This is one of those questions that's hard to find any results for on google because there are so many more popular similar but not at all the same questions/answers that it impossible to find the right search terms to target the desired results.

Here's what I want to do:

  • 1 Make white rice in an Instant Pot
  • 2 Dry it out in an Air Fryer
  • 3 Cook it in a Wok

I'm just not sure about step 2 and whether it will work, and if so what a good time/temp combo would be to achieve this. Basically, I want to be able to make fried rice on a whim and not have to leave it in the fridge overnight first. I've tried putting a fan on the rice while spread out and such to dry to dry it out faster but it just doesn't work as well as leaving overnight. Has anyone tried to dry out rice in an Air Fryer with success?

  • It’s possible to make fried rice with fresh rice, but it’s not exactly the same (Ming Tsai says it comes out fluffier). I find that I have to reduce the water slightly, and then spread the rice out on a sheet pan to prevent it from continuing to steam, or I find it clumps and is difficult to work with. There’s another answer on here that recommends freezing the rice to firm up the starch
    – Joe
    Jun 12, 2022 at 13:20
  • It doesn’t mention air fryers specifically, but see cooking.stackexchange.com/q/20935/67
    – Joe
    Jun 12, 2022 at 13:36

2 Answers 2


No, it won't work.

You don't need to dry out your rice for making fried rice. Instead, you want the starch in your rice to undergo retrogradation. Starch retrogradationis a process which starts out with cooking the starch and continues over a few days after the actual cooking has finished - it is the same process that makes bread stale. And the quickest way to achieve retrogradation is at fridge temperatures. So, you are already making your fried rice by the quickest way possible, which involves an overnight stay in the fridge.

If you were to dry your rice by some other means, be it an air fryer or something else, you might get it dry quicker, but it won't be the right texture for making fried rice.

  • I think you’re mixing up gelatinization and starch retrogradation
    – Joe
    Jun 12, 2022 at 15:35
  • As Joe says, you're saying 'gelatinisation' but mostly describing retrogradation. Furthermore, consulting my copy of The Wok, dryness is in fact the more important factor relative to staleness for frying rice; staleness can matter, but only under certain avoidable circumstances, e.g. using freshly cooked rice that you didn't rinse before cooking.
    – Blargant
    Jun 14, 2022 at 0:27
  • Thank you both for catching my terminology mistake, fixed! @Blargant, if you think my answer is wrong, the best thing to do is to downvote it. This helps other people judge the reliability of answers.
    – rumtscho
    Jun 14, 2022 at 11:52
  • @Blargant It sounds strange to hear "only under certain avoidable circumstances, e.g. using freshly cooked rice that you didn't rinse before cooking". Is there a reason you wouldn't rinse rice before cooking? If not, then it sounds like you're saying that staleness never really matters much... and I am also somewhat equating your terminology of "staleness" with "starch retrogradation". So I just wanted to check if I am understanding your comments accurately?
    – BVernon
    Jun 16, 2022 at 6:13
  • Not everyone rinses rice before cooking; it's important in some food traditions, and not in others; notably, some kinds of rice are dusted with vitamin/mineral supplements, which rinsing would send straight down the drain. I rarely rinse my rice, personally; it's an extra step, and I don't notice the difference much. If you rinse your rice as a matter of course, then yes, the staleness, according to Kenji Lopez-Alt's experimentation, doesn't matter much for fried rice making. Secondly, yes, starch retrogradation is essentially the scientific term for staling, you understood that correctly.
    – Blargant
    Jun 16, 2022 at 7:01

It’s possible that it would work, but I suspect that spreading it out on a sheet on to cool and release steam would work even better if you were in a hurry.

If you’re making fried rice with fresh rice, note that there are trade offs:

It’s a little more finicky, as if the rice is sticky, it can clump together making it more difficult to cook, especially if you’re dealing with larger batches. You may need to adjust your technique and/or tools to deal with this. (Cooking chopsticks tend to work pretty well, if you have them)

Fresh rice has a higher glycemic index. By cooling the rice and allowing them starch to undergo retrogradation, you slow how quickly your stomach can break it down.


It’s also worth mentioning that there are mixed rice dishes that don’t actually require frying the rice at all. An example would be the Japanese kayaku gohan (mixed rice), in which you cook the rice with soy sauce and flavorings in the liquid, while you steam vegetables (and possibly meat or seafood) on top, then mix it together after the rice is cooked.

If you adjusted the vegetables and flavorings, you could probably end up with something with a similar flavor to your preferred style of fried rice

  • Yep, I really should and plan to learn to make some dishes that don't require frying. But in regard to my quest for the fastest way to make fried rice, I have tried spreading rice out and putting a fan on it for like an hour and it worked okay but definitely not the same as putting in the fridge or freezer for the night. As far as batch size, it wouldn't be too large... enough to feed 3. I expect I can do more preparation if I need to feed more or want more leftovers... this is more for last minute cravings.
    – BVernon
    Jun 16, 2022 at 6:25
  • 1
    @BVernon : maybe you could meet those cravings with lo mein or other noodle dish with similar flavors?
    – Joe
    Jun 16, 2022 at 21:33
  • Not a big noodle fan, but yes I really do need to learn some stir fry and other such dishes.
    – BVernon
    Jun 16, 2022 at 22:24

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