How Long Does Rice Last in the Fridge?

By Alex Au Yeung

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Rice is a staple food in many cultures around the world, known for its versatility and nutritional value.

Whether you enjoy it as a side dish, in a delicious stir-fry, or as the main ingredient in sushi, proper storage is crucial to maintain its quality and prevent foodborne illnesses.

In this article, we will explore the question, “How long does rice last in the fridge?” and provide you with valuable insights and practical tips to ensure the safety and longevity of your refrigerated rice.

Does rice go bad?

Yes, rice can go bad if it is not stored properly or if it is kept for an extended period. Rice is a perishable food item that can be susceptible to spoilage and bacterial growth.

However, by following proper storage guidelines and consuming it within the recommended time frame, you can prevent rice from going bad and ensure its freshness and safety.

How long does rice last in the fridge?

How Long Does Rice Last in the Fridge?

When it comes to storing cooked rice in the refrigerator, it is essential to follow proper guidelines to maintain its freshness and prevent bacterial growth.

On average, cooked rice can last in the fridge for about 4 to 7 days.

However, several factors can influence its shelf life, including the type of rice, storage conditions, and whether it has been properly cooked and handled.

It’s important to note that uncooked rice has a significantly longer shelf life than cooked rice. Properly stored uncooked rice can last for months or even years, depending on the variety.

However, in this article, we will focus primarily on the storage and longevity of cooked rice.

Factors affecting the shelf life of cooked rice

Several factors can affect how long does rice last in the fridge. Let’s take a closer look at these factors:

1. Rice variety

Different types of rice have varying moisture content and starch composition, which can affect their shelf life. Generally, white rice has a longer storage life compared to brown or wild rice.

This is because the bran and germ layers in brown and wild rice contain natural oils that can become rancid over time, reducing the overall shelf life.

2. Cooking and handling

The way rice is cooked and handled before refrigeration plays a crucial role in determining its shelf life. It is important to ensure that rice is cooked thoroughly to kill any harmful bacteria.

Additionally, it is essential to cool the rice quickly after cooking and refrigerate it promptly to minimize bacterial growth.

3. Storage conditions

The temperature and humidity of your refrigerator can impact the longevity of cooked rice.

It is recommended to store rice at a temperature below 40°F (4°C) to inhibit bacterial growth.

Additionally, keep the rice covered or sealed in an airtight container to prevent the absorption of odors and moisture.

How to properly store cooked rice in the fridge?

How Long Does Rice Last in the Fridge?

To maximize the shelf life of cooked rice and ensure its safety, follow these guidelines for proper storage:

  1. Allow the cooked rice to cool to room temperature before refrigerating it. Placing hot rice directly in the refrigerator can raise its overall temperature, promoting bacterial growth.
  2. Divide the cooked rice into smaller portions to cool and refrigerate. Storing rice in smaller containers allows for quicker cooling and reduces the time it spends in the temperature danger zone (40°F to 140°F or 4°C to 60°C), where bacteria multiply rapidly.
  3. Transfer the cooled rice into airtight containers or resealable bags. This prevents the absorption of odors and moisture from the refrigerator, helping to maintain the rice’s quality.
  4. Label the containers with the date of preparation. This practice ensures that you can easily track the rice’s freshness and use it within the recommended time frame.
  5. Place the containers of rice in the refrigerator promptly after cooling. Aim to refrigerate the rice within two hours of cooking to minimize bacterial growth.
  6. Store the rice in the main body of the refrigerator, as opposed to the refrigerator door. The door is subject to temperature fluctuations due to frequent opening and closing, which can compromise the rice’s freshness and safety.

FAQs about storing cooked rice in the fridge

Can you freeze cooked rice?

Yes, you can freeze cooked rice to extend its shelf life. Freezing rice can preserve its quality for up to 6 months. Divide the cooked rice into individual portions and place them in freezer-safe containers or bags. Thaw the frozen rice in the refrigerator before reheating it.

How do I know if cooked rice has gone bad?

If cooked rice develops an off smell, strange texture, or unusual color, it may have gone bad. Discard the rice if you notice any signs of spoilage or if it has been stored for longer than the recommended time frame.

Can reheating cooked rice kill bacteria?

Reheating cooked rice can help kill any bacteria present, but it is crucial to do so at a high enough temperature to ensure food safety. Heat the rice to an internal temperature of at least 165°F (74°C) before consuming.

Can I store rice in the freezer instead of the fridge?

While it is possible to store cooked rice in the freezer, it is generally recommended to use the fridge for short-term storage. Freezing rice can affect its texture and flavor, but if you plan to store it for longer periods, freezing is a viable option.

Can I reheat refrigerated rice more than once?

It is generally recommended to reheat rice only once to minimize the risk of bacterial contamination. Repeated reheating can lead to the proliferation of harmful bacteria, increasing the chances of foodborne illnesses.

Is it safe to eat leftover rice cold?

While it is safe to eat leftover rice cold, reheating it thoroughly is recommended to kill any potential bacteria. If you prefer to consume it cold, make sure the rice has been properly refrigerated and consumed within the recommended time frame.

How long does cooked rice last without refrigeration?

Cooked rice should not be left unrefrigerated for an extended period as it is a highly perishable food item. If left at room temperature, cooked rice can quickly become a breeding ground for bacteria, leading to foodborne illnesses. It is recommended to refrigerate cooked rice within two hours of cooking to inhibit bacterial growth.

How long does rice water last in the fridge?

How Long Does Rice Last in the Fridge?

Rice water refers to the water that is left over after soaking rice. It is often used for various purposes, such as skincare, haircare, or even as a natural remedy for digestive issues. When stored properly in the refrigerator, rice water can last for about 3 to 4 days.


How long does rice last in the fridge? The shelf life of cooked rice in the fridge can vary depending on several factors such as the rice variety, cooking and handling methods, and storage conditions. On average, cooked rice can last for about 4 to 7 days in the refrigerator, but it’s important to prioritize safety and freshness by following proper storage guidelines.

Remember to cool the rice before refrigeration, store it in airtight containers, and consume it within the recommended time frame. Freezing cooked rice is also an option for longer-term storage. By practicing these tips, you can enjoy delicious and safe rice dishes while minimizing the risk of foodborne illnesses.

Keep reading: How Many Grains Of Rice In A Cup?