Food Standards Agency

How long can you safely eat rice for after cooking?

Rice may be eaten cold if it is cooled down quickly. Put the rice in the fridge and consume within 24 hours. You can get food poisoning from eating reheated rice. It's not the reheating that causes the problem, but the way the rice has been stored before it's reheated.

Keep rice in the fridge for no more than one day until reheating. When you reheat any rice always check the dish is steaming hot all the way through. 

Uncooked rice can contain spores of a bacterium called Bacillus cereus. This bacteria can cause food poisoning. The spores of Bacillus cereus can survive being cooked. The longer cooked rice is left at room temperature, the more likely it is that the bacteria or toxins will make the rice unsafe to eat.

Can you reheat rice?

Yes, but you should never reheat rice more than once.  And when you do reheat rice, make sure it is steaming hot all the way through.

If you have leftover rice you should chill it as quickly as possible, ideally within one hour. Dividing it into smaller portions can help with this. Also don't leave rice in the rice cooker, steamer or pan to cool down.

Can you reheat takeaway rice?

You should never reheat rice more than once. Extra care should be taken with takeaway rice. Ideally, takeaway rice should be eaten shortly after purchase or shortly after it has been delivered.

This is because some food businesses may pre-cook their rice and then re-heat it before it is given to customers. Whether it is safe to reheat the cooked rice will depend on how it was stored, handled and if it was cooked outright in the first place. It’s always worth asking the takeaway business how they handle the rice.

Can you freeze rice?

You can freeze rice but should cool the rice quickly before putting it in the freezer, and if you portion it out into smaller containers this will help chill it faster. To do this you could place the container of rice in cold water and once cool, cover and store it in the freezer. By making sure rice goes in the freezer within an hour of cooking, you will stop bacteria multiplying and producing a toxin. Before eating, you should defrost your rice in the fridge and then reheat it until it is piping hot before eating immediately.

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