How Long Can Cooked Rice Sit Out?
Is It Safe to Consume Rice Leftovers? © eleonora galli/Getty Images When cooking at home on a daily basis, cooking in bulk makes sense. This is especially true for frequently consumed foods like rice. There is a common misconception that reheating rice is unsafe.
- You can take the following precautions to ensure the safety of leftover rice: Ensure that you properly cook, cool, store, and reheat leftover rice to avoid illness and food waste.
- Here are some guidelines for extending the shelf life of your rice.
- Rice that has not been cooked may contain Bacillus cereus, a pathogen that can cause foodborne illness.
Frequently, the bacteria is present in the rice, which is then improperly cooked or cooled, allowing the bacteria ample time to grow and thrive in this moist environment. This bacteria prefers moist foods, such as cooked rice, and warmer temperatures for growth (around 85 degrees fahrenheit to 95 degrees fahrenheit ).
- Bacillus cereus is a problem when cooked rice is improperly handled.
- For instance, if rice is left at room temperature for too long, bacteria can multiply to levels that can make you sick.
- For this reason, it is essential to handle rice properly during cooking, serving, cooling, and reheating.
- Preparing Rice The first step in keeping leftovers safe is to wash your hands.
Before touching any food, thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water. Next, prepare rice according to package instructions. This involves bringing the rice to a boil in order to kill any potentially pathogenic microorganisms. There are no guidelines that indicate that rinsing rice for food safety purposes will make it safer to eat.
- Additionally, some individuals rinse rice or soak it overnight prior to cooking to remove some of the starch that causes it to become gummy during cooking.
- While this isn’t necessarily a problem from a culinary standpoint, rinsing or soaking white or parboiled rice can reduce the amount of folate, iron, niacin, and thiamin added during the enrichment process by 50 to 70 percent.
Providing Rice The length of time your rice sits out before serving also affects its safety. Bacteria grow rapidly in temperatures between 40 degrees fahrenheit and 140 degrees fahrenheit, After rice has been properly cooked, it must be kept hot (at 140 degrees Fahrenheit or higher) to prevent the growth of bacteria.
If you are serving the rice at room temperature and placing it in a bowl on the table, it must be refrigerated within two hours. Rice should be discarded if it is left out for two hours at room temperature or one hour if the temperature is 90 degrees Fahrenheit or higher (such as when dining outdoors).
To avoid leaving your rice out for too long, serve a small portion at the meal and immediately cool and refrigerate the remainder. Refrigerating Rice Rice should be stored at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent the growth of bacteria (which is the temperature of the refrigerator).
- Never place hot rice (or any other hot food) in the refrigerator, as it will raise the temperature of the other foods and expose them to the risk of bacterial growth.
- To rapidly cool rice, divide large batches into smaller portions and place them in shallow containers.
- Once the food has cooled to 70 degrees Fahrenheit (room temperature), place it in the refrigerator or freezer.
Rice that has been cooled should be stored in a resealable bag or container. This helps keep bacteria out, retains moisture, and prevents the rice from absorbing odors. Do not forget to label your food with its name and the expiration date. FoodSafety.gov states that leftover rice can be refrigerated for three to four days and frozen for one to two months.
Reheating Rice Leftover If you froze your rice, it is essential that you defrost it properly. It can be defrosted in the microwave and heated until a food thermometer registers 165 degrees Fahrenheit. You can also defrost frozen cooked rice overnight in the refrigerator. The shelf life of thawed rice is three to four days.
You can also reheat smaller portions of frozen rice without defrosting by placing it in a saucepan with a splash of liquid (like water or broth). As long as you reheat the food quickly (in less than two hours), it is safe to use this method. Using a food thermometer, reheated rice should reach 165 degrees Fahrenheit, regardless of the method employed.
If you have leftover rice after reheating it, you can refreeze it as long as you followed the food safety guidelines outlined above. If leftovers are reheated to 165 degrees Fahrenheit and the proper procedures are followed, they can be placed back in the refrigerator and used again within three to four days of when they were originally refrigerated.
Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a consultant and registered dietitian specializing in food safety and culinary nutrition. She is the writer of * This article was written and/or reviewed by a registered dietitian nutritionist who is independent. Is it Safe to Consume Rice That Has Been Left Over?
How long can rice be left out of the refrigerator?
Rice can be refrigerated for up to four days in an airtight container. How long can rice be stored in the rice cooker? In general, white rice cooked in simmering water is safe to consume three hours after it has been prepared.
How long does it take to cook rice?
It takes about 20 minutes to cook rice from raw to fully cooked, despite the fact that rice cooks very quickly. However, if properly stored, it can remain warm for several hours after cooking. To prevent moisture loss, cooked rice must be stored in a container with a lid.
The longer cooked rice is left at room temperature, the greater the likelihood that bacteria or toxins will render it unsafe for consumption. Can stale rice be fatal? 2. Rice can kill you. This occurs when cooked rice is left at room temperature, so the risk lies in the storage of leftover rice.