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The Only Way You Should Reheat Rice, According to a Chef

Skip hard leftover rice by using these brilliant reheating methods—straight from a chef!
white rice brown bowl

No one likes eating hard rice. Yet inevitably, when you heat up reheat rice in a microwave, it starts to harden and no longer has that fluffy rice texture that the dish originally had when it was first served. So how do you avoid hard rice when reheating? The trick for how to reheat rice perfectly has to do with moisture.

According to Chef Alan Vargas, Executive Chef of the Consulate in New York City, adding some kind of moisture to the rice will bring it back to that fluffy texture that it originally had.

"Rice always needs an extra little bit of moisture to get to a nice reheat, and for it to be nice and moist—to the natural state," says Chef Vargas.

Thanks to a few simple tips from Chef Vargas, here's how to add moisture to reheat rice perfectly.

How to reheat rice

There are two easy methods for reheating rice: one involving the oven, and one involving the microwave

The oven method

To reheat rice in the oven, scoop the desired amount of rice you want to reheat into a stainless steel pan or a large Pyrex. Add in a little bit of water to get it moist, and cover it with aluminum foil. Let it reheat until the rice is fully warm all the way through.

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"If it's in the oven and it's a large portion—say about 5 pounds—like in a large metal container, it will take about 20 minutes in the oven," says Chef Vargas.

The microwave method

For this method, place the portioned rice on a plate. Dampen a paper towel with water and lay it over top of the plate of rice. Microwave the rice on hot for about 2 minutes, or until the rice is fully warm.

"I'll do the same for fried rice, for all kinds of rice," says Chef Vargas. "It will give it a nice moist [texture]. It won't get dry or hard. And it will reheat faster."

RELATED: Easy, healthy, 350-calorie recipe ideas you can make at home.

How to know which method to use

According to Chef Vargas, choosing the method would be based on how much rice you plan on reheating. If you plan on reheating a larger portion of rice, the oven method would be your best bet. For a smaller portion, the microwave method should be your go-to.

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Kiersten Hickman
Kiersten Hickman is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!, specializing in recipe development, food, and diet coverage. Read more
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