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How To Reheat Fried Rice [I Test 5 Methods]

This post was updated on 1st July 2023 and we tested a new method – the air fryer.

Fried rice can be delicate, and overheating it can leave you with a plate of dried-out, bland grains. Luckily, I’ve personally tried and tested five different ways to reheat fried rice, so you don’t have to!

Want a quick answer?

The best way to reheat fried rice is by steam frying it in a skillet. Heat some oil or butter on a medium-high heat. Add the fried rice along with 1 tablespoon of water per cup of rice and stir fry for 4-5 minutes. You can also use the microwave if you’re in a rush.

How we tested reheating fried rice

I cooked up a big batch of fried rice (it’s actually really easy) and left it in the fridge overnight. The next morning, I tested five different methods of reheating the rice to see which one gave the best results. I tested:

  • Skillet (steam frying): My favorite method.
  • Microwave: Very convenient if you’re in a rush.
  • Oven: Good for large batches.
  • Air fryer: Heat at 375°F for 5-7 minutes.
  • Making a frittata: Mix the rice with egg and fry like an omelet.

These reheating methods work for all kinds of fried rice

Whether you have egg fried rice, chicken fried rice, pork fried rice… or you get the picture, the following tips will all be relevant. The only one you need to be careful with is seafood fried rice, but I talk more about that in the individual sections.

How to reheat fried rice in a skillet (steam frying)

Time: 5-6 minutes

  1. Put a splash of oil or butter in a pan and heat on medium-high.
  2. Add the leftover fried rice along with 1-2 tablespoons of water per cup of rice.
  3. Quickly stir the rice to mix the water in, and then cover the pan for 30 seconds, or until the water stops steaming.
  4. Take the lid off, increase the heat to high, and stir fry for 4-5 minutes.

Adding the water prevents the rice from drying out and overcooking (you can also add an ice cube!). Once the water has cooked off, you can fry the rice to get its crispiness back.

Pro tip: before you put the rice in the pan, you can fry up some new vegetables or meat to revive your rice. I like adding bacon (because who doesn’t love bacon?). You can also add in extra seasonings like soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic powder, or just regular old salt and pepper.

Results: This was my favorite method. The rice was super tasty and had a good texture, and it will work for all portion sizes too.

How to reheat fried rice in the microwave

Time: up to 2 minutes

  1. Put a small amount of butter or oil on top of the fried rice (optional).
  2. Add 1-2 tablespoons of water for each cup of rice.
  3. Cover the fried rice with a splatter plate, a wet paper towel, or some pierced plastic wrap.
  4. Microwave in 30-second increments, stirring during each break, for up to 2 minutes.
  5. Let the rice rest for one minute before serving.

Lots of people will tell you to avoid the microwave at all costs because it will ruin your food, and while this is true for things like garlic bread, it’s actually decent at reheating rice.

Stirring the rice helps to avoid cold spots and adding some butter before microwaving helps revive the flavor of the fried rice.

I also tested heating the rice on 50% power, but I don’t think the extra time it takes is worth the results. The rice might have been a tiiiiny bit more fluffy, but most people wouldn’t notice a difference.

Results: This method was super quick and easy, and the rice was nice and fluffy. But it had lost its crispness and didn’t have that ‘fried’ texture, so it was more like steamed rice. The rice also wasn’t as flavorful as the day before and tasted a bit dull.

Tip: don’t reheat seafood fried rice in the microwave

Remember I said you needed to be careful with seafood fried rice, well here’s why. Seafood doesn’t reheat well in the microwave. It will turn rubbery very quickly, especially shellfish like shrimp. Avoid using the microwave if you can!

How to reheat fried rice in the oven

Time: 10-15 minutes

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C) and spread the rice out evenly in an oven-proof dish.
  2. Mix in a tablespoon of water or stock for each cup of rice.
  3. Cover the rice with aluminum foil and bake for 10-15 minutes, depending on portion size.
  4. Optional: take the cover off the rice for the last 2-3 minutes of cooking to allow it to develop a lightly crusted top.

I always remove the foil for the last few minutes of cooking because I love that slightly dry crispy crunch you get. It adds a whole new dimension to the dish.

Another trick with the oven is to add a sauce to your rice before you heat it. Think sriracha or gochujang. The sauce will thicken in the oven and coat the rice in sticky deliciousness.

Results: This method is good because you can reheat big loads of rice at once without having to stand and monitor it. But it’s pretty slow and the texture of the rice was softer than fresh fried rice.

How to reheat fried rice in the air fryer

Time: 5 minutes

To reheat fried rice in an air fryer, line the basket with parchment paper and spread your fried rice out in a thin layer. Heat it at 375°F for 5 minutes, depending on how much rice you have. Give the rice a shake halfway through.

