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Does Rice Go Bad? (How Long Does It Last?)

You’re standing, staring at that half-used bag of rice, wondering, “Does rice go bad?” It’s okay. You’re not alone.  

Instead of chancing it, give this post a quick read first. 

Does Rice Go Bad? featuring Jasmine, Wild and Brown Rice Grains in a Bowl Next to an Unprocessed Rice Plant

Below, we’ll explore rice’s shelf life. And we’ll discover some key indicators to spot if it has spoiled. 

You’ll also learn how to correctly store dry and cooked rice. So, you can lengthen the tiny grain’s lifespan.

Read our guide before cooking with questionable rice to answer: Does rice go bad?

Does Rice Go Bad?

To put it simply, no, dry rice doesn’t go bad. 

When stored properly, this incredible grain boasts an indefinite shelf life. But there is a catch.

After around 6 months of storage, the rice’s quality declines. So whipping up a batch of old rice won’t hurt you.

But you’ll notice that the flavor is bland and the texture is brittle. 

To get the most out of your rice, use it within 6 months. 

The other caveat is that rice only stays edible so long as it’s stored correctly. If not, you risk leaving the grain vulnerable to contamination from bugs or mold.


As you can see, proper storage is crucial for ensuring rice remains fresh and usable. And then, you can technically consume it indefinitely.

Person Holding a Glass Container of Rice

How to Store Dry Rice

So you wanna learn how to store dry rice? There are a few ways to set up this tiny grain for success.

  • You gotta find the right container. Store-bought rice often comes in a box or plastic bag. Neither is ideal for long-term storage. 
    • After taking home your rice package, the first thing is to find an airtight container. Preferably one made of glass. 
    • The correct vessel will have a tight seal. This prevents moisture, air, and pesky critters from contaminating your rice stash.
    • If you don’t have an airtight container for your rice, fear not! You can also grab a heavy-duty resealable plastic bag to house the grain. 
      • If you go down the plastic bag route, toss in a bay leaf to two to help ward off pests.
      • The bright herbal scent is a natural repellent to insects, keeping your rice safe and sound.

Now that it’s in an apt container- where do you keep it?

  • Store the container in a cool, dry, dark place like a pantry or cupboard. Sunlight and heat can lead to spoilage.

The last way to store rice is by sticking it in the freezer.

  • Pour it into an airtight container or freezer bag. Then, it’s all “Rice, Rice, Baby” from there. 
  • This method works especially well if you live in a humid climate.

How Long Does Cooked Rice Last?

Say you made too much rice for dinner one night. And now, you have a container of the sticky carb tucked away in your fridge. How long will it last?

When properly stored, cooked rice can last up to 4-6 days in the refrigerator. As with the dry stuff, cooked rice must be stored in an airtight container.

A resealable plastic bag will work, too. 

That’s right! A whole week of delicious meal possibilities awaits you. 

Just remember to cool the rice after cooking. Pop it in the fridge ASAP to maintain its freshness and taste. 

Cooked Rice in a Wooden Bowl

How To Tell If Cooked Rice Is Spoiled

Not sure how long that rice has been lurking in your fridge? Listen, we’ve all been there. Luckily, there are a few ways to spot any signs of spoilage.

  • First things first, do the smell check. A strong sour smell indicates that your cooked rice has spoiled. 
  • Next, examine the texture. If it’s slimy or mushy, it’s time to toss it out. Any discoloration is another red flag- strange hues or spots mean rotten rice. 

The golden rule is to trust your instincts and play it safe rather than sorry.

Spending an extra 10 minutes making a new batch of rice is easy. Much easier than dealing with food poisoning. 

What Happens If You Eat Expired Rice?

If you accidentally ate expired rice, 9 times out of 10, you’ll be fine. You might get a little stomach ache or some indigestion, but nothing too intense.

Obviously, it’s worth mentioning eating expired rice might expose you to harmful bacteria. Such exposure may lead to food poisoning.

You may experience symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. In that case, it’s a good idea to call the doctor. 

Usually, the worst thing that will happen when eating expired rice is a decreased nutritional value. So, you won’t get the full range of benefits rice offers. 

The texture and taste of expired rice can also be compromised. Which leads to a less-than-satisfactory mealtime experience. 

Still, it’s always better to play it safe when sussing out potentially expired rice.

Homemade Cooked White Rice in a Brown Bowl with parsley leaf on top

How to Store Cooked Rice

There are a few storage tips to give your cooked grain a second chance at life.

After cooking your rice, you’ll want to cool it down as quickly as possible.

One way to do this is by spreading it on a baking sheet or large plate. This exposes more rice to the air, releasing steam pockets. 

Once cooled, transfer the rice to an airtight container or resealable plastic bag. Remove excess air. 

Pop it in the fridge and keep it for up to 6 days. Whenever you wanna use it, reheat it, and enjoy!

Does Rice Go Bad?

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Kim - InsanelyGood
Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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