The Rice You Should Never Reheat

You've probably reheated rice dozens of times. You cooked a Mexican feast the night before, and now you're reheating some rice and beans for a leftover lunch. Or maybe you cooked some chicken and rice, and you're now using the leftovers to make chicken soup. Likely the most popular way to repurpose leftover rice is by turning your Chinese takeout white rice into fried rice. But reheating rice isn't always a good idea.

According to the United Kingdom National Health Service, reheating rice — any rice — can result in food poisoning if you're not careful, as bacteria can survive on rice even after being cooked. It's safest to eat rice as soon as it's done, cool leftover rice within an hour, keep the rice in the fridge for no more than one day, reheat the rice entirely, and then never reheat it more than once. If you follow these guidelines, you should be in the clear ... unless, of course, you're heating up one type of rice in particular, in which case you're going to have a bad (or, at the very least, a less-than-tasty) time no matter what you do.

The best way to save your leftovers

While there are many delicious ways to reheat rice, there's one rice dish that's best enjoyed the same day, right after it's cooked: risotto. Creamy and delicious, risotto makes a rib-sticking comfort food on a chilly night or an impressive date night meal when done right. However, that creamy texture is nowhere to be found after the rice has cooled and then is reheated. If you just pop that leftover risotto into the microwave, you're going to end up with a dry, clumpy mess. (It's worth noting, though, that if your end goal is to save yourself some time by cooking risotto ahead for later consumption, there's a popular method, as detailed in The New York Times, of cooking risotto half-way and then finishing it later, but that still leaves you standing at the stove finishing up the cooking process.)

But let's say it's too late for you to make a plan to enjoy all of your risotto at once. You've already made a huge batch, didn't invite any friends over to share it, and are now staring down a seriously large portion of leftovers. What can you do? One easy (and delicious) way to repurpose leftover risotto is by making arancini. Mashed's traditional arancini recipe requires you to cook and then immediately cool your risotto anyway, so you can skip to later in the process, to when it's time to form your risotto and cheese balls before breading and frying.