If you’ve ever made a big batch of rice only to turn out hard rock, you know how important it is to learn how to meal prep rice without it getting hard.
In this post, I’ll show you how to meal prep rice without becoming stiff. Whether you’re making a big batch for your family or a Thanksgiving dinner, this post is for you.
How To Meal Prep Rice Without It Getting Hard?
Cooking rice is a dominant food in many cultures worldwide, and various ways exist without making it stiff. It’s a versatile food that can be used as a side dish or as the base of a meal.
When done correctly, rice can turn out fluffy and delicious. But when it’s overcooked or not properly stored, it can be dry and rigid. Your method will depend on the type of rice you’re cooking and your personal preferences.
That said, follow these tips to help you meal prep rice without it getting hard:
1. Start with the right type of rice
There are many different types of rice, each with its own cooking time and method. For example, basmati rice takes about 20 minutes to cook, while brown rice takes 45 minutes. If you need help determining which rice you should use, check the package or ask your local grocer.
2. Rinse the rice before cooking
Rinsing the rice before cooking helps to extract debris or dirt on the grain. It also assists in protecting the rice from stickiness. To rinse the rice, place it in a strainer and run cold water over it until it’s clear.
3. Cook the rice in boiling water
Bring a pot of water to a boil before adding the rice to help cook the rice evenly. For every cup of rice, you’ll need about two cups of water. This will yield about four cups of cooked rice and is enough to serve six people.
4. Use a lid while cooking
Using a cover while cooking the rice helps trap the steam, which cooks the rice faster and prevents it from drying out. Also, use a lid that fits snugly on the pot to prevent the water from boiling and spilling over.
5. Let the rice sit before serving
Once the rice is cooked, turn off the heat and ensure it sits for about five minutes. This allows the steam to escape and prevents the rice from becoming mushy. Likewise, let it cool completely before storing it in the fridge if you’re meal-prepping rice.
Now that you know how to meal prep rice without it getting compact, put these tips to the test the next time you cook.
How Do You Store Rice For Meal Prepping?
Once you’ve cooked your rice, it’s essential to store it properly to prevent it from drying out or becoming rigid. Usually, we’re partly to blame for our rice turning out wrong, some people use the wrong storage methods, which can ruin your rice.
Place the cooked rice in an airtight container, portioning it into individual containers if you’re meal-prepping for the week. Then, store the containers in the fridge.
And if you won’t be using your rice soon, freeze it. To do this, place the cooked rice in a freezer-safe container and store it in the freezer for up to six months. When you’re ready to eat it, thaw the rice in the fridge overnight and reheat it on the stove or microwave.
Why Does Cooked Rice Get Hard In The Fridge?
Cooked rice often becomes hard when it’s stored in the fridge because the starch molecules in the rice absorb moisture from the air, causing them to harden.
However, the storage tools and techniques you use and how you reheat the rice can impact how stiff it becomes. That said, you need to use an airtight container to store the rice and reheat it gently.
Besides using the right tools and techniques, there are other things you can do to prevent your rice from getting compact. For example, add water or oil to the rice before storing it to keep it moist for longer.
How Far In Advance Can You Meal Prep Rice?
You can meal prep rice up to four days in advance — the rice will start to harden and become less flavorful any longer than that. Moreover, ensure that you cook the rice effectively, so it doesn’t become dense in the first place.
If you’re looking to meal prep for the long term, you can freeze cooked rice. This will extend its shelf life to six months. However, the taste and texture of the rice will change after being frozen for quite some time.
Should I Let Rice Cool Before Putting It In Fridge?
You can leave cooked rice to cool slightly at room temperature for no more than two hours, then keep it in the refrigerator. But please note that the rice shouldn’t be left to cool for too long — it’s best to store rice while it’s still warm to prevent the formation of starch molecules.
If you do let the rice cool, make sure to reheat it gently before eating. Preferably, reheat at 75-78 degrees Celsius. You can also use a food thermometer to check the temperature of your rice.
Some people prefer to let their rice cool before storing it. If you choose to do this, keep the rice in a well-ventilated container, so it doesn’t become soggy. Similarly, don’t put hot rice inside the fridge, as this can raise the temperature of your fridge and cause food spoilage.
What Kind Of Rice Is Good For Prepping?
Many different types of rice can be used for meal prepping. The most common type of rice is white rice, which is easy to find and relatively inexpensive.
White rice also has a neutral flavor, so it goes well with many different dishes. It comes with a long shelf life which is perfect if you want to meal prep in advance.
Another type of rice that’s good for prepping is brown rice. Brown rice has a nutty flavor and a chewy texture. It’s also packed with nutrients, making it a healthier option than white rice.
Brown rice has a shorter shelf life than white rice, so it’s best to cook it closer to the time you plan on eating it.
If you’re looking for a gluten-free option, you can try meal prepping with quinoa. Quinoa is a grain that’s high in protein and fiber. It has a nutty flavor and a slightly crunchy texture. Quinoa is also packed with nutrients, making it a healthy option for meal prep.
How Much Rice Can You Meal Prep For a Week?
It largely depends on how much you typically eat. Generally speaking, 1/2 cup of uncooked rice is enough for one serving. So if you plan on meal prepping for a week, you should cook around 7 cups of uncooked rice.
If you’re looking to prep for more than a week, you can store the cooked rice in an airtight container and freeze it for up to six months.
When cooking larger batches of rice for meal prepping, spread the cooked rice in thin layers to prevent it from becoming too dense or clumpy. Make sure to reheat the rice gently and avoid overcooking it. This will ensure that your rice remains flavorful and moist for the entire week.
What Are 5 Things You Must Do When Preparing Rice?
When preparing rice, there are a few things to remember to ensure that it turns out perfectly every time.
First, you’ll need to choose the right type of rice. Many types of rice are available, so it’s essential to select the one that best suits your needs. Preferably, use white rice since it has a neutral flavor and a long shelf life.
Second, you’ll need to measure the rice correctly. Too much or too little rice can ruin a dish. The best measurement is to use one mug of rice for every two mugs of water. This will ensure the rice is cooked correctly and isn’t too dry or mushy.
Third, you’ll need to rinse the rice to extract any impurities or dirt. Do it by placing the rice inside a fine mesh strainer and rinsing it under cold water. This will also help to remove any excess starch from the rice. Also, ensure that you rinse the rice until the water runs clear.
Fourth, you’ll need to cook the rice properly. The cooking time will vary depending on the rice you’re using. White rice usually takes about 18 minutes to cook, while brown rice takes about 30 minutes. If you’re using a rice cooker, follow the instructions on how to cook the rice properly.
Finally, you’ll need to fluff the rice to prevent it from becoming sticky. Do this by using a fork to fluff the rice before serving to keep the rice from clumping together.