Can you put hot rice in the fridge?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “Can you put hot rice in the fridge” with an in-depth analysis of can you put hot rice in the fridge. Moreover, we will have a brief discussion about how to handle rice safely.

Only a small percentage of individuals are aware that incorrectly stored cooked rice can lead to food illness. Bacillus cereus is commonly found in uncooked rice. These bacteria can make protective spores that survive the cooking process, and these bacteria spores can germinate, multiply, and release a toxin that causes vomiting if the rice is cooled slowly (and left between 5 °C and 60 °C for a long time).

So if you are in search of an answer to whether you can put hot rice in the fridge, then you need not worry as we are going to answer all your questions.

So without much ado, let’s dive in and figure out more about it. 

Can you put hot rice in the fridge?

Yes, it’s your rice and your fridge, so why not? However, anything hot should not be kept in the refrigerator. After bringing rice to room temperature, it is always best to keep it. When something hot is kept inside the fridge, it raises the temperature of the items inside, requiring the refrigerator’s compressor to work harder to bring the temperature inside the fridge to the needed temperature.

FITPASS Nutritionist Meher Rajput explains, “Hot food should be brought to room temperature before being placed in the fridge since salmonella bacteria can destroy food quickly in the fridge if it is kept at a high temperature. Also, putting hot food in the fridge puts other perishable goods (eggs, vegetables, and meat) at danger of contamination.”

However, you should not wait longer than a set length of time. Shalini Manglani, a Bangalore-based dietitian, believes that “Bacteria grow after two hours, hence hot food should not be kept out for more than two hours. Refrigerate within two hours if you don’t want to wait.”

How to handle rice safely?

Rice can be infected with spores of Bacillus cereus, a form of dangerous bacteria that can cause food poisoning. The spores can survive normal cooking, and if the rice isn’t chilled quickly enough or stored incorrectly, the spores will develop swiftly and produce toxins. Because the toxin created is heat resistant, even full re-heating of the rice will not remove the toxin, resulting in food poisoning.

  1. Storage
  2. Preparation and cooking
  3. Cooling and storage
  4. Reheating and hot holding

Storage

Always store uncooked rice in pest-proof containers that are dry, closed, and airtight. To avoid attracting bugs, always mop up spills. Ensure proper stock rotation – ‘first in, first out is a solid rule of thumb.

Preparation and cooking

To remove husks, starch, and other contaminants, thoroughly wash then rinse them in cold water before using them. Spices can be a source of contamination, so keep that in mind. Use trusted spice suppliers and, if possible, add the spices using clean equipment and hands.

Never mix cooked and uncooked rice in the same container. If at all possible, prepare the rice to order and serve immediately. Remember not to contaminate the rice while it is cooking, for example, by touching, coughing, or sneezing near it, or by using dirty utensils, clothing, or equipment. Break up clumps using clean utensils. 

Hands should never be used. Check that rice and rice-based recipes are heated all the way through (steaming to a minimum of 75°C) with no cold spots.

Cooling and storage

If you’re going to cook the rice ahead of time, don’t make too much at once because huge batches take too long to cool, allowing food poisoning germs to grow. Rice that will not be used right away should be brought to room temperature as soon as possible. This should never take more than 12 hours, and preferably considerably less time.

This can be accomplished by cooking smaller amounts of rice, spreading it out in a clean shallow tray, running cold water over it, submerging the rice container in cold water or ice, or utilizing a blast chiller in bigger facilities. 

Once the rice has cooled to normal temperature, cover it and keep it in the refrigerator at 8 degrees Celsius or below (preferably below 5 degrees C).

You can read how to make Singaporean rice here.

Reheating and hot holding

Rice should only be reheated if it has been carefully cooled and stored in the fridge until needed. Take only as much rice as you need from the fridge. Reheat the rice until it is scorching hot (to a minimum of 75°C). A temperature probe could be used to examine this. This also applies to fried rice.

If you’re going to microwave the rice, be sure the cooking time is adequate for the portion size. Rice should not be reheated more than once. If you want to keep rice hot for a long time, cook it to 75°C or higher initially, then keep it above 63°C for the remainder of the time. If you leave a rice cooker on, it will keep the rice warm.

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the question “Can you put hot rice in the fridge” with an in-depth analysis of can you put hot rice in the fridge. Moreover, we also have a brief discussion about how to handle rice safely.

Citations

https://www.healthywa.wa.gov.au/Articles/S_T/Safe-cooling-of-cooked-rice#:~:text=Either%20keep%20cooked%20rice%20hot,the%20containers%20separate%2C%20not%20stacked.
https://www.abc.net.au/everyday/bacillus-cereus-in-rice-can-make-you-sick-if-not-stored-right/11324446
https://cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/8919/is-it-safe-to-put-hot-food-in-the-fridge

Mahnoor Asghar is a Clinical Nutritionist with a bachelor's degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. She is compassionate and dedicated to playing her part in the well-being of the masses. She wants to play a fruitful role in creating nutrition and health-related awareness among the general public. Additionally, she has a keen eye for detail and loves to create content related to food, nutrition, health, and wellness.