How to Store Rice Long Term and Short Term

Whether there is a calamity or you just don’t have the time to head to the supermarket, you can count on rice. However, for it to be an excellent source of sustenance, it has to be stored properly at home. The good news is that the steps on how to store rice long term and short term are not that difficult.

To store rice long term, place it in a plastic container with a lid. It may be placed in a mylar bag with an oxygen absorber, or in the freezer. To store rice short term, keep it in its original packaging or transfer it to a plastic container with a lid. Always store rice in a cool, dry place.

Failure to store rice properly, long term or short term alike, can keep you from enjoying a bowl of it that looks, smells and tastes mouthwatering.

If you wish to make rice a staple in your diet because it’s yummy and healthy, keep on reading. Below you will learn how to correctly store it long term and short term, too!

Why Rice is the Best Food to Store

Rice is the best food to store because it is incredibly cheap and extremely satiating. It is also loaded with nutrients, which makes it good for both mental and physical health. Cooking rice is also very easy — it can be boiled or steamed. It can be eaten alone or paired with various side dishes.

storing rice

It’s not enough that the food you are about to store can impress with its shelf life. It is also a must that it is trouble-free to prepare when it’s time to eat it. This is when rice shines the brightest.

Can you boil water on the stove?

Then you can cook rice like a pro. You can also cook it in the microwave if you don’t have the time to wait for the water to boil.

However, there’s a surefire way to ensure that you will come up with the perfect bowl of steaming rice each time. It’s none other than getting your hands on a rice cooker.

Earlier, it was mentioned that rice is very easy on the pocket and can fill the stomach really well, which are some of the reasons why it makes for the perfect food to stockpile for an emergency or any other situation.

Did you know that rice is also one of the most health-giving foods on the face of the planet?

Most superfoods can drive away budget-conscious shoppers because of their steep prices.

If you are on a tight budget, you will be more than ecstatic to learn that rice does not skimp on health benefits such as:

  • It lowers bad cholesterol levels.
  • It reduces the risk for deadly heart attack and stroke.
  • It normalizes bowel movements.
  • It increases energy levels.
  • It optimized the transport of oxygen molecules via the bloodstream.

If you are always staying away from grains and grain products because you have gluten sensitivity or celiac disease, fret not. That’s because rice is absolutely free of gluten.

So, in other words, you can consume as much rice as you want without the need to worry that you will end up with nausea, abdominal pain, excess gas, fatigue, and diarrhea.

Because of all these many perks, it’s no wonder why rice is one of the most produced grains all over the planet. If you are planning on storing rice at home, it is a must that you know how to do so properly.

Fret not because we got you covered — below are tips and tricks on how to store rice long term and short term!

A Few Storage-Related Matters

Before we start talking about storing rice properly, long term and short term alike, let us first quickly discuss some of the most important matters on why it is a must that you store rice the right way.

Canned and packaged foods are some of the easiest foods to store.

All you have to do is leave them on the countertop, stash them in a cupboard or place them in the panty — and you can forget about them.

When the moment that you need to consume them comes, all you have to do is reach for a can opener or a pair of scissors.

But just because they are trouble-free to store doesn’t mean that they are the best foods to store.

These food products have extraordinarily long shelf lives because they are laden with artificial preservatives. Some of these chemicals may wreak havoc on your health, especially if you ingest them over and over again.

Rice, on the other hand, has an impressively long shelf life without the need to rely on artificial preservatives. However, it’s a must that you store it properly if you want it to stay in excellent shape for a really long time.

Related Post: How to Store Quinoa

How long does rice last?

White rice can last anywhere from 25 to 30 years, provided that it is stored properly and the conditions are right. Other types of rice may not last as long. For instance, brown rice, a healthier alternative to white rice, can last for about six months only. It can last longer if kept in the freezer.

When it comes to storing rice, there are two things that you need to protect it from:

  • Pests that eat rice before you get to enjoy it.
  • Moisture that can promote the growth of mold.

