How to Fix Hard Rice – Why is My Rice Crunchy?

Learning how to fix hard rice is imperative If you’ve ever cooked rice. Like me, you probably had a few rice cooking experiences when it didn’t come out quite right.  Rice is hands down one of my many favorite comfort foods and getting it right the first time is crucial.

There are so many things to consider, like are you going for fluffy rice? Do you want a deep toasted flavor? Do you want rice that is a little more on the firm side? Whether you are cooking brown rice or white rice, you do not want to eat undercooked rice. We will help you learn how to fix hard rice and avoid having it happen in the first place.

Usually, rice is not served al dente like pasta, so you want it to be soft and fluffy, not dry and hard.

How Do You Soften Hard-Cooked Rice? AKA How to Fix Hard Rice

We will cover how to soften hard rice. If it’s still hard after cooking, add more water. Rice cookers make adding water very simple. Add 1/4 of a cup at a time. For rice on the stovetop, the solution is the same.

Step 1

Measure out 1/4 cup of water and add it to the undercooked rice. You do not have to turn the temperature up; just add the water and close the lid. Allow the rice 5 minutes to absorb the water. f the rice is still hard after this first round, move on to step 2.

Step 2

Take another 1/4 of a cup of water and add it to the hard rice. Repeat step 1 by setting the lid in place and allowing the rice to absorb the water. If after this second time, it is still hard, then add a third 1/4 of a cup of water and allow it to absorb again.

To fix your hard rice, you don’t need to repeat this more than two times in most cases. However, if your rice is severely undercooked, you will have to add more water.

How to Avoid Cooking Undercooked Rice

Never mind trying to figure out how to fix hard rice, how about if we teach you how to avoid it altogether? If you don’t want to deal with undercooked rice in the first place, then make sure you read the correct ratios of water to rice for your particular type of rice. If you are making jasmine rice, the perfect ratio is 1 1/2 cups of water to 1 cup of rice. On the other hand, for long-grain brown rice, it’s 1 1/4 cups of water to 1 cup of rice. Read the instructions on your bag of rice. Each rice pack comes with specific water to rice ratios for making the perfect rice. If you follow the directions, you won’t need to worry about making hard rice soft.

basmati rice and water in a stainless steel rice cooker pot
Make sure you add enough water to your rice.

crunchy rice in a stainless steel rice cooker pot
Learn how to fix hard rice if you did not add enough water.

How to Fix Dry Rice similar to How to Fix Hard Rice

Finally, I found the perfect method for making rice that isn’t too dry.  All you need is water and rice. You can do this using a large pot with a lid or in your stainless steel rice cooker.  First, cook the rice as you usually would. After it’s done cooking,  put a tablespoon of cold water into the bottom of the pot or rice bowl. Stir until the liquid has mixed into the rice; then sit for 15 minutes before serving. You are doing this in place of letting the rice cool on its own.

Whether you need to learn how to fix hard rice or dry rice, the methods are often the same. You can also try to add a little bit of water to the dry rice; however, you will have to worry about mushy rice to add too much water. Add water a little bit at a time by following our steps above “how to soften hard cooked rice?”

How to Fix Burned Rice in a Rice Cooker

If the rice cooker has completely burned the rice, you may need to toss it. However, if only the bottom is crusty, you can add some liquid and stir around. Replace the lid and allow the liquid to soften the hard rice.  If your rice cooker often burns the rice, make sure it is not malfunctioning. A rice cooker is not usually known to burn rice, so if yours does, then have it checked out.

How to Fix Burned Rice on a Stovetop

If you totally burn the rice, throw it out and start over. However, if it’s not entirely burned and just stuck to the bottom of the pan, then you can easily add more liquid, scrape the rice off the bottom, and put the lid back on. Doing these three steps will create fluffier rice if most of your rice is stuck to the bottom of the pot.

4 Tips for How to Save Undercooked Rice

Don’t worry if your rice is undercooked. There are ways to fix it, so don’t toss it yet. Learn how to fix hard rice below.

