Cooked Rice Storage: Is Refrigerating for Over 48 Hours Safe


Storing leftover cooked rice is widespread globally, particularly among busy individuals who prepare it in large quantities for future consumption.

However, the safety of consuming refrigerated rice, especially when stored for extended periods exceeding two days, is often overlooked.

While reheating and consuming rice itself isn’t the issue, the storage method can potentially lead to food poisoning.

How Can Cooked Rice Make You Sick?

Do you know that uncooked rice contains spores of bacteria called Bacillus Cereus? Yes, it does. These spores eventually develop into bacteria, resulting in food poisoning. 

When you leave cooked rice at room temperature, the spores grow into bacteria. The bacteria eventually multiply, making the rice unfit for consumption. The longer you leave the cooked rice at room temperature, the higher the chance of the rice becoming unfit for consumption. 

Thus, when you consume rice kept at room temperature for long, you are likely to fall sick. 

How can you store cooked rice for future consumption?

You want the cooked rice to be safe for consumption when stored. Thus, you should ensure that the rice is stored as soon as possible before it reaches the danger zone.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the danger zone is the temperature between 40- and 140 degrees Fahrenheit when the bacteria multiply rapidly. 

To store rice before it reaches the danger zone, you should first spread it in a tray to cool down. Once the rice is cooled down to room temperature, you should transfer it to an air-tight container. Store it in the refrigerator for three to four days at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below. 

How to reheat refrigerated rice for consumption?

Well, you have stored the cooked rice in the refrigerator and now want to reuse it. Whichever way you store it, whether in the freezer or the bottom compartment, it is very important to reheat it properly. 

You should reheat refