How long is rice good for in the fridge

How long is rice good for in the fridge

Rice is one of the most versatile food items and is a staple in many cultures. Whether you have a party to cater to or pack your lunchbox, rice is a go-to dish for every occasion. Preparing and storing it in advance could be a wise thing to do. But you must know the proper procedure to do so. Let us learn how long is rice good for in the fridge.

Rice is a household favorite for all the right reasons. A pantry staple, uncooked rice has a pretty long shelf life. However, storing cooked rice is a thing to learn. If you cook rice in bulk for daily consumption, you must know how to store it properly. This article will help you with just that, so follow along.

How long is cooked rice good for in the fridge

Cooked rice tends to develop a bacteria called Bacillus cereus, which can make you sick. The bacteria grow in warm and humid conditions in grains, and thus, it can be present in rice even after cooking. But their growth is slow in colder temperatures of a refrigerator.

How long is cooked rice good for in the fridge depends on how it was cooled and stored. But any rice is safe to be consumed for 3-5 days if kept in a refrigerator.

How long is rice good for in the fridge

Can rice go bad? How to identify it?

Absolutely, yes. Cooked rice can rot. It can deteriorate even faster if it is not stored correctly.

Many signs hint at spoilage; you only need to be careful. Here are a few:

The rotten smell

It is one of the most obvious ways to tell if the rice has rotten. Like any other cooked food item, the rice emits a foul smell when it rots. If left for too long, it even starts developing molasses over it. Therefore, rice consumption after this stage is a sure shot way to food poisoning.

The hard and dry texture

The dryness of the rice is directly proportional to how long can rice sit for in the fridge. When you store it for longer than five days, the texture of rice becomes hard and dry. It sometimes even turns crispy if stayed for too long. That is a clear sign to toss that rotten mess out.

The rice turns slimy

The slimy texture indicates that the rice had too much moisture when stored. This texture promotes the growth of bacteria even faster. Thus, rice turns into a gooey and slimy mess. There are chances that it has reached stages of fermentation. In such cases, you must throw it out immediately.

How long can rice sit out safely

How long rice sits out after it is cooked plays a significant role in its safety. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the ideal temperature for bacterial growth is between 40 degrees Fahrenheit to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Thus, once the rice is cooked, it must be served at 140 F or above to avoid bacterial growth.

It should be eaten warm and fresh or stored properly if left for later use. Generally, cooked rice is good for about 2 hours if left out after cooking. Anything longer than that will make it ideal for bacterial growth and unfit for use.

To cool the rice faster, you can spread the rice on a flat surface. Doing this would release the heat from the rice more quickly. But it would be best if you were also careful to drain out the liquid before taking it to the refrigerator.

To avoid any wastage, you can divide the rice into two portions after cooking. You can serve one part fresh and cool the rest immediately and use it later.

How long is rice good for in the fridge

How to store the cooked rice

To retain rice’s taste, odor, and texture for up to 3-5 days, you must store it properly. How long is rice good for in the fridge will depend on how you store it.

Here are a few tips on storing your cooked rice in the fridge:

  • It would be best if you cooled the rice quickly after cooking. Leaving it out warm will promote bacterial growth. If you put hot rice in the fridge, the moisture content will be more. This will result in increased bacteria and a slimy texture of the stored rice.
  • The ideal containers should be air-tight to retain moisture and flavor. You can also store the cooled rice in a re-sealable bag. It is essential to store it in closed containers as this helps keep them away from unwanted moisture. Also, it keeps it from picking up odors from other foods.
  • Reheat only the portion that you wish to eat. Reheating and cooling multiple times will make the rice unfit for consumption. If the quantity of rice is too much, freezing it is the best option.

Refrigerated rice lasts for 3-5 days, while frozen rice stays good for 45-60 days. If all the precautions are followed, frozen rice can last for even 3-4 months.

Reheating the stored rice

Whoever has ever hosted a party or cooked a meal for themselves daily knows the importance of preparing some things in advance. While rice does not take very long to cook, it can certainly be an aid if prepared ahead. You only need to follow basic guidelines to have instant fluffy rice for all rice recipes.

