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Can You Freeze Cooked Rice?

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By Ross Young

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We’ve all been there – that moment you lift the lid off the pot and realise you’ve cooked enough rice to feed an army, even though it’s just a Tuesday night dinner for two……so, what do you do with all that leftover rice?

Can You Freeze Cooked Rice?

Yes, you can freeze cooked rice for up to 3 months. When freezing cooked rice, you need to allow it sufficient time to cool before bagging it up, labelling it, and transferring it to the freezer. (Full Instructions Below – White Rice, Fried Rice, Risotto, Etc)

Does Rice Freeze Well? Yes

Can You Refreeze Rice? No

How to Freeze Cooked Rice

Freeze Rice Varieties

Everyone’s cooked too much rice to eat in one sitting, so it’s handy to know how you can safely freeze it.

  1. Cool
    As soon as you’ve decided to freeze cooked rice, leave it to one side to cool thoroughly. It’s helpful to break it down and scatter it on a tray, as this will speed things up and ensure your rice has cooled completely before proceeding to the next steps. 
Cool Rice Before Freezing It
  1. Label & Bag Up
    While your rice is cooling, label it with today’s date and the use-by date. Once the rice has cooled completely, scoop it into your labeled, freezer-safe bag. If you have a particularly sizeable portion of cooked rice, it’s probably best to split it into smaller portions before freezing it.
Bag Up 3
  1. Freeze
    Remove as much air as possible and then place the bag of rice in your freezer. 
Freeze Rice

How to Freeze Different Types of Rice

When it comes to rice, there are a few common methods for cooking it. Here are the most common and how I would go about freezing them:

Boiled Rice

Freezing boiled rice is perfectly doable. After cooking, I let it cool down completely – a warm container is a bacteria’s best friend.

I then portion it into resealable freezer bags, press them flat to squeeze out any excess air (which also saves freezer space), seal them up, and pop them in the freezer.

Microwave Rice

Once I’ve microwaved the rice and let it cool, I portion it into airtight containers, leaving as little headspace as possible. This prevents any unwanted moisture from getting in, which can turn your rice into a sad, soggy mess.

Remember to cool the rice before freezing – we don’t want to seal the containers while the rice is still hot. As with boiled rice, you can use bags too.

How to Freeze Different Rice Dishes

Can You Freeze Rice Dishes

There’s a reason that rice is such a staple… Because it can be used in so many dishes! Here are a few of my favourite dishes to freeze and how I do so.

Fried Rice

Fried rice is my lifesaver when it comes to a quick meal! After I’ve fried up a big batch, I let it cool, then divide it into individual serving containers (portion control and meal prep).

Again, squeezing out as much air as possible is key. I find that when I freeze the fried rice at its freshest, it retains its flavour best.

Add Soy When Reheating

Fried rice can become a little dry once frozen, thawed and reheated. That’s why I always add a dash of soy sauce while warming it through.

Lewis has shared a delicious vegetable fried rice recipe here on Freeze It that’s perfect for the freezer and worth checking out.


Mmm… Paella… It’s one of those dishes that seems to taste even better the next day. Fortunately, it maintains its flavour in the freezer!

I cool my paella completely before spooning it into freezer-friendly containers. I try to cover the rice with a layer of meat and veggies from the paella, as this can help protect the rice from drying out.

If you need more information on freezing paella, this guide will help you.


You’ll find that slow and steady wins the race when it comes to freezing risotto. As with most dishes, allow it to cool to avoid becoming a mushy disaster. I then spoon my cooled risotto into airtight containers.

Undercook It…

Undercook your risotto slightly if you’re planning to freeze it. That way, when you reheat it, it will be perfectly al dente!

As with most dishes, it’s covered here on Freeze it! Click here for more info on freezing risotto.

How Long Can You Freeze Cooked Rice?

You can freeze cooked rice and cooked rice dishes for around 3 months. If you leave your rice in the freezer for any longer than this, it will start to dry out and will be hard when you come to reheat it.

Rice has an incredibly long shelf life (up to a year) when it’s dry, so try to be mindful of your portion sizes if you’re hoping to limit the amount of food you waste.

How Do You Defrost Cooked Rice?

You froze it….now you need to know how to defrost rice.

The safest way to defrost cooked rice is to transfer it from the freezer into the fridge overnight. You should never defrost rice at room temperature, as bacteria thrive in these conditions.

As mentioned above, you can reheat rice from frozen, or you can use the microwave to thaw your rice if you want to save yourself some time.

Can You Refreeze Cooked Rice?

No, you should only freeze rice that has been cooked once.


There is an increased risk of foodborne pathogens if you refreeze certain partially thawed foods…rice is one of them. Don’t do it!

This is to limit the likelihood of food poisoning occurring, as you need to be particularly careful with rice that has been cooked and then kept at room temperature for any length of time.

I advise splitting your leftover rice into smaller portions, so you can easily remove the rice you need without worrying about refreezing it.

Does Cooked Rice Freeze Well?

Yes, in most instances, cooked rice freezes well.

The biggest potential issue with freezing rice is the bacteria that thrives when you leave it out at room temperature. So, make sure you refrigerate or freeze your rice as quickly as possible to avoid any potential health issues.

Following the steps we outlined above, you shouldn’t encounter any issues when it comes to freezing cooked rice.


How Long Does Rice Last in the Fridge?

Unfortunately, cooked rice should only be kept in the fridge for up to 1 day. This is why freezing it is such a good idea.

Is It Safe to Freeze Rice?

Freezing rice is perfectly safe, as long as you avoid leaving it out at room temperature before freezing it. Rice needs to be cool before you freeze it, but the moment it has cooled it must be frozen.

Can You Cook Rice From Frozen?

Yes! In fact, it is one of the best ways to eat frozen rice. Break chunks of frozen rice into a bowl, then microwave on medium power for a few minutes until piping hot. It can also be reheated in the oven in a covered baking tray but this will take around 30 minutes.

Can You Defrost Rice in the Microwave?

Yes, you can! Transfer the rice to a microwave-safe dish. Then cover it loosely with a lid. Set the microwave to 50% power and start by heating it for 2 minutes. After this, stir the rice well and then reheat for a further 2 minutes.


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