Can you freeze sushi rice?

In this article, we will answer the question “Can you freeze sushi rice?”, and how to freeze and defrost sushi rice?

Can you freeze sushi rice?

Yes, you can freeze sushi rice. Short-grained rice has a higher moisture octant than its long-grained counterparts. Due to which Japanese style ‘sushi’ rice or medium-grain rice like arborio, vialone, round glutinous rice, and ‘pudding’ rice can be safely frozen. 

How does improper freezing affect the quality of sushi rice?

Making sushi is not an easy task. It saves a lot of time if you can save freeze-store the bulk sushi rice you made in a tedious cooking session. 

But sushi rice is fragile and can dry out or go mushy easily when stored improperly. If you store piping hot sushi rice in the freezer, they are bound to go mushy. 

If you wait for the rice to cool down completely before freezing, chances are that the rice will dry out and become crumbly during freezing. 

Freezing affects uncooked and cooked sushi rice differently. To minimize the adverse effects of freezing on leftover sushi rice, one should adopt good storage practices.

How to freeze sushi rice?

Freezing uncooked sushi rice is unnecessary because the shelf-life of the uncooked sushi rice stored in the freezer and at room temperature is the same. 

So, it is wiser to save your freezer space and electricity by storing your rice in a cool and dark pantry. Follow the steps below to effectively freeze sushi rice.

Let the sushi rice cool first 

Sushi rice needs to completely let out the steam and come to room temperature before freezing. If you pack away the rice while they are still hot, the steam will condense inside the storage container and lead to spoilage due to microbial growth and freezer burn.

You can hasten the cooling process by spreading the rice on a baking tray. Do not let the rice sit for more than 2 hours on the counter. Keeping the rice for extended periods on the counter will instigate bacterial growth.

Portion the sushi rice

Portioning the rice and storing them in small multiple containers is the best way to freeze rice. Because this allows you to thaw only as much rice you want at a time without worrying about refreezing the thawed rice.

Choose a storage container

You can use both an air-tight container or freezer bag for freezing sushi rice. If you opt for the air-tight container, confirm the integrity of the lid. If you chose a freezer bag, squeeze the bag to remove as much air as possible after filling it with rice. 

Label and freeze

Labeling the storage container may seem like a trivial task due to which it is often neglected. But it is a helpful tool in the identification of frozen food. Moreover, labeling helps you keep track of the shelf-life of frozen food.

So, put a clear label on the storage container of the rice before freezing. Follow the rule of first-in and first-out to avoid food wastage and ensure food safety.

How long can you freeze sushi rice?

Frozen sushi rice is best used within 12 months of storage. This is just the estimated time window during which the rice will keep in its prime. 

The frozen rice will remain safe beyond 12 months but the quality won’t be the same. After 12 months of storage, the quality of the frozen sushi rice deescalates pretty quickly.

How do you defrost sushi rice?

The safest way to defrost sushi rice is to leave it in the fridge overnight. This obviously won’t work for you if you are pressed for time. In such a situation, you can rely on the quick thawing methods explained below.

Microwave thawing

Pull the frozen rice out of the storage container and place them in a microwave-safe bowl or plate. Cover the plate or bowl with a lid slightly ajar so that the steam can escape. 

Microwave the rice on the defrost setting or low power. Check the rice after regular intervals of 30 seconds. Reduce the interval time towards the end of the thawing process.

Thawing the rice in a bowl

Fill a bowl with cold water and dump the container of the sushi rice in the bowl. Change the bowl after every 30 minutes. Make sure the container of the sushi rice is leak-proof.

Can you refreeze sushi rice?

The answer to his question is a resounding no. the first time thawing greatly reduces the ability of the sushi rice to hold its shape if refrozen. 


In this article, we answered the question “Can you freeze sushi rice?”, and how to freeze and defrost sushi rice?


Hello, I'm Sana Ameer. I'm a student of Food Science and Technology at UVAS. I like to bake and I aspire to become a Food blogger.