This is a bonus method because not everyone has an air fryer, but they’re becoming more and more popular. I love mine because it combines the convenience of a microwave with the cooking quality of a stove or oven.

If you have lots of rice, consider heating it in batches. If you overcrowd the air fryer, the rice won’t crisp up as effectively.

Results: This method was quick and the rice came out with a really nice texture but it’s a bit awkward having to line the basket, and it can be easy to overcook the rice.

How to make a frittata with leftover fried rice

If you don’t feel like another bowl of fried rice, turn your leftovers into a frittata.

Take your fried rice, stir it into some whisked eggs, then pan-fry the mixture. Oil the pan before pouring the egg mixture in and cooking it on one side for 4-5 minutes (on medium heat). It should then be sturdy enough to flip so you can cook the other side.

Here’s a great recipe if you want one to follow.

You can eat a frittata any time of day, but I personally like using it as a sandwich filling for lunch (and here are some more great ideas on things to serve with frittatas)

Is it safe to reheat fried rice?

As long as you store your fried rice correctly, it’s perfectly safe to reheat and even eat cold. Cool your rice as quickly as possible, don’t leave it out at room temperature for longer than an hour (preferably less), and store the rice in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Eat it within 4 days.

Rice gets a bad rep because some people don’t realize it can cause food poisoning. They think nothing of leaving it out for a few hours, then putting it in the refrigerator and frying it for lunch the next day. 

The issue with rice is that it can harbor a toxic bacteria known as Bacillus cereus. This bacteria can grow to harmful levels if you leave your rice at room temperature for too long, but refrigeration slows its growth.

Bacillus cereus can also survive cooking, so if your rice has been left out for too long don’t be tricked into thinking it will be safe if you reheat it.

I used old rice to make my fried rice. Can I still reheat it?

Traditional fried rice is made with day-old rice that’s been left in the refrigerator overnight. Therefore, reheating it means reheating the rice for the second time. Some sources (NHS UK for example) say you should only reheat rice once because with every reheat, the risk of food poisoning increases.

While this is true, if your rice hasn’t been left out at room temperature for more than an hour total the risk will still be small.

How to store fried rice

Cool your fried rice quickly and then keep it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Never leave your fried rice at room temperature for longer than an hour. You can also freeze fried rice for longer-term storage.

It’s really important to rapidly cool the rice because harmful (food poisoning-causing) bacteria can multiply on room temperature rice very quickly. If you have a big pot of rice, spreading it out into smaller containers will help it cool down faster.

If you already know there’ll be leftovers, it’s better to put a portion in the fridge right away rather than leave it out until you’ve finished your meal and then put it away.

Most takeaway boxes aren’t airtight!

Make sure you transfer any takeaway rice to another container before refrigerating it. Otherwise, it will dry out very quickly and can absorb odors from other food in the fridge.

Can you freeze fried rice?

Fried rice freezes well and is super easy to cook in bulk.

To freeze fried rice, portion it out and put each portion in a heavy-duty freezer bag with all the air squeezed out. The removal of air will help protect the rice against freezer burn. Use the rice within 3 months, after this, the quality of the rice will start to deteriorate. 

To thaw fried rice, leave it in the refrigerator overnight. Alternatively, you can reheat the rice straight from the freezer using a microwave.

Transfer the rice to a bowl with a cover, add a few tablespoons of water, and microwave in 1-minute intervals until the rice is piping hot.

Related: Best Way To Reheat Jambalaya

How To Reheat Fried Rice [Tested Methods]

If you're wondering what the best way to reheat fried rice is, you've come to the right place.
I have personally experimented with 5 different reheating techniques, to determine what method truly does the best job of returning your leftover fried rice to it's former glory.
5 from 2 votes
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Asian
Keyword: fried rice, reheat fried rice
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 1 person
Calories: 244kcal



  • 1 portion fried rice all types work: chicken fried rice, pork fried rice, egg fried rice, etc
  • 2 tbsp water


  • Put some oil or butter in a pan and heat it to a medium-high heat.
  • Fry any new vegetables or meat you want to add to the rice (optional).
  • Add the leftover fried rice along with 2 tablespoons of water per cup of rice.
  • Stir the rice until the added water has mixed in.
  • Put a lid on the pan until the water stops steaming.
  • Take the lid off, increase the heat to high, and stir fry for 5-10 minutes (or until heated through).
  • Stir continuously.
  • Once the rice has heated through, take it off the heat and serve immediately.


Serving: 140g | Calories: 244kcal

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