Fried rice is one of the best parts of Chinese food and when you make a little, it’s incredibly hard not to make a lot. This leaves you with a ton of leftover fried rice that gets packaged and stored in the fridge for a later date.
But how do you reheat fried rice when it comes time to work through the mounds of leftovers you have?
That’s exactly what today’s article is going to cover.
Is It Safe To Reheat Fried Rice?
Reheating leftover fried rice is perfectly safe as long as it has been stored correctly. Failing to store your leftover rice properly can lead to the buildup of harmful bacteria known as bacillus cereus, which can cause food-poisoning-like symptoms that are often collectively called “fried rice syndrome”.
Of those who develop food poisoning in a given year, roughly 63,000 get it from the B. cereus bacterium, with a vast majority pinpointing reheated rice as the culprit. B. cereus starts to develop when cooked rice is allowed to cool down slowly, which is often the case when rice is cooked for the specific purpose of making fried rice.
To ensure that your fried rice is safe to eat, it’s recommended to refrigerate the cooked rice you intend to use as quickly as possible, as the bacteria starts to grow rapidly within the first few minutes after boiling. In addition, it should be kept in an air-tight container, which gives you roughly 1-2 days to eat it before it starts to spoil.
Can You Reheat Fried Rice Twice?
While there’s nothing that distinctly says that reheating fried rice more than once will cause any more harm than reheating it once would, the general consensus is that the more times you reheat fried rice, the less safe consumption becomes.
This is because B. cereus isn’t completely killed off by heat, which means that for each time you reheat your rice and then let it cool only to repeat the process later on, this bacteria slowly builds up within the rice. It can, as I said, eventually lead to a kind of food poisoning.
What’s The Best Way To Reheat Fried Rice?
There are various different methods that you could use to reheat your leftover rice after it has spent the night in the refrigerator. You could opt to reheat it on the stove top. In the oven, in the air fryer, or in the microwave to name a few of the most popular methods.
When it comes to the safest way to reheat fried rice, there really isn’t a clear winner. As long as your fried rice is heated up quickly and thoroughly, it should be as safe to consume as possible.
But which way is best?
Let’s find out, shall we?
How To Reheat Fried Rice on the Stovetop
Reheating fried rice on the stove is, perhaps, the most classic method of reheating this delicious dinner dish. However, it can take some time, so it’s important to have patience when utilizing it. In addition, it’s important not to forget to introduce a bit of mixture into your rice — and this is the case in all of the upcoming methods in this article except the air fryer method.
The reason is that without adding extra moisture, your fried rice, which is already dry, will dry up into tiny pebbles and be completely unappealing to the palette. On the other side of things, adding too much moisture can be a problem, too, as it can make the
- In a large frying pan on your stove top, heat up a drizzle of your favorite oil (olive oil or sesame oil work great), some water, or broth. Generally, adding oil will maintain the rice’s slightly crunchy and firm texture, while water or broth will make it kind of sticky.
- Once the liquid or oil is heated, add the rice to the frying pan and use a spatula or sturdy wooden spoon to continuously stir as it cooks. Doing this helps the heat to be distributed evenly throughout the rice, speeding up the reheating process.
- Cook the rice for 10 minutes on a medium-high setting.
How To Reheat Fried Rice in the Oven
Fried rice that has been reheated in the oven is still fried rice. However, the texture is often changed, and many people call it “baked rice” after using this reheating method.
- Start by preheating the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Spread the rice into an oven-safe baking dish, making sure that it’s spread out in a thin, even layer.
- Using a spray bottle, spritz the rice with water to bring moisture back into it during the cooking process. At this time you can also add any additional seasonings or vegetables that you want to pair with your rice.
- Cover your rice with aluminum foil and bake for 5-10 minutes, or until the rice has been heated through. You could also choose to cover the dish with a loose fitting lid, if you have one.
How To Reheat Fried Rice in a Microwave
Reheating fried rice in the microwave is the perfect method for those days when you’re running short on time but need a quick, tasty meal all the same. You must be careful when using this method, though, because it’s incredibly easy to dry your rice out too much.
- Pour your rice into a microwave safe bowl or dish and add two tablespoons of liquid, Like with the above methods and the air dryer method that comes next, you can use oil, water, or broth.
- Cover the bowl with a loose-fitting lid so that the moisture stays within the bowl. You can use another dish of the same or slightly smaller size so that it rests either on the top of the other dish or sits directly on top of the rice inside the bowl. Either way, make sure that air can escape the bowl somehow.
- Cook in the microwave on high for roughly 2 minutes.
- Stop the microwave, stir, and recover the bowl. Return it to the microwave and cook for another 3-4 minutes.
- Remove the rice from the microwave (be cautious — the bowl will be hot!) and allow it to cool slightly before eating it.
How To Reheat Fried Rice in an Air Fryer
In many people’s opinions, fried rice that has been repeated in an air fryer tastes the best and most authentic. When you use this method, there’s no need to add any extra liquid, which means that there’s no risk of your rice turning soggy from too much liquid.
- Add the rice into your air fryer.
- Cook it on high for 8-10 minutes. The exact time that it will take to reheat depends on how much rice you’re trying to heat up.
- Allow the rice some time to cool before eating.
How To Reheat Fried Rice in a Wok
Using a wok is the classic, most authentic Chinese method for reheating fried rice. Not everyone has a wok, however, which is how the other methods mentioned above came into play. If you do have a wok lying around (or if you feel energetic enough to go out to the store to pick one up!), you should know how to reheat your rice with it.
- Drizzle olive oil into the bottom of the wok and heat it up.
- Add the desired amount of leftover fried rice. This is where you’d add any additional ingredients, as well. These ingredients could include eggs, vegetables, or meat.
- Use a wooden spoon to break apart any clumps of rice.
- Spritz with water or pour a small amount of water over top of your rice — roughly 2 tablespoons.
- Cover with a tight fitting lid and wait for the pan to stop steaming.
- Remove the wok from the heat and give the rice a good stir.
Can You Reheat Frozen Fried Rice?
Freezing your fried rice is a great way to save it for later. In fact, fried rice freezes quite well and with very little necessary preparation. Once frozen, your fried rice should only be reheated once and should never be refrozen, as doing this not only destroys flavor and texture but also allows the B. cereus bacteria to flourish.
But, in short, frozen fried rice can absolutely be reheated just as easily as fried rice that has been stored in the refrigerator.
To reheat your frozen rice, there’s more than one way to do it. One popular method, though, is by using the microwave. The process is similar to reheating refrigerated fried rice but takes a little more time.
- Pour frozen fried rice into a microwave safe dish that has a lid. Be sure not to attempt to reheat it while it’s in any plastic bags or containers that aren’t safe for microwave use.
- Adjust the microwave to 50% strength and put the rice in for 2-3 minutes to defrost it. Stop, stir, and repeat the process until all the lumps of rice have come apart and everything is evenly defrosted.
- Then, adjust the microwave back to full power and put the rice in for another 2-3 minutes. Stop, stir, and repeat until the rice has been heated through.
Tips for Reheating Fried Rice
Add Moisture Slowly
When it comes to adding moisture into your fried rice before reheating, start by adding a small amount. If you don’t add enough right away, you can always add more. However, it’s much harder to remedy fried rice that has had too much moisture added to it.
A good way to add water is by using one tablespoon at a time.
For most reheating methods, it’s highly recommended that you cover your fried rice as it goes through the process.
You can use loose-fitting lids, aluminum foil, or any other covering that allows for air to pass in and out while also trapping most of the steam. Do not use plastic wrap in the oven or microwave unless you’re looking to have both a house fire and ruined fried rice on your hands.
Chop Additions into Small Pieces
If you choose to add tasty additions such as vegetables, pork, shrimp, egg, or chicken, make sure they are chopped small before adding them.
Ideally, they should be roughly the size of a grain of rice or slightly larger. If they are too big, they may not heat thoroughly during the reheating process.
In addition, if vegetables are chopped too large and/or added when raw, they likely won’t cook properly within the time it takes to reheat rice.