How Long Is Cooked Rice Good For (And Why)?

Exact Answer: One to Two Days

Rice is a great and simple dish to prepare and it is the basic dish in many south Asian cuisines. It is one of the most consumed staple food in the world, particularly in southeast Asia and Africa. Rice is also among one of the largest produced food in the world.

Cooked rice is a great source of carbohydrates and protein and it also contains a negligible amount of fat. However, the nutrition supplied by the rice depends on the strain of rice cooked. Different varieties of rice like white, brown, red, or black have different nutritional values.

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How Long Is Cooked Rice Good For?

Mode of storage of cooked riceTime good for
In Open conditionsEight to ten hours
In the FridgeOne to Two days
In the freezerA Month

It happens that people are left with a bowl of excess rice at the end of the meal. It may be due to the anticipation of some guests who did not show up or simply, a case of bad judgment at the time of cooking. In such circumstances, storing cooked rice is the best option to avoid the wastage of precious food.

Cooked rice can be stored in three ways. The first is to store in on the kitchen shelf itself, the second is refrigeration of the food and the third is freezing the rice.

Storing the cooked meal in open conditions is the most natural way of storing the dish. In this mode of storage, the cooked rice is best to eat within eight to ten hours after its consumption.

Refrigeration of cooked rice is a great way to keep the rice safe to eat for a long time. When stored in the fridge, the cool temperatures and dark conditions inside make the rice last for one to two days.

Freezing the cooked rice is not a very commonly used method to store the food. However, if the cook after the preparation of the dish comes to know that the dish is not going to be used for more than a week, they should freeze the rice. Freezing the rice delays its rotting period by a month.

Why Is Cooked Rice Good For So Long?

Cooked rice lasts for only about a few hours. Rice contains a bacteria called Bacillus cereus, this bacteria is largely dormant. However, once the rice is cooked and if the bacteria can survive this level of heat, it becomes active.

Moisture and heat conditions of the environment determine the period for which it is safe to consume. The bacteria, Bacillus cereus, grow in an environment that is high in moisture and has temperatures ranging between 85 degrees Fahrenheit to 95 degrees Fahrenheit. These bacteria multiply quickly and may lead to several health problems.

The rice should be consumed within two after its preparation or else, it should be kept in a fridge or should be frozen. This would help protect the rice from the toxins produced by the bacteria activated after its cooking.

Eating rice that was kept in open conditions for a long may be harmful to human health. If not refrigerated after two hours of its preparation, the toxins produced by these microorganisms would lead to diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal pain.

In contrast to the open conditions, the conditions in the fridge and freezer are cold and dark which discourages the growth of Bacillus cereus and other harmful microorganisms. This enables the cooked rice to last longer than in the natural environment.


Rice is the main staple dish for nearly half of the earth’s population. Cooked rice has a life of about eight to ten hours on the counter. It can safely last for a couple of days in the fridge and about a month in the freezer.

When cooked rice is kept in the open, the bacteria in the rice multiplies quickly in the open making the food harmful to consume. However, when it is kept in the fridge or freezer, it faces cool temperatures. Cool conditions slow down the growth of bacteria which enables it to last for longer.



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Hi! I'm Nidhi.

Here at the EHL, it's all about delicious, easy recipes for casual entertaining. So come and join me at the beach, relax and enjoy the food.

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