View Full Version : How long can you safely keep cooked rice?

08-24-2002, 09:02 AM
I made a pot of rice on Monday night (it's now Saturday). I didn't end up eating any of it and it's been in the fridge ever since. Is it still safe to eat?

Julie :)

08-24-2002, 09:17 AM
I found varying answers to this question (anywhere from 2-7 days. This is from the Rice Producers website:

Q: How long can rice be stored?

A: Milled rice (white, parboiled or pre-cooked) will keep almost indefinitely on the pantry shelf. Once opened, rice should be stored in a tightly-closed container that keeps out dust, moisture and other contaminants. Brown rice, because of the oil in the bran layer, has a limited shelf life of approximately 6 months. Refrigerator storage is recommended for longer shelf life. Cooked rice, when not eaten immediately, should be cooled quickly. To store cooked rice, place in a shallow container, cover, and place in refrigerator. Cooked rice may be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

I also read where it can be frozen for up to 6 months.

08-24-2002, 10:34 AM
I'm usually kind of careless about how long I leave things in the fridge, but even I wouldn't leave cooked rice more than three days. I'd say cook up a fresh batch and don't take chances.

:( Ruefully,

08-24-2002, 11:31 AM
D'oh! I guess I'll have to chuck it. That's what I would usually do, but I guess my question is, what bad thing can happen to rice? It's refrigerated....


08-24-2002, 12:33 PM
Originally posted by JJ40
what bad thing can happen to rice? It's refrigerated....


that was my question. I would have probably eaten it. but I didn't want to advise you to do so, since I really don't know what I am talking about. :o


08-24-2002, 12:41 PM
Here's the info I found on cooked rice:

Problems with rice
The main risk with cooked rice is from the food poisoning bacteria called Bacillus cereus. The bacteria forms a hard outer coating called a spore. This spore protects the bacteria from heat. If the rice is then cold slowly the spore will germinate producing more bacteria. These bacteria produce poisons or toxins. Re-heating the rice will destroy some of the bacteria but they will leave behind their toxins which are not damaged by heat. These toxins cause illness.

08-24-2002, 12:46 PM
Thanks, Sneezles! I will definitely toss it after reading the info you posted... Who knew?

08-24-2002, 12:47 PM
Here's a better written article:

Handle Cooked Rice With Care

by Pat Kendall, R.D., Ph.D.
Food Science and Human Nutrition Specialist
Colorado State University
Cooperative Extension

Be serious--food poisoning from fried rice?
Yes, and the culprit is Bacillus cereus. Before the 1970s, B. cereus
(pronounced B. serious) was not thought to cause outbreaks of food
poisoning in the United States. However, it now is known that different
strains of this commonly found spore-forming bacteria cause two different
forms of foodborne illness.
The first form often is found in meats and vegetables and produces a
toxin that is destroyed easily by heating. The second form, however,
produces a toxin that survives high temperatures as well as acidic
conditions. This is the form commonly associated with fried rice. Pasta
products also have been implicated as sources.
The organism itself frequently is found in uncooked rice and may
survive cooking. If the cooked rice is then held at room temperature, the
bacteria multiply and produce a heat-stable toxin that can survive brief
heating, such as in stir frying.
In Oriental restaurants, large batches of rice frequently are left to
cool at room temperature. Refrigeration is said to make the rice sticky,
yielding a less desirable fried-rice product, so rice is cooled at room
temperature. This cooling--especially if prolonged--creates ideal
conditions for the organism to grow and proliferate toxin.
One recent outbreak involved a catered lunch served to children in two
day care centers. Cooked rice was cooled to room temperature before being
placed in the refrigerator. The next morning it was pan-fried in oil with
pieces of cooked chicken and delivered to the day care centers where it was
held for one and one-half hours before being served.
Within six hours, 14 of the 67 children and staff who ate the fried
rice became ill with nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps and diarrhea.
B. cereus was isolated as the culprit. What was disturbing was that neither
the day care staff nor the restaurant food handlers were aware that cooked
rice was a potentially hazardous food.
Luckily, B. cereus food poisoning usually lasts only six to 24 hours
and seldom is associated with long-term complications. Regardless, any form
of food poisoning is best avoided.
How does one avoid B. cereus food poisoning? Treat cooked rice as you
would a cooked meat product. Refrigerate leftovers promptly in shallow
containers to encourage rapid cooling. If you're cooking rice for use later
in fried rice, refrigerate the cooked rice in shallow containers within one
hour of preparation. Keep cooked rice refrigerated until ready to stir fry.
Once prepared, keep fried rice hot (above 140 degrees Fahrenheit) until
ready to serve.

And if that wasn't enough info check this out:


08-24-2002, 12:51 PM
thanks, sneezles! now I know.

08-24-2002, 12:59 PM
Originally posted by valchemist
thanks, sneezles! now I know.

You're quite welcome! Amazing the stuff you can learn on the Internet. BTW, I think I'll be switching to steamed rice next time I'm at the Chinese restaurant ;) !

08-24-2002, 02:21 PM
It all depends on how cold the refrigerator is, isn't it? Mine is so cold that liquids freeze in it, so i don't ever worry about my cooked rice. The longest I ever stored cooked rice is 1 1/2 weeks. Still ate it. :) I also made sure that when I am not eating something anytime soon, I store it on my bottom-most shelf in the back, because that's where the frige is the coolest.