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How to Reheat Rice in Microwave

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Does your cooked rice turn out dry when microwaved? Whether extending the life expectancy of cooked rice from freezer or fridge, leftover cooked rice is great element to prepare meal at anytime of the day.

It is however important to know how to reheat properly without drying out. If the rice is not warmed up correctly, it can taste dry and stale once heated, and potentially lead to food borne illness when handled according to food safety guidelines.

How do you reheat rice in the microwave? Microwave is a fast and safe way to reheat rice as long as it was cooled and stored within 2 hours of cooking, is not spoiled and is fully reheated to a safe internal temp. 

Use a microwave safe bowl with a vented lid over the top and nuke for 30 second increments until the internal temperature reaches 74 degrees Celsius or 165 degrees Fahrenheit for it to be safe to consume.

Cooking rice in the microwave makes it easy to get the meal situated during a busy week. Whether you pull out brown rice to add with slice of salmon or jasmine rice to top with curry, already-cooked rice is life changing. 

If you have not been successful with reheating rice in the microwave, this article will help. Answered below are frequently asked questions about using a microwave to reheat rice including expert tips that result in fluffy and moist grains that taste like they were freshly made.

Can you eat microwave rice cold the next day?

Yes, you can eat microwaved rice cold the next day. Ensure the rice has been cooled and stored correctly so that it is safe to eat, however reheating is still recommended because cooked rice is a perishable food according to the USDA. 

Consuming cold rice or reheated rice does not cause the food poisoning if the food is handled safely. Therefore, the way the rice has been stored beforehand has close relation to the food poisoning. 

Any reheated rice should not be left on the counter at room temperature for long that 2 hours after cooking. Improperly cooled rice that has been left out overnight may expose you to risk of food poisoning. 

If rice is reheated in the microwave more than once, there is a higher chance of harmful bacteria that is not safe to consume.

Can you reheat rice in the microwave?

Yes, you can reheat rice in the microwave. In fact, it is an easy and quick way to warm up any kind of leftover rice including wild rice, basmati rice, and sushi rice. 

Properly storing leftover rice is the key. Keep the rice in the fridge for no more than 3 days until reheating in the microwave. 

When you reheat rice, always check that it is steaming hot all the way through and the internal temperature comes to 74℃ or 165℉. And most importantly, do not reheat rice more than once to avoid from food borne bacteria from multiplying rapidly. 

For better understanding, most uncooked rice contain spores of Bacillus cereus, which is bacteria responsible for food poisoning. Furthermore, these spores do survive even though the rice is cooked.

If the cooked rice is left at room temperature, the spores start to grow into bacteria and continue to multiply, which produces toxins that leads to vomiting or diarrhea.

So, the longer cooked rice is left at room temperature on the counter, the more likely the bacteria and toxins will make the rice unsafe to eat. 

Is it safe to reheat cooked rice?

Yes, it is safe to reheat cooked rice in the microwave. It’s best to serve rice as soon as it has been cooked, but when serving reheated rice, ensure to check the temperature reaches 74 or 165 and follow the safe procedure to store the leftover prior to reheating.

For all the cooked rice, it needs to be cooled completely and transferred to the fridge within two hours of being cooked, and store in an airtight container to avoid moist loss that alters the taste and texture. 

Once the cooked rice is properly stored, it can be good to reheat and consume within 3 days.

When reheating rice in the microwave, make sure the rice is steaming hot and never reheat it more than once. If the rice has been already reheated, simply throw away because it’s not worth the risk.

How long to reheat rice in microwave

Depend on the amount and type of rice and the wattage of the microwave, the reheating time may vary. On average, it takes about 2 minutes to reheat a single serving rice so the internal temperature reaches at 74 degrees Celsius or 165 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. 

Here are microwave time based on different types of rice to reheat:

  • Basmati rice: 2 minutes
  • Brown rice: 3 to 4 minutes
  • Jasmine rice: 1½ to 2 minutes
  • Sushi rice: 2 to 3 minutes
  • Wild rice: 4 minutes

This reheating time in microwave may slightly change if the rice is frozen and the power setting of the microwave is lowered.

