How Long Does Cooked Rice Last in the Fridge? We Have Answers.

By Forrest •  Updated: 01/22/18 •  9 min read

Rice is a staple in many countries and cultures. It is also a basic when it comes to cooking. Any meal can become an extremely filling one when it’s served with a side of boiled or cooked rice.

If you’ve just started living alone, you really should know how to cook rice. You can fill your stomach and laze around when you’ve got this kitchen staple down.

The trouble with cooked rice is that we usually have some left over. In that case, many of you may wonder just how long those fluffy white or brown grains might last. We’re here to discuss just that question!

What Is Cooked Rice Anyway?

Cooked rice is just rice that’s been boiled, steamed, or otherwise had some sort of contact with water and heat. There’s no one way to cook rice or, rather, no single correct way to do it.


You can boil rice with a few cups of water and add salt to give it that soft texture. Some recipes may call for rice to be half boiled and then steamed with a vegetable or meat mixture. Then, of course, we have our garlic rice, brown rice, or rice mixed with beans. Whichever way you look at it, rice is sure to get your mouth watering before long.

When we have cooked rice ready for eating, we usually serve it with some sort of savory dish. This could be chicken curry, grilled/baked fish, or lentils. Of course, there are several other varieties depending on which country and culture you’re operating in.

In China, for instance, rice is usually a meal in itself. It may be flavored with seasonings or seeds, but it is generally rolled and eaten with chopsticks. In another part of the world such as India, rice can be made into sweet puddings and even fried crackers.

Cooked rice is also used in stir-fries. Additionally, you can use it as sushi filling. Come to think of it, there are several cultures that have rice as the basis of their dishes. Mexican, Filipino, Indian, Chinese and Japanese cuisines are the most common examples of these.

Using leftover rice could also become a means for experimentation on an individual basis. We all know that one person with impossibly weird tastes. For instance, someone may like to squeeze lemon juice on leftover boiled rice and sprinkle sugar on top for a unique dessert.

Does Cooked Rice Go Bad? How Long Does Cooked Rice Last?


One wouldn’t think that plain cooked rice could go bad, but the sad truth is that it definitely does. The result of eating bad rice could be very dangerous and really make you sick. Therefore, you should take precautions to make sure no food is left out for too long, not even rice.

According to the Business Insider, leftover rice needs to be stored properly in order to avoid getting sick after consuming it. The cooked rice should not be left at room temperature for a long time, 2 hours to be exact. If this occurs, it can cause spores to change into bacteria.

This bacterium isn’t of the friendly kind, so don’t think you’ve grown penicillin with your rice! No, this is the harmful kind of bacteria which could even give you food poisoning. The spores of these bacteria grow large families of their own, which could end up giving you a deadly virus.

All this means that you need to store your rice as soon as you can. Once it has stopped steaming, it’s ready for popping in the fridge.

When it comes to reheating, life and rice both give a multitude of problems. Sure, you may love the taste of reheated rice from the frying pan, pot, or microwave, but this rice would likely not love you.

In order to avoid this dangerous relationship, be sure to store the rice correctly after it’s cooked for the first time. You actually need to cool down your rice and store it within an hour after it’s fully cooked.

Then you can enjoy a delicious, steaming hot meal (make sure it is hot through and through!) for two consecutive days.

​How Long Does Cooked Rice Last in the Fridge?

​The short answer is 4 to 6 days in the fridge​. ​In order to maximize the cooked rice’s shelf life, make sure to cover cooked rice in an airtight containers or reseable plastic bags.​


You might have a bunch of cooked rice on hand and are wondering just how long you can keep it without it going bad. You want to look forward to stir-fried rice but are worried about getting your insides in uncomfortable twists.

There should be nothing to fear, though, as some expert websites and individuals have had the very same dilemma.

​Peter Pudaite, ​a food expert as a chef and restaurant owner, said cooked rice might not be so difficult to keep from going bad. It doesn’t have much protein in it, so the food-poisoning kind of bacteria wouldn’t be there in the initial stages of storage.

However, he does go on to say that the longer cooked rice stays in the fridge, the more harmful bacteria would grow on it. This is in addition to the deteriorating quality and taste of fridge-stored rice. We’re sure you wouldn’t want dry, unappetizing rice for any meal whatsoever.

How to Tell If the Cooked Rice Has Gone Bad?

Most of us are lucky enough to have been blessed with the five basic senses. These senses are more than enough to let you know if that fluffy pile of brown or white rice has gone bad.

If rice goes bad, you have to toss it. You could compost it or feed it to the birds for a less wasteful last resort, though. And the next time you cook rice, make a little less. It doesn’t take long to boil a new small batch if you find yourself running

Kelli Foster, a writer well-known about the kitchen niche, has penned down some signs of bad rice that you should pay heed to. First, you should simply smell the rice. If it smells bad, it would taste bad and do bad things to your stomach. Time to recycle it!

You may not be able to remember how long that rice has been in the fridge. If it’s more than four days, it’s probably best to let it go. Its hardness and dryness would be more telltale signs of spoilage. In order to lower this risk, Foster recommends storing rice in an airtight jar or box in the fridge.

If the rice was left out of the fridge altogether, you should try to remember how long it’s been at room temperature. If the time has been more than one or two hours, it’s safest to find another use for the rice rather than consuming it.

Also, be wary of rice that has been cooled, heated, then cooled and heated again, and so on. This creates a playground for bacteria instead of killing it. Thus, if you’re a busy person, only reheat rice when you’re absolutely sure of eating it right away.

​How to Store Cooked Rice Properly?


Once your rice has been cooked properly, a Huffington Post writer says that it should be left until it doesn’t steam anymore. You can try storing the rice a little to let all the steam out. This would make sure that there is no excess moisture in the rice which could give rise to bacteria.

Once the rice is around 5 degrees centigrade, it can be safely kept in the fridge for as many as three days. In our humble opinion, this is more than enough time to utilize this rice for making your meals filling and delicious.

Again, this opinion is just the input of one expert on the subject. Rice storage may actually depend on several conditions. If the temperature in the fridge is too high and the climate is humid, rice may not even make it to the next day.

A food blogger at Just One Cookbook has given some valuable tips on how to store rice perfectly. She recommends freezing rice as the best way to maintain its taste and freshness. For this, you would have to pack steaming rice in an airtight box and shut it tightly at once. This would trap moisture inside the rice.

Wait until the containers cool down to room temperature. You can now store the rice in the freezer for around a month. You can store the rice in small portions and take out one or two containers every day. This would enable you to have fresh rice whenever you feel like it!

It is best if the airtight containers have a steam vent in the lid. This way, you could open the vent and simply microwave the container when you want some fresh rice within minutes.

Final Thoughts

A little knowledge can make life a lot easier. The next time you have to store cooked rice, you know exactly what to do. This way, you would stay safe and be sure to enjoy your rice as much as possible. You can also gauge just how convenient rice can be for you.

Now that you have this info, you can go crazy with your leftover rice. If you’re a huge fan of rice, you may want to cook and store it in large batches. Then go to town and have rice with chicken and vegetables or whip up some yummilicious desserts!