How to store cooked rice

Made too much rice? Here's how to store cooked rice and reduce food waste in the process

how to store rice: woman holding a bowl of rice
(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you've overdone it with the rice servings – we've all been there, don't worry – resist the urge to just throw it in the bin as it's perfectly safe to store rice for later use. In fact, doing so will not only speed up the process of preparing meals midweek, but could help drastically reduce your food waste while you're at it.

Many people are nervous about storing, and later reheating, rice out of fear of the growth of harmful bacteria. But, if you follow our advice carefully, there really is no need to worry. You can use it, safely, as part of a stir fry or egg fried rice dish, or as a side to meat, later on in the week. Easy. 

For more storage solutions, as well as recipe ideas, head over to our food hub.

How to store cooked rice

1. The trick to storing cooked rice is to act quickly. In practical terms, this means encouraging your rice to cool as quickly as possible. Try spreading it as thinly as possible in a storage container – don't put the lid on yet – or on a large baking tray.

2. When your rice is completely cold, transfer to an airtight container and place in the fridge. Use within the next day, ensuring your rice is piping hot before serving.

Can you freeze rice?

1. If you want to store your rice for more than a day, consider freezing, rather than keeping it cool in the fridge. To do so, we'd recommend ensuring your rice is completely cool before transferring to the freezer.

2. Store in a freezer-safe container, stirring through a little oil to prevent the rice sticking together. Consider splitting into single use portions if you don't think you'll use all your defrosted rice in one go.

Looking for more advice?

Emily Shaw

Emily first (temporarily) joined the Real Homes team while interning on her summer break from university. After graduating, she worked on several publications before joining Real Homes as Staff Writer full time in mid-2018. She left the brand in 2020 to pursue another career, but still loves a second-hand bargain and sourcing unique finds to make her rented flat reflect her personality.