How Long Can You Safely Store Cooked Rice in the Fridge?

Cooked rice storage

Fast Facts

Homemade cooked rice lasts 3-4 days in the fridge

Restaurant-cooked rice lasts 4-6 days in the fridge

Spoiled rice can cause food poisoning due to Bacillus cereus

Store rice below 40°F and reheat only once to 165°F.

Cooked rice can typically be stored in the refrigerator for three to four days if made at home, or four to six days if it’s purchased from a restaurant. Reheating rice and leaving it out for extended periods can affect its shelf life. Here’s more about how to safely store rice, why it can cause illness, and tips to avoid getting sick.

Does Cooked Rice Go Bad?

Yes, cooked rice can spoil, usually within a maximum of six days. Like many other foods, rice can become unsafe to eat if not prepared or stored correctly.

How Can You Tell if Rice Is Spoiled?

Cooked rice storage

Spoiled rice shows specific signs:

  • Color Changes: Look for any discoloration compared to when it was freshly cooked.
  • Texture Changes: Spoiled rice may become mushy or slimy.
  • Taste: The rice may have an undesirable taste.
  • Odor: An unpleasant smell is a clear indicator of spoilage.

Why Rice Can Make You Sick

Cooked rice can harbor Bacillus cereus, a bacteria that produces toxins causing gastrointestinal illnesses. This bacteria is common in soil and can survive cooking. If rice is left unrefrigerated and not reheated properly, B. cereus can grow and produce toxins that reheating cannot destroy.

Rice and Food Poisoning

Food poisoning from spoiled rice is common, affecting millions annually. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps, typically resolving within a week. However, food poisoning can be more severe for people who are immunocompromised, pregnant, or under the age of five, potentially leading to death in extreme cases.

How to Cook Rice

There are various methods to prepare rice, such as steaming or boiling, with or without a rice cooker. Cooking times vary based on the type of rice and method used, generally ranging from 15 to 45 minutes.

Tips for Storing Cooked Rice

To minimize the risk of food poisoning:

  • Temperature: Keep cooked rice out of the danger zone (40 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit) for no more than two hours.
  • Quick Cooling: If the room temperature is over 90 degrees Fahrenheit, refrigerate rice within one hour.
  • Storage: Store rice in a closed container in the refrigerator below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, where it can last up to four days. For longer storage, freeze rice for three to four months.
  • Reheating: Only reheat rice once and ensure it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Portion out servings to avoid the reheating-storing-reheating cycle.

Additional Information

Using airtight containers for storage can help maintain the rice’s freshness. Additionally, cooling rice quickly by spreading it out on a baking sheet before refrigerating can reduce the risk of bacterial growth.

Cooked rice can be a safe and delicious leftover if stored and reheated properly. By following these guidelines, you can enjoy your rice dishes without the risk of foodborne illness.


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