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Can You Reheat Rice? How-To Methods for Safe Reheating.
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Can You Reheat Rice?

Are you wondering if it is safe to reheat rice for later? The short answer is: Yes! However, when reheating rice, there are a few things you should think about. Let us explain how to reheat rice in different ways that are safe.



The Dangers of Reheating Rice

Most of us have had a meal that included rice and ended up with leftovers that was kept for the next day. The following day you probably ate the rice without any problems, and never reflected about if the rice was bad or not since you didn’t get sick.

Some of you might have been told to never reheat rice once cooked, but as we mentioned before, it is OK to reheat rice. However, everything boils down to the way you have stored it before reheating it. You see, in uncooked rice there may exist spores of a bacteria called Bacillus Cereus. This type of bacteria produce toxins that may cause unpleasant physical symptoms leading to food poisoning. When rice is cooked, there may still be spores present, and it is those spores that can germinate into bacteria and cause food poisoning.

The bacteria enjoys room temperature and they grow fastest at around 75-80°F (24-27°C). So the longer you leave rice at room temperature, the more likely it is for the bacteria to grow. In order to stay away from the dangers of reheating rice, you have to make sure that the rice has been properly stored.



How To Safely Store Rice Before Reheating It

So, to avoid any danger when reheating rice, it all comes down to how you store it. So, here’s how it’s done:

You should eat your rice short after it is done. If there’s any leftover, let the rice cool off for about an hour or two. You could let it sit in the pot that you cooked it in, or scoop it over in a glass or plastic container. Once the rice is cooled at around 75-80°F (24-27°C) you can make a place for it in the fridge. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends that you refrigerate cooked food within 2 hours. You can then reheat the cooked rice when you are going to eat it, but you should not keep it in the refrigerator for more than 3 to 5 days at a temperature of 41°F (+5°C), according to the USA Rice Federation. An alternative storing method is to freeze the rice in airtight containers for a maximum of six months.


How To Reheat Cooked Rice Safely

OK, so how should you reheat rice? After storing the rice properly, let us now find out the best ways to reheat your rice.

Reheating rice in the microwave – If you have a microwave, then you can easily reheat cooked rice that you have had stored in the refrigerator. It can be done in different ways and it is just a matter of what you prefer.

If the rice already sits in an airtight container, open the lid and put a damp paper towel on top to give the rice some moist before you microwave it. You could also just use a vented lid or even try reheating the rice without a lid to see how the texture of the rice comes out. If the rice comes out too dry, then for next time, you will instead sprinkle some water over the rice before reheating it. The time you will have it in the microwave will depend on if you have the rice covered with a lid or not, but also the amount of watts you are using on the microwave. Around 90 seconds on 800W should probably be fine for one portion of rice.

You can also reheat frozen rice in the microwave for about 2,5 minutes and it should come out quite well.

Reheating rice in a pan – You could reheat cooked rice in a pan, but it is better suited for making fried rice. Oil is needed for this process or the rice will stick to the pan. Alternatively, you could use a non-sticky pan and heat up a bit of water, then add the rice and let it cook until the water evaporates.

Reheating rice in the oven – Yes, you can also reheat rice in the oven by placing the refrigerated rice in an oven safe container. Mix in one or two tablespoons of water and cover it with foil. Leave it in at 350F degrees preheated oven for about 15 minutes and you have reheated rice safely.

Foil covered rice reheated in the oven.

Foil covered rice reheated in the oven.


Takeaway Rice From The Restaurants

When you order rice for takeaway, you will not always know if the rice was fresh or if it was kept in a refrigerator for a few days before serving. Some restaurants do actually keep rice refrigerated for a few days, and what you might be getting is reheated rice. If you have such rice for takeaway and then store it for the day after, the rice would actually be reheated twice. Even though it might be fully edible, it is not the best idea to reheat rice twice. The likelihood of bumping in to some nasty bacteria would just increase. You are just better off throwing the leftover rice, unless you are completely sure it was newly cooked when you took it home from the restaurant.



Would the same things apply when it comes to reheating brown rice?

Yes, same thing applies for reheating brown rice as well.

Can I reheat rice that has been standing in room temperature for 24 hours?

Well, you could reheat it, but there are just higher chances of there being toxins that can cause food poisoning. We know of many people that have left rice in room temperature for 24 hours and have had no nasty side effects of eating it. In fact, if you read on food forums across the internet, there are quite a lot of people stating not having had any problems of reheating rice that has been left in room temperature for that long. Do remember that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not recommended leaving rice in room temperature for more than 2 hours.

What is the best way to reheat rice?

Well, the best way in terms of making it safe, is to freeze the rice as soon as it has been cooked to minimize the bacteria to grow. However, the best way of reheating rice in order to get the best taste really depends on how you like it. Many people say that reheating frozen rice gives the best texture, but it may depend on how you like your rice and the type of rice you are trying to reheat. Many would also say that rice tastes best the day after, so it is really a matter of opinion.