How To Fix Mushy Rice In A Rice or Pressure Cooker

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Without the proper know-how, it would take a process of trial and error endless failed pots of rice before the cook figures out the main reasons behind the mushiness. Fortunately, with a little guidance, perfect rice is no longer a pipe dream but rather the most likely potentiality. However, if you’ve gone wrong and are looking for a fix to soggy rice, read on. We’re explaining exactly how to fix mushy rice in a rice or pressure cooker or any other rice for that matter using multiple methods, as well as a selection of ways to repurpose overcooked rice just in case it’s too far gone.

Key Takeaways

  • To fix mushy rice one needs to get rid of the excess water. If the rice is only slightly saturated, cook it away with the lid off. Otherwise, use the bread trick detailed below to soak up the water and dry up your rice. Extremely overcooked or very starchy, sticky rice can be rinsed and dried in either an oven or microwave. Rice that’s clumping already should be rinsed, refrigerated, and then dried.
  • The main reason that rice turns mushy is cooking it with too much water for too long. Get your rice to water ratio wrong or follow an improper cooking time or temperature, and you’re bound to end up with moisture-laden rice, often with a slimy, stickiness to it. If you don’t want mushy rice, make sure that you’re using good quality rice and refer to the rice-to-water ratios, cooking times and steaming times set out below.

Rice Cooker Temperatures & Timing

Rice To Water RatioCooking TimeSteaming Time
White Rice1:120 – 25 Minutes5 Minutes
Brown Rice1:2.2550 – 60 Minutes10 Minutes
Wild Rice1:2.2550 – 60 Minutes10 Minutes
White Basmati Rice1:1.757 – 10 Minutes5 Minutes
Brown Basmati Rice1:210 – 12 Minutes5 Minutes
Jasmine Rice1:17 – 10 Minutes10 Minutes
Arborio Rice1:115 – 20 Minutes10 Minutes

Pressure Cooker/Instant Pot Temperatures & Timing

Rice To Water RatioCooking TimeSteaming / Release Time
White Rice1:1.25High – 4 – 8 MinutesNatural Release
Brown Rice1:1.5High – 20 – 22 MinutesNatural Release
Wild Rice1:1.5High – 20 – 11 MinutesNatural Release
White Basmati Rice1:1.25High – 3 – 4 MinutesNatural Release
Brown Basmati Rice1:1.25High – 5 – 6 MinutesNatural Release
Jasmine Rice1:1.25High – 3 – 4 MinutesNatural Release
Arborio Rice1:1.5High – 5 – 6 MinutesNatural Release

Why Does My Rice Turn Out Mushy?

Here are the main causes of rice turning out mushy and how to avoid each common pitfall:

Unwashed Rice – Rinse rice until the water runs clear, and your rice will always be lighter, fluffier, and better overall.

Too Much Water – Stick to the correct rice-to-water ratios for your rice cooker or pressure cooker, and you can’t go wrong.

Too Long In The Cooker When the cycle is done, and you’ve waited out a short duration with the lid on for the rice to steam, switch the unit off, fluff the rice, and serve. Don’t use the keep warm function directly after cooking, or it’ll often result in mushy rice.

Low-Quality Rice – The cheaper the rice the higher the chance of mushiness, especially if the rice in question hasn’t been rinsed until the water runs clear.

How To Fix Mushy Rice In Rice Cooker Or Pressure Cooker

Whether or not mushy rice is recoverable depends on whether or not the rice is far too overcooked as well as the reason for mushiness. In many cases, mushy rice is simply a case of excess starch cooking to a glutinous goo around each grain. Fortunately, all the causes of good rice turning to gook are preventable, and we’ll be covering them soon after we show you how to recover mushy rice.

