How To Keep Rice Warm for a Party? Here Are 10 Ways

Rice is a staple in many cultures and cuisines around the world. It’s no wonder, then, that it’s a popular choice for party food. Whether serving rice as a side dish or the main event, keeping rice warm ensures your guests enjoy a delicious meal.

So, how can you keep rice warm for a party? Here are ten ways. 

1. Use an Insulated Food Container

An insulated food container is a great way to keep rice warm throughout a party. Simply put the cooked rice into the container and close the lid tightly. The insulation will help to keep the heat in, keeping the rice warm for hours.

Where To Find an Insulated Food Container

There are several places where you can find an insulated food container. You can often find them at your local kitchen store or online.

Bentgo® Stainless Insulated Food Container
  • TRIPLE LAYER THERMAL VACUUM INSULATION: Double-walled stainless steel, copper coating, and vacuum insulation with a brushed finish keeps food warm or cool for hours
  • LEAK-PROOF AIRTIGHT LID: Confidently carry this chic thermos for hot foods like soups or cold foods like yogurt to keep your food secure until you are ready to eat
  • PREMIUM FOOD SAFE MATERIALS: Premium BPA-free food-grade 18/8 stainless steel bowl is a safe and sustainable alternative to plastic
  • DESIGN DRIVEN & TRAVEL FRIENDLY: Stylish and practical, this container has a wide mouth design and is travel-ready for work, camping, or just about anywhere

2. Use a Rice Cooker

If you’re hoping to find a hands-off way to keep rice warm for a party, using a rice cooker to make the rice is ideal.

Not only do rice cookers have specific settings or functionality that make cooking rice much more straightforward than doing so in a pot, but they also often have a “keep warm” option. This option allows you to leave the rice and keep it nice and warm throughout the event.

Using a rice cooker for your events is easy, convenient, and tasty — win, win, win!

Where To Find a Rice Cooker

Rice cookers are an increasingly common kitchen appliance that you should be able to find online or at your local kitchen store. There are plenty of excellent rice cooker options on Amazon, for example.

Aroma Housewares Digital Cool-Touch Rice Grain Cooker and Food Steamer
  • Easy-to-use programmable digital controls complete with an automatic Keep Warm mode after each cycle
  • An array of preset functions for every kind of meal: White Rice, Brown Rice, Steam, Flash Rice
  • Steam meat, vegetables and more with the provided Steam Tray all while rice cooks below
  • Perfectly prepares 2 to 8 cups of any variety of cooked rice or grains

3. Wrap It in foil

If you don’t have an insulated food container or a rice cooker on hand and don’t wish to spend the time searching for or the money buying those items, another option is to wrap the cooked rice in foil.

Foil is an effective insulator, keeping the heat and rice warm. Simply place the cooked rice on a large sheet of foil, then wrap it up tightly, ensuring no gaps or holes are present. 

If there are gaps or holes, the heat will escape, and the rice will cool down quickly, defeating the purpose of wrapping it in foil in the first place!

4. Use a Thermos

If you have a thermos, you can use it to keep rice warm for a party. Cook the rice as you usually would, then place it into the thermos while it’s still hot.

Make sure it’s a small amount of rice if you use an average thermos. A thermos might be helpful for a small party or dinner gathering instead of a big event.

A thermos is another insulated tool that traps heat inside, so it will keep the rice nice and warm until you’re ready to serve it.

5. Place It in a Preheated Oven

If you’re looking for a way to keep a more significant amount of rice warm before and throughout a big event, you might consider placing it in a preheated oven.

This method is ideal if you’re cooking rice for many people, as you can cook a larger batch all at once and then keep it warm in a spacious oven. Again, you only need to cook the rice as you usually would, then place it in a preheated oven.

To ensure it stays particularly warm or hot, you can wrap the top in foil to trap the heat inside even more. Ensure you don’t overcook it, as this will dry out the rice and make it less palatable. 

How Hot Should the Oven Be?

You should set the oven to a temperature of about 200 degrees. However, if you are simply looking to keep it warm for a bit, there is no need to preheat or even turn on the oven. Placing it in the oven or microwave will help trap some heat from escaping.

6. Preheat Your Serving Bowls or Plates

Another way to keep rice warm is by preheating your serving bowls or plates before the party. This heat will help transfer some of the dish’s heat to the rice.

This method is also a bit fancier and will give your guests the impression that you’ve gone above and beyond to ensure their meal is piping hot.

7. Use a Heat Lamp

If you’re catering an event or have a buffet line, you might consider using a heat lamp to keep the rice warm. Using a heat lamp is a standard method used in restaurants and catering, as it’s effective and keeps many types of food warm without drying them out.

A heat lamp is a device that emits infrared radiation, thus creating warmth. These lamps can be found online or at your local kitchen store.

8. Put It in a Microwave

Like an oven, putting rice in a microwave is a way to keep rice warm for a short period.

You won’t want to do this throughout the entire party, but if you’re going to store the rice as you wait for more guests to come or dinner to start, simply holding it in the microwave can prevent some of the heat from escaping.

Also, like an oven, you don’t have to turn it on for this to work temporarily. You just have to put it in and ensure the door is closed. Wrapping it in foil will help trap the heat and ensure it stays warm.

9. Use a Slow Cooker

If you have a slow cooker, this is another excellent tool to keep rice warm.

First, cook the rice as you would normally. Then place it into the slow cooker and set it to low. The rice will stay warm until you’re ready to serve it.

This method is excellent because it keeps the rice warm for a long time and is also very hands-off. You can set it out and forget about it, which is perfect if you’re hosting a large event.

You can even cook specific rice recipes in a slow cooker or crock pot, like this crock pot vegetable fried rice. In this way, a slow cooker will be as convenient as a rice cooker because you can keep it warm in the same device you used to cook it in the first place!

Stainless Steel Crock-Pot 7-Quart
  • Generous Capacity: 7-quart slow cooker that comfortably serves 9+ people or fits a 7-pound roast
  • Cooking Flexibility: High or low slow cooking settings, with convenient warm function for ideal serving temperature
  • Convenient: Set it and forget it feature enables you to cook while at work or performing daily tasks

10. Keep It in the Pot

If you have cooked the rice in a pot, you can treat it similarly to our suggestions for a rice cooker or slow cooker by leaving it in the pot.

Although this won’t keep it as warm as a rice cooker or slow cooker with “keep warm” functionality might, it is still a way to insulate the heat. After you’ve finished cooking the rice, place the lid on top of the pot to help keep as much heat as possible.

You can also place a clean, dry kitchen towel over the pot before you put the lid on. This towel will help to create an extra layer of insulation and prevent heat from escaping.

The Bottom Line

There are several ways you can keep rice warm for a party. From using an oven or microwave to a slow cooker or heat lamp, there are several methods you can use to ensure your rice is piping hot or at least nicely warm when it’s time to eat.

Which rice-warming method you choose will depend on how much rice you’re making, how many guests are at the party, and what appliances you have or are willing to purchase. We hope this article helped you decide which method works best for your needs!

Further Reading: How To Keep Food Warm For A Party? Here’s 16 Creative Ways