The Clever Hack You Should Use When Reheating Leftover Rice

If there's one staple side dish that home cooks return to again and again, it's got to be rice, whose versatility and goes-with-anything quality is right up there with pasta and potatoes. As often as we steam it up at home, rice is, surprisingly, one of those dishes that's actually pretty tricky to get right — no matter how experienced of a cook you are. All too often, rice turns out too mushy, too dry, or too waterlogged, when all we want is perfectly fluffy, steaming hot grains.

Cooking rice is enough of a challenge as it is, even before factoring in how best to store it and how to reheat it. Once transferred to the fridge, rice will keep for a few days — but it tends to get hard as a rock (via Mental Floss). Hard, dry rice is a wonderful choice for fried rice, but if you're looking to restore the grain to its fresh-cooked goodness, you're up for a challenge. Luckily, we stumbled across a tip that promises to deliver leftover rice that's as good as day one rice.

Grab an ice cube

As reported by The Kitchn, the secret to reheating rice involves two elements: an ice cube and your microwave. Originally posted by TikTok user caloriequeen14 in 2020, the "ice cube hack" calls for piling a portion of leftover refrigerated rice in a bowl, topping it with an ice cube, and popping it into the microwave — uncovered — for one minute. Though you'd think the ice would melt into a puddle, it actually stays intact, gently steaming the rice back to hot, fluffy goodness instead.

So why doesn't the ice melt? According to The Kitchn, hydrogen bonds in the ice prevent the water molecules from rotating, so they don't absorb any microwave energy. After reheating your rice, you can simply lift the ice cubes from the top, tossing them into the sink (or a houseplant) or even into your evening cocktail. Consider dry, unevenly reheated rice a thing of the past. Thank you, TikTok, and thank you, science!