Can You Freeze Cooked Rice? Yes, and Here’s How.

Before you get out your freezer-safe containers, here are a few safety tips to keep in mind.

I don’t know about you, but there have been many times when I’ve misjudged how much cooked rice I need for a meal and wind up with leftovers. Making fried rice is one great way to ensure that leftover rice doesn’t go to waste, but freezing rice is another option. Here’s everything you need to know.

Can You Freeze Cooked Rice?

Yes! You can easily freeze cooked rice, which is great if you’ve made too much or want to shave down how much time you spend making dinner. You can also freeze rice that has other ingredients mixed in, including veggies or meat, as a simple part of your weekly meal prep.

We’ve found that certain types of rice, like arborio, sushi rice and bomba (used in paella), freeze better than jasmine or basmati rice. (Here’s how to make sushi rice.)

How to Freeze Rice

Here’s your crash course in freezing rice the right way.

  • Spread the cooked rice on a metal baking sheet or baking pan.
  • Place the pan in the fridge, keeping the pan as level as possible so it won’t tip out. (Sweeping up spilled rice is no fun!)
  • When the rice has cooled completely, portion it out into zip-top freezer bags or air-tight containers. (Hot tip: 1/2 cup of cooked rice is one serving.)
  • Stash the bags in the freezer.

When Should You Freeze Rice?

Freezing rice shortly after it has been cooked is a must: Bacillus cereus bacteria spores can survive the cooking process and lead to food poisoning if the rice is left out. Since the bacteria thrive at room temperature, sticking rice in the freezer stops potential bacteria growth in its tracks. It also makes freezing a better option than refrigeration.

How Long Can You Keep Cooked Rice in the Freezer?

Frozen rice lasts up to a month in the freezer. When you’re ready to take it out, reheat your rice in the microwave. Just make sure it’s completely heated through and piping hot before you tuck in. Avoid reheating rice more than once. Repeated reheating can create the conditions needed for that nasty bacteria to grow. If you have any leftovers after reheating, scrape them into the garbage.

Learn more about how to reheat rice.

Recipes to Make with Your Rice
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Camille Berry
With nearly a decade of freelancing under her belt (six with Taste of Home), Camille regularly taps into her background to write about about all things food and drink. Part of the third generation in a family of restaurateurs, Camille was born with a passion for cooking and food. She embarked on a career in hospitality where she excelled as a sommelier and wine director. This hospitality experience has given her a wealth of first-hand knowledge about how to pair all manner of drinks with food—plus some serious kitchen skills. These days, she's hung up her wine key in favor of a keyboard and covers all aspects of food and drink.