How to Keep Rice Moist – Simple Scientific Approach

Everyone likes to eat moist and fluffy rice; however, rice is tricky to cook and store. Unfortunately, leftover rice can become dry and tough to chew, and you may be clueless about why it happens? You face the perennial question of how you can keep it moist if you store it in the refrigerator. To start, cook it correctly using a rice cooker. I recommend the Aroma Rice Cooker that is available on Amazon. Click here to have yours delivered to your front door.

How to keep rice moist? To keep the rice moist, you should keep the rice tightly covered with a lid. Cold air in the refrigerator absorbed the moisture from the rice, making it dry. Therefore, try covering the rice with a sheet of damp paper towel before covering it with an air-tight lid.

Engineers at Kett explain that rice or food, in general, tends to become dry if you leave it in the refrigerator for a few days. However, as the cold air enters the main refrigerator body, it will become slightly warm because the fridge maintains the temperature at 37 degrees. The warmer air will then absorb the moisture from foods left uncovered in the refrigerator.

This warming up of cold air is a continuous process because the refrigerator needs to maintain the internal temperature; thus, you should put rice in an air-tight container before putting it in the fridge to retain its moisture. Moreover, covering rice while inside the refrigerator makes it safe from cross-contamination. Some foods may have contaminants, and if you don’t protect your rice, you risk having the air spread the contaminants to other foods.

What Can I Add to Rice to Increase the Moisture Level?

You add water to your rice, and then simmer it for 5 minutes to increase the moisture level. Add one quarter cup of water for each cup of cooked rice.

The rule of thumb in cooking rice is to use two cups of water for every cup of rice. However, some rice varieties have different water requirements. Therefore, you may refer to the rice-water ratio below:

Rice VarietyCups of water per cup of rice
Short, medium, or long grain2
Brown rice2.5
Jasmine or Basmati rice1.5
Sushi rice1.25
Wild Rice3

If you prefer your rice firmer and dryer, you may reduce the water by a few tablespoons and the cooking time by a few minutes. On the other hand, increase the water by a few tablespoons if you prefer softer and wetter rice. Moreover, cooking brown or wild rice takes longer – up to 45 minutes. Therefore, you should check the instructions printed on the package for the correct cooking time.

Here’s the proper way of cooking rice on a stovetop to ensure it’s perfect:

  1. Rinse the rice before putting it in a pot. Add the right amount of water and a pinch of salt.
  2. Use high heat to bring the rice to a boil.
  3. Stir the rice if you notice the water is already boiling.
  4. Turn the stove to a low setting and cover the pot with its lid. 
  5. Simmer the rice for about 20 minutes. Don’t take off the lid.
  6. Leave the pot uncovered for 10 minutes after removing the container from the heat to allow the rice to firm up.
  7. Use a fork to fluff the rice; then serve immediately.
  8. Store the leftover rice in an air-tight container and put it in the refrigerator or freezer.

How to Store Rice After Cooking

Here are two ways to store rice after cooking – in the refrigerator or the freezer.

  1. Use the fridge to store cooked rice.
    1. Don’t leave cooked rice at room temperature for two or more hours because bacteria can thrive in it. Place it immediately in the refrigerator.
    2. Use an air-tight container to prevent air from making the leftover rice hard and chewy. You may also use a zip-lock bag to store the rice.
    3. Use a little water to reheat the rice in the microwave for 30 seconds on a medium setting, or reheat it in a pot on the stovetop over medium heat until the rice is hot.

2. Store the leftover rice in the freezer

  1. You can freeze leftover rice for three months only.
  2. Don’t leave leftover rice at room temperature for two or more hours.
  3. Use a zip-lock freezer bag to store the cooled rice, removing the air before sealing. Lay it flat in the freezer for easy defrosting later. Moreover, it uses less space this way. 
  4. It would help if you thawed the frozen rice before reheating it in the microwave for 30 seconds on a medium setting. Don’t forget to add a little water. However, you don’t need to thaw it if you plan to add it to hot dishes such as stir-fries, soups, stews, and casseroles.

How to Keep Rice Moist in the Microwave?

There are four microwave hacks for reheating rice, especially if you must reheat it quickly. I recommend the Toshiba Countertop Microwave that is available on Amazon. Click here to have yours delivered to your front door.

Using a paper towel to reheat rice in the microwave.

  1. Spread rice evenly on a plate.
  2. Cover it with a damp paper towel to trap moisture for moist, plump rice.
  3. Microwave for two minutes but check it periodically. Turn off the microwave if the rice is already evenly heated.

Use plastic wrap to reheat rice in the microwave

  1. Place leftover rice in a bowl, ensuring there’s room for steaming.
  2. Put 3 – 4 tbsp of water. For extra flavor, why not add chicken broth
  3. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and microwave using the low setting for a few minutes. You know it’s ready if you see the plastic starting to balloon and steam up.
  4. Carefully remove the plastic wrap to ensure the steam doesn’t scald you.
  5. Stir the rice, then serve.

Use a glass of water to reheat the leftover rice using a microwave.

  1. Fill a bowl with leftover rice.
  2. Pour ⅔ cup of water on the rice.
  3. Microwave for two minutes.
  4. If the rice isn’t evenly heated, microwave it again.

