I am having a party. I have no rice cooker. I plan on cooking the rice the day before. Is it possible to reheat it and have it taste good? How to?


6 Answers 6


When making rice for a large group, you should take a hint from the restaurants and do it in the oven in a large roaster or baking pan. Put the rice in a pan, add boiling water and salt, and then cover with foil. Or you can make it like a very large pilaf which will make it more special. But oven in large pan is the way to go and make it fresh.

I don't have amounts because you will know how much you need to make. Common knowledge is 2 times as much water as the rice, and common knowledge is, generally, too much water, particularly in large batches.

Again, a restaurant recipe will do you well.

  • 2
    I'd agree. Rice doesn't keep well at all, never quite the same. Just do it in your oven, boil your water and add it to a roasting pan, cover with foil. Pop into a hot oven e.g. 325-350 and cook until soft. It will take some time - 45-60 min at least. Make sure the water is boiling when you put it in!
    – Chef
    Jan 12, 2011 at 6:42

You have to be very careful when preparing rice for consumption later. Cooked rice can contain a toxic spore which causes severe food poisoning. You should cool the rice as rapidly as possible to prevent too much of the toxin being produced by the spore.

  • That's a good point when dealing with that much rice -- the way I know to cool off rice quickly is to spread it out on sheet pans so it can steam out (which unfortunately, dries it at the same time). If you're going to go with Yossarian's reheating technique, do this ... but I'd probably try to go with Doug's suggestion of a pilaf / oven cooking.
    – Joe
    Jan 12, 2011 at 14:07
  • 1
    Wow! What toxic organism could it contain that survives for an extended time at boiling temperatures? I've never heard about this before. Can it really be dangerous just 24 hours later? Lots of recipes for fried rice and rice pudding suggest using 1- or 2-day-old rice, and I've never seen this concern raised before.
    – Josh
    Jan 12, 2011 at 16:31
  • 5
    I found it: Bacillus cereus. Its spores can be found in starchy foods like rice, and can sometimes survive boiling, as can the toxins it produces. Contaminated rice tastes and smells completely normal. Fortunately, it's very rare, and the symptoms usually last only a few hours. You can protect yourself by preventing bacterial growth after cooking by refrigerating promptly - the bacteria can only grow at 50-105 degrees F.
    – Josh
    Jan 12, 2011 at 16:47

ok, so this may not be a correct answer for a cooking site, but... maybe you could buy enough cooked rice on the day of your event from a local chinese restaurant? : ) one less thing for you to worry about on the day of your big party (and nobody needs to know)!


Rice will dehydrate when it's left over night. So it will be very dry when you try and reheat it. Cook it ahead of time, but keep it as close to ahead of time as possible. The less time it sits around, the better. When it's time to serve, place a little water in with the rice, cover it (slightly vented), and then microwave till warm. The steam from the water will help rehydrate. I don't think the result is quite as good as fresh rice, but it's much easier.

  • 1
    If you're using a larger rice grain (say American long grain rather than a finer one like basmati) the result from microwaving is excellent. Finer rice tends to clump when reheated as it releases more starch.
    – vwiggins
    Jan 12, 2011 at 11:13
  • Also, a huge mass of cooked rice is quite a pain to dehydrate (which sometimes is exactly what you want, eg if you intend to saute it the next day). Oct 31, 2017 at 0:40

I have two options here.. one was not easy and the other one was rather creative (but traditional)

  1. Fried Rice. A quick way of reheating a large amount of rice from the fridge (I guess you pre-cook all the rice prior) is to make fried rice. Just heat up a wok and add a bit of oil will do the job. It may take you a few rounds, but it's better than reheating rice in microwave.

  2. Make Rice dumplings - you may have heard of Chinese rice dumpling which is usually made of glutinous rice, but you can use short grain rice instead which is sticky enough. It may look kinda fancy if you serve people with rice dumplings. The advantage of rice dumpling is you can keep them in hot water before you serve and you don't need rice cooker as the whole cooking process is in a pot.

I cannot find you the exact recipe, but this blog article seems pretty good.


Just ignore all the ingredient and put in rice only.

I got some links here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zongzi


I do this for parties all the time. I put several large spoonfuls in a plastic ziplock bag. Seal the bag, stick it in the microwave for 3min intervals till it is hot enough. flipping the contents around in between heating.

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