The Trick To Rescue Your Mushy Rice

For rice to be fluffy, soft, and tender, nailing the ratio of rice to water is a must. When rice absorbs too much moisture, the grains can split open, releasing starches that make for a gummy texture. Even a smidge too much water can leave you with a mushy, congealed mess that would work better as a wall spackle than a side dish. But before you toss the whole pot away in frustration, there are a few things you can try to restore your overcooked rice to its former (and firmer) glory.

The most common culprit for mushy rice is too much moisture. As such, the oven can be invaluable in removing excess water and drying out overly saturated grains. To rescue overcooked rice using the oven, transfer the rice to a mesh sieve and rinse it with cool water to remove released starches. Then drain the excess water and spread the rice out in a thin layer over a baking sheet. Allow the grains to bake at 350 degrees for five minutes before checking to see if the rice has dried out enough for your liking.

If your rice was cooked just a little too long, you may be able to remedy the mushiness by simply rinsing the rice, draining it, and returning it to the stovetop. By letting the rice sit uncovered over low heat, the excess moisture will have a chance to evaporate, returning your rice to a more chewable state.

Alternative options for overcooked rice

If a rescue mission that includes rinsing, draining, and transferring overcooked rice to the oven seems like more trouble than it's worth, there's one more trick you might try that won't leave you with a sink full of dishes. After draining excess water from the pan, place a slice of bread atop the rice, cover the pot, and allow it to sit over low heat for a few minutes or until the bread has been completely saturated with water. If you don't have bread handy, you can try this trick using a small bowl of salt, which can also be placed on top of the rice. Both the bread and salt work to absorb excess moisture present in the rice.

Sometimes, we must be honest with ourselves. There are some instances when your overcooked rice may be too far gone. However, even then, all hope is not lost. Rather than finding an alternative for dinner, you may be able to change directions, turning that mushy rice into a porridge or a risotto-like dish, complete with parmesan cheese!