Does Rice Go Bad? How long Does It last?

logo by Editorial Staff | Updated on December 18th, 2022

Uncooked rice, as you might expect, may survive a long time, but the questions are, does rice go bad, and how long does rice last?

In most circumstances, the answer will be determined by how you keep your groceries. Cooked rice, for example, should be kept in the refrigerator, although uncooked rice can be kept in the storage room for a long time. Let’s see what happens.

rice in bowl

What Happens If Rice Goes Bad?

Even though rice has an endless shelf life, it might occasionally deteriorate. Unfortunately, determining whether white, jasmine, wild, or basmati rice is still healthful and safe to consume may be difficult.

Some rice varieties can harbor rice weevils and brownish bugs with red markings when stored improperly. Fortunately, this is not common, and you will notice them immediately. On the other hand, spoiled uncooked brown rice will be obvious because it smells and gets greasy to the touch.

What Is the Shelf Life of Rice?

Uncooked white rice can survive indefinitely if properly stored. However, it should be stored in a cool, dry place for no more than a week after cooking. Keeping it in the freezer will last for years, but utilizing your cooked rice within 4 to 6 months is best.

How Long Does Rice Last? (Chart)

Rice typePantryFridgeFreezer
White raw4 to 5 yearsIndefinitelyIndefinitely
Brown raw6 to 8 monthsUp to one year12 to 18 months
Jasmine raw4 to 5 yearsIndefinitelyIndefinitely
Wild raw4 to 5 yearsIndefinitelyIndefinitely
White cooked2 hours5 to 7 days6 to 8 months
Brown cooked2 hours4 to 5 days2 months
Jasmine cooked2 hours4 to 6 days6 months
Wild cooked2 hours4 to 6 days6 months

Raw brown rice may be stored in the cupboard for six to eight months. Refrigerating it will extend its shelf life and be edible for around a year. Cooked brown rice has a five-day shelf life in the refrigerator.

How Long Can Uncooked White Rice Be Stored?

Unopened (read: uncontaminated) bags of white rice, including long-grain, sushi, jasmine, and basmati, will stay in your cupboard indefinitely. Yes, you read it correctly: indefinitely!

Once the rice has been exposed to the environment merely by opening it, store it in an airtight container, ideally in a cold location such as the pantry—it should keep indefinitely.

To be safe, refrigerate or freeze the grains in an airtight container to keep uncooked rice fresh (if you live in a humid location or are prone to bugs or other pests).

How Long Can Uncooked Brown Rice Be Stored?

Brown rice, unlike white rice, is a whole grain since both the bran and germ are present. (White rice is refined by removing the bran and germ, leaving just the quick-cooking, softer endosperm—or white rice kernel.)

This implies that the natural oils in brown rice are still there, and they can readily become rancid and deteriorate. Brown rice should be stored in an airtight container in a cold place, such as the pantry, for a few months.

Refrigerate or freeze the grains in an airtight container to lengthen the shelf life of brown rice: colder temperatures prevent the natural oils in whole grains from spoiling.

How Long Does Cooked Rice Last?

In contrast to dry rice, the shelf life of cooked rice is nearly the same for all varieties of rice.

Once cooked, rice can hold its taste, texture, and freshness in the refrigerator for 3–4 days; others claim it may last a week.

Cooked rice may also be frozen for up to 8 months.

How Long Can Cook Rice Be Stored in the Fridge?

Cooked rice will stay in the fridge for about 4 days, regardless of the rice variety. That is the typical duration for storing perishable leftovers and applies to rice.

Some people, like myself, store cooked rice in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, but that’s about it.

If you need extra time, freezing is a fantastic alternative (here’s an article on freezing cooked rice on our sister site Thousands of people do this every week, and it doesn’t take effort.

How Long Can Cooked Rice Be Left Outside?

Cooked rice can be stored at room temperature for two hours or up to an hour if the temperature rises beyond 90°F (32°C). That is the official opinion.

You may be quite severe about it, or you can be a little more lenient and use it as a suggestion rather than a rule.

For example, your covered pot of rice has been sitting on the counter for about 3 hours since you neglected to refrigerate it.

If you follow the official advice, you must disregard it. However, if you cooked the rice three hours ago, scooped it with clean spoons, and quickly covered the pot, the rice should be OK. It is entirely up to you whether or not to discard it.

