Can You Reheat Rice Safely?

Yes, you can reheat rice safely, but it’s crucial to follow proper safety guidelines to avoid foodborne illnesses. Rice can contain spores of a bacterium called Bacillus cereus, which can multiply and produce toxins when rice is left at room temperature for too long.

How to Reheat Rice…


Rice is a grain that has danced at the heart of human civilization for over 10,000 years.

Originating in ancient China, it found its way, thread by shimmering thread, through every continent, shaping dynasties and influencing trade routes.

But did you know that there’s a type of rice named ‘Forbidden Rice’ which was once exclusively reserved for Chinese royalty?

Or that, according to Japanese folklore, a rabbit lives on the moon making rice cakes?

From the paddies of Asia to the lunchboxes of the modern-day office worker, rice remains a silent witness to history, a staple that has fed more mouths than any other crop on our planet.

Can You Reheat Rice
Rice Grains

Can you Reheat Rice – The Do’s

  • Do store leftover rice in the fridge within 2 hours of cooking.
  • Do ensure that the rice is heated to at least 75°C (165°F) before consuming.
  • Do cool the rice quickly before refrigerating.
  • Do use a microwave, stovetop, or oven to reheat the rice evenly.
  • Do stir the rice occasionally while reheating to ensure even heat distribution.

Can you Reheat Rice – The Don’ts

  • Don’t leave rice at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
  • Don’t reheat rice more than once.
  • Don’t use a slow cooker to reheat rice, as it may not reach the necessary temperature.
  • Don’t add too much liquid while reheating, as it can make the rice mushy.
  • Don’t consume rice if it has an off smell or unusual appearance.

How to Store Cooked Rice

Storing cooked rice properly is the key to ensuring it stays fresh and safe for reheating later. Follow these steps to store your rice safely:

  1. Allow the rice to cool down quickly by spreading it out on a flat surface or shallow container.
  2. Once cooled, transfer the rice to an airtight container.
  3. Place the container in the refrigerator within 2 hours of cooking.

Cooked rice can be stored in the refrigerator for 4 to 6 days. Ensure it’s cooled quickly after cooking and transferred to an airtight container before refrigerating. If you’re uncertain about the freshness of the rice after this period, it’s best to err on the side of caution and discard it.

For longer storage, you can freeze cooked rice for up to a month, though its texture may change slightly upon thawing. Always reheat rice to an internal temperature of at least 75°C (165°F) before consuming and never reheat more than once.

How to Reheat Rice

There are several methods to reheat rice, but the most effective ones are using a microwave, stovetop, or oven. The microwave method is generally the quickest and most convenient choice.

How to Reheat Rice in a Microwave

  1. Place the rice in a microwave-safe container.
  2. Add a splash of water or a damp paper towel to the container to provide moisture and prevent the rice from drying out.
  3. Cover the container with a microwave-safe lid or plate.
  4. Microwave the rice on high for 1-2 minutes, stirring halfway through to ensure even heating.
  5. Check that the rice has reached an internal temperature of 75°C (165°F) before consuming.
  6. If the rice hasn’t got to 75°C replace in microwave for at least a minute or two until it does.

How to Reheat Rice on a Stovetop

  1. Place the rice in a saucepan and add a small amount of water to provide moisture.
  2. Heat the rice on low to medium heat, stirring occasionally to ensure even heat distribution.
  3. Continue heating until the rice reaches an internal temperature of 75°C (165°F), then remove from heat.

How to Reheat Rice in an Oven

  1. Preheat your oven to 150°C (300°F).
  2. Place the rice in an oven-safe dish and add a splash of water to provide moisture.
  3. Cover the dish with aluminum foil
  • Cover the dish with aluminum foil to trap steam and prevent the rice from drying out.
  • Bake the rice for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it reaches an internal temperature of 75°C (165°F).

5-Step Guide for Reheating Rice Safely

  1. Store cooked rice in the refrigerator within 2 hours of cooking.
  2. Choose a suitable reheating method: microwave, stovetop, or oven.
  3. Add a small amount of water or a damp paper towel to provide moisture and prevent drying.
  4. Stir the rice occasionally while reheating to ensure even heat distribution.
  5. Check that the rice reaches an internal temperature of 75°C (165°F) before consuming.

Frequently Asked Questions

    • What is the minimum temperature to reheat rice?
      The rice should be heated to an internal temperature of at least 75°C (165°F) to kill any harmful bacteria.
    • Which methods are suitable for reheating rice?
      You can use a microwave, stovetop, or oven to reheat rice safely and evenly.
    • Where should I store cooked rice?
      Store cooked rice in the refrigerator within 2 hours of cooking to prevent bacterial growth.
    • When should I discard leftover rice?
      If the rice has been left at room temperature for more than 2 hours, has an off smell or unusual appearance, or has already been reheated once, it’s best to discard it.
    • How can I prevent rice from becoming dry when reheating?
      Add a small amount of water or a damp paper towel to the rice and cover it while reheating to retain moisture and prevent drying.
    • How many times can you reheat rice?
      It’s generally recommended to only reheat rice once to ensure food safety. Each time rice is reheated, there’s a risk for bacterial growth if it’s not done correctly.
    • Can you reheat rice from frozen?
      Yes, you can. Ensure that the rice is heated thoroughly all the way through and is piping hot before consumption. It’s best to avoid multiple freeze-thaw cycles for rice.
    • Can you reheat rice in the oven?
      Yes, you can reheat rice in the oven. Place it in an oven-safe dish, add a little water to prevent drying out, and cover with foil. Bake until it’s heated through thoroughly.
    • Can you reheat rice in an air fryer?
      While less common, it’s possible to reheat rice in an air fryer. Ensure even distribution and check for consistent heating. A short blast should get it hot and a bit crispy.
    • Can you reheat rice after 2 days?
      If the rice has been stored properly in the refrigerator, it should be safe to reheat after 2 days. Always ensure it’s reheated thoroughly and only do this once.
    • Can you reheat rice and chicken together?
      Yes, you can. Both should be reheated thoroughly and to a safe internal temperature. Check that there are no cold spots in the middle of either component.
    • Can you reheat rice in a pan?
      Absolutely. Adding a bit of water or broth can help prevent the rice from drying out. Stir frequently to ensure even heating.
    • Can you reheat rice twice, as discussed on Reddit?
      While some discussions might suggest otherwise, it’s safest to only reheat rice once. Multiple reheating can increase the risk of foodborne illnesses due to bacterial growth.

Final Thoughts

Reheating rice can be safe and enjoyable when you follow the proper guidelines. Remember the importance of storing rice correctly, choosing an appropriate reheating method, and ensuring it reaches a safe internal temperature before consuming. By taking these precautions, you can savor the taste of your reheated rice without any worries.

See Also

Can you reheat Risotto?
Can you Reheat Pasta Safely?

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