HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


Help with reheating rice - no microwave

We're considering ditching our microwave and although we're almost there, we've still got a few cooking conundrums left. A big one is how to reheat rice.

Fried is fine, but what other ways are there to reheat it?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Back in the olden days - almost prehistory - before we had a microwave, here's what we used to do: Put the rice into a small, steep-sided pan, with a splash of water. Cover and heat gently until the water is (almost) boiling. Remove from heat and let sit for 5 or 10 minutes until the rice is heated through.

    Or toss your leftover rice and make fresh rice. Frankly, that's what we usually did.

    1. Steaming is best if you have a lot left over, otherwise combine it in something else (like vegetables) or toss it.

      4 Replies
      1. re: mcsheridan

        Steaming was my first thought, but how does one keep the rice from falling through the holes?

        1. re: DuffyH

          Use a mesh colander/strainer over the pot, not the usual one with big holes.

          1. re: mcsheridan

            You could also line the larger-holed steamer with a coffee filter.

          2. re: DuffyH

            You don't need to steam it in a perforated steamer. Just put the bowl of rice in the pot of water. Raise the bowl up out of the water by setting it on top of an overturned bowl on the bottom of the pot.

        2. I steam it over water. Works great.

            1. re: monavano

              I've got a double boiler, so that's a thought. Add a couple teaspoons of water to the rice, yes?

              EDIT - I just realized I might not need a double boiler because the induction range can go so low. but it would provide an extra buffer between the rice and the hot pan.

              1. re: DuffyH

                The induction range might be the ticket, although, it can heat water really fast, right?

                1. re: monavano

                  Sure. It can heat the water lickety-split. Which would cut steaming time.

                  And with my thick disk bottom pans, it's probably worth trying without a double boiler. As I said, I can do low really well. Especially on my smallest hob.

                  All this thinking is hurting my brain, but I really want to swap out my OTR microwave for a proper hood. :-)

            2. We have a great breville counter oven that has a million settings, so toaster oven?

              4 Replies
              1. re: carrytheone

                I've got the big Smartoven, too, but couldn't figure out how to do it in a time-efficient manner. A stoneware baker with aluminum foil to cover could work, but I think it would take forever. And by "forever" I mean about 30 minutes, including time to heat the oven.

                Any other thoughts on the Breville? I'm wide open here, as I've always nuked or fried my leftover rice.

                1. re: DuffyH

                  My reheat option will have a couple portions of rice ready to go in minutes just on the pan. Its like frying without the oil, though you can add some or nonstick spray.

                  I don't mind my rice a little dry or sticky which is quite opposite I suppose

                  1. re: carrytheone

                    <My reheat option will have a couple portions of rice ready to go in minutes just on the pan.>

                    Oh! so you'd reheat it in the pan that comes with the oven? Dude would kill me. Dry rice is a common microwave problem as it is. Maybe if I added some water it could work. Anyway, it's nice to have options, thanks.

                    1. re: DuffyH

                      Maybe try reheating with a spray a water and then put a bamboo leaf of corn husk over. Dried rice can imitate the taste of fried rice for me sometimes.

              2. definitely steam it - otherwise you dry it out or burn it - use a mesh colander or if you have a regular steamer insert with big holes just use cheese cloth to line it.

                3 Replies
                1. re: JTPhilly


                  Excellent advice, as always, thanks. I just checked my smallest colander and it fits perfectly into my 2.75 qt saucepan. The pan's lid fits perfectly, too. There's a small bit of air gap because of the 4 vertical ribs, but there's plenty of room under the basket for water, so steam loss won't be a huge deal.

                  I can't believe reheating rice should be something I need help with, but when you've only ever done something one way, well, trial and error can be a bitch. Plus I get really PO'd when I screw up and get stuck without a side dish. So there's that.

                  1. Maybe back in the rice cooker in the warm setting.

                    1. Sous vide

                      Or more like faux sous vide.

                      -Take the rice out of the fridge
                      -Let it come to room temp
                      -Put the rice in a resealable plastic bag like the ones Ziploc makes
                      -Heat up a pot of water so that the temp is about 175F, or really hot but not boiling
                      -Then stick the bag of rice into the water for about a minute or so.

