Tips on How to Store and Reheat Cooked Rice
Everything you ever wanted to know about storing this kitchen staple.
Enjoyed as a main dish, side dish and even in sweet treats, rice is known to be a staple food valued across the globe, simply for its taste, versatility, availability, and affordability. After all, rice is a dish that can connect a group of people together at a table through the love of good food.
Whether you are enjoying white, basmati, jasmine or brown rice, correct storage is crucial to avoid eating spoiled rice.
Here’s our guide to storing and reheating cooked rice safely.
How do I store rice correctly?
It’s important that rice, whether it’s dry or steamed, is stored in a cool dry place. And, once a pre-cooked rice packet has been opened, you must either use the resealable sticker to seal up the packet or store it in an airtight container to retain its freshness and aroma.
Once a steamed rice pouch has been opened, fold the packaging tightly and store it in the refrigerator, to be consumed on the day it has been opened or one day after – before bacteria start to grow.
Storing rice in the fridge
If you have leftover rice that you want to store in the fridge, you can do so by following these simple steps:
- As cooked rice is moist, it is a breeding ground for all kinds of bacteria. With this in mind, it’s important that you cool your rice fully before preparing it for storage.
- Once cool, place your rice in an airtight container or a zipped plastic bag, ensuring that all air is removed before sealing, and put it in the fridge.
- When you’re ready to eat your rice, make sure that you reheat it with a little water to help loosen the dried grains. As a general rule of thumb, you should reheat the rice for 30 seconds, stir and repeat if needed.
Freeze cooked rice
Many people don’t realise they can also freeze cooked rice! So, if you’ve cooked too much, simply pop it in the freezer and use it in the future for a range of different dishes. This is a great way to reduce food waste.
Here’s how to freeze cooked rice:
- Make sure your rice is fully cooled before you freeze it.
- Once the rice is completely cold, transfer it into freezer bags and flatten the rice as much as possible so that it can be sealed tightly and easily stored.
- Label and date your rice so you know how long it’s been kept in the freezer. Rice can be frozen safely for up to one month.
Reheating rice, how to reheat rice safely?
Ideally, rice is best served as soon as it has been cooked. However, if that isn’t possible, you can reheat rice as long as you do so safely:
- Cool the rice as quickly as possible, ideally within one hour, and keep it in the fridge until you’re ready to reheat it
- Store the rice in the fridge for no more than two days before reheating
- When you reheat rice, make sure it is steaming hot all the way through
- Do not reheat rice more than once
Reheating different types of rice safely
There are many different varieties of rice and it’s important to understand how to reheat some of the most widely used types of rice quickly and safely:
Reheating brown rice
Whether you’re reheating long-grain brown rice or short-grain brown rice, using your microwave is one of the best ways to reheat it as it will rehydrate the grains as they cook so that the rice is plump again and ready to eat. Add a small amount of water and heat in 30-second intervals until the rice is cooked completely and evenly.
Reheating Basmati rice
Again, if you’re planning on reheating Basmati rice, one of the best ways to do this is by placing it in the microwave, and adding a splash of water. It’s important that you cover the rice with a microwave-safe plate before cooking for 30 seconds. Then stir, recover and heat for a further 30 seconds. Repeat until the rice is piping hot.
Reheating Jasmine rice
To reheat Jasmine rice, simply place your rice in a microwave-safe bowl along with a splash of water, cover it tightly with a microwave-safe plate and heat for 30 seconds. Once finished, stir, recover and reheat accordingly.
Common ways to reheat rice safely
Reheating rice in a microwave
One of the quickest and most effective ways to reheat rice is in the microwave. Simply place your rice in a microwave-safe bowl, add 1–2 tablespoons of water, and heat in 30-second intervals until piping hot throughout.
Reheating rice in the oven
If you want to reheat your rice in the oven, preheat it to 160 degrees, spread the rice over a baking tray and break up any clumps. Add 2 tablespoons of water and use foil to cover the rice. Allow 20 minutes for the rice to heat through. Remember to check it’s piping hot before serving.
Reheating rice in a pan
It is easy to reheat rice in a pan. Simply add the grains to your pan along with 2 tablespoons of water per cup of rice. Cover the pan tightly and cook on a low heat for approximately 5 minutes until you are satisfied that your rice is piping hot.
Reheating rice in an air fryer
Air fryers are more popular than ever before, and they are a great tool for reheating all different types of rice. Simply pop your rice into your air fryer, cover it with aluminium foil and cook for 5 to 6 minutes until your rice is hot.
Store and reheat cooked rice FAQs
Can you eat rice cold?
Cold rice is safe to eat as long as it has been cooked, cooled and stored correctly. Just make sure to cool the rice within 1 hour of cooking and keep it refrigerated until you eat it.
Can you eat rice cold the next day?
Yes, you can eat rice cold the next day, but it’s important you allow it to cool properly when it’s been cooked and then refrigerate it until you’re ready to tuck back in.
Can you eat rice uncooked?
As well as not tasting great, uncooked rice can cause several health issues, including food poisoning, digestive issues, and abdominal pain. So always cook your rice to ensure it’s safe and delicious.
Can you reheat packet rice?
Packet rice has already been cooked, so you should only ever heat it once.
Can you reheat rice and chicken?
If you’re reheating rice and chicken, ensure that it has been stored safely and reheat it until it’s piping hot all the way through.
Can you reheat rice twice?
No. You should only ever reheat rice once.
Can reheating rice cause food poisoning?
If the above steps are not followed, it is best not to reheat the rice. Incorrect storage after cooking can allow Bacillus cereus and other bacterial spores to grow and produce toxins (poisons) that eventually cause food poisoning. It is not the reheating that causes the problem, but the way the rice has been stored before it is reheated.
Our microwave-steamed rice is taken to a much higher temperature than rice cooked in boiling water, this eliminates spores that may survive during the cooking process. This means that they are sterile and can be stored for a long period at room temperature. Once the rice pouch has been opened, it should be refrigerated and consumed within two days. Remember the cleanliness of a fridge plays an important role to ensure there is no mould building upon the walls of the fridge which can grow and spread bacteria.