No need to toss your leftover grains—just follow these simple safety steps to keep them kickin’.

    Don't have the 55 minutes you need to prepare brown rice? Or even 20 minutes for white? We can relate.

    However, with a bit of meal planning, and most importantly, food safety precautions, you can have perfectly fluffy rice at-the-ready for curry dishes, chickpea spiced rice , fried rice , coconut rice pudding , and all your other favorite rice recipes . Simply cook it in advance, store it properly, and refrigerate or freeze it for later. We'll walk you through the best way to reheat it in the microwave, on the stovetop, and stir fry-style so that it doesn't come out dry or tough, too.

    But before we jump in, we must debunk a common food safety myth: that rice is unsafe to save and reheat. This is simply not true. While leftover rice is highly prone to being mishandled (which can cause contamination by a bacteria called Bacillus cereus), it's absolutely safe to eat—so long as you follow the proper steps and safety precautions .

    How to Store Cooked Rice

    After you've cooked your rice to perfection, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) says to cool the leftovers quickly to avoid having it remain in the temperature danger zone of 40 F to 140 F for an extended period.

    To further reduce bacteria growth, cool your rice faster:

    • Divide it into shallow food containers and seal them with a lid.
    • Place hot food directly into the fridge or freezer. Risottos or paellas will freeze better than plain rice.

    Do not leave rice or any hot food sitting out for more than one hour, and always store rice at 40 F or below. (This includes making sure that your fridge is at this temperature or lower.) Finally, if any leftovers have been left out for longer than two hours, toss them. It's just not worth the risk of food poisoning.  

    How Long Can You Keep Leftover Rice?

    The USDA recommends storing leftovers for the following periods:

    • Dispose of leftover rice in the fridge after three to four days.
    • Dispose of leftover rice in the freezer after three to four months.
    • Store foods at a safe temperature. According to the USDA, room temperature is 90 F, which is the ideal temperature for bacteria to grow. Bacteria grow rapidly between 40 F and 140 F.

    How to Reheat Rice Safely

    When reheating rice, make sure it is piping hot throughout. To do so without drying out your grains, follow these instructions based on the method you're using to warm them.

    Fact: It's also perfectly safe to eat your leftover rice cold, so long as it was cooled and stored correctly when you first cooked it.

    To microwave leftover rice:

    • Remove the lid from the rice storage container. For each cup of rice, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of water. Place the lid lightly back on top to allow the rice to re-steam.
    • Warm in the microwave for 3 to 4 minutes, or until piping hot throughout.
    • Be sure that the internal temperature of the rice is at 165 F or higher. If you're unsure, use a food thermometer.
    • Serve immediately.

    To steam leftover rice:

    • Transfer the rice to a saucepan with 1 to 2 tablespoons of butter or oil.
    • Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of water for each cup of rice and bring it to a low simmer. Keep the lid on the saucepan.
    • Stir occasionally. Once the water has boiled off, check that the internal temperature is above 165 F.
    • One it's piping hot, serve immediately.

    To stir-fry leftover rice:

    • Transfer your rice to a wok or sauté pan with oil.
    • Stir the rice continuously over medium heat. Break up any clumps, and make sure the rice gets coated in an even layer of your cooking oil.
    • Use a thermometer to make sure the internal temperature is at least 165 F.
    • Serve immediately once piping hot.

    How to Reheat Frozen Rice Safety

    If your rice was frozen after it was cooked, simply remove the container's lid when you're ready to eat it and sprinkle the frozen grains with 1 to 2 tablespoons of water per cup. Cover the container with a damp paper towel and microwave on high for 1 to 3 minutes (depending on the portion size). Fluff them gently with a fork, then repeat. Let stand for 2 minutes before fluffing once again and serving.

    How do you reheat rice in the fridge?
    Combine the rice, along with a small splash of water, in an oven-safe baking dish. Use a fork to break up any large clumps of rice, then top with a tight-fitting lid or cover with aluminum foil. Bake at 300°F for about 20 minutes, or until the rice is heated through. more
    Can you reheat rice if it's been in the fridge?
    Store cooked rice in the refrigerator for no longer than four days, and make sure to reheat it to at least 165°F. more
    Can you reheat instant rice?
    Can I reheat dry rice? Re-heating dry rice is safe but the rice needs to be cooled down immediately once cooked and then refrigerated until reheated. This can only be stored for one day to ensure bacterial spores do not grow and create toxins that can cause food poisoning. more
    Can I reheat rice?
    Do not reheat rice unless it has been chilled down safely and kept in the fridge until you reheat it. Do not reheat rice more than once. Check that rice and dishes containing rice are very hot (steaming) all the way through, with no cold spots. more
    Can I reheat fried rice?
    Is it safe to reheat fried rice? As long as you store your fried rice correctly, it's perfectly safe to reheat. Don't leave your fried rice out at room temperature for longer than an hour (preferably less). Store the fried rice in a shallow airtight container in the refrigerator. more
    How do you reheat fried rice?
    Put the fried rice in a bowl with some water (1-2 tablespoons per cup of rice), cover it, and then microwave in 30-second intervals until it's heated through. At full power, the rice should be done after 45-90 seconds. Make sure not to use too much water or you risk over-hydrating the rice. more
    Can you reheat cooked rice?
    Cooked rice can be safely reheated in the microwave, on the stove, or in the oven. Always add 1 tablespoon of water per cup of cooked rice to prevent overdrying. Reheated rice can be used for sides or in dishes like fried rice and stuffed peppers. more
    Can I reheat cooked rice?
    Tips on serving rice safely Keep rice in the fridge for no more than 1 day until reheating. When you reheat rice, always check that it's steaming hot all the way through. Do not reheat rice more than once. more
    Can I reheat rice twice?
    Tips on serving rice safely Keep rice in the fridge for no more than 1 day until reheating. When you reheat rice, always check that it's steaming hot all the way through. Do not reheat rice more than once. more
    Should I reheat rice?
    Do not reheat rice unless it has been chilled down safely and kept in the fridge until you reheat it. Do not reheat rice more than once. Check that rice and dishes containing rice are very hot (steaming) all the way through, with no cold spots. more
    Can you reheat takeout rice?
    As long as it's not more than a day or two old, you can revive leftover takeout rice nicely either in the microwave or on the stove. To microwave, put rice into a bowl and cover it with a damp towel. more

    Source: www.realsimple.com

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