How many times have you made way more rice than you need?
Don’t worry. It’s happened to everyone!
If you’ve made more sticky rice than you can eat, keep reading.
I’ve experimented with several ways of storing and reheating sticky rice to avoid the problem of the leftovers not being so sticky.
The short answer:
The best way to reheat sticky rice is in the steamer. Set up your steamer and bring the water to a simmer, then break up the rice so there are no clumps and make a thin layer of it in the steamer. Cover it and steam it for about 5 minutes. You can also use the microwave.
A note on my experiment
I made a big batch of sticky rice in my kitchen, then stored it in the fridge overnight (we’ll go over how best to store sticky rice later).
The next day, I experimented with four different methods of reheating the sticky rice.
These methods include:
- In the microwave (good for smaller portions)
- In a steamer (a great method, especially for big portions)
- In the oven (a bit drying)
- In a rice cooker (okay for smaller quantities)
I tasted each portion of rice after reheating, looking to see which method best preserved the stickiness and moisture of the rice.
Overall, the results I got from microwaving the sticky rice and steaming it were very similar. The only real difference was the risk of the rice drying out in the microwave.
The rice cooker also reheated small portions of rice well.
The oven method was my least favorite because it took a bit of experimenting to reheat the sticky rice without drying it out.
Reheating sticky rice in the microwave
To reheat sticky rice in the microwave, put your rice in a microwave-safe bowl. Add a tablespoon of water per cup of rice in the bowl. Then cover the bowl with plastic wrap and pierce it a few times to make small holes. Heat the rice in 20-second intervals until it’s as hot as you want it to be.
How to reheat sticky rice in the microwave:
- Put the rice in a microwave-safe bowl, making sure to break up any big clumps.
- Add a tablespoon of water per cup of rice*.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and pierce a few small holes into it so steam can escape.
- Heat on high for 20-second intervals until the rice is warmed through, stirring during the breaks to ensure even heating.
*To add flavor to the sticky rice, try using chicken stock instead of water (for savory dishes!).
Instead of plastic wrap, you can also cover the rice in a damp paper towel. Make sure the paper towel touches the rice!
The plastic wrap (damp paper towel) traps steam, which keeps the rice moist.
If you overheat the rice, it will start to dry out. Stick to short time intervals.
This was a very quick and easy way to reheat my rice, and it brought moisture back to the rice well.
Honestly, it’s probably the method I would use most often, simply because of convenience.
I heated 2 cups of sticky rice at the most, which worked well, but I wouldn’t recommend heating much more than that.
Reheating sticky rice in a steamer
A bamboo steamer is the best way to steam rice, but any steamer you have will do the trick. To reheat sticky rice in the steamer, set up your steamer and bring the water to a simmer. Then, add the rice in a thin layer with no clumps. Steam your rice for about 5 minutes.
If you don’t have a steamer on hand, you can make a stand-in steamer at home!
There are a few methods online to make a makeshift steamer, and I will cover one of them in this article.
How to reheat sticky rice in a steamer:
- Set up your steamer and bring the water to a simmer.
- Add the rice to the steamer, breaking up any clumps, to make a thin layer.
- Cover and steam for 5 minutes.
If you don’t have a steamer, here’s a makeshift steamer method you can use:
- Place a large, deep skillet on the stove.
- Ball up 3-4 lengths of aluminum foil to make evenly-sized balls. Place at the bottom of the skillet, and place a heatproof plate on top.
- Put the rice on the plate, breaking up any clumps to make a thin layer.
- Pour about an inch of water into the skillet. Bring the water to a simmer, then cover the skillet with a lid.
- Steam for 5 minutes.
I always keep my water at a simmer rather than a boil because I think boiling water can be too harsh and may overcook the rice.
With simmering water, all you’re doing is warming – not cooking.
The rice had a fantastic texture when I used this method. It was sticky and hot without any drying out, which is exactly what I was looking for!
Using a steamer takes a bit more effort than the microwave, but it’s perfect if you’ve got a portion of rice that’s too big for the microwave.
Reheating sticky rice in the oven
To reheat sticky rice in the oven, preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C). While it’s heating, put the rice in an oven-safe dish, breaking up any clumps, and then add 2-3 tablespoons of water. Cover the dish with a lid or with aluminum foil and heat for 5-10 minutes.
The exact times will vary depending on the portion size and your oven, so check on it after 5 minutes and decide how much longer it needs.
How to reheat sticky rice in the oven:
- Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C).
- Combine the rice with 2-3 tablespoons of water in an oven-safe baking dish or pan. Use a fork to break up any visible clumps.
- Cover the dish with a tight-fitting lid or aluminum foil.
- Bake for 5-10 minutes, or until the rice is heated through.
The water creates steam which keeps the rice moist in what is otherwise quite a dry environment.
I had to try this method a couple of times to experiment with how much water I needed for the texture I was looking for.
Make sure not to skimp on the water you put in the dish, or else the rice will dry out.
This is an okay method for reheating a large portion of sticky rice.
That said, you could reheat the same portion in a steamer with less fuss.
If you have access to a steamer, or you have a smaller portion that can fit in the microwave, I’d suggest using either of those methods instead.
Reheating sticky rice in the rice cooker
To reheat sticky rice in a rice cooker, put the rice in the basket, breaking up any clumps to make sure the rice heats quickly and evenly. Add 1-2 tablespoons of water and stir. Once the rice is in, turn on the rice cooker and set it to warm, then wait for about 5 to 10 minutes.