FIRST, Check The Consistency Of Your Rice

Always determine how far your rice has cooked before resorting to action in trying to recover it and how much water is left in the pot. Look for whether there is too much water and gauge how far the rice is cooked, then troubleshoot as follows:

  • If there’s only a slight amount of moisture left in the cooker, follow our instructions for fixing watery rice.
  • If your rice is mushy with a low to medium degree of water saturation, resort to our guide on how to fix mushy rice with bread.
  • If your rice is very mushy and/or overcooked to almost any degree, use our step-by-step how-to for drying mushy rice in the oven or the microwave, depending on your means or preferred manner of cooking. Please note – oven and microwave drying should be used as a last resort as both impact the texture of the rice significantly.
  • If your rice is extremely overcooked to the point where it’s clumping together and falling apart forming a stucky, clumpy mush, follow our advice on how to fix sticky, mushy rice.

How To Fix Watery Rice

This method is best for when there’s still moisture surrounding the bottom-most region of rice in the cooker, but it’s drying out towards the top.

  1. Remove the lid of your rice or pressure cooker.
  2. Carefully drain out and discard as much water from the rice as possible.
  3. Turn the heat as low as possible, if possible, or start a standard cycle.
  4. Allow the water to cook away slowly without agitating the rice unless almost all of it is gone.
  5. Fluff and serve immediately or transfer to a container for serving later.

Agitating the rice during the evaporation period or the final five to ten minutes of steaming after cooking normally ends up mashing up the rice granules beyond repair, causing terrible stickiness and unwanted blobs.

How To Fix Mushy Rice With Bread

Fixing watery or slightly overcooked rice with bread works extremely well without needing to cook the rice much further, therefore ruining the consistency even more. It is extremely effective at getting rid of a small to medium degree of water saturation within rice of just about any consistency. Follow these steps to fix mushy rice with bread:

  1. Drain out and discard as much water as possible.
  2. With the heat as low as possible or the cycle just started, place a slice or two of bread (perhaps, three even) directly atop the wet rice in the pot. The dryer/more stale the bread, the better.
  3. Put the lid on and allow the pot of rice to continue cooking for another minute or two, depending on the degree of wetness.
  4. Remove the pot from the stove and allow the bread to continue soaking up moisture for up to five minutes or until it is totally saturated.
  5. Fluff and serve immediately or transfer to another (cool) container for serving later.

Any bread will do for this trick, but stale, thick slices work best as they’re the most absorbent.

Side Note: This was such an interesting trick after trying it I wanted to see if dry pasta would work as well. It does! But it doesn’t work as effectively as stale bread. Pasta will leave more moisture on the bottom of the pot. To be honest, neither method leaves the pot totally dry unless you’re cooking a single cup of rice at a time or the pot/pan is very shallow. But this is still a very cool trick to know.

How To Fix Mushy Rice In Oven

Fixing mushy rice in the oven is great for when the rice is soft and starchy but not quite overcooked to the point where it’s falling apart completely.

Here’s exactly what you need to do to dry out overcooked rice in the oven:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F
  2. Rinse the rice with cold water until it runs clear or until most of the starch is gone, then drain thoroughly using a colander.
  3. Pour the rinsed rice out onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper, preferably on a light-greased baking tray.
  4. Bake with the door open for 5 to 10 minutes, checking the progress frequently to assess dryness.

Broken grains are rescuable, but rice that’s cracked and formed clumps may have to be repurposed into something else or tossed away if this doesn’t work.

How To Fix Mushy Rice In Microwave

A tiny amount of water left over can often be evaporated in the microwave. If you think there’s little enough for quick evaporation to do the job, such as is the case when only the bottom-most layer is still water-saturated, transfer the rice to a suitable bowl and microwave it at high temperature without the lid on. Keep constant tabs by checking every thirty seconds or so, and with a bit of luck, you’ll have dry rice ready to go in no time.

Unfortunately, most who reach the point of mushiness won’t be lucky enough to get away with this trick. In the case of extreme tackiness, follow these steps:

  1. Rinse the rice three to five times with cold water and then drain thoroughly using a colander.
  2. Pour the rinsed rice out evenly onto a microwave baking tray.
  3. Cover the rice with a double layer of paper towels.
  4. Microwave on medium-high heat for 30 seconds at a time, checking the dryness after each spin while pressing down on the paper towels.
  5. After 1 minute in the microwave, remove the paper towels and continue drying if necessary.