                      Voila, reheated rice.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: ipsedixit

                        Liking that one, too, Ipsedixit. Super easy, too, always a crowd-pleaser. Thanks. :-)

                      2. I'm one of those people who never fails to cook TOO MUCH rice... or pasta for that matter. Both freeze pretty well once cooked. I will put in zip bags of vac seal and toss into freezer. If only a serving or 2, I'll simmer some water, toss bag in, turn off heat and let loosen up and it's ready to use.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: kseiverd

                          It occurs to me that I can reheat a lot of things in plastic bags, thanks. :-)

                        2. It depends on what you have on hand. Steaming is the most recommended as you can see by the responses. But if all you have is a wide-hole steamer. use a coffee filter on the bottom before rice is added. I use them all the time and most people have them on hand. If not, buy some as they are so versatile for many other kitchen needs.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: boyzoma

                            Your mention of a coffee filter just reminded me of a hack that I find quite useful.

                            If you have a coffee maker, the simpler the better, and a disposable filter, then use those two items to reheat rice.

                            Remove the coffee pot from the hot plate.

                            Put room temp rice into filter.

                            Sprinkle (with fingers) or spritz with sprayer a bit of water on the rice.

                            Then put filter on hot plate.

                            Turn on coffee maker (or set to keep warm depending on amount of rice).

                            Let it sit until the water sort of evaporates - stirring as needed.

                            Voila, warm rice!

                          2. Rice Cooker reheat function works incredibly well.

                            1. Rice is cheap. Measure more carefully, but always throw out the left overs:


                              11 Replies
                              1. re: law_doc89

                                Yeah, yeah – those are the same guys who want to turn my chicken breasts into balsa wood. I've been eating leftover/reheated or even cold rice for 70+ years without any problems, and for some things I prefer it to fresh. (The cold not so much: my mom thought cold rice with sugar, cinnamon and milk was a real breakfast treat. That spoiled cinnamon for me too.)

                                1. re: Will Owen

                                  My mom likes that combo, too. I still don't get the appeal of cold rice for breakfast. Oddly, Mom ONLY cooked rice so we could "enjoy" it for breakfast the next morning. As a side dish with dinner? Nah.

                                  Anytime we asked why we never got this or that food, she put the blame on Dad, saying he didn't like it. I pointed out to her a few years after their divorce that he had quickly taken to Mexican, Chinese, all the foods he "didn't like." Busted! ;-)

                                2. re: law_doc89

                                  HA! At best this is a poor joke. At worst this is the sequel to bubble boy.

                                  1. re: carrytheone

                                    I'd also add that this particular sequel arrives in the form of a 40 year old report.

                                  2. re: law_doc89

                                    Ever eat fried rice at a Chinese restaurant?

                                    If the answer is yes, then according to the feds you should be dead by now.

                                    Fried rice at just about any Chinese restaurant is made with rice left out at room temp, often overnight.

                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                      It is often a cause of food poisoning. Oh, well.

                                      I see people with super expensive Viking stoves, and copper pots, who know zero about cooking. Reheating 10 cents worth of rice is the epitome of stupid, along with carving chicken on a wooden cutting board Guess what, it will eventually get you to the emergency room. Be grateful that the odds haven;t caught up with you yet.


                                    2. re: law_doc89

                                      Seriously? No leftovers? There goes my fried rice.

                                      There's no reason to throw out the leftovers because when cooked rice is stored at safe temps, the spores of B. cereus won't bloom in high enough numbers to cause illness.

                                      And by safe temps, I mean the 37º of my refer.

                                      1. re: DuffyH

                                        I suggest you read the links. Youdo not need “left over” rice to make fried rice. Keeping a dime’s worth f rice is genuinely stupid. Ask an ER doc about food poisoning. Keeping old rice and cutting poultry on wood are the two leading cause of stupid.


                                        Note that you must get higher than 43 degrees C to destroy the toxin, or higher. so the problems is that the stored rice breeds bacteria that cause toxin.

                                        Following cook books and buying expensive equipment is no substitute for knowing basic techniques, and spending small fortune on fancy equipment is a waste of money if you don't know basic health techniques.


