I’ll admit it — I hate cooking rice. Despite the array of recipes I can make with complex tastes and ingredients, for some reason, I can’t seem to master one of the simplest culinary tasks. That being said, I tend to make a large batch of rice to eat with meals rather than have to cook some every time I want it. And while it seems like it lasts forever, lately I’ve been wondering, how long does cooked rice last in the fridge?
I did some digging and first of all, yes — rice does go bad. While it isn’t always as easy to tell if it’s gone rancid, there are some telltale signs that it’s time to toss your rice out.
On the shelf, rice can last a pretty long time. Uncooked rice (except brown rice) can last up to four to five years in your pantry. Once it’s cooked and in the fridge, though, that’s another story.
To keep your rice for longer, be sure that you’re sticking it in the fridge within two hours of cooking it. Since cooked rice is rich in moisture, it’s best not to leave it at room temperature for too long. This can allow harmful bacteria (specifically, a type called Bacillus cereus) to grow that could cause food poisoning. So if you left your cooked rice out on the counter for too long after cooking it, it’s probably best to toss it.
Similarly, the moisture conditions of your fridge will play a role in how long cooked rice will last. If your fridge is very dry and you notice that your rice has become stiff and hard, it’s time to say goodbye. Just as well, if your fridge contains more moisture, you might notice a funny smell coming from your rice if it’s been stored too long. This could be a sign that bacteria is growing, and it’s best to discard the rice.
There’s one other way to keep your cooked rice for longer — freezing it! The pros at Still Tasty say that you can keep cooked rice frozen for up to six months. I will most certainly be using this hack to avoid cooking rice for as long as humanly possible.
This story originally appeared on our sister site, Woman’s World.