After two to three minutes at the very most, your previously starchy, sticky rice will be separate individual grains (in the most part) with an incomparably better texture than before.

How To Fix Sticky Mushy Rice That’s Falling Apart

If you can’t tell individual granules apart and there are lumps of fused rice and starch making up a solidish mush in your rice cooker, pressure cooker, or pot, then refrigeration may be your only hope. Not all the rice will come out okay, but it’ll be significantly better than the alternative. Here is how to fix mushy rice in the fridge – the very last potential fix for extremely overcooked rice:

  1. Rinse the rice in a colander until as much of the starch as possible is gone and the water begins to run clear.
  2. Once the rice has dripped dry to a significant degree, gently toss the rice out onto a lightly oiled tray, or a tray covered in parchment paper(any variety will work) and spread it out into a single even layer.
  3. Place the tray of rice into the fridge and let it cool for 30 minutes.
  4. Toss off the excess water that may have formed in the tray and refrigerate for a further 30 minutes if the rice is not dry yet.
  5. Bake in a preheated oven for 5 minutes, fluff and serve, or transfer to a different dish for serving later.

How To Save Soggy Rice – Repurposing The Mush

Ruined rice for one recipe may be spoiled for the dish on-hand, but this doesn’t mean that it isn’t the ideal ingredient for another. Here is how to save soggy rice by repurposing the overcooked, sticky grains and turning them into a delicious dish that’ll make it seem like you mushed your rice on purpose.

Cook Some Rice Pudding

Rice pudding takes little more than milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon, with perhaps a few raisins. It is the ideal dessert to use up any mushy or leftover rice, and the consistency of the rice used will barely matter at all.

Try Out Teriyaki Rice Cakes

This way, leftover rice is fragrant and crispy, teriyaki rice cakes#rice #food #foodie #crispy

♬ original sound – Share China Food

Pour your mushy rice into a crisping bag and then roll until wafer thin. Cut away the top of the bag and use a cup pastry cutter to cut out rice cake circles. Combine soy sauce, a dash of oyster sauce, and a spoon of honey in a bowl and mix well. Fry the rice cakes in a heated non-stick pan coated with the thinnest layer of oil possible. Once golden brown, brush each rice cake with the sauce, and they’re ready to eat. The prime serving suggestion is to enjoy these rice cakes wrapped in a small strip of nori.

Simmer Up Rice Soup

Rice soup. Learned this from my nonna. Nothing get wasted, food is love. #homecooking #soup #nowastefood #italianfood #fyp #love

♬ original sound – Mamma Marzia

Rice soup is a wonderfully filling dish that comes out great using mushy rice. Celebrated for its digestive benefits, several popular types of rice soup are found worldwide. The must-try Italian classic minestra di riso uses a medley of fresh vegetables and a hearty stock and comes together into a dish with texture and taste that’s truly unique. Those who prefer Asian flavors should give congee a look – it’s just as unique and appetizing.

Whip Up Fried Rice

Fried rice is one of the best ways to repurpose mushy rice. Sure, the texture won’t be quite the same as perfectly cooked rice, but the end result still warrants the effort. Expect excellent flavors but a slightly stickier consistency when making fried rice from mushy rice. We suggest starting with our simple but oh-so-satisfying recipe for fried scallops rice.

How To Fix Mushy Rice – Frequently Asked Questions

Trying to salvage soggy rice and finding yourself left with a few questions? Here are all the answers you need.

Can You Fix Mushy Rice?

Most of the time, mushy rice can be fixed to a degree. Unless the rice has been cooked to a pulp, there will always be steps that you can take to reduce the starchiness and overcooked rice’s nature to stick together. There’s no harm in trying unless your meal demands perfect results. Even if rinsing, oven or microwave drying, and/or the bread trick don’t fix your mushy rice, it can still be repurposed.