The leftover rice is prone to get mishandled. Therefore, you have to be a little careful before reheating the rice. The rice has to be piping hot while reheating. To have this without dry texture, you must follow the following steps:

Ways to microwave leftover rice

  • Remove the lid or any cling film before putting the container in the microwave
  • Add a few drops of water to the rice and place the lid back or put cling film with a small hole
  • This small step helps retain moisture and adds life back to the rice
  • Put the container into the microwave and warm it for 3-4 minutes
  • Check the rice in the inner parts as well. The temperature should feel hot throughout
  • Serve hot

How to reheat leftover rice in a pan

  • Put the rice in a saucepan with some oil
  • Sprinkle some water on top and cover the lid
  • Cook for 4-5 minutes. Steam forms inside
  • Remove the lid and check till it is thoroughly hot
  • Serve hot

How to reheat frozen rice

  • If you have frozen the rice, you should thaw it before use
  • You can microwave the rice or put it in the refrigerator for 24 hours
  • Frozen rice can be thawed directly in the pan if small quantities are
  • The optimum temperature is 165 Farehnhiet to have that perfect rice

If you wish to use only a tiny portion of the frozen rice, you should not thaw the whole batch. Take out only a small amount you wish to use and keep the rest in the freezer. Thawing and freezing rice again will spoil it faster.

You can do that if you still have leftover rice after reheating and wish to store it again. As long as you follow the correct procedure, you have nothing to worry about.

How long is rice good for in the fridge

Adverse effects of eating rice that has gone bad

We are what we eat, and our health is determined by what goes in our stomachs. We all know how undercooked or rotten food items can adversely affect our health. Any food item that has been out for too long will develop harmful bacteria that can give us food poisoning. And same is the case with rice.

Bacillus cereus is a bacteria found in soil and causes foodborne illness. It is sometimes left in foods grown close to the ground like rice, leagues, cereals, etc. A bacteria cannot cause any harm if the foods are correctly handled, right from cleaning to serving the cooked meal. The trouble begins when the food is not appropriately treated.

The bacteria remain dormant until it is not cooked or comes in contact with moisture. When the rice is not cooked or cooled correctly, it is left with moisture content and a warm temperature inside. This is an ideal environment for the bacteria to grow. Therefore, the rice must be eaten hot as it is cooked or cooled and stored quickly.

If the rice is left out for too long, the bacteria grow to an amount that is enough to make you sick. A thing to note here is that the bacteria is not killed in the refrigerator. Instead, its growth is slowed down.

To determine if the rice is good enough to eat, you should know how long is rice good for in the fridge. This is explained well in the above part of this blog. Any longer than five days and the refrigerated rice should be tossed off.

Variety of rice and storage properties

How long is rice good for in the fridge is not much related to the variety of rice used. White rice has a slightly longer life in the refrigerator than other rice kinds.

Due to its less-processed nature, Brown rice lasts for only 2-3 days in the refrigerator. The oil that makes it healthier is also a reason that shortens its storage life.

Wild rice is almost similar to white rice when it comes to storing it. If stored in the refrigerator, it lasts for around 4-5 days.

Is it mandatory to reheat rice after refrigeration?

There is no harm in eating cold rice out of the fridge, depending on how you like it. However, you must reheat it to bring its flavor and savor to the fullest.

A thing to note here is that you must be sure that it has not gone bad before eating directly. If there are no funny smells or textures, you can have your rice cold.

Symptoms of food poisoning

Eating spoiled rice or stale rice can make you sick. You may experience diarrhea or vomiting after 4-5 hours of consumption. These symptoms are mild and do not last longer than 24 hours. If the condition persists, you must consult a doctor.

As many food connoisseurs have found out, rice was a common culprit for many food poisoning cases in the 1970s. It was a common trend then. Restaurant chefs would cook rice one day and leave it out overnight. Then they would use the same rice the next day to make fried rice.

This practice caused the bacteria in rice to grow multi-folds. Even after they reheated the rice, the bacteria would still be present. The fried rice was a much-loved preparation from the menu. Hence no one even complained.

But this was a significant cause for frequent outbreaks until the food authorities identified the cause. They then instructed the restaurants about the correct procedure and were able to resolve the issue quickly.

Tips to safely serve rice

  • It is ideal for serving rice right after cooking it
  • If you cook rice to serve it later, you need to cool it within two hours of cooking and kept in a fridge
  • Store rice in air-tight containers or covered with cling film
  • You must identify how long is rice good for in the fridge
  • Before reheating the rice, check for anything that syndicate it is rotten
  • If everything seems fine, you can reheat it till steaming hot throughout
  • Do not reheat it more than once
  • Avoid freezing and heating rice again and again

Final thoughts

These pointers will help you identify if the rice has gone bad. It would be best to go with your gut feeling with any stored food item more than any sign or symptom.

If you find anything out of place, you must immediately toss it out. Nothing is worth compromising your health for.

So, the maximum number of days you can consume rice once stored is 4-5 days. That’s how long is rice good for in the fridge. It would help if you did not use it more than this period of time.