How Long Will Cooked Rice Keep in the Fridge? Find Out Now!

Everyone has some leftover rice in their fridge at some point. Maybe you made too much for dinner or batch-cooked for meal prepping purposes. Whatever the reason, you’re probably wondering how long it will keep before going bad. In this article, we’ll explore various factors that affect the shelf life of cooked rice in the fridge and the best ways to store your leftovers safely.

Factors Affecting the Shelf Life of Rice in the Fridge

Several factors influence the shelf life of cooked rice in the fridge. Here are the most important ones:

Type of Rice

There are many varieties of rice, and each one has a different texture, flavor, and nutritional profile. Some examples include white, brown, jasmine, basmati, and wild rice. The type of rice you use affects how long it will last in the fridge. Generally speaking, refined white rice has a shorter shelf life than unrefined brown rice, as it is stripped of its bran and germ layers that contain most of its nutrients and antioxidants. Additionally, rice with a lower starch content, such as wild rice, tends to keep longer than rice with a higher starch content, such as jasmine rice.

Cooking Method

The way you cook your rice can also impact its shelf life in the fridge. For instance, rice that has been cooked with a lot of water (e.g., boiled) tends to spoil faster than rice that has been cooked with less water or steamed. This is because the excess water promotes bacterial growth and makes the rice go mushy. It is advisable to cook rice using the absorption method, which involves using just enough water to cook the rice and letting it simmer until all the water is absorbed.

Storage Container

The storage container you use to keep your leftover rice can make a big difference in how long it will last. Ideally, you should transfer your rice to an airtight container as soon as possible after cooking and let it cool down to room temperature before placing it in the fridge. Make sure your container is clean and dry, and avoid using plastic bags or containers with a loose-fitting lid, as they allow air and moisture to seep in, promoting spoilage.

Reheating Method

When reheating leftover rice, you should be mindful of the temperature and length of time you use. Ideally, you should heat your rice to at least 165°F (74°C) to kill any harmful bacteria that may have grown during storage. It is advisable to use the microwave or stovetop to reheat your rice, as these methods allow you to control the temperature and prevent overcooking, which can make your rice dry and unappetizing.

How Long Does Cooked Rice Last in the Fridge?

The shelf life of cooked rice in the fridge can vary depending on the factors mentioned above. However, as a general rule, cooked rice can last for up to four days in the fridge if stored properly. If you want to extend its shelf life, you can freeze your rice in an airtight container, where it can last for up to six months. Just make sure to let your rice cool down to room temperature before freezing it and don’t forget to portion it out into smaller batches, so you don’t have to thaw more than you need at once.

How to Tell if Cooked Rice Has Gone Bad?

It’s essential to check your leftover rice for signs of spoilage before consuming it. Here are some telltale signs that your rice has gone bad:

  • The rice smells sour, moldy, or rancid.
  • The rice has an off-color or slimy texture.
  • The rice tastes off or has an unusual texture.
  • You see signs of mold or other visible signs of spoilage.

If you notice any of these signs, it’s best to discard your rice, as consuming spoiled food can make you sick.

How to Store Cooked Rice in the Fridge Safely?

Storing your leftover rice in the fridge is easy if you follow these simple steps:

  • Transfer your rice to an airtight container as soon as possible after cooking.
  • Let your rice cool down to room temperature before covering and placing it in the fridge.
  • Avoid leaving your rice at room temperature for too long, as it promotes bacterial growth.
  • Keep your rice in the main compartment of your fridge, as storing it in the door or top shelf may expose it to varying temperatures.
  • Label your container with the date of storage, so you know how long it has been in the fridge.

How to Reheat Cooked Rice Safely?

Reheating your leftover rice is easy if you follow these simple steps:

  • Transfer your rice to a microwave-safe dish or stovetop pot.
  • Add a tablespoon of water or broth to your rice to help rehydrate it and prevent it from drying out.
  • Cover your dish with a lid or plastic wrap, leaving a vent for steam to escape.
  • Heat your rice on high for 1-2 minutes (microwave) or over low heat for 5-10 minutes (stovetop).
  • Stir your rice occasionally to distribute the heat and prevent hot spots.
  • Check the temperature with a food thermometer to make sure it has reached at least 165°F (74°C) before serving.


Cooked rice can be a nutritious and versatile ingredient, but it’s essential to store and reheat it safely to avoid foodborne illness. By following the tips and guidelines outlined in this article, you can enjoy your rice leftovers for up to four days in the fridge and up to six months in the freezer.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Q: Can I eat rice that has been left out overnight?
  • A: No, it’s not safe to eat rice that has been left out at room temperature for more than two hours. Bacteria can grow rapidly in rice that is not refrigerated or reheated properly, increasing the risk of food poisoning.
  • Q: Can I freeze cooked white rice?
  • A: Yes, you can freeze cooked white rice for up to six months. Just make sure to cool it down to room temperature before freezing it, and store it in an airtight container to prevent freezer burn.
  • Q: How do I know if my rice is fully cooked?
  • A: To know if your rice is fully cooked, taste a few grains and check their texture. They should be tender but still firm to the bite, with no hard or crunchy bits. Additionally, the rice grain should be plump and separate, not mushy or clumping together.
  • Q: Can I reheat rice more than once?
  • A: No, it’s not safe to reheat cooked rice more than once. Each time you reheat rice, you increase the risk of bacterial growth and food poisoning. It’s best to reheat only what you need and discard any leftovers that you don’t use.


  • [1] United States Department of Agriculture. (2021). Refrigerator and Food Safety. Retrieved from
  • [2] Healthline. (2019). How to Reheat Rice So It’s Not a Mushy Mess. Retrieved from
  • [3] The Kitchn. (2021). The Best Way to Store Leftover Rice. Retrieved from

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