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How Long Can You Eat Rice After Cooking?

Rice is an essential ingredient of many cuisines around the globe. Did you know that around half of the world derives 50% of their nutrient and energy intake from rice alone? 

Rice is widely known for its versatility and various health benefits that they offer. There is no doubt that rice is easy to cook, but if you are wondering how long can you eat rice after cooking, read further.

How Long Will Cooked Rice Last

Ideally, cooked rice should be served hot as soon as possible. It would be best if cooked rice is served within one or two hours of cooking. If you leave cooked rice at room temperature for more than two hours, there are chances that a bacteria named Bacillus cereus would infest it and make the rice toxic for consumption.

rice and a curry on a plate

No matter what rice variety you use or in what form it is being used, if cooked rice has been kept at room temperature for more than two hours, it’s best to toss it away. As per the USDA, bacteria will grow and multiply at 90 degrees Fahrenheit, which is room temperature.

How To Store Cooked Rice

The shelf life of all the different varieties of rice is almost the same, ranging from three to four days when kept in a refrigerator and up to six months when kept in a freezer. Make sure that you reheat the rice in a rice cooker that was stored in the refrigerator until it is steaming hot on the next usage. 

Ensure that the rice has cooled well before you move it to the refrigerator or freezer. If you put steaming hot rice right away in a refrigerator, it would lead to moisture accumulation, thereby creating an ideal condition for bacterial growth. 

Cool the cooked rice by spreading it in a flat vessel before you move it to air-tight containers to be stored in the refrigerator or the freezer. Keep in mind that the stored rice should be reheated till it becomes steaming hot before you consume it the next time.

Reheat only the quantity of rice that you are going to eat and not the entire container. All of these steps are undertaken to prevent the growth of Bacillus cereus, which grow and proliferate at a temperature between 40 degrees Fahrenheit and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. 

steaming white rice on a spoon

On the other hand, uncooked rice has a very long shelf life. The white rice, if stored well in a cool place in a container can last for a long time, whereas the brown rice variety has to be refrigerated to ensure extended shelf life.

How To Spot Spoiled Rice

Consumption of spoiled rice could lead to food poisoning and cause sicknesses like nausea and diarrhea. It’s very important to spot spoiled rice and throw it away to avoid accidental consumption. If the texture of the rice is gluey and it emits a foul smell, it’s not suitable for your consumption anymore.

Cooked rice that is suitable for consumption has no scent and is fluffy compared to spoiled rice that has an unpleasant odor and gluey texture. Also, check whether there are any spots on the rice surface. If the rice contains any spots, it has been spoiled.

Second, take a closer look at its texture. Instead of being airy and fluffy, expired rice may become slimy or gooey. In short, if you see any of the changes stated above in the cooked rice, it’s best to throw it away than fall prey to food poisoning caused by its consumption.

white rice on a fork

The Bacillus cereus bacteria grows in the spores of rice if cooked rice is kept at room temperature for more than two hours. As time exceeds, the bacteria might increase in numbers, producing toxins that cause food poisoning.

Symptoms Of Food Poisoning From Spoiled Rice

Food poisoning caused by Bacillus cereus bacteria also exhibits all the common signs of food poisoning such as vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, etc. More often than not, people rarely consider the rice that they have eaten as the reason for their food poisoning. 

Keep in mind that no matter how healthy rice is or even if it is home-cooked, spoiled rice could make you sick. If you have spoiled rice for a meal, there are pretty good chances for you to fall ill from one to five hours of consuming it. The discomfort caused by the food poisoning could last for a day.

How Long Can You Eat Rice After Cooking? Final Thoughts

Rice is healthy and delicious. But if you store cooked rice at room temperature for more than two hours, it could lead to bacterial growth that causes food poisoning. Make it a point to refrigerate cooked rice after they have cooled down.

Chef Matty
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