Recipe Review

Yes, You Can Rescue Overcooked Rice

updated Dec 8, 2022
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(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

Even for a seasoned cook, rice is tricky to master. You can follow the recipe to a T and yet, even if you thought you did everything right, things might not turn out as you expected. So what do you do when this happens?

First of all, don’t get upset — it happens to the best of us! Second of all, assess the damage. Let’s talk about what to do if your rice is overcooked. There are two things that could go wrong; here’s what to do in each scenario.

The Bottom Layer Is Completely Burnt

Run the bottom of the outside of the pan under cool water so that the burnt rice stops cooking and won’t spread its unpleasant flavor and aroma to the rest of the rice. Then just scoop out as much of the good rice as you can and consider the remainder a loss. The burnt pot will likely need to head to the sink to soak in order to easily remove the burnt, stuck-on grains.

The Grains Are Mushy

This happens when the grains split and their starch is released. The resulting product is sticky and extra-soft, and the rice might be clumping together.

If the rice is only a little sticky, it can be saved. Turn it out into a colander and rinse it under cool water, separating the grains with your fingers.

But if it’s extra mushy, the best thing to do is start over, make a new batch, and use the overcooked, leftover rice for another purpose. Luckily there’s plenty to do with it! You can turn it into fried rice, or make it into crispy fritters, cakes, or even veggie burgers. And of course, you can cook it into porridge and even add it to soup.

Then there’s rice pudding, because, really, when was having an excuse to make rice pudding a bad thing?

What do you do with your overcooked rice?

5 Great Recipes That Make Use of Overcooked Rice