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How to Store Rice

Rice is one of those tiny grains that we often take for granted, but are the bedrock of so many delicious meals. Knowing how to store rice will ensure its freshness and longevity.

In this post, we will cover how to properly store uncooked rice as well as how to store cooked rice so that you can cook it ahead of time and prep for your meals ahead of time.

Best ways to store rice


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Whether it’s uncooked or cooked, rice needs a little TLC to stay fresh. From pantry to fridge, let’s explore the best methods to store your rice effectively. Onward to more delightful dishes and fewer food worries!

Uncooked white rice

A metal scoop with of white rice with a sack of rice in the background.

Uncooked rice is like the superhero of pantry items. If stored the right way, it can last a really long time, even years. The secret? Keeping it dry and cool.

First, think about what you’re storing the rice in. Airtight containers are a top choice. This could be a plastic container with a strong lid or a glass jar with a rubber seal.

Either way, the goal is to keep out moisture, because moisture can lead to yucky mold or attract bugs.

Next, consider where you’re storing the rice. A cool, dry place is best. That could be the back of your pantry or a special storage cupboard.

Direct sunlight? Not a friend of rice, so keep those grains in the shade. Dry pasta is similar when it comes to storage.


If you’re storing rice for a very long time, consider popping a bay leaf into the container. It’s a natural deterrent for bugs and it won’t affect the flavor of your rice.

In the end, storing uncooked rice properly means you’ll always have fresh grains ready for your next home-cooked masterpiece

Uncooked brown rice

A wooden bowl and spoon full of uncooked brown rice next to a burlap bag of brown rice.

Storing brown rice can be a bit trickier than its white counterpart. Why? It all comes down to the oil.

Unlike white rice, brown rice is a whole grain. It still has the bran layer and germ, which are removed in white rice. These layers contain nutritious oils, but these same oils can cause brown rice to spoil faster than white rice.

The same basic rules apply when storing brown rice as when we store white rice, we want to store it in a cool, dry place and in an airtight container.

This will help prevent moisture and bugs from getting in. However, due to the higher oil content, even with this care, brown rice will not keep as long as white rice in your pantry.

You can expect it to stay good for about 6 to 12 months under these conditions.

If you want to extend the shelf life of your brown rice, you can store it in the refrigerator or even the freezer. The cooler temperature slows down the oxidation process, which is what causes the oils in the brown rice to go rancid.

When stored in the fridge, uncooked brown rice can last up to 18 months, and in the freezer, it can last even longer. Flour should be stored similarly to rice, check out my post on how to store flour to learn more.

Cooked rice

A white bowl full of cooked white rice on a black and white striped towel.

Now, let’s talk about cooked rice. Unlike its uncooked counterpart, cooked rice requires a bit more care.

If you are struggling to make nice fluffy rice, learn the best way how to cook white rice on the stovetop and cook it perfectly every time.

After cooking, allow the rice to cool a bit – but don’t leave it sitting out for more than an hour. The longer it sits out, the more the risk of bacteria growth increases.

Once cooled, transfer the cooked rice into an airtight container. Here, the refrigerator is your best friend.

Cooked rice can last in the fridge for up to five to seven days. If you want to keep it for longer, you can freeze it!

Simply divide the rice into portion sizes, place them in freezer-safe bags or containers, and pop them in the freezer.

When reheating, make sure it’s piping hot throughout to kill any potential bacteria. Learn how to reheat rice in my post which will walk you through the steps.

Can You Freeze Rice?

Rice can also be frozen, making it a convenient method to extend its shelf life and reduce waste. Whether it’s cooked or uncooked rice, you can safely store it in the freezer for later use.

This can save you both time and effort, especially when you’re preparing meals that require rice as an ingredient.

Does Rice Go Bad?

Now you might be wondering, “Does rice go bad?” The answer is, unfortunately, yes. Both uncooked and cooked rice can spoil if not stored properly.

For uncooked rice, signs of spoilage include a musty smell, pests, or visible mold. If you see any of these, it’s best to discard the rice.

Cooked rice, on the other hand, can become hard, dry, or develop an off smell when it’s gone bad. Additionally, if you see any mold or discoloration, don’t take any chances – it’s time to say goodbye.

If you’re interested in learning more about storing other pantry staples like lentils, check out our comprehensive guide on how to store lentils. It provides valuable insights and tips to ensure the optimal storage of lentils, just like we’ve discussed for rice.

Frequently asked questions about how to store rice

Cooked rice that has gone bad might become hard, dry, or emit an off smell. If there’s any visible mold or discoloration, it’s best to throw it out.

Absolutely, you can freeze cooked rice! After cooling, transfer the rice into freezer-safe bags or containers, dividing it into portions. Frozen cooked rice can last for up to one month.

Brown rice has a shorter shelf life than white rice due to its higher oil content. Uncooked brown rice can last about 6-12 months in the pantry but can last longer, up to 18 months if stored in the refrigerator.


Rice is a cornerstone of our cooking. By storing it properly, we can ensure that every dish we prepare with it is fresh, flavorful, and safe.

Remember, the key is to keep uncooked rice dry and cool, while cooked rice should be refrigerated or frozen promptly.

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