Tips to reheat rice in microwave

Whether it is from take-out or homemade, leftover rice can be reheated in the microwave no more than a few minutes. Repurposing old rice for fried rice is everyone’s go-to, but if you would like to enjoy soft, moist, and fluffy rice a second time, use these helpful microwave tips to reheat rice quickly: 

  • Use a microwave-safe plate dish to reheat rice. Glass and ceramic are our favorite options, but some prefer to microwave plastic.
  • A microwave safe container
  • Break up any large clumps of rice prior to microwaving. 
  • Frozen rice does not require to defrost. Instead it can directly heat in the microwave. 
  • Reheat rice in the microwave in a single serving at a time. 
  • Do not reheat already cooked rice more than once.
  • Ensure the internal temperature of the rice reaches 74 degrees Celsius or 165 degree Fahrenheit or higher for safe consumption.

How do you reheat rice in the microwave without drying it out?

Microwave is a perfect kitchen gadget to reheat all types of rice in a single press of a button. Additionally, it is quickest way to get the job done compared to a rice cooker or stove top cooking method.

However, there are 3 ways to reheat rice in the microwave without drying it out. So, if you are looking to accomplish moist, fluffy, and delicious rice that taste exactly as the freshly made, select one of the options to make the goal come true. 

How to reheat rice in microwave with a paper towel

Transfer the desired portion amount of cooked rice on a microwave-safe plate.

Cover the rice with a damp paper towel to keep moisture and prevent the rice from drying out. Run the microwave on high power for 2 minutes. Check the rice at every 30 seconds intervals until it is fully reheated and reaches 74 degrees Celsius or 165 degree Fahrenheit.

By trapping the moistness, it allows the rice to reheat evenly.

How to reheat rice in microwave with plastic wrap

Select a microwave-safe bowl and place the rice inside. Ensure that there is room on the top for steam and avoid filling the bowl completely full to prevent the plastic wrap from coming in contact with the grain.

Sprinkle 3 to 4 tablespoons of water into the rice and mix it well. To enhance the flavor, replace water with a chicken broth or vegetable broth of your choice.

Tightly cover the bowl with a microwave safe plastic wrap. Place the bowl in the microwave and adjust the power to medium heat. Microwave for 2 minutes or until the internal temp comes to 74°C or 165°F. 

Observe the microwave until the plastic starts to form balloon upwards and creates steam insides.

Carefully remove the bowl from microwave and plastic wrap. Use a fork to fluff the rice and transfer into a rice bowl to serve.

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

Place a single serving of rice into a microwave-safe dish. On a separate microwave-safe cup, fill with water approximately ½ full.

Put the dish and cup in the microwave next to each other.

Microwave on high for 2 minutes. Confirm the rice has been heated fully to an internal temperature of 74℃ or 165℉. If not, return back to microwave to continue reheating an additional 1 to 2 minutes.

Be careful when heating the cup of water in the microwave. It can lead to superheated water due to reaching a boiling temperature. 

How to reheat rice in the microwave

More Helpful Information

Reheating rice in microwave is easy and straightforward. There are various tools and microwave tips to reheat rice properly. 

If you would like to have less moisture, use a damp paper towel to reheat the rice in the microwave.

For super moist rice, the plastic wrap method works the best out of all three ways. Plastic wrap helps to retain all the moisture inside to make the grains plump and fluffy.

These 3 ways to reheat rice in microwave are easy to follow and fool-proof. From paper towel to plastic wrap and glass of water method, select the best that works for you. 

Consider the type of rice grain that requires the most moisture may need plastic wrap or damp paper. For grains that contain less moisture, select a glass of water to get the better results.

In addition, these methods all work if you have frozen rice. When microwaving frozen rice, you do not need to defrost in microwave or thaw at room temperature. Instead, it capable to reheat right away from the freezer.

For safety to consume, always store leftover rice properly in an airtight container. Allow it to cool down to room temperature but do not exceed more than 2 hours.

Once the cooked rice has cooled completely, transfer the rice into the fridge or freezer immediately. Properly stored cooked rice can be safely reheated and consumed within 3 days maximum to recover the original flavor and texture.

Reheating rice in the microwave is important and cannot be avoided when preparing quick meal for healthy and nutritious lunch and dinner. 

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