That being said, if you decide to deviate from the guidelines, do so with caution. If you unintentionally left cooked rice on the counter overnight, the only safe choice is to dispose of it the next morning.

How Long Can Dry Rice Be Stored?

Dry white rice can be stored indefinitely; however, dry brown rice may be stored for roughly a year before becoming rancid.

This is because white rice has been stripped of its husk, bran, and germ. That means it lacks many nutrients in brown rice but contains relatively little oil susceptible to rancidification.

As a result, several manufacturers claim that white rice may be stored indefinitely. As a result, some companies package brown rice in smaller packets than white rice.

Brown rice has an unbroken exterior bran layer (where the oil resides) and remains for only a year to a year (e.g., Ben’s Original suggests 16 months).

There’s also wild rice, which isn’t rice but water grass, despite its appearance. As with white rice, it may be stored indefinitely if properly stored.

How Can You Tell If Your Uncooked Rice Is Bad?

Because rice has an endless shelf life if properly preserved, determining if it has gone bad would be difficult.

However, there are still methods for determining whether uncooked rice has gone rancid. These are likewise simple and will not demand any work on your part. Proper storage and food safety measures will aid in the prevention of foodborne infections.

The presence of rice weevil, a species of insect typically found in uncooked rice, should be the first item you search for. If you notice this bug wandering about in your uncooked rice, you must discard the entire container. Brown rice should be discarded if it appears greasy and emits an unpleasant odor.

How Can You Tell If Cooked Rice Is Bad?

Most rice varieties, such as white, wild, basmati, and jasmine, have an unlimited shelf life. You only need to worry about keeping it free of impurities. Otherwise, you may experience problems with ruined grains and, as a result, health risks.

Brown rice, on the other hand, has a short shelf life due to its high oil content. As a result, it frequently degrades rapidly. Fortunately, you won’t have trouble judging if your rice is safe to consume.

1. It’s really hard and dry

This is your visual cue that the cooked rice in your refrigerator has reached the end of its useful life. The longer leftover rice remains in the fridge, the more it dries out. However, if the grains have gotten hard, dry, or even crunchy, they’ve likely been in the fridge for several days.

Rice is best consumed within a few days of cooking. If any more than that, it’s best to throw it away. Cooked rice can be stored in an airtight container to extend its shelf life.

2. It was left out of the refrigerator for too long

It’s recommended to keep cooked rice at room temperature for as little as possible. The damp climate provides perfect conditions for bacterial development. While chilling does not completely stop development, it significantly slows it down.

Uncooked rice may contain Bacillus cereus bacterial spores. These spores can live even after boiling. Bacteria can cause food poisoning if cooked rice is not properly handled, cooled, stored, or reheated.

So, if you left cooked rice out at room temperature for more than two hours before putting it in the fridge, it’s probably best to cut your losses and discard it in the compost or trash.

3. It has been chilled and reheated several times

Limiting the number of times rice (and most meals) are chilled and reheated is preferable. This creates an excellent habitat for germs to flourish. A decent rule of thumb is only to reheat leftover rice once. After that, it’s best to throw any remaining leftovers.

Instead, if you find yourself with more rice than you can consume in a meal or two, freeze the extras for later.

4. It has a terrible odor

If you notice a bad odor emerging from your rice, it’s time to throw it. That rice has probably been in the fridge for more than four days, and it is no longer safe to eat.

How Should Cooked Rice Be Stored?

Because cooked rice is extremely wet, it is fairly uncommon to become a bacterial growth substrate. So, if you wish to keep cold rice for later use, you must store it properly. Most of the time, this product cannot be left at room temperature for more than two hours.


If you’re going to keep cooked rice for a few days, let it cool for about 15 to 20 minutes before gently sealing it and putting it in the fridge.


The fastest method to cool it is to spread it out on a tray or baking sheet. If you reside in a hot, humid climate, storing the tray in the refrigerator is preferable. When it has completely cooled, transfer it to a resealable plastic bag or an airtight container and store it in the freezer as soon as possible.

What Is the Best Way to Store Uncooked White Rice?


It is, without a doubt, the most convenient rice variety to keep without risk of spoilage. The original packaging should be kept in the dark, dry pantry with a continuous low temperature. After opening a pack of rice, the best approach to keep insects at bay is to place it in a freezer bag or an airtight container.


