and burning, and it could give the rest of the rice a bad, burned taste.
Use a bigger skillet for bigger portions of rice, or a small saucepan if you are only heating up a portion or two. Only reheat as much as you will be eating!
Reheating Rice In The Oven
The oven might not be the first method you think of when it comes to reheating rice, but it can be used successfully, as long as you prepare the rice properly and follow a few simple guidelines and steps.
Using the oven might take a little longer than using the stovetop or the microwave, but it is a decent option if you are reheating a large portion of rice, or if you don’t have access to the other appliances you could use for reheating.
This is how to reheat rice in the oven:
- Remove the rice from the fridge and leave it to sit at room temperature for between 10 to 20 minutes, but do not leave it out for longer than 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 280°F.
- Place the rice into a deep baking tray and stir to break up any clumps.
- Add in a tablespoon of water or vegetable stock per cup of rice, and stir it in gently.
- Cover the rice in the baking tray with aluminum foil, or a lid if the baking tray comes with one.
- Place the covered baking tray with the rice into the microwave and leave it to heat for around 15 minutes.
- After 15 minutes, check to see if the rice is heated throughout and is piping hot. If not, place it back in the oven for another 5 minutes.
- Remove the rice from the oven when reheated thoroughly and lift the aluminum foil carefully as there will be quite a bit of steam.
Even if you can use a microwave or the stovetop to reheat rice, the oven works well for very large portions, and you can reheat multiple servings in one go, rather than doing them in batches on the stovetop or microwave.
Reheating Rice Using An Instant Pot
The instant pot can be such a great way to reheat rice, and if you have one in your kitchen, you should definitely try using it to reheat rice!
The instant pot provides a steamy, moist environment to reheat rice, so that it remains fluffy and light, and does not dry the rice out. Your rice will be almost as light and fresh as when you cooked it the first time around.
Here is how to reheat rice in an instant pot:
- Measure out how much rice you will be having and place this into a heatproof dish, one which will fit inside the instant pot.
- Place the steam rack into the instant pot, and place the rice dish on top of this.
- Pour 1-2 cups of water into the instant pot, making sure to not cover the dish.
- Break the rice up with a fork so that there are no big clumps.
- Place the lid onto the instant pot, close the vent and set it onto the steam function.
- Leave the instant pot to steam for 5 minutes.
- After 5 minutes, release the vent to let the steam out and then test to see if the rice is ready.
- If you are heating up a larger portion of rice, then you might need to leave it in for 3-4 more minutes.
The instant pot is a quick way to reheat rice, and it creates the perfect environment for steaming the rice to keep it from drying out.
You will have to test out how long it takes for rice to reheat thoroughly in the instant pot. It will also depend on how much rice you are reheating.
This is always a good way to reheat fried rice that is mixed in with other ingredients.
Reheating Rice In The Toaster Oven
Reheating rice in the toaster oven is similar to reheating it in a regular oven, but you will only be able to reheat smaller quantities, which might be better if you are only reheating rice for yourself and someone else!
A toaster oven is such a handy appliance to keep in the kitchen, especially if you are short on space.
Here is how to reheat rice in a toaster oven:
- Take the rice out of the fridge and leave it to reach room temperature for 10-20 minutes, but no longer than 30 minutes.
- Place the rice into the toaster oven pan and break it up with a fork so there are no clumps.
- Add a tablespoon of water or stock into rice per cup of rice and mix in.
- Cover the tray with aluminum foil.
- Preheat the toaster oven to around 280°F.
- Once heated, place the oven pan on the middle rack and leave to heat for 10 minutes.
- Check the rice after 10 minutes, and if it needs to heat for longer, place it back in for another 5 minutes.
Reheating Rice In A Rice Cooker
Another option to reheat rice is to use a rice cooker. You will not be cooking the rice again, but instead just reheating it to a suitable temperature.
The rice cooker can give you an easy way to reheat rice without having to dirty any other dishes!
Here is how to reheat rice in a rice cooker:
- Add the rice into the rice cooker, breaking up any lumps with a fork.
- Add in a tablespoon of water per cup of rice, stirring in gently.
- Switch the rice cooker on to keep warm and close the lid.
- Leave the rice to reheat for around 30 minutes before checking it.
- After 30 minutes, check to see if the rice is heated thoroughly. If not, place it in for another 10 minutes.
By choosing the keep warm function, the rice will be reheated slowly and gently, and it will not dry the rice out too much which could lead to it clumping up or becoming mushy and sticky.
You can switch the rice cooker on and leave it until the timer goes off, and although it will take longer than most other methods, it is fuss-free, and if you plan properly, your rice can be reheated just before lunch or dinner!
How To Properly Store Leftover Rice
It is so important to store leftover rice properly as if rice is not stored properly or left for too long before being eaten, it can lead to serious illness.
If cooked rice is left at room temperature for too long, dormant spores can start producing bacteria that lead to eventual food poisoning if eaten.
These spores thrive in warm and damp environments, and with rice being fairly damp, it can happen quickly.
When storing leftover rice, make sure to place it in an airtight container (we’d recommend this one), and place it into the fridge.
Make sure to leave the rice to cool down to room temperature for about 20 minutes before placing it in the fridge, and before closing the lid.
Closing the lid and placing the rice in the fridge while it is still hot can lead to steam, which could cause the rice to be stodgy, and can raise the temperature in the fridge.
If stored in an airtight container in the fridge, the rice can be eaten within 4 days. There is a chance it could last longer, but it really is not advised to eat it after 4 days.
White rice is known to last for longer than brown rice, so just check the type of rice you are placing in the fridge to determine when you should eat it by.
Can I Reheat Rice Twice?
Rice is one of the food items that can cause food illness quite easily, especially if proper food storage is not followed and if the rice is left in the fridge or at room temperature for too long.
It is safe to reheat rice after it has been left in the fridge for a few days, but once you have reheated rice, it is not a good idea to place the leftover reheated rice back in the fridge again to then reheat at a later stage.
Reheating rice more than once only increases the chances of bacteria growth, and increases the risk that you might become sick from eating it.
This is why you should only reheat as much rice as you are going to eat then and there, and if you do reheat any more than what you are able to eat, it is best to just throw it away.
Safely Reheating Rice
Rice can be safely reheated as long as you follow proper handling and storage. When cooking or reheating rice, you need to make sure that the rice reaches above 140°F.
The danger zone for food, where bacteria breeds rapidly, is between 40-140°F, so make sure that it is stored well below this temperature, and that when cooked or reheated, it is done so above this temperature.
Once the rice has been reheated, serve it immediately and do not keep any second leftovers.
Now that we’ve gone over how to reheat rice without using a microwave, let’s take a look at a few related questions on the subject!
How do you make leftover rice be sticky again?
The rice may have lost some of its stickiness when left in the fridge. You can make it sticky again while it is being reheated by adding some extra water and a tablespoon of rice flour.
As the rice cooks, the rice flour will help it become sticky again and clump together.
Can you eat cold rice?
As long as the rice has been stored properly in the fridge and has only been left in the fridge for up to 48 hours, it should be safe to eat cold.
Do not eat it cold if it has been in the fridge longer than 2 days or if it was not cooked properly.
If you’re looking for some great ways to use your leftover rice, here are a few fantastic recipes from the folks over at Babish Culinary Universe!