How do you know if rice is spoiled

This article will help you differentiate between edible rice and rice that might send you to the hospital. We’ll also have a look at how we can extend its shelf life and keep it fresh for a longer period.

How do you know if rice is spoiled?

You will know if rice is spoiled when the texture is oily or slimy with an off smell. The color gradually fades away as rice gets old and begins to spoil. 

  1. Smell

Both cooked and uncooked rice has little in terms of a distinct smell. If your rice smells strange or unpleasant, it might have gone bad.

  1. Texture

Spoiled rice starts to lose its original texture. Dry rice may become oily or porous. Cooked rice becomes slimy and gooey instead of airy and fluffy.

  1. Color

If there are changes in the color of rice, it’s likely to have been spoiled by mold, bugs, moisture, or rot. Brown rice especially shows discoloration when it expires.

  1. Taste

Spoiled rice has an immediately noticeable “off” tasting flavor, which can easily alert you to the fact that it has gone bad.

Shelf life of rice

Dry Rice (White)

Dry white rice can last up to two years. The easiest way to determine its viability is to look at the expiration date on the package, as well as damage to the packaging. Discoloration, bugs, moisture, and mold are also telltale signs of dry rice going bad.

Dry Rice (Brown)

Brown rice has a shorter shelf life of about six to eighteen months. After that, it starts to go bad, which can clearly be determined since it becomes rancid, oily, and discolored.

Cooked Rice

Cooked rice can only last 3-5 days under refrigeration. Some say a week. When it goes bad, it loses its airy and fluffy texture, becoming slimy and gooey, and gives off an unpleasant odor. Mold is another way to tell that your cooked rice has gone bad.

If you notice any signs of spoilage, be sure to discard your rice.

How to store rice for the longest shelf life

First of all, inspect the packaging of the rice you buy. If it’s punctured or damaged, or if it’s past the expiration date, don’t buy it. To store rice after purchase, the following places are your best bet

  1. Pantry

Your pantry is the coolest, most dry part of your kitchen. That’s the best way to store non-refrigerated items. Be sure to check periodically for bugs and mold.

  1. Airtight containers

Airtight containers such as those made out of plastic are easy to use and offer large capacities for their relatively modest size. Make sure that the container you store your rice in is dry and cool, and properly sealed after every use.

  1. Refrigeration

For cooked rice, the fridge is the only place to store it. To do so, use a sealable container or at least a pot with a lid, as runoff moisture can drip and will ruin the texture of your rice.

  1. Freezing

To give cooked life the longest shelf life, you can freeze it as it can last up to 8 months when frozen. To do so, cook your rice, divide it into batches, let it cool off. Afterward, use freezer bags to store it in the freezer. It takes 25-45 minutes for cooked rice to freeze.

The process takes some effort and prior planning but is worth it for the convenience of having a pre-cooked meal you can just thaw and enjoy after a busy day rather than having to prepare one from scratch or opting for less healthy options.

Dangers of consuming spoiled rice

Expired rice, when consumed, can make you very sick since expired rice is mostly spoiled by fungi or mold, which produce dangerous toxic chemicals. These chemicals can cause diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, convulsions, and a weak immune system.

Mold or fungal contamination can also reduce the nutritional qualities of the rice since the fungi growing on the rice use it for their own nutritional needs.

Additionally, improper and unhygienic handling of cooked rice can also increase the risk of food poisoning from certain bacteria, leading to abdominal pain and cramps, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. 

Make sure to always inspect your rice before cooking, and refrigerate it within two to three hours of cooking, especially in warmer weather.


This article helped you differentiate between edible rice and rice that might send you to the hospital. We’ve also had a look at how we can extend its shelf life and keep it fresh for a longer period.


Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.