If you want fresh white rice for a few months, place it in the freezer. Remove it from the original packing and place it in a freezer or airtight container. Before closing the bag, make careful to eliminate any surplus air.

However, the easiest way to avoid freezer burn is to store your rice in an oxygen-free container. Your rice will stay eatable and free of dust, bugs, and vermin for decades if stored in this manner.

Is It Possible to Freeze Cooked Rice?

Absolutely. Freezing cooked rice is a terrific technique to ensure that no leftovers go stale in your refrigerator, and you can thaw it whenever you want for your meals.

However, because it has lost some moisture during the freezing process, you must add some moisture to your remaining rice – perhaps some olive oil or butter.

Cooked rice in the fridge will last less than a week, while frozen rice has a shelf life of six to eight months until it’s no longer safe to consume.

Cooking rice in big amounts, storing it in sealed containers, and freezing it is a smart strategy to save meal prep time and avoid food waste.

Cooked Rice, How to Freeze It

Cooked rice, as previously said, freezes quite well. Furthermore, the procedure is simple and takes little time. Here’s how to store cooked rice in the freezer:

  • Make meal-sized pieces of rice.
  • Allow the rice to cool to room temperature.
  • Place the grains in freezer bags. Seal the bags after removing any surplus air. If you like, you may add labels with names and dates.
  • Place the freezer bags into the freezer.

Freezer bags are the best option for long-term rice preservation. Meal prep containers are also a good alternative if you want to keep the rice in the freezer for a week or two.

There are several methods for defrosting and reheating frozen rice:

Microwave. First, thaw the frozen rice in short time increments on low power. Increase the power once the machine has been defrosted. If the rice is dry, add a tablespoon or two of water.

Nonstick frying pan Begin on medium heat to defrost, then increase to high to reheat.

Refrigerator. Thaw the rice overnight and cook it the next day.

What Is the Best Way to Store Uncooked Brown Rice?


Brown rice may be stored for roughly a half year if securely sealed and kept free from moisture and insects.

Grandma’s recipe – Store garlic cloves or dried bay leaves in a jar to protect rice from insects.

Oxygen absorber – If you can locate a container with an oxygen absorber, you should keep your rice in it for a long time. The only requirement is that it be firmly shut to prevent insects from getting into your meals. Unfortunately, rice will deteriorate with time.


This method extends the shelf life of brown rice by around two years. You won’t need to defrost this product because it has a low moisture content.

Is It Possible to Eat Cold Rice?

Cold rice is just as safe to consume as hot rice. However, the texture may differ. To determine whether it is safe to consume, follow the same guidelines outlined above.

What Happens When You Consume Spoiled Rice?

If you prepare and consume rice that has passed its best-before date, you are unlikely to incur any negative consequences, even if the rice has a sprinkling of weevils.

The greater risk is consuming cooked rice that has not been properly kept or reheated. Uncooked rice may contain spores of the bacterium Bacillus cereus. The spores can cause food poisoning if cooked and kept at room temperature.

Symptoms may appear one to five hours after ingesting the problematic rice and may include vomiting or diarrhea that lasts up to 24 hours.

If you intend to reheat cooked rice, it is better to chill the leftovers as quickly as possible and keep them in the refrigerator. When reheating, ensure the rice is boiling all the way through.

The Dangers of Consuming Expired Rice

The structure of white and brown rice is what distinguishes them. Because the brown type includes husk, germ, and bran, the white type does not, and its shelf life is significantly reduced. On the other hand, it is high in nutrients.

Unfortunately, the remaining pieces make brown rice particularly perishable; thus, eating damaged ones puts you in danger of food sickness. You would most likely have vomiting and diarrhea if you consume reheated, week-old rice contaminated with Bacillus cereus spores.

The initial symptoms will show 1 to 5 hours after swallowing spoiled rice, although they will normally persist for no more than 24 hours.

Always serve rice immediately after cooking or refrigerate it for a couple of hours. To prevent spores from forming, never reheat this dish more than once or leave it at room temperature for an extended period.


Even though producers must mark the expiration date on the container, uncooked white rice has an infinite shelf life. However, whether you store it raw or cooked, you must be cautious while keeping brown rice. Pack it well and enjoy this nutritious cuisine without worry.


Editorial Staff

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