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Can You Freeze Cooked Rice? The Truth!

Can You Freeze Cooked Rice? The Truth!

Can You Freeze Cooked Rice? I, for one, hate wasting left-over food – especially if it’s a tempting bowl of rice. But the big fuss over freezing rice always had me confused.

Can you freeze cooked rice? What kinds of rice can you freeze? How long can you freeze rice? And a whole bunch of questions needed answering. 

Read on to get rid of all the myths, and learn how to save your cooked rice by freezing it. But first, let’s tackle the elephant in the room. Can you freeze cooked rice?

Can You Freeze Cooked Rice?

Cooked rice can be frozen. However, you need to take special care when freezing and thawing them. The method for storing and reheating depends on the type of rice and other ingredients used.

Can You Freeze Cooked Rice?
Can You Freeze Cooked Rice?

Oh, and I’ll also be covering multiple methods to reheat frozen here in this section.

Different Types of Rice and How to Freeze Them

Rice comes in all different shapes and sizes. Their texture, taste, properties, and recipes are all different. Here I’ll discuss some of the more famous types of rice.

Arborio Rice

Creamy-flavored, medium-length rice from the Po Valley in Italy. These are best for rice pudding and soup. 

Arborio rice can survive for up to three months in the freezer. However, care must be taken while freezing and defrosting because rapid freezing and defrosting can spoil them.

Make sure to use an air-tight plastic container to freeze cooked Arborio rice.

The best practice to reheat this type of rice? I’ve covered it right here.

Arborio rice is a creamy and starchy type of rice that originated in Italy. It is best for risottos, soups, and pudding.
Arborio rice is a creamy and starchy type of rice that originated in Italy. It is best for risottos, soups, and pudding.

Basmati Rice

Basmati is one of the most flavorful types of rice from the Indian subcontinent. They have dry, long, and separate grains. They have a nutty flavor and are the best choice for savory dishes like Pilafs, Curry, and Saffron rice.

To freeze cooked basmati rice, spread them out on baking paper. Let them cool down for a bit. Once they are cooled down, stuff the rice into freezer-safe plastic bags and pop them into the freezer. 

Basmati rice has long grains with a nutty flavor and is the best choice for pilafs.
Basmati rice has long grains with a nutty flavor and is the best choice for pilafs.

Long Grain White Rice

This type of rice is at the heart of most traditional American recipes. They have a light, fluffy texture and a very mild flavor. The grains are long and are best used for casseroles and stir-fry dishes.

Long grain white rice can be frozen and used later on, the same way as Basmati rice.

Jasmine Rice

Jasmine Rice is cultivated in Thailand. They have an exotic aroma – adding a flair to most Thai and Asian Cuisine. Jasmine rice can be stored in the same way as Basmati or Arborio rice.

You can read more about the different types of rice here.

Bacteria and Microbes in Rice

Like all other food, rice has bacteria and microbes that can destroy it. That’s why you can’t eat rice left out in the open after two to three days. Even if you refrigerate the rice, it is not preferred to eat them after five days.

The Bacteria Bacillus Cereus is the enemy here. Its spores can survive heating and boiling. Other than freezing rice, there is no other way to save your cooked meal from Bacillus Cereus. 

If you don’t freeze rice, chances are you might get food poisoning. Further on, Bacillus Cereus is famous for causing gastrointestinal illnesses like vomiting and diarrhea. 

Freezing, too, can’t kill Bacillus Cereus. It can only stop and slow the bacteria if done correctly. However, when you remove the rice from the refrigerator, Bacillus gets to work again. 

Different Ways of Reheating Frozen Rice

Here are a few ways to reheat frozen rice while keeping the flavor intact.

Use a Microwave

Your trusty microwave is the easiest way to reheat your rice. You just have to follow these steps.

  1. Let the rice thaw a little at room temperature.
  2. Transfer the rice to a microwave-safe dish. Try to break down the rice clusters into smaller and smaller ones and spread the clusters evenly.
  3. Add two tablespoons of water for every cup of rice to the dish, and cover it with a towel. The towel helps in keeping the rice moist.
  4. Heat the rice in 30-second intervals. In between the intervals, toss and turn the rice to ensure even heating.
Frozen rice can be reheated using the microwave.
Frozen rice can be reheated using the microwave.

Use a Stove

You need a skillet with a lid to heat frozen rice on a stove.

  1. Take the rice out of the freezer, and let it thaw at room temperature.
  2. After around 45 minutes, break up the frozen rice into little clusters and transfer these clusters to the skillet.
  3. For every cup of rice, add two tablespoons of water.
  4. Heat the rice-water mixture over low heat for five minutes. Toss and turn gently, however thoroughly, to ensure even heating and break up the clumps.

Stir-Fry the Rice in a Wok

For recipes with eggs, veggies, or meat, stir-frying in a wok is the best method for reheating frozen rice.

  1. Remove the rice from the freezer. Let them thaw at room temperature for about 15 minutes.
  2. Add two tablespoons of oil to a wok and let it heat over high heat.
  3. Gently break up the frozen rice into clumps and transfer them to the wok.
  4. Stir the rice, making sure the rice is spread evenly in the wok.
  5. Heat the rice for about three minutes, ensuring every grain is coated in the oil.
For recipes with eggs and other ingredients, the best way to reheat frozen rice is on a wok on the stove.
For recipes with eggs and other ingredients, the best way to reheat frozen rice is on a wok on the stove.

Frequently Asked Questions to Can You Freeze Cooked Rice

How Do I Freeze Cooked Rice?

The method for freezing cooked rice depends on the type of rice, the ingredients used, and mostly, how long are the rice to be stored. The universal way is to put the rice in an air-tight container.

How Long Can Cooked Rice Survive In The Freezer?

Cooked rice can last for up to three months. However, it is suggested to use them within a month, especially if meals with other ingredients like eggs and spices are stored. 

Is It Safe to Reheat Rice In a Microwave?

Cooked rice can be safely reheated in a microwave. However, you need to add a tablespoon of water for every cup of cooked rice. 

How Do I Prevent Rice from Getting Bugs?

Use sturdy, air-tight plastic or metal containers for storing rice. Plastic bags and cardboard boxes aren’t much of a hurdle for grain bugs.

That’s all the information you need for storing cooked rice. Good Luck!

Daniel Iseli (Head Chef)

Hi, my name is Daniel and I am passionate about cooking and have made it my mission to answer as many open questions related to cooking and food as possible. I am by no means a professional cook. But cooking is a hobby that I have loved for the past 20 years and I am getting better by the day.