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Can You Freeze Rice Pilaf?

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By Ross Young

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Rice Pilaf is a delicious method of cooking your rice in stock and aromatic flavours so that it is infused with flavour.

Whilst it is traditional to season with spices you can alter the recipe so that it incorporates your favourite flavours. It is the perfect way to pep up your rice dishes. But we are wondering, can you freeze rice pilaf?

The Quick Answer

Yes, you can freeze rice pilaf. Pilaf can be frozen for around 3 months. When freezing any kind of rice you do have to take care but it is possible to do and you can enjoy your delicious rice pilaf whenever you need it.

Reading Time: 4 minutes

How to Freeze Rice Pilaf

Freezing your rice pilaf really couldn’t be any easier. Just follow this method. The main thing to be careful of is keeping your rice well-sealed and never leaving it standing at room temperature.

Rice is a little tricky when it comes to harmful bacteria so you want to ensure you always keep it in the fridge and freeze it as soon as possible after making it so that you ensure the bacteria contained in it hasn’t been able to grow to harmful amounts.

  1. Cook Pilaf
    You can only freeze cooked rice pilaf so make up a batch of rice pilaf using your favourite recipe and flavours. Once it has cooked allow it to cool completely before moving on to step two.
  2. Grab Containers
    You need to find enough freezer-safe containers with lids or freezer bags for each portion of rice pilaf. Think about your portions before you freeze because freezing in portions too large will result in you wasting your rice pilaf.
  3. Portion Out
    Pop a portion into each container or freezer bag. Containers work well for keeping the rice airtight but freezer bags take up a lot less space in the freezer.
  4. Seal
    Seal the containers or bags.
  5. Label
    Label the containers or bag with the date. Don’t forget to write the contents on the label too so that you remember what you have in the freezer.
  6. Freeze
    Put the bags into the freezer and freeze for up to three months.

2 Tips for Freezing Rice Pilaf

Now you know how to freeze it, we’ve got our 2 top tips which we strongly recommend following when freezing rice pilaf to have the best results:

  • Act Fast – Make sure you freeze any kind of rice as soon as you can after cooking it. You still need to wait for it to cool but rice contains a bacteria called Bacillus cereus which isn’t killed by cooking it and leaving it out of the fridge or freezer for too long will encourage this bacteria to grow. So be safe and freeze it as soon as you can. If you plan to reheat it without freezing then put it into the fridge as soon as possible instead.
  • Air is the Enemy – Air is your enemy when it comes to freezing any type of rice, including rice pilaf so make sure you seal it well before putting it into the freezer. If you avoid this step then you will end up with rice tasting freezer burnt instead of the delicious flavours you expect from rice pilaf.

How Long Can You Freeze Rice Pilaf?

Rice pilaf can be frozen for up to three months. If possible you should try and use up the rice after about a month but it should still be fine for a couple of extra months. After three months you may start to notice the flavour and texture of the rice degrading a little.

You Can Freeze Rice Pilaf for up to 3 Months

How Do You Defrost Rice Pilaf?

The best method for defrosting rice pilaf is by putting it into the fridge. Using this method ensures that the rice thaws out slowly and retains as much of its quality as possible whilst staying safe. In the fridge, it should never reach a temperature where harmful bacteria can grow. 

Using this method will take a little time because you need the rice to be completely thawed out before you reheat and eat it. So grab your rice pilaf out of the freezer the night before you plan to use it.

If you need to speed up the process you can either pop the rice into the microwave on a defrost setting. This is a method to be careful with as it can change the texture of the rice so that it is dry and rubbery.

Another option is to spread the rice pilaf out onto a baking tray while it is still frozen. Sprinkle water over the rice and cover it in tin foil. Bake in the oven for about thirty minutes or until the rice is completely thawed and heated.

If you are using any of the faster methods for thawing out your rice pilaf then you will need to ensure you plan to eat it straight away because these methods will heat up the rice a little. This is where harmful bacteria have another chance to grow so make sure you defrost then heat up and eat your rice straight away to avoid this.

Can You Refreeze Rice Pilaf?

No, you shouldn’t refreeze rice pilaf. You shouldn’t refreeze any rice dish. This is all down to that harmful bacteria we keep talking about. This bacteria can leave you feeling very sick and it is common to find in rice.

Instead of refreezing you should try and use up your rice pilaf. If you can’t it is best to throw it away and not risk getting ill.

Does Rice Pilaf Freeze Well?

On the whole, rice pilaf does freeze well. You may notice a little change in the texture with the rice not being quite as fluffy. You can help with this by sprinkling a little water over the rice and fluffing it up with a fork after you have heated it through.

Even if the texture of the rice has changed, it can still be a delicious addition to your meal.

Related FAQs

If you’ve still got questions about freezing rice pilaf or rice in general, then these may help:

Can You Freeze Rice Dishes?

Most rice dishes can be frozen from pilaf to biryani using the same method as above. As always, it’s vital you act fast when dealing with rice whilst also ensuring it is stored in an airtight container. 

Can You Get Food Poisoning From Freezing Rice?

You can get food poisoning from most food items if you don’t handle it correctly. There is a misconception that rice is always dangerous and it will always make you ill. This is only the case if you don’t treat it properly. You need to ensure it does not sit at room temperature for long – the ideal conditions for bacteria to grow.

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