Can you eat rice after 7 days in fridge?

Quick Answer

Yes, rice can generally be safely eaten after 7 days in the fridge, as long as it was properly stored and there are no signs of spoilage. Cooked rice will last 3 to 5 days in the fridge before going bad. With proper storage and rotation, plain rice can often last up to 1 week in the refrigerator before spoiling. To maximize freshness, store rice in an airtight container and check for any mold, sour smell or other signs of spoilage before eating.

How Long Does Cooked Rice Last in the Fridge?

The exact shelf life of cooked rice in the fridge depends on a few factors:

  • Type of rice – White rice will last longer than brown rice.
  • Cooking method – Rice that is fried or pilaf-style will keep longer.
  • Storage container – Airtight containers help block moisture and extend shelf life.
  • Fridge temperature – Colder temperatures (below 40°F) prolong freshness.

Under optimal conditions, here are some general guidelines for how long cooked rice will last refrigerated:

Type of Rice Refrigerator Life
Plain white rice 5-7 days
Brown rice 3-5 days
Fried rice 6-8 days
Rice pilaf 6-8 days

So in general, cooked white rice that has been properly stored in an airtight container will remain fresh in the refrigerator for 5 to 7 days before spoiling.

With that said, there are some exceptions. Rice that contains other ingredients likesauces, vegetables, or meats, willhave a shorter shelf life of only 3 to 5 days.

Likewise, if rice is not stored correctly in an airtight container, it will tend to dry out and spoil more quickly.

How to Tell if Refrigerated Rice Has Gone Bad

There are several clear signs that indicate refrigerated rice has spoiled and should be discarded:

  • Mold – This is an obvious one. If you see hairy mold growing on the rice, it has gone bad.
  • Strange odor – Cooked rice that has spoiled will give off a sour, fermented smell.
  • Change in texture – The rice grains will become hard and dry if the rice has been left too long.
  • Change in color – Spoiled rice may turn yellow or grey in color.
  • Clumping – Bad rice will stick together in mushy clumps.

Trust your senses – if refrigerated rice smells, tastes or looks strange, err on the side of caution and throw it out. It’s not worth risking a foodborne illness.

Does Rice Need to Be Refrigerated?

Refrigeration is necessary to keep cooked rice safe from bacterial growth. Specifically, refrigeration helps prevent Bacillus cereus contamination.

Bacillus cereus is a spore-forming bacteria that produces toxins which can cause vomiting and diarrhea. The spores of Bacillus cereus can survive cooking. Then, if rice is left at room temperature, the spores can grow into bacteria which multiply quickly.

Refrigerating rice slows the growth of Bacillus cereus. Rice should always be refrigerated within 1 hour of cooking. Simply leaving rice out on the counter overnight can be dangerous, as bacteria multiplies rapidly at room temperature.

So yes, rice does need to be refrigerated after cooking for food safety. Rice left at room temperature for too long creates the perfect environment for bacterial growth.

Tips to Maximize Refrigerated Rice Shelf Life

Here are some tips to get the longest refrigerated shelf life out of your cooked rice:

  • Use freshly cooked rice – Don’t refrigerate rice that was left out previously.
  • Portion rice out – Store rice in small, shallow containers to allow it to chill quickly.
  • Let rice cool first – Wait until rice stops steaming before refrigerating.
  • Use airtight storage – Seal rice in a container or zip top bag, pressing out excess air.
  • Locate in coldest part of fridge – Place rice on a bottom shelf away from the door.
  • Don’t mix in ingredients – Store plain rice without vegetables, meats, sauces.
  • Rotate stock – Use older rice first before fresher batches.
  • Check before eating – Inspect and smell rice before reheating.

Following proper storage methods can add a few more days to the shelf life of cooked rice. But remember to throw rice out as soon as you notice any signs of spoilage.

Can You Freeze Rice to Make it Last Longer?

Yes, freezing cooked rice is an excellent way to extend its shelf life for several months. Here are some freezer rice storage tips:

  • Let rice cool completely before freezing, about 1-2 hours.
  • Portion rice out in airtight containers or freezer bags.
  • Press out excess air and seal tightly.
  • Label with date and contents.
  • Freeze immediately at 0°F or lower.
  • Avoid freezing rice more than once.
  • Once thawed, use rice within 2 days.

Properly frozen white rice will keep for 6-12 months in the freezer before becoming dried out or develop a rancid flavor. Brown rice has more oils so will not last quite as long, staying good for 3-6 months.

The freezer stops any bacterial growth, extending the shelf life of cooked rice dramatically. Frozen rice can go straight from freezer to microwave or pan for a quick and easy meal.

Does Refrigerated Rice Need to Be Reheated?

Yes, rice that has been previously refrigerated or frozen should always be thoroughly reheated before eating. It is unsafe to eat cold rice directly from the refrigerator.

Simply microwaving refrigerated rice is not enough. Rice should be reheated on the stove or in the oven at a high temperature in order to kill off any bacteria that may be present.

Bring refrigerated rice to a full boil on the stovetop and continue cooking for 1-2 minutes. Or bake in a 350°F oven for 10-15 minutes until steaming hot throughout. Stir frequently and check the internal temperature with a food thermometer, it should reach above 165°F.

Properly reheating rice will make it safe to eat again. Pay attention to any odors or textural changes which may indicate spoilage. When in doubt, remember the old saying “when in doubt, throw it out.” Don’t risk getting sick from eating spoiled rice.

Can Refrigerated Rice Be Safely Reheated More Than Once?

It’s not recommended to reheat rice more than once. Each time rice is reheated, it increases the risk of food poisoning.

When refrigerated rice is reheated the first time, it should be eaten immediately. Any leftovers should be discarded. Do not refrigerate reheated rice to eat later.

The reason is that reheating does not necessarily kill all bacteria present. Some bacteria can survive initial reheating and then continue multiplying once rice is refrigerated again. Rice also tends to dry out and degrade in quality with multiple reheats.

For food safety, cooked rice is best enjoyed fresh. Cook only the amount of rice you plan to eat in one meal. Then toss out any leftovers. You can safely reheat a portion once, but do not eat rice that has been reheated multiple times.

Does Adding Other Ingredients Make Rice Last Longer?

No, adding other ingredients like vegetables, meat or sauce does not prolong the refrigerated life of rice. In fact, it reduces it.

Plain rice has the longest shelf life. Once you mix in other ingredients, refrigerated rice will only stay good for 3-5 days because:

  • Ingredients like veggies and meats have naturally shorter shelf lives.
  • Moisture is introduced which speeds up spoilage.
  • It becomes harder for the rice to chill thoroughly.
  • There are more opportunities to introduce bacteria.

For maximum refrigerated rice shelf life, store it plain without mixing additional ingredients. Cook rice servings as separate side dishes or combine other ingredients just before eating.


In most cases, rice can be safely eaten even after 7 days in the fridge, provided it has been stored properly in an airtight container. Optimal storage conditions give plain white rice a refrigerator shelf life of 5-7 days.

However, signs of spoilage like smell, texture, color and mold indicate rice has gone bad and should be discarded. For best quality, freeze rice for long term storage or eat refrigerated rice as soon as possible within 3-5 days. Always fully reheat previously refrigerated rice until piping hot before eating. Following proper storage methods, hygiene and food safety practices helps prevent illness from eating rice that has overstayed its welcome in the fridge.

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