How to Keep Rice Warm – 3 Easy Methods

Most people definitely love rice; it is a great side dish that you can pair with nearly any meal. Rice isn’t only delicious, but people love to cook it because it is super simple to make.
But what do you do if you need to keep rice warm after you have cooked it? The reason why today, we’ll be telling you the answer about how to keep rice warm.

If, for some reason, you are not eating your rice right away and you have no idea how to keep rice warm for later, do not panic. There are actually several ways or methods to keep your rice warm successfully. You can actually keep your rice warm for up to two hours after cooking, just in time to serve it for your family and friends.

However, special methods, steps, tips, and tricks must be employed. However, you have nothing to worry about; by the time you read this article, you’ll feel like a rice expert knowing how to keep rice warm the right way.

How to Keep Rice Warm FAQ’s

How do you keep rice warm for a buffet?

If you want to keep your rice warm for a buffet, your safest bet is to use slow cookers or crock-pot, which are great tools for keeping rice warm. Each provides low and stable temperatures that will keep the rice from overcooking or burning. The lowest setting should be able to heat the water enough to keep the rice warm.

How do restaurants keep rice warm?

Restaurants are concern about keeping rice from drying out; they need to ensure the quality of rice.
There are a few ways to keep your rice soft, and they all share the same characteristic: preventing the surface of the rice from drying. Once it dries, it is challenging to bring it back to an acceptable texture.

In general, it is best to avoid holding mechanisms like steam tables or pots that expose the surface of the rice to air. Instead, opt for rice cookers designed for this purpose (adding some additional water as needed) or, if you do not have access to one, a hot holding cabinet with high humidity can work just as well. A low oven or dry, hot holding cabinet can work in a pinch if you add humidity and keep the rice tightly covered.
If none of those options are feasible, you can also chill the rice and reheat it in small batches with a few drops of water.

Can you pre-cook rice and keep it warm?

Steamed rice cooked in advance can be kept warm over barely boiling water. Boiled rice can be kept warm in the following ways:

1. When cooking is done, place the tightly closed pan over the lowest possible flame. Do not lift the lid. The rice should keep warm for more than an hour without drying out.
2. When cooking is done, place the closed pan in a slow oven. Do not lift the lid until ready to serve.
3. Transfer rice to the top of a regular double boiler. Keep the water in the bottom heated to a slow boil.

How long can you keep rice warm?

The cooked rice kept warm can highly last for 11 to 12 hours, and that is it, not more than that. However, being left untouched for a few hours will form a lot of dried rice. After 11 to 12 hours, the rice will start yellowing, developing a lot of bacteria. So before the time is up, you need to store it.

What to do with leftover rice?

Leftover rice has many uses. When reheated and eaten plain, it tastes as good as freshly cooked rice. It can also be used in soups, chowders, casseroles, congees, egg dishes, or fried rice.

How to store leftover rice?

  1. While the rice is still hot, separate and loosens the grains with a fork or chopstick.
  2. Let cool completely.
  3. Place in a covered container and refrigerate. (It should keep about a week.)

How to reheat leftover rice?

  1. Separate grains of rice so they will reheat evenly. (Either adds 1 tablespoon cold water for every 3 cups of cooked rice and separate the grains with a fork or chopstick or dampen the hands and separate the lumps that way.)
  2. Place in a saucepan.
  3. Add 1 tablespoon cold water for each cup of cooked rice.
  4. Cover pan tightly.
  5. Heat 15 to 20 minutes over low flame.
  6. Do not lift the lid or stir until rice is ready to serve.

How to wash rice?

The secret of flaky rice is in the washing. Rice must always be washed thoroughly before it is cooked to remove the excess starch. This keeps it from becoming sticky.

Rinse under cold running water, rubbing the grains together between the palms of the hands. Or place the rice in a fine sieve or colander (set in a saucepan or bowl) and stir with a spoon or chopstick to rub the grains together.

How to keep rice warm for lunch?

Preheat the thermos inside by filling it with boiling water and leaving it for a couple of minutes before tipping it out. Heat your rice to around boiling temperature throughout to kill bacteria and make it hot enough to store.

How to Keep Rice Warm

Method 1: Rice cooker

  1. Cook your rice as you normally would in your rice cooker.
  2. Keep your rice cooker on and switch it to its “keep warm†function.
  3. Add 1 tablespoon of water per cup of cooked rice.
  4. Stir the rice every 15 to 30 minutes, and add more water if needed.

Yum Asia Panda Mini Rice Cooker

This slow cooker is digitally controlled 7 phased 3D heating surround technology with tailored useful add-on options including steam, porridge, slow cook, cake baking settings. 24 hour preset timer and keep warm features. The 10-minute countdown for rice functions.