The problem with rice is that it can contain the eggs of pests, which doesn’t come as a surprise since rice is a grain that comes from fields.

Also, rice can sweat if exposed to high temperatures, such as when stored in an airtight container. Because of these things, storing rice correctly is a definite must.

How long does instant rice last?

Instant rice can last for up to two years. The best place to keep them is in the pantry, cupboard or any other cool and dry area. Just like regular rice, instant rice can be feasted on by many common household pests. It is important to maintain the integrity of the packaging of instant rice.

The problem with instant rice is that they tend to have artificial preservatives. This is why they have very long shelf lives. Especially if you are a health-conscious person, it is a better idea to stick to regular rice.

Flavored instant rice has one more ingredient that may wreak havoc on your health, and that’s sodium. Sodium is added to instant rice and other canned and packaged food products to make them taste better.

Also, it helps extend their expiration dates. Too much sodium is bad for the heart and kidneys.

How long does cooked rice last?

Cooked rice can last for four to seven days if stored in the refrigerator. Cooked rice on the counter should be consumed within a few hours of cooking. Otherwise, the toxins produced by the bacillus cereus bacteria naturally found in cooked (and raw) rice may cause vomiting and even food poisoning.

The problem with cooked rice is that it is extremely rich in moisture. This makes it easier for bacteria to grow and multiply, thus causing cooked rice to go bad without trouble.

As soon as cooked rice is at room temperature, it is a good idea to transfer it to an airtight container and place it in the fridge.

Otherwise, it is a good idea to throw it after a few hours. This is especially true if it’s extremely hard and dry or, in some instances, soggy and has an unpleasant smell to it.

How To Store Rice Long Term

If you want to keep rice in tip-top shape for the longest time possible, it’s of utmost importance that you know the steps on how to store rice long term.

But don’t just take any steps — it’s a definite must that you carry out the correct steps. Otherwise, you may discover that the rice is teeming with pests or already moldy.

Here are the best ways to store rice that you intend to cook and consume several months or years from now…

Keep It in the Right Container

Many types of food have to be stored in airtight containers to protect them from going bad and at the same time shield them from pests that are attracted to them.

If you think that rice is also best kept in a container with an airtight seal, think again. A container with an airtight seal can considerably shorten the shelf life of rice.

The problem with an airtight container is that it can cause rice to heat up. This can cause rice to sweat, thereby leaving it moist. Nothing can invite mold to form better than the presence of excess moisture!

When storing rice, it’s not enough that it is kept from coming into contact with water and moisture in the air — it’s also a must that you keep rice from sweating and being drenched in moisture that it has created.

Due to this, there is no need for you to shell out a lot of money on those expensive containers that guarantee an airtight seal.

Just about any food-grade container out of plastic with a reliable lid can be used for storing rice long term.

Use Mylar Bags To Store Rice Up to 30 Years

If you want the rice to last for 25 to 30 years, there are containers specifically designed to help you achieve this feat. They are called mylar bags, which are out of a material that is used for lining food-grade containers.

What’s nice about mylar bags is that they can protect rice from coming into contact with the elements but without causing rice to heat up unnecessarily.

Due to this, mylar bags can keep rice stored in them from sweating and swimming in their own moisture. Storing rice in mylar bags can help fend off mold formation.

Online, you can easily purchase mylar bags. However, refrain from assuming that all mylar bags available in the market are the same. Some of them can do the job really well, while others may fail to deliver expected results.

You should definitely opt for mylar bags that come with superb quality. Otherwise, loose seams, tears and holes can keep rice from lasting for a long time.

Go for the thickest mylar bags that you can find. It is also a great idea to choose mylar bags with flat bottoms — they are less likely to fall over and spill their rice contents all over the place.

