How Long Is Cooked Rice Good

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How long is cooked rice good?  This is often a practical question for us food-lovers especially if we are to prepare our own meals independently, or we’re going to serve food for our friends.

Because using rice of low-quality or cooked improperly can also affect the quality of our dishes, we have to know some basic info about rice grains and get some helpful tips on food handling.

This can better prepare us to conserve our rice and turn them into palatable meals which we can enjoy during lunch or dinner time. There are actually different kinds of rice that we can use to relate to a certain popular cuisine.

And by knowing the differences in the types of rice grains, we can plan ahead what kind of rice would suit best the dish we’d like to prepare for a specific occasion.

Why Eat Rice?

Can you imagine eating your favorite dish daily without rice? For some people, it’s simply unthinkable. Especially in many parts of Asia, where rice is a staple food. There is where most people can’t eat-- without rice.

It’s because this popular grain can complement any dish.  It also matches any cuisine. What’s more, it’s filling enough to last more than meal time.  And it’s also a great source of energy.

Look at it this way, eating cooked rice can give you that carbo load to keep you active. And if you really love to eat rice just like the rest of us, it’s important to know how to cook and how long to keep it. This is to be sure that the quality of your cooked rice stays good until it’s served.

Reminder:

By the way, if you’ve got some health issues, check with your doctor, if you can still include rice in your diet. Because some stay away from eating rice because of the carbohydrates, which turns into sugar and then, glucose. An increase in glucose consumption for some people results in health imbalance.

Same reason diabetics and weight-watchers control their portions of rice during meal time. Too much rice in one’s diet triggers health and weight problems, so eat in moderation.

Let’s Cook Plain Rice: The Easy Steps

You can actually learn this fast enough so you can cook your own meals. How to cook it varies depending on the way you choose to do it: some use the traditional cooking pot, others use the convenient electric rice cooker; while others go for oven-cooked or stove top kind of cooking rice. Below is the simple steps to prepare uncooked rice grains, using an electric rice cooker:

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 1
    An electronic rice cooker, a stainless pot or earthen pot (for the traditional way of cooking) to cook rice in. You may also use a stovetop or oven for this one.
  • 2
    A measuring cup
  • 3
    Distilled water or plain water to pour in the uncooked rice for boiling
  • Make sure the rice cooker is properly cleaned and the bottom surface must be dry.

HOW TO COOK RICE:

Reminder:

Make sure the rice grains are free from mold, moisture or rice insects. Check for the quality of the rice grains before cooking.

You may also rid the rice grains of little specks of dirt like unopened grains or kernels before cleansing the grains with water.

Below is an example of how to cook white milled rice using an electric cooker:

Step 1

Pour one (1) cup of rice in the rice cooker.

  • One cup of rice is good for two persons for light eaters.

Step 2

Fill the rice cooker or pot with enough distilled water
(about 4-5 cups).

Step 3

Cleanse the uncooked rice using distilled water, moving in a gentle circular motion to float the unwanted specks or unopened grains from the white rice. Then pour out the rice water.

Step 4

Fill the electronic rice pot with water.

  • One cup of white rice is equal to one cup of water. Two cups of rice are equal to two cups of water. Follow the 1:1 rule

Step 5

Insert the plug into the electric outlet. The rice cooker’s signal light will be lighted once it’s turned on.

Step 6

You’ll know the rice is cooked when the rice grain has enlarged and turned soft enough to be eaten.

Step 7

Served hot during a meal, or top the cooked white rice with your favorite dish.

MEASURING TIP: HOW MUCH RICE TO COOK PER MEAL

A cup of DRY rice grains for cooking would usually expand three times after
cooking.

1 cup = about 200 grams

2 cups = 400 grams

3 cups = 600 grams

Note: Depending on how much you prefer, one cup is usually good for one to persons/ serving.

The Different Types of Rice & Their Nutrition

There are many rice varieties. These differ according to their “characteristics”, (“The List of Varieties”). These are classified according to:

  • grain length
  • color
  • thickness
  • aroma
  • stickiness
  • consistency
  • Processing technique such as whether milled or whole grain

Example of:     processed rice: white milled rice;

                     :     whole grain rice: brown rice

  • The country of origin

Each country can have their own rice variety such as Asian rice, African rice etc. The list of rice varieties in different countries could vary as well, (“List of rice varieties”).

These are some examples of popular rice according to grain length:  

  • Long grain - long and thin rice grains; also tends to dry when cooked, or turn fluffy and separate when cooked

    Examples of long grain are jasmine or basmati
  • Medium grain - a little shorter than long grain
  • Short grain - short, fat and/or rounded grains or kernels; sticky consistency when cooked

    Examples of short grain rice and their sample use for dishes:
    Japanese rice -sushi

Here are some kinds of rice, along with some of their nutritional contents:

White rice: carbohydrates, protein, fat; magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, niacin, thiamin, iron, folic acid among others

Brown rice: carbohydrates, protein, fat, magnesium, minerals

Red rice: fiber, iron, zinc, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium

Wild rice: protein, vitamin A, folic acid, omega 3-fatty acids

What are the other popular examples of rice:

  • Basmati - aromatic, long grain
  • Jasmine- aromatic, long grain
  • Thai rice - there are many varieties. They have white and glutinous rice among others

Type of Rice

Sample Popular Dish Usually Used For

Japanese Rice

Sushi

Basmati rice

Sauce-based dishes; Indian-authentic or inspired recipes (eg. Biryani rice mixed with veggies

Jasmine rice

Aromatic dishes; Persian or Middle-Eastern cuisine

Chinese rice

Chinese-authentic dishes like congee recipes

How Long Will Cooked Rice Last Unrefrigerated?

