Does Rice Go Bad? How Long Does It Last?

Rice is available from white to black and short grain to long grain. For best quality, store white rice in an airtight container at under 40 degrees Fahrenheit / 4 degrees Celsius and use within two years of opening. Brown rice will keep for a year in the same conditions.

Does Rice Expire?

Rice is naturally high in starch and fiber. Many rices have nutrients added while being processed.

Per food authorities Jana Darrington and Brian Nummber with the Utah State University, polished white rice can be stored under the right for decades with no loss of nutritional or flavor quality.

However, once opened, rice is susceptible to mold if tainted with moisture, and to insects.

Does Uncooked Rice Go Bad?

The biggest threats to sealed rice are moisture and pests. Rice is loaded with starch, and bacteria and mold love starches.

If you keep your rice in the freezer, store it in airtight container, and return it to the freezer when you've taken what you need, white rice should keep well for two years.

If, however, you allow it to come to room temperature before re-freezing, condensation will introduce moisture to the container. This increases the risk of mold or bacterial growth.

While the rice still needs to be cooked, it may taste and smell musty.

  1. Dedicate a freezer container for storing opened bags of white rice,
  2. date it,
  3. and use it up within two years.​

Best Way To Store Rice

Uncooked rice is best stored sealed and in the freezer.

This is particularly true for brown rice, which is more susceptible to bugs. Brown rice is processed and sold with the hull on, which provides pest eggs a place to hide.

While brown rice is dried before packaging, some pests can encapsulate, survive the drying process, and grow inside the bag.

Freezing uncooked brown rice kills any remaining bugs.

Once cooked, brown rice can be stored in the refrigerator for up to four days. Per Alice Henneman with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, storing brown rice in a shallow dish will reduce the risk of clumping into an unusable mass.

cooked rice bowl

Because brown rice takes longer to cook, preparing it in large batches can reduce your prep time in the kitchen.

All cooked rice can dry and become unpleasantly chewy in the refrigerator.

While this works well for fried rice, it can render other dishes inedible.

Once it's cooled, any rice can be frozen in an airtight container for up to six months.​

Can Rice Go Bad?

Researchers at Brigham Young have opened thirty year old containers of rice and cooked it successfully. However, most of us don't have the ability to control storage conditions for that long.

Rice is easy to store in the freezer in a freezer bag. Once you open the container, take out what you need and immediately re-freeze the remaining product to avoid condensation.

After it's cooked, rice can be frozen in single serving containers for six months. C. Thi Nguyen with ChowHound suggests freezing single servings of rice in a silicon muffin tray, then transferring the rice "muffins" to freezer bags.

In the refrigerator, you've got less than a week, and you may not like the texture.​

Rice As The National Food of Everywhere

From Jasmine rice of Thailand to nutty Basmati of India and Pakistan, from forbidden black rice China to the wild "rice" of North America, rice offers a wide variety of flavors and textures.

Editors at Fine Cooking offer guidance on the best way to prepare rice grains from around the world.

Rice is easily stored and shipped. Farming practices have expanded to make it possible to grow rice from its initial cultivation in China to the Mediterranean, into Europe and across the sea to Central and South America.

Per food authorities at UC Davis, rice is now grown on every continent except Antarctica.

This staple food is a base starch in diets around the world. The simple flavor of starch makes it a good choice for savory or sweet dishes. Nutritionally enhanced rice offers populations with limited food access to a more complete diet and healthier lives.​

Leave a Comment