Use Oxygen Absorbers Prevent Rice from Damaging

Most of the time, it is recommended that you stash an oxygen absorber in a mylar bag to make sure that no oxygen will damage the rice.

The product comes in a small packet that closely resembles a packet of sugar. Just like what the name explains, it is designed to absorb oxygen.

Oxygen absorbers can absorb up to 99% of oxygen in a container.

Just like mylar bags, you can easily purchase oxygen absorbers online. You can stash a packet of oxygen absorber in a mylar bag with rice to make sure that the precious content won’t end up harmed.

You may also place an oxygen absorber packet in just about any container that contains rice.

Stash Uncooked Rice in the Freezer

Just like many other types of food, you may also store rice in the freezer if you want to keep it from going bad quicker than necessary.

But the matter with this is that you will not be able to store large amounts of rice in the freezer unless you own a freezer for commercial or industrial purposes.

You can store rice in the freezer in the packaging that it came in. But if it’s too large to fit in the freezer or you are not planning on freezing all of them, you may transfer the contents to a freezer-safe container.

While freezing rice can make it last for up to 30 years or even longer, it is not the most reliable way to store rice long term.

That’s because a power outage can make freezing rice less effective. The same is true if your freezer suddenly stops working or is no longer capable of maintaining the right environment within it.

Can I store cooked rice long term by freezing it?

Storing cooked rice in the freezer can help extend its shelf life from six to eight months. Before freezing cooked rice, transfer it to an airtight and freezer-safe container. Freezing cooked rice is not only for storing it long term but also short term — you can eat it the following day or week.

But before you store cooked rice in the freezer, allow it to cool to room temperature first.

A quick way to reheat cooked rice fresh from the freezer is by breaking it into small chunks, transferring it to a bowl, covering it with a paper towel, and then microwaving it on high heat for two to three minutes.

How To Store Rice Short Term

Whether you prefer to buy rice in small quantities only or cook and eat it daily, there is no need to worry about properly storing rice long term.

That’s because you would have probably consumed all of it long before it’s gone rancid. This doesn’t mean, however, that you can store rice anyway you like.

Especially if you want to enjoy nothing but the most delicious rice, it’s still a must that you store rice the right way. Here are the steps on how to store rice short term…

Keep It in the Packaging

For as long as you will not open the packaging, rice can have an incredibly long shelf life. It is a good idea to open it only when you wish to serve it on the table.

However, see to it that you place the unopened pack of rice in a cool and dry place in your kitchen. The pantry is the ideal storage space for it. Never leave the packaging in direct sunlight or next to a source of heat.

Otherwise, the rice in the packaging will sweat, which can shorten its naturally impressive shelf life.

Transfer to a Plastic Container

Earlier, it was mentioned that storing rice long term does not require you to get your hands on a container with an airtight seal.

Well, the same applies when it comes to storing rice short term. Just about any food-grade plastic container with a lid that can keep out moisture, insects, dust, and dirt is perfect for the job.

Before transferring rice to a plastic container, see to it that the container is clean and dry.

If properly stored, rice can last for up to a year. It may last for up to two years, too. However, you can expect the appearance and flavor of rice to be not as good.

Can you store cooked rice by refrigerating it?

Refrigerating cooked rice can extend its shelf life from four to seven days. Before refrigerating rice, it should be transferred to an airtight and refrigerator-safe container. To reheat cooked rice from the refrigerator, microwave it on high heat for a couple of minutes.

Before you place cooked rice in the refrigerator, make sure that it is at room temperature. Otherwise, it will collect excess moisture, which can make cooked rice go bad quickly even if it’s refrigerated.


Rice may be pocket-friendly and easily accessible, too.

This doesn’t mean, however, that you can store it any way you think is right. Just like many other dried foods, rice has an impressive shelf life. Despite this, it may still collect insects and mold, especially if you fail to store it properly.

Follow the above-mentioned simple steps on how to store rice long term and short term, and you won’t see a single grain of rice go to waste!

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