Rice is an unbelievably versatile ingredient (see proof here with all the recipe ideas). Not only are there thousands of varieties with their own shape, color and flavor, but there are countless ways to prepare the pantry staple, from simply steaming as a side to sweetening into a delicious dessert like rice pudding. Thanks to its versatility, many of us often find ourselves with leftover rice in the fridge that's become, well, dry and clumpy (#notdelish). If you're at a loss on how to revive rice, use this guide to find your preferred method and make the most out of your rice leftovers.
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The fastest and easiest way to revitalize and rehydrate rice. Add your rice to a microwave-safe container with a lid. (No lid? Spread your rice on a plate or bowl and cover with a slightly damp paper towel.)
For every 1 cup rice, add 1 to 2 tablespoons water and toss together. No need to measure here—add just enough water to coat the rice. Microwave in 1 minute increments, pausing to stir, until the rice is fluffy and heated through.
No microwave? No problem. Add your rice and a little water (1 to 2 tablespoons per 1 cup rice) to a saucepan along with a small knob of butter or drizzle of oil. Even a smidge of fat will help the rice from sticking to the pan. Cover the saucepan and heat over medium, stirring every 1 minute to check doneness and ensure the rice isn’t sticking, until fluffy and heated through.
Reheating rice in your oven can produce surprisingly delicious results, though it takes a bit longer than nuking it in the microwave. Preheat your oven to 300º and lightly oil a baking dish. Combine your leftover rice and a little water (1 to 2 tablespoons per 1 cup rice) in the dish and cover tightly with foil. Allow the rice to steam in the oven for 20 minutes, or until it's heated through.
Make Fried Rice
The Delish team’s favorite way to use leftover rice—because the best fried rice is actually made with rice that has had time to dry out in the fridge overnight. The lack of moisture allows for the grains to get crispy, while the high heat of the stir fry rehydrates the rice. Need a recipe? Try our classic version or add a bit of shrimp or pork.
Justin Sullivan is the Assistant Food Editor for Delish, where he helps test, develop, and (of course) taste recipes like one-pot meals, easy desserts, and everything in between. He has worked in professional kitchens across New York, but his favorite role will always be as matzoh ball sous chef to his grandma. He loves diners and being from New Jersey, and when he’s not prepping and testing hundreds of Delish recipes, Justin travels the globe as the world’s foremost chicken finger critic.