Use a zip-lock bag to reheat leftover rice in the microwave.

  1. Store warm rice in a zip-lock bag before putting it in the refrigerator.
  2. Microwave the bag for one minute but ensure an inch of opening in the zip top.
  3. However, it would be best to use Ziplock Freezer or Storage bags for this microwave hack because the brand’s sandwich bags aren’t microwavable. 
  4. If you use a different brand, check the label first to see if the bag is microwavable.

How to Keep Brown Rice Moist

Here are the ways to keep brown rice moist:

1. It would help if you cooked brown rice correctly, depending on the variety.

Brown Rice TypeCups of RiceCups of WaterMinutes of Cooking
Short grain1.52.5 boiling waterBake for 75 minutes
Medium grain1.52.5 boiling waterBoil for 30 minutes. Can also bake
Long grain1.52.5 boiling waterBoil for 30 minutes. Can also bake
Basmati1.52.5 boiling waterBoil for 30 minutes
  1. Use the boil and drain method for basmati, long-grain, and medium-grain rice. It will keep the grains separated and fluffy instead of clumping together.
    1. If you have the long-grain and medium-grain variety, you should boil it for 30 minutes. On the other hand, if you have brown basmati rice, you should cook it for between 12 and 14 minutes.
    2. Remember to shake off the excess water when draining the rice because it will absorb the water when you put it back in the pot to steam.
    3. Moreover, turn off the stove when you put the rice back in the pot to rest. The residual heat will steam dry the rice to perfection.
  2. Use the baking method for short-grain brown rice.
    1. Bake for 75 minutes to cook the tough outer layer thoroughly.
    2. Use boiling water instead of tap water because tap water takes about 15 minutes to heat up, and the rice will wallow and bloat in warm water. You’ll have mushy rice.
    3. Don’t forget to rest for ten minutes before fluffing and then serving.
  3. You can store leftover brown rice in a shallow container with a tight lid for four days in the refrigerator.
    1. Brown rice maintains its excellent quality for six months in the freezer. 
    2. However, ensure that the freezer’s temperature stays at 0 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. 
    3. Don’t forget to label the freezer bags with quantity and date.

How Do You Make Rice Moist and Fluffy After Refrigeration Has Dried It Out?

You can make rice moist and fluffy after refrigeration has dried it out by reheating it correctly. Leaving rice in the fridge can make it lose its moisture; thus, it becomes hard and clumps together. You may add a pat of butter or a slight drizzle of oil to soften the rice and avoid sticking.

Kelli Foster from suggests three ways to bring back the fluffiness of leftover rice:

  1. Use the microwave by combining the rice with a small amount of water in a microwave-safe dish. You may use a small plate if you’re only reheating rice for one person. However, it would be best if you first broke up large rice clumps using a fork, then covered the rice with a wet paper towel. 
  2. Put the leftover rice in a pan and add a little water. Cover it with a tight-fitting lid on low heat. You may stir it occasionally to ensure thorough and even heating.
  3. Use an oven-safe baking dish and combine the leftover rice with a small amount of water. Don’t forget to break up the large rice clumps with a fork. Cover the container with aluminum foil or a tight-fitting lid before baking at three hundred degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes.

You should only reheat rice once; therefore, to avoid wastage, you should only reheat what you consume. You may also prefer turning leftover rice into fried rice if you have too much of it.

How Do I Stop Rice Cooker Rice from Getting Hard on Top?

You can stop your rice cooker rice from getting hard on top by cooking in small batches and ensuring that people consume it immediately after cooking. If left for hours, rice tends to dry and become hard on top. In addition, hard rice is challenging to soften; therefore, it’s best to cook what you can consume in one sitting.

If you host a party all day, you should have two rice cookers and cook rice every hour in small batches. Restaurants do the same strategy to ensure that rice doesn’t become hard on top. Moreover, if the kitchen is busy the whole time, you should pre-measure the rice and water and combine them in the rice cooker. If one rice cooker is low in rice, you should cook rice in the other.

Jonathan Deutsch, Ph.D. of, suggests chilling leftover rice and only reheating what you can consume. Don’t forget to add a few drops of water when reheating. Leftover rice is hard to chew because of the starch retrogradation. Still, you can fix the issue by reheating it at a minimum temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit with a bit of water in the microwave or pot. However, reheated rice doesn’t have the same texture or quality as freshly cooked rice.

Moreover, it would help if you didn’t use steam pots or tables because they expose the rice surface to air, making it hard to chew. If you don’t have a rice cooker, you may use a hot holding cabinet with high humidity. You can also use a dry, hot holding cabinet or a low oven but add humidity with the rice tightly covered. If you’re cooking for other people, you should heed food safety protocols for reheating, chilling, or hot holding.

Final Thoughts

Rice is enjoyable to eat if it’s fluffy and moist. Unfortunately, leftover rice may lose its moisture if you don’t store it correctly. In addition, cold air may absorb the rice’s moisture if you don’t cover it; therefore, ensure that you put leftover rice in an air-tight container before putting it in the refrigerator or freezer.

Aron Blake

I am the lead copywriter on Homezesty and the Webmaster. I have a lot of experience in home renovations and the creation of style. I enjoy writing and sharing my tips on how to create the best living environment. My Linkedin Profile, My Twitter Account

Recent Posts