How to reheat sticky rice in the rice cooker:
- Break up any large chunks of rice, and put it in the rice cooker.
- Add 1-2 tablespoons of water to keep the rice moist.
- Set the rice cooker to ‘warm’ and cook the rice for 5-10 minutes, or until warmed through.
It can be easy to forget about rice in the rice cooker (the longest I’ve left the rice cooker on warm is 18 hours!).
Now I always set an alarm on my phone to remind me to go back and check on the rice. Nothing terrible will happen if you leave it for too long, but it might dry the rice out.
This method surprised me!
I know that rice cookers are, of course, good for cooking rice, but I hadn’t thought this method would reheat the sticky rice as well as it did.
I would avoid big portions of rice because they’ll take longer to heat up.
If you only need sticky rice for one or two people, though, this is a great way to reheat it.
How to store sticky rice
To store sticky rice, you need to cool it down quickly to prevent bacteria from developing. Spread the hot leftovers out on a baking sheet and put it in the fridge. Once cool, scoop the rice into an air-tight container, and put it back in the fridge. The rice will last for up to 4 days.
You can use a Ziploc bag or a Tupperware-like container. If you use a container, I suggest covering the surface of the rice with a sheet of plastic wrap to keep it from drying out.
Spreading the rice out helps it release its heat quickly, so you’re not waiting for an hour before you can store it properly.
If any rice is left out at room temperature for over two hours (or one hour in a hot climate), discard it because it will have become a health risk.
The longer the rice is in the fridge, the less sticky it will get! Aim to eat it as soon as possible.
Can you freeze sticky rice?
Sticky rice freezes really well. Appropriately stored in an airtight container, the rice will stay good for about two months. After that, it will still be safe to eat, but the quality will start to deteriorate, and the rice will be dry when you reheat it.
How to freeze sticky rice:
- Start preparing the rice for storage as soon as you realize you’re not going to eat it.
- If the rice is still hot, spread it out in a thin layer on a baking sheet.
- Put the baking sheet in the fridge to cool the rice quickly.
- When the rice has cooled, remove the rice from the baking sheet and portion it out.
- Place the portioned rice into an airtight container or freezer bag.
- Put the rice in the freezer.
- Use the sticky rice within two months for the best freshness.
There needs to be as little air as possible in the container that you store the rice in to prevent it from prematurely drying out or developing freezer burn.
If you’re using a container, use one that you can fill completely with the amount of rice you have.
If using a bag, remove as much air from the bag as possible before putting it in the freezer. I use a straw to do this (and turn myself into a human vacuum sealer).
You can also dunk the open freezer bag into a bowl of water. The pressure from the water forces the air out, and you can seal the bag.
If you have an actual vacuum sealer – even better!
Portioning the rice before you store it makes it much easier when it comes to thawing and using the rice. I tend to fill a gallon bag and quarter the rice by pushing lines into it.
How to reheat frozen sticky rice
You can reheat frozen sticky rice straight from frozen without thawing it.
Remove the rice from the freezer and try to break up the solid block into smaller chunks. I use a rolling pin to do this! Then put the rice into a microwave-safe bowl with a tablespoon of water. Cover the bowl and heat in 15-second intervals until warm. You can also use the steamer.
If you can’t make any progress with breaking up the rice, warm it slightly first to soften the rice, then break it up before continuing to reheat it.
How long does sticky rice last?
Sticky rice can last up to 4 days in the fridge if stored in airtight packaging. It’s best to eat it within 2 days, though, if you want the best quality.
Sticky rice can last up to 2 months in the freezer if you keep it in an airtight container or bag.
Don’t feel like you need to cook a lot of rice and store it in the freezer, though. Uncooked sticky rice has a long shelf life and will stay fresh for more than a year if kept away from moisture in the pantry.
How to reheat mango sticky rice
To reheat mango sticky rice, separate the sauce and fruit from the rice as best you can. The quickest way to reheat the rice is in the microwave. Put the rice in a bowl and add a tablespoon of water before covering it with pierced plastic wrap. Heat the rice in 15-second intervals until warm.
If you want to warm the sauce as well, you also heat this in the microwave. Either with the rice or separately.
Don’t reheat the mango!
Another option for reheating the rice is to use the steamer. Steaming takes a bit longer but allows you to heat bigger portions.
How to reheat Lo Mai Gai
You can reheat lo mai gai in the microwave or steamer. The steamer is best for frozen lo mia gai, whereas the microwave is better suited for leftovers from the fridge. Steam the Lo Mai Gai for 20-30 minutes. For the microwave, wrap each parcel in a damp paper towel and microwave them for about 1 minute.
To store lo mai gai, wrap each parcel in a double layer of plastic wrap or put them in a Ziplock bag, and then store them in either the fridge or the freezer. This dish will last longer if frozen, and it freezes very well.
How to reheat zongzi
To reheat zongogi, re-boil them for about 15 minutes. If you have more time, you can also steam the zongzi for about 30 minutes. Make sure to thaw any leftovers from the freezer before reheating them – just take them out of the freezer a few hours ahead of time and allow them to thaw.
To store zongzi, first allow the dumplings to cool to room temperature. Then wrap them in plastic wrap or a Ziplock bag, and store them in either the fridge or freezer. Make sure to keep the reed leaves on when you store them.
The Best Way To Reheat Sticky Rice
Set up your steamer and bring the water to a simmer.
Add the rice to the steamer, breaking up any clumps, to make a thin layer.
Cover and steam for 5 minutes.
Serving: 100gCalories: 97kcal