How Do You Fix Soggy Rice?

Reduce the water by draining off as much as possible and then return the inner pot to the heat or put your pressure cooker on low . If there’s a minimal amount of moisture left, more start to evaporate the moisture away. We suggest placing a slice of bread atop the rice and then closing the lid. Give it a minute or two, and the saturation should be gone. Otherwise, you’ll have to rinse and dry your rice laid out on a tray in the oven or microwave.

How To Fix Mushy Brown Rice?

The best way to fix mushy brown rice depends on how cooked it is. Many cooks misjudge the water quantity needed in a rice cooker or instant pot where very little liquid escapes resulting in soupy brown rice and other long-cooking varieties like wild rice. If your brown rice is cooked correctly but watery, opt between draining off the water and reducing the rest away and soaking up the rice with a piece of bread and the lid on. If your brown rice is overcooked, rather give it a good rinse and dry it out in the oven or microwave instead.

How To Fix Mushy Spanish Rice?

If your Spanish rice has come out mushy, then you either didn’t toast your rice first, or you added far too much water. The optimal ratio of rice to water for Spanish rice is 1:2. If you’re stuck with a pot of mushy Spanish rice, improve the texture by laying it out evenly on a baking tray and then give it a short bout in the oven at 350°F or in the microwave at a medium-high temperature for multiple short bouts. This will dry out the rice instead of creating steam, as is the case in a pot or cooker.

How To Fix Mushy Mexican Rice?

Mushy Mexican rice, much like mushy Spanish rice, is caused by either too much water or failing to fry the rice off before adding your liquid. Mexican rice has an optimal rice-to-water ratio of 1:2 and should always be fried in a little vegetable oil or lard until translucent before the water is added and the pot or cooker brought to a simmer. It is tricky to rescue overcooked Mexican rice but for the best chance, lay it out in a single even layer on a greased baking tray or parchment paper on a baking tray and bake in an oven preheat to 350°F for about half an hour or until dry.

How To Fix Mushy Sushi Rice?

Anyone who plans to make sushi should avoid using overcooked rice. If your rice has cracked and become starchy and sticky, rather make a new batch. However, if only a few grains have cracked and there is only a slim degree of mushiness present, add a dash of vinegar to the rice and carefully mix it in while fluffing to improve the texture.

How To Fix Mushy Jasmine Rice?

We do not recommend rinsing already cooked aromatic rice varieties as they lose an immense amount of flavor and the natural texture is irrecoverable. Yet, if your jasmine rice has turned to mush and you’d prefer a slightly better product, fill up the pot or inner with cool water and let the rice soak for one minute. Follow up with a rinse in a colander under a light stream of a tap and then reheat on either a baking tray in the oven or microwave.

How To Fix Mushy Basmati Rice?

As previously mentioned, once turned to mush, aromatic rice is very hard to fix without changing its base composition and flavor. Those who wish to improve the consistency of overcooked basmati should soak their cooked rice in cool water for a minute and then rinse it until a light stream within a colander. Once dry, transfer to a baking tray and reheat in the oven or microwave while paying close attention to the dryness as it heats.

How To Fix Mushy Rice In A Rice Cooker?

The most straightforward way to fix mushy rice in a rice cooker is to pour off the excess water and then turn the unit back on at a low power setting to evaporate away the last of the moisture. If this is going to be your first and only attempt, place a slice or two of stale bread atop the rice and lid the cooking vessel. Heat for up to two minutes, remove from the heat and let the bread absorb the liquid – you’ll be surprised by the results.

How To Fix Mushy Rice In A Pressure Cooker?

When most pressure cooker rice comes out mushy, it has overcooked, cracked, and developed starch around the broken granules. The best way to fix mushy rice in a pressure cooker that is overdone is to rinse it in a colander and then dry the rice on a baking tray in an oven or microwave. Only cook off the water and resort to the bread trick for rice when there’s still a degree of firmness. The rice still needs to be able to hold up to a little more cooking.


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