Zojirushi Blog

Tips on How to Store Rice (Before and After Cooking)

Today, we will be diving into how to properly store rice so that it can stay as fresh as possible, for as long as possible. There are several ways to do this, for both uncooked and cooked rice, to keep your rice moist, delicious, and safe to eat for later consumption. Plus, with proper rice storage, you can even save precious money and time by being able to reheat your rice whenever you need it!

How to Store Uncooked Rice

Did you know that rice can deteriorate, even when uncooked? When rice comes into contact with moisture (its worst enemy), heat, dust, or any other contaminants, it will, in fact, go bad. Moisture can also introduce bacteria, which of course, can cause serious issues. So, how do you make sure that your uncooked rice stays as fresh as possible?

  • Buy your rice in small quantities. The less rice you have on hand, the less likely it will be for you to have extra uncooked rice on hand.
  • If you do have extra rice on hand, no need to worry! Choose an airtight container that is made from plastic, glass, or metal. You can even use plastic bags – just make sure to press the air out of the bag before sealing.
  • Extend the life of your raw rice by refrigerating or freezing it. Hot temperatures can damage your rice grains, and high levels of humidity can introduce moisture. Even if you store your rice in a cool and dark place, high temps in the summer can unknowingly damage your rice. So, when in doubt, refrigerate!

Pro tip: The shelf life of raw rice differs for brown rice. White rice tends to have a longer shelf life, up to 2 years, while brown rice still contains oils that deduct the shelf life to about 6-12 months. One way to know that your brown rice has gone bad is by checking for an unpleasant, almost rancid, smell.

How to Store Cooked RiceSome of you might believe that you can “store” your cooked rice in your rice cooker, as long as it is in “keep warm” mode. This is both true and untrue. We do not recommend that you store your rice in your rice cooker for longer than 12 hours, or 24 hours if your Zojirushi rice cooker has the “Extended Keep Warm” feature. We’ve heard of some people storing rice in their rice cooker for days at a time. Don’t do that! Not only will the flavor of the rice become less pleasant, but moisture will eventually evaporate, leaving you with dry, hard rice. We want you to always be able to enjoy delicious rice, and recommend the following:

  • Refrigerate or freeze your leftover rice. Yes, the same trick for storing dry rice applies to cooked rice too! Put your cooked rice in a storage container or wrap tightly in plastic wrap. The USDA recommends cooling rice to 70°F within two hours, then from 70°F to 40°F within the next four hours, and to store rice at 41°F or below.
  • Use frozen rice within 6 months. Refrigerated rice should be enjoyed within 5 days. You can use your microwave to reheat rice and dress up your leftover rice in a fried rice dish or salad. Just remember, if you plan to reheat rice, choose a microwave-safe rice storage container to store it in.

Pro tip: Add a tiny bit of water to your leftover rice to reintroduce some moisture and to prevent your rice from drying out when reheating.

Delicious Leftover Rice Recipes

Some recipes are in fact tastier when you use leftover rice, partly because leftover rice tends to be a little drier, and easier to toss in a pan with other ingredients. In fact, did you know that fried rice dishes are often made with leftover rice? Here are some rice dish recipes you can make the next time you find yourself with some leftover rice on hand:

Did you learn anything new about how to store rice today? How do you plan on using your leftover rice? Make sure to share your thoughts, comments, and questions with us on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram! #Zojirushi #ZoFan

10 thoughts on “Tips on How to Store Rice (Before and After Cooking)

    • We recommend to refrigerate all rice after it’s cooked and you won’t be keeping it in Keep Warm (within the recommended time). This will ensure that the rice is safely stored and can be enjoyed the next day. As for loss of nutrients, we have not tested for that but the rice will still taste delicious.

  1. Hello! I’m very confused I have had a rice cooker from your company since 2011 and I have always left the rice in the rice cooker for at least 4-5 days and would and still eat it over the course of those 4-5 days. I have been doing this since 2011 and it’s now 2024. I have never had an issue with anything health wise at all since doing this. “Knock on wood” lol. I don’t see any problem at all

    • Hi Eric, keeping rice for that long in the rice cooker will decrease it’s freshness and flavor. Furthermore, the rice may spoil in the rice cooker. We recommend not keeping the rice for longer than 12 hours for most Micom rice cookers. The recommended time varies depending on the type of rice cooker. It’s best to enjoy freshly cooked rice everyday for the best experience! We hope this helps.

  2. I have been keeping cooked rice in the rice cooker for two three days and they stay fresh, but in the last two weeks I started to noticed that the cooked rice can only hold for about one day before they turn sour, I’ve clean every possible part of the rice cooker but the rice still wouldn’t hold.

    • Hi L.H., I’m so sorry to hear you are experience issues with your rice. The recommended maximum time for keeping rice warm in most of our Micom rice cookers is 12 hrs. Limits vary by model. When keeping rice longer than recommended, the rice may spoil. We would recommend not keeping rice longer than recommended and to clean the rice cooker the following way:

      1. Add water up to the 2 line on the white rice water measuring line. Do not add rice.
      2. Close the lid and start a quick cooking setting.
      3. Once the rice cooker is done, let the pan and water cool down enough to remove and dump the water.
      4. Wipe the rice cooker dry.

      Please let us know if you have any questions or need any additional assistance: https://www.zojirushi.com/app/customer_service/entry

    • The rice cooker will automatically reheat rice for the appropriate time to bring it up to the perfect serving temperature. Please note, that the rice cooker can only reheat rice that has been kept warm using the keep warm feature in the rice cooker. Cold or refrigerated rice cannot be reheated in the rice cooker. We recommend using a microwave or a different method in such instances. Hope this helps!

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