                                        Never forget that luck is a lousy strategy.

                                        Check out the very high temps needed to denature the toxins.
                                        People spend thousands on cookware and stoves they don't need, then expose themselves to real risks to save pennies.

                                        There is no safe storage for rice because refrigeration doesn't destroy the bacteria, and the cooking temps aren't high enough to destroy the toxin.

                                        1. re: law_doc89

                                          <There is no safe storage for rice because refrigeration doesn't destroy the bacteria, and the cooking temps aren't high enough to destroy the toxin.>

                                          You need to read more of the article you linked: "B. cereus apparently lives in uncooked rice but is very hardy and can survive even when the rice is first being steamed. When the cooked rice is left out in a warm environment (and not in the refrigerator), B. cereus can grow and multiply."

                                          This echoes everything I've been taught about this microbe. It readily dies at temps over 100ºC, and IMPROPER refrigeration is what causes remaining spored to germinate. I repeat, proper food handling and adherence to safe temps can and does keep us safe from this bug.

                                          <Keeping old rice and cutting poultry on wood are the two leading cause of stupid>

                                          Seriously? I want to see the data on this. I don't believe that salmonella and B. cereus make people stupid. Sick, sure. Stupid? Nah.

                                          1. re: DuffyH

                                            You are correct, not stupid, but the epitome of stupid. I am glad to see you quote, w/o attribution the Wikipedia article. B. cereus and its toxin should not be confused. You can kill the bacterium, but not destroy the toxin. So we get back to the essential question that someone who spends thousands of dollars on over priced equipment want to preserve 10 cents of rice? So, do a search, since you want to see the data; you will find it!

                                            Start here:

                                            Bacillus cereus
                                            Bacillus cereus may be the single most common cause of foodborne illnesses worldwide, but is rarely diagnosed in the clinical setting or reported to health agencies because symptoms tend to be short-lived and self-limited. Starchy foods, such as rice (particularly fried rice), cereals, pastas, and pastries are common sources of B. cereus. Vegetables, sauces, soups, meats, and dairy products are also reported as food sources. B. cereus may persist in food from agricultural fields all the way to the grocery store, secondary to its ability to form spores. Both spores and vegetative cells may be found in foods. Cooking easily destroys vegetative cells, but spores survive, and may germinate when food is cooled to room temperature. Enterotoxins are subsequently elaborated, and reheating fails to destroy these toxins. Victims often complain of transient abdominal discomfort, accompanied by 1-2 episodes of vomiting or diarrhea within 1-24 hours after exposure, and often do not seek medical attention. Distinct toxins are responsible for two forms of gastrointestinal disease. Some serotypes of B. cereus produce a mild emetic illness mediated by a dodecadepsipeptide gastric irritant called cereulide, while other serotypes produce a mild diarrheal illness mediated by Hemolysin BL, which punches pores or channels into intestinal cell membranes and disrupts tight junctions. Vomiting and diarrhea rarely occur together with B. cereus. Rehydration and bowel rest are sufficient, and further treatment is rarely needed, given the short duration of symptoms. Young children may experience mild dehydration requiring intravenous fluids, especially if oral intake is poor.


                                            One thing to promote overpriced equipment, or poor quality food, another to promote health risks.

                                            1. re: law_doc89

                                              <I am glad to see you quote, w/o attribution the Wikipedia article.>

                                              The only thing I quoted, and I believe the attribution was implied in the preceding sentence, is the article you linked. third paragraph, first and second sentences. You can read it for yourself here: http://www.8asians.com/2009/01/07/fri...

                                              My understanding, and I'm willing to admit error if it exists, is that the ungerminated spores live on the rice, toxin free. It's the warm, moist environment of room temp (and near room temp) rice that lets the spores germinate, bacteria grow and toxins form. Again, this information about room temperature is from YOUR sources and the one piece of data you seem determined to ignore. Not one of the sources you've linked or quoted suggests that properly handled rice is unsafe.

                                              So I'll just continue to practice sensible food safety and continue to enjoy good health. Thanks for your concern.

                                    3. Steam it in a colander set over simmering water, covered.