We know that food can get bad when left unrefrigerated. So does rice. 

Cooked rice will remain good for as long as it’s served hot. But after eating, it should not be left out in the open without proper storage. 

This is to keep bacteria from growing. If you must know, what grows in cooked rice is called-Bacillus cereus. It’s a kind of spore that’s resistant to heat.

But it’s not actually the one you have to remember. Spoilt rice can cause food poisoning. 

According to an article published in www.berkeleywellness.com, spores “can germinate...and produce toxins” in cooked rice when “left at room temperature..”, (Berkeley Wellness).

So, better serve your rice within hours as soon as it’s cooked and done, to avoid the risk of contamination or spoilage.

How To Properly Store Cooked Rice

Put some cover in the left-over or unused rice. Place them in a tightly-lid container preferably made of glass or durable plastic ware.

And then store it is in the refrigerator where it must be kept at below 4 degrees Celsius.

You may also store it in the freezer which can make the cooked rice last longer.

Why It’s Important To Handle Rice Properly

Aside from spoilage, mishandling food such as rice can not only cause illness. 

It can also change the quality and taste of rice just like other foods when these are not properly prepared or shelved.

Below are some examples which can affect the quality and taste of cooked rice:

  • Improper food storage of the dry rice
  • Putting too much water in the rice prior to cooking
  • Too short or too long cooking time
  • Placing the left-over cooked rice in the wrong container or outside the refrigerator
  • Not serving the freshly-cooked rice as soon as it’s ready

Can Cooked Rice Be Reheated Properly?

Yes, you may. Why not try to re-cook your rice in the pan and turn it into a new rice recipe? 

Perhaps out of the plain cooked rice, you can also add some herbs or left-over meat strips and vegetables. Now that’s instant fried rice for you.

Ways to Reheat Cooked Rice

You may try the following ways to warm your cooked rice which has been placed in the refrigerator, by:

  • Cooking again over pan (see below a sample recipe)
  • Reheating over microwave - programme the control button on medium heat and set to 1-2 minutes for 1-2 cups of cooked rice to be reheated. A too long or too high setting in the microwave can dry out the cooked rice.
  • Reheating over stovetop

A sample of rice recipe from repurposed or left-over rice using the pan to re-cook the rice:

THE INGREDIENTS YOU CAN USE:

  • 1
    Cooking oil (preferably olive oil, vegetable, canola or sunflower oil)
  • 2
    A few garlic cloves
  • 3
    Green peas in a can
  • 4
    Shredded vegetables or meat (some food leftover)
  • 5
    A teaspoon of oyster sauce to add flavor and twist
  • 6
    Salt and/or seasoning

HOW TO PAN-FRY RICE:

  • 1
    Warm the pan and put the oil.
  • 2
    Heat the cooking oil
  • 3
    Toss in the garlic cloves. Wait until golden brown.
  • 4
    Put the peas, mixed veggies or any leftover food ingredients you want to be included.
  • 5
    Saute until cooked.
  • 6
    Put in the mashed leftover rice. Mix together.
  • 7
    Flavor the fried rice with a tablespoon of oyster sauce.
  • 8
    Sprinkle with some salt and seasoning to taste.

How to Tell If A Cooked Rice Is Still Good 

Here are some cues on whether a cooked rice needs to be tossed away already:

Touch - Does it look a little watery, softer or mushier when first cooked?

Sight - The color of the rice looks off-white or has turned discolored.

Smell - Does it have a pungent or odorous scent?

Taste - Does it taste bad or has its taste changed?

So Really, How Long Is Cooked Rice Good?

So it really depends on how you cook the rice, where you store it, and how soon you keep it from getting wasted. 

THESE ARE SOME REASONS RICE SPOIL EASILY:

  • The rice grains have been stored improperly and had contaminants prior to cooking (rice insects, moist, etc).
  • It’s been overcooked or undercooked.
  • t’s been frozen or kept too long in the fridge (two days or more in the ref would change the quality of the cooked rice already).
    For freezer-kept cooked rice, if it’s been stored for six months or more, this could already change the quality of the cooked rice.
  • It wasn’t covered or placed in a proper container before cooling.
  • The rice wasn’t allowed to cool down before storing in the container and was placed in the ref immediately.

HOW TO TELL IF THE STORED COOKED RICE IS NO LONGER GOOD FOR REHEATING: 

It has become soggy, watery, dry, clumped together or its color has changed from the original color when it was first cooked.  The rice can also have an unpleasant smell.

People ask questions:

HOW LONG IS UNREFRIGERATED COOKED RICE GOOD FOR:

This depends on the weather conditions, sunny or winter. 

But the safest rule of the thumb is to serve your cooked rice only a few hours within a day and preferably within an hour or two, after cooking. 

Untouched cooked rice must be covered in a container or placed in appropriate storage. 

Make sure also that plain cooked rice must be cooled down a bit before covering or storing.

Being aware of how to properly cook rice, store it and repurpose it can help you make good use of your kitchen ingredients such as rice which is a pantry staple for many. 

And of course, if you like serving rice meals, and is a certified rice-buff, then it’s important to know some of this basic information. 

Food handling counts a lot in keeping the cooked rice fresh. And remember to serve your cooked rice soon enough.