Unique to Yum Asia’s rice cookers is 24 hours automatic keep warm – it keeps rice at an ideal serving temperature until it’s ready to be served. There is a countdown indicator during the cooking cycle, and when the rice is cooked, a beep sounds, and the cooker automatically shifts to keep warm mode.
For added convenience, there is a preset time function that can be set up to 24 hours in advance, so you can have delicious rice ready for when you come in from work or nice, steaming hot porridge waiting on a cold winter’s morning.

how to keep rice warm: Yum Asia Panda Mini Rice CookerPin


  • Advanced Fuzzy Logic
  • 24 Hour Keep Warm/Timer
  • Style And Function
  • Ceramic bowl

Method 2: Slow cooker or crock-pot

  1. Pour a 1â„2 inch of water into the slow cooker.
  2. Plugin the cooker and turn it on to its lowest setting.
  3. Add the cooked rice into the slow cooker or crock-pot slowly.
  4. Stir the rice before placing the lid on the slow cooker or crock-pot.
  5. Stir the rice every 10 to 15 minutes, and add water as needed

Crock-Pot 6-Quart Cook

The Crock-Pot Cook & Carry Manual Slow Cooker is convenient for travel, potlucks, family gatherings, tailgating, parties, and just about any time you need to transport food prepared at home.

The removable stoneware also doubles as a serving dish. It features high and low settings for flexible cooking times and a warm setting to keep food at a good serving temperature so the crowd can enjoy your cooking whenever they wish. A dishwasher-safe insert and glass lid make cleanup quick and easy.

how to keep rice warm: Crock-Pot 6-Quart CookPin


  • Dishwasher-safe
  • Portable slow cooker
  • High/Low/Warm settings
  • Stylish exterior

Method 3: Bamboo steamer

  1. Soak the desired amount of uncooked rice in a bowl of water for 1 hour.
  2. Place a layer of cheesecloth inside the bamboo steamer.
  3. Use a strainer to drain the rice and then set the rice aside.
  4. Fill the wok with enough water to submerge the bottom of the steamer.
  5. Heat the stacked steamer and wok on the stove until the water is boiling.
  6. Add your strained rice to the bamboo steamer and place the lid on it.
  7. Lower the water to a simmer and let the rice cook for 20 minutes.
  8. Remove the bamboo steamer from the wok and take the lid off.

10 inch Bamboo Steamer Basket

Bamboo steamers are a good alternative to other cooking methods and inexpensive ways to quickly prepare light and healthy meals.

Boiling vegetable washes away their vital nutrients. Using steam is a gentle alternative to cooking your vegetables and other foods. The domed bamboo-mesh lid helps circulate heat and doesn’t allow condensation water to accumulate in your steam pot.

how to keep rice warm: 10 inch Bamboo Steamer BasketPin


  • Complimentary chopsticks
  • Wax papers allow clean-up easier
  • Non-sticky
  • 100% organic bamboo

Additional Tips on How to Keep Rice Warm

  • After you spoon the rice into the slow cooker, try and even out any rice mounds so the rice can stay warm evenly.
  • Be careful putting the rice in the bamboo steamer. Many steam will have collected within the steamer, and you don’t want to burn yourself.
  • If you do not have a wok, then you can use a pot. Just make sure that the pot is wide enough to sit the bamboo steamer inside of it.
  • Letting the rice stay warm in the bamboo steamer longer than 1 hour will cause the texture of the rice to degrade and become mushy.
  • The lowest setting on the slow cooker should heat the water enough to keep the rice warm.
  • Adding water to the slow cooker will keep it from drying out the already cooked rice. You can always add more water later on during the warming process if the rice seems to be getting dry.
  • Stirring the rice will keep the rice at the bottom of the pot from sticking and burning.
  • Never let the rice get cold in its cooking pan. It will become hard and unpalatable. If you don’t plan to use it within a few hours, store it.
  • Bamboo steamers often have woven bottoms that the rice can get stuck in. The cheesecloth will act as a barrier and prevent rice grains from getting caught in or falling through the bamboo steamer.
  • If you have a metal or bamboo steamer, line it with a dampened layer of cheesecloth, then add the rice and steam for 5 to 10 minutes to reheat.
  • Rice cookers are the most common tool to keep your rice warm since you most likely used one to cook your rice in the first place. Each rice cooker cooks rice differently, so follow the cooking instructions that it came with.
  • The keep-warm function on the rice cooker should be able to keep your rice warm for 2 to 3 hours.
  • Rice left warming in a rice cooker past the 2 to 3 hours will become gummy or even stick to the rice cooker and burn.
  • The rice cooker will slowly remove moisture from the cooked rice. So adding water will help prevent your cooked rice from drying out and add moisture back into the cooked rice.

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Photo of author
Anne is a passionate home cook who loves finding creative ways to keep her meals warm and delicious. She has been experimenting with different methods for keeping food warm for years, and now she's sharing her knowledge with the world through
Photo of author
Anne is a passionate home cook who loves finding creative ways to keep her meals warm and delicious. She has been experimenting with different methods for keeping food warm for years, and now she's sharing her knowledge with the world through