Can You Freeze Brown Rice?

Brown rice is a staple of kitchens all around the world. It’s healthy, nourishing, and filling, and is the perfect addition to so many family favourites. When raw, brown rice has a super long shelf-life and can be stored in your kitchen cupboard or pantry for months.

But what about cooked brown rice? Is it possible to preserve it in the freezer and defrost it when you need a quick and easy midweek dinner? Let’s take a look now.

The Quick Answer

Yes, you can freeze brown rice. Cooked brown rice can be frozen for around 3 months. It doesn’t require much prep. After splitting the rice into portions and into bags, brown rice will be perfectly fine in the freezer.

How to Freeze Brown Rice

When it comes to freezing cooked brown rice, the main challenge you will face is the rice sticking together in the freezer. But don’t worry, we’ve shared the perfect anti-sticking solution below, included in our step by step guide on how to freeze cooked brown rice. 

  1. Allow to Cool
    Remove your rice from the boil and drain the water. You can then run your pan under the cold tap and allow the water to cover the rice. Leave it for around 10-15 minutes. 
  2. Split into Portions
    One of the hardest things about preparing rice is getting the portion sizes right. When you’re splitting your rice into portions, use a cup to help you. 
  3. Flatten the Rice Into Freezer Bags
    Once you’re happy that you have decent portion sizes of cooked brown rice, gently flatten the rice that you’ve placed in each bag, spreading the surface area as much as possible. This helps to prevent the rice from sticking together in large clumps in the freezer. 
  4. Seal, Label and Freeze
    When your bags of brown rice are filled and flat, it’s time to seal and label them. Make a note of the date you cooked the rice, as well as the date it should be used.

4 Tips for Freezing Brown Rice

Now you know how to freeze it, we’ve got our 4 top tips which we strongly recommend following when freezing brown rice to have the best results:

  • Remove the Air – Before you seal your bag of brown rice, make sure you push out as much air as possible from the freezer-safe bag. This will help to protect your rice from freezer burn and will ensure it stays tasty for longer. 
  • Use a Wet Cup – To stop your rice from sticking when transferring it to the freezer-safe bags, wet the cup ever so slightly when separating it into portion sizes. 
  • Add From Frozen – Frozen brown rice is the perfect ingredient to use when preparing various fried rice or Asian-inspired stir fry dishes. For most fried rice dishes, you don’t need to defrost your rice before reheating it; you can simply add it to the oil in your pan, and it will cook perfectly. 
  • Use the Method with Other Rice Types – The method outlined above isn’t exclusively for brown rice. You can also follow it to successfully freeze other grains and types of rice. 

Freeze Rice Varieties

How Long Can You Freeze Brown Rice?

You can freeze cooked brown rice for around three months. 

Although it won’t necessarily go bad after three months, crystals will start forming on the rice after a long period, which can affect its texture. This could result in mushy rice when you come to reheat it, which is something we’re sure you will want to avoid. 

You Can Freeze Brown Rice for up to 3 Months

How Do You Defrost Brown Rice?

The great thing about the method listed here is that you don’t actually have to defrost cooked brown rice before reheating it.

You can either fry it or microwave it straight from frozen – just be sure that it’s piping hot before you eat it. 

However, if you would prefer to defrost it first, for instance, if you’re going to use it in a salad or in a slightly different recipe, you can defrost it in the fridge overnight.

Simply remove one of the bags from the freezer and place it flat in the fridge. By the following day, your brown rice will be ready to enjoy. 

Can You Refreeze Brown Rice?

We don’t recommend refreezing cooked brown rice after you have already defrosted it. This is because you can compromise the texture of your rice and risk it going mushy if you freeze and refreeze it too.

It’s much better to freeze your rice in individual portion sizes to ensure you only need to take out what you need from the freezer at any given time. This will help you reduce waste and preserve your frozen stock of cooked rice for future meals!

Does Brown Rice Freeze Well?

You should encounter no problems when you freeze cooked brown rice.

In fact, cooked brown rice is a great thing to freeze, as it can save you lots of time when it comes to meal prep time, giving you access to a delicious and healthy carb to accompany your family meal. 

Related FAQs

If you’ve still got questions about freezing brown rice or rice in general, then these may help:

Can You Freeze Wild Rice?

Rice comes in a variety of shapes and sizes: Wild rice, brown rice, short grain, long grain and more… The good news is that they can all be frozen using the same method outlined on this page. 

Is It Safe to Freeze Cooked Rice Dishes?

Cooked rice has an unfair, bad reputation. You can freeze cooked rice on its own, as part of a dish such as risotto or paella or simply with some diced vegetables stirred through.

Just make sure you don’t leave it sitting at room temperature – this is when it becomes dangerous. 

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