  1. If it’s in a rice cooker still in warm mode, just add some water using our steps above. Add the water in small increments, keeping the lid closed. For the future, make sure to look at a rice cooker chart before starting your recipe.
  2. If it’s been undercooking in the pot for a while, add 1 cup of water and turn the rice cooking machine back into the cook mode. You can gently stir the rice before adding the water; however, be careful not to damage the rice.
  3. The third tip for saving undercooked rice: Did you already take the rice out of the cooking pot? If you took the rice out and then realized afterward that it is hard, don’t fret; here’s what to do. First, put all of the rice back into the cooking pot, turn the cooking pot on medium, add water or warm broth, then immediately turn the stove down to a low temperature. Gently stir the liquid, coat all of the rice, cover the lid, and let the hot rice and steam aid in the liquid absorption. Cook for another 10 minutes before checking on it again.
  4. The best way to save the undercooked rice you make on a stovetop is to add liquid in small increments until the liquid is gone.

How to Meal Prep Rice Without it Getting Hard

When I have to meal prep rice for the week, I always make sure it is not hard. If you will use the rice within a few days, It is ok for the rice to be a tiny bit firm since you need to reheat it again before eating. When you reheat the rice, you can add some liquid (either water or broth) to soak right into the firm rice.

However, if you want to meal prep rice without it getting hard, then follow these steps:

Step 1

First, cook/prepare the rice according to the package directions.

Step 2

Cool your rice down fast. The best way to cool your rice down quickly is to sit the pot of rice in a bath of ice water.

Step 3

After the rice is cool, transfer it to freezer-safe storage containers.

Step 4

Immediately freeze the rice and use it at any future date.

How to Keep a Pot of Rice from Overflowing

It leaves a mess on the counter or stovetop when rice boils over. Rice can boil over due to the starches coming out,  leading to more volume inside the pot, which can cause an overflow issue. If you notice that your pot of rice is overflowing, then use these helpful tips:

  • Take a small amount of avocado oil or canola oil on your finger and rub it around the rim of the rice cooker; the oil will prevent the rice from bubbling over.
  • Rinse your rice before cooking it, so you remove some of the starches. Doing this is not a 100% solution, but it will help tremendously.
  • Saute your rice before cooking it; not only does this give it a tremendous toasty flavor, but it helps to remove some of the starches.
  • Use a bigger rice cooker if necessary. If you own a small rice cooker like mine, you’ll need to be cautious when cooking more than 2 cups of dry rice.
  • If your rice cooker has a vent where rice water overflows, just put a kitchen towel over the air hole. Draping a towel across the top will allow the towel to soak up all of the rice water.

How to Fix Uncooked Rice in a Casserole

When you take out your casserole from the oven, you might notice that the rice is undercooked, especially if you started with dry rice.  Depending on what type of casserole you are cooking, you will need to add liquid.

If you can boil some broth or water and add it to the casserole 1/4 of a cup at a time, then you will most likely save the dish. After you add the liquid, cover the top with foil and put it back into the oven, this will allow the liquid to absorb straight into the undercooked rice instead of dissipating into the air.

In the future, it might be easy to use rice that you parboil, so it is partially cooked before you add it to the casserole. Using pre-cooked rice allows you not to worry about the exact liquid ratios in the casserole.

Final Thoughts for How to Fix Hard Rice

How to fix hard rice and cooking rice can be a challenge. However, it’s worth it because of the delicious end product. These tips will help you cook perfect rice every time, whether in a pot on the stove or a rice cooker. If you ever have undercooked or overcooked rice, don’t worry – we’ve got you covered.

And if you’re looking to meal prep rice for the week without having to worry about it getting hard, our easy steps will make sure you always cook your rice perfectly.

We’ve offered a few different ways to cook rice without it getting hard in this blog post. If you want the perfect pot of rice every time, check out our tips for saving undercooked rice in casseroles and how to keep your stovetop from overflowing with boiling water.

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