Can You Freeze Rice?

Rice is a staple food for people worldwide and can be enjoyed in so many ways and with so many dishes. But if you’ve prepared too much rice to enjoy at any given time, and we’ve all been there, what should you do with the leftovers?

Can You Freeze Rice? Yes, you can freeze rice, whether it’s been cooked plain or as part of a rice dish, for up to three months. You will need to allow your cooked rice sufficient time to cool before bagging it up, labelling it, and transferring it to the freezer.

Can You Refreeze Rice? No

Does Rice Freeze Well? Yes

How to Freeze Rice

Everyone has been in the situation of cooking too much rice to eat in one sitting, so it’s handy to know that you can freeze it without issue.

Providing you follow the steps below, you can freeze cooked rice and cooked rice dishes with minimal fuss, as you can see for yourself:

How to Freeze Plain Cooked Rice

If you have a bowl of plain or seasoned cooked rice and want to freeze it then here are the simple steps you’ll need to take:

  1. Cool
    As soon as you’ve decided to freeze cooked rice, you will need to leave it to one side to cool thoroughly. It’s helpful to break it down and scatter it on a tray, as this will speed things up and ensure your rice has cooled completely before proceeding to the next steps. 
  2. Bag Up
    When your rice has cooled completely, scoop it up and place it into a freezer-safe bag. If you have a particularly sizeable portion of cooked rice, it’s probably best to split it into smaller portion sizes before freezing it.
  3. Label and Freeze
    Write today’s date, as well as the use-by date, on the bag of rice and place it in the freezer. You can freeze cooked rice for up to three months. 

How to Freeze Cooked Rice Dishes

The truth is, there’s not a great deal of difference in the freezing process of cooked plain rice and cooked rice dishes, including the likes of paella.

The most important thing to consider is that you will need to ensure the various other ingredients, be it fish, meat, or veggies, are evenly distributed throughout the freezer-safe bags that you use to portion your rice up.

It’s also helpful to label what’s in the bag specifically, as this will make your life a lot easier when it comes to defrosting the right thing!

3 Tips for Freezing Rice

Now you know how to freeze it, we’ve got our 3 top tips which we strongly recommend following when freezing rice to have the best results:

Reheat from Frozen
You can reheat frozen rice straight from frozen if you want to save yourself some time. The best way to do this is to break up the chunks of rice before placing them in the microwave and heating them on medium power.

If you want to defrost your frozen rice, we explain how to go about it in one of the sections below. 

Freeze or Refrigerate Immediately
Bacteria spores. known as Bacillus Cereus. typically survive the cooking process and pose a real threat to your health if you leave your rice sitting out at room temperature for too long.

Because these bacteria thrive at room temperature, make sure you freeze or refrigerate your rice immediately after it has cooled, as this will prevent you from suffering from food poisoning. 

Only Freeze Once
You should only ever freeze cooked rice or cooked rice dishes once. If you’re worried about wasting rice, it’s best to split it into smaller portion sizes before freezing it, so you can easily remove what you need from the freezer at any given time. 

How Long Can You Freeze Rice?

You can freeze cooked rice and cooked rice dishes for around three months. If you leave your rice in the freezer for any longer than this, it will start to dry out and will be hard when you come to reheat it.

Rice has an incredibly long shelf life (up to a year) when it’s dry, so try and be mindful of your portion sizes if you’re hoping to limit the amount of food that you waste.

You Can Freeze Rice for up to 3 Months

How Do You Defrost Rice?

The best and safest way to defrost cooked rice is to transfer it from the freezer into the fridge. You should never defrost rice at room temperature, as bacteria thrive in these conditions.

As mentioned above, you can reheat rice from frozen, or you can use the microwave to thaw your rice if you want to save yourself some time.

Can You Refreeze Rice?

No, you should only freeze rice that has been cooked once. This is to limit the likelihood of food poisoning occurring, as you need to be particularly careful with rice that has been cooked and then kept at room temperature for any length of time.

Our advice is to split your leftover rice into smaller portion sizes, so you can easily remove the rice you need without worrying about having to refreeze it.

Does Rice Freeze Well?

Yes, in most instances, rice freezes well.

The biggest potential issue with freezing rice is the bacteria that thrives when you leave it out at room temperature, so make sure you refrigerate or freeze your rice as quickly as possible to avoid any potential health issues.

Providing you follow the steps listed above, you shouldn’t encounter any issues when it comes to freezing cooked rice.

Related FAQs

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

Is It Safe to Freeze Rice?

Freezing rice is perfectly safe, as long as you avoid leaving it out at room temperature before you get to freezing it. Rice needs to be cool before you freeze it, but the moment it has cooled it must be frozen.

Can You Freeze Risotto?

Yes, risotto can be frozen. Once the risotto has had time to cool, portion it into freezer bags or Tupperware containers, seal and then place in the freezer. It’s that simple!

Can You Freeze Paella?

Like other rice dishes, paella can be frozen. Portion cooled paella into freezer bags or airtight containers, ensuring there is an even distribution of ingredients. Seal the bags or containers and place them in the freezer.

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