Can Rice Go Bad?

Can rice go bad? is a pretty tricky question to answer. As a matter of fact, this popular food can actually go bad. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t store uncooked rice for a very long time. In this article we will cover the following things: storing rice (both cooked and uncooked), their shelf life and how to tell if rice is spoiled. Sounds interesting? If so, read along!

How to store rice

You probably already know everything that will be mentioned in this section, but it should be covered for those few people who might not know it. Uncooked rice should be stored in a pretty cool place where water can’t reach it. Therefore, the pantry is the perfect choice, but if you don’t plan to store rice for a very long period of time (a couple of years), storing it in the kitchen will work out well too. If you want to make sure it will be fine for a few years, you might consider repackaging it into a sealed airtight container. This way you can be sure that any contaminants won’t be able to get to it.

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When it comes to cooked rice, if you won’t use it right away, the best thing you can do is to put it into the fridge. You can even freeze it if you really need to, but I wouldn’t use it in other than cooked dishes.

Shelf life of rice

Uncooked rice, when stored properly (so water or other contaminants can’t reach it) will pretty much keep indefinitely. Storing it properly isn’t difficult by any means, so in almost all cases you can keep uncooked rice for years. Of course if water, bugs or contaminants can find their way into the package, you’ll have to discard it.

When it comes to cooked rice, it will stay fine for a few days in the fridge and even up to half a year in the freezer (it won’t go bad in the freezer, but the longer you keep it there, the worse its quality will be).

How to tell if rice is spoiled

When it comes to uncooked rice, it’s usually easy to spot that it’s bad. If you can see bugs or signs of mold, discard it. When the rice isn’t perfectly dry, it means moisture found its way into the package and discarding the package seems to be the right thing to do. Funny or “off” odor is a sign of spoilage as well.

Changed texture, mold and off odor as a sure-signs that cooked rice is spoiled. If you’ll notice any one of these, discard the rice. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.


As you know by now, rice can go bad. It’s very unlikely that that would happen to uncooked rice, but it’s definitely possible if one doesn’t store it properly. Cooked rice goes bad within a couple of days if stored in the fridge, but you can freeze it to keep it for longer if you need.