Does rice go bad?

In this brief guide, we will address the question, “does rice go bad” as well as other related questions pertaining to the subject at hand like how much time does rice take to go bad and storage practices needed to prolong the shelf life of rice.

Rice is a staple in many households these days. It’s easy to prepare, and uncooked lasts for quite some time. 

Does Rice go bad?

Uncooked rice doesn’t usually go bad; it depends on how you store it.

As a matter of fact, research shows that the quality of raw/uncooked rice can increase over time, mainly due to the endogenous enzymatic reactions. 

Since cooking rice takes quite some time, many people decide to cook it in bulk and refrigerate or freeze it. That prompts another set of questions, such as how long does cooked rice last in the fridge, or when you should put it into the refrigerator after cooking.

How to store rice?

Put uncooked rice into a cool and dry area, like the pantry. Make sure the package is intact. The most important thing about storing rice is that it stays dry and contaminant- and bug-free. 

Once opened, close the package tightly or transfer the remaining rice into a sealed container. Store it in similar conditions like unopened packages. Alternatively, keep it in one big container together with other dry goods.

In some households, it is very common to cook and store rice in a rice cooker. It stays fresh for at least a day. If you want to consume it within a few days, chuck it into the fridge and make sure it’s sealed tightly. 

You can refrigerate cooked rice or leftovers in a sealed airtight container. Let it cool down before placing it into the container. Using a shallow container is recommended for a quick cooling process. 

Can you freeze rice?

Yes, you can freeze cooked rice and it freezes very well. 

Also, the process is very straightforward and doesn’t take much time. Divide the rice into meal-sized portions. Transfer the grains into freezer bags. Remove excess air from the bags and seal them. Add labels with names and dates if you like. Throw the freezer bags into the freezer.

Freezer bags are the best choice for freezing rice for the long term. If you plan on leaving the rice in the freezer for only a week or two, meal prep containers are a perfectly fine option too. 

Defrosting frozen rice

When it comes to defrosting and reheating frozen rice, there are a few options: 

Microwave: First, defrost the frozen rice on low power and use small time increments. Once defrosted, increase the power. Add a tablespoon or two of water if the rice is dry. Non-stick pan. Start with low heat to let it thaw, then turn it on higher to reheat.

Refrigerator: Thaw the rice overnight, cook it the next day.

Other FAQs about Rice which you may be interested in.

Does uncooked rice go bad?

How Much Brown Rice is per Person

How long does rice last in the fridge?

How to convert 100 grams of rice to cups?

How long does rice last

Raw, uncooked rice has a considerable shelf life. In general, rice has an indefinite shelf life, but its best quality stays for at least 2 years. Mixed and seasoned rice also tends to have a shorter life since the addition of spices makes it less durable compared to pure rice. It is usually best for up to 18 months.

Like other packaged products, a “best before” or “best by” date is stamped on the label. After opening, rice may slightly drop in quality due to exposure to moisture. It is best to use within a year. Once cooked, rice only stays for a few days in the refrigerator. Freezing rice is your best option to prolong its shelf life for up to half a year. Cooked white rice lasts about 4 to 6 days in the fridge. The longer the rice is left out, the bigger the possibility of it making you sick.

How to tell if rice has gone bad

When it comes to uncooked rice, inspection begins with the package. Before purchasing, make sure that the container is in perfect condition. A small hole in the packaging gives access for bugs or insects to enter.

Beware of the package is damp or wet. If there are any signs of mold, changes in color or there are some bugs in the package, throw it away. If the rice smells funny, that might mean it caught some smells from other foods, and it still might be safe to eat. But, just to be safe, throw it out anyway.

For cooked rice, slimy texture, funny odor, and molds growth are apparent symptoms that rice is no longer fit for consumption. If nothing seems suspicious, but the taste is off or disappointing, it’s also better to discard any leftovers. If you have kept cooked rice too long in the fridge, it’s also better to throw it out.


In this brief guide,  addressed the question, “does rice go bad” as well as other related questions pertaining to the subject at hand like how much time does rice take to go bad and storage practices needed to prolong the shelf life of rice.