The Best Way To Reheat Leftover Rice in the Microwave Calls for an Ice Cube
It's easy to fall into the camp of those who believe that freshly cooked rice is the only rice worth eating, and we get it. Warm, fluffy, moist rice really cannot be beat, and the refrigerator only seems to turn it into a dried-out, stale version of what it once was. The ultimate side dish seems to be the perfect option for a meal prep, but it doesn't keep as fresh and soft when stored as one would hope.
So, what happens when you make too much rice on the stovetop—it never hurts to be prepared!—and don't want it to go to waste? Don't feel pressured to toss it in the trash can or to pile everyone's plate with second helpings. There's a way to reheat cooked rice without drying it out even further, and it's sitting in your freezer.
Rice-cooking aficionados might know the ice-cube hack, but odds are, you've probably never heard of it. Recently, Emily Mariko and her viral reheated leftover rice dish on TikTok sent the hack trending in a major way, and the whole Internet is now in on the trick. If you've ever contemplated adding a tablespoon of water to leftover rice before popping it in the microwave, this comes from similar logic, but takes away any stress about adding too much or too little water.
The ice-cube hack for reheating rice is simple: Place one ice cube on top of the leftover portion of rice before putting it in the microwave for about one minute. We recommend placing a sheet of parchment paper or a paper towel to cover the rice beforehand to help along the steaming process. After removing the warmed rice, you'll notice quite the phenomenon: The ice cube does not melt. It comes out looking largely identical to how it went in, but your rice is perfectly warm, fluffy, and refreshed.
This comes down to the steaming process, which takes some of the water molecules from the ice, reintroduces moisture to the day-old rice, and helps to reheat it without drying it out. Overall, the temperature change in the ice itself somehow isn't significant enough to make it melt completely. Chemistry!
After you take the warmed rice out of the microwave, simply throw out the ice cube and enjoy. This hack ensures you're not left with sad, stale leftover rice with your second-night dinner. That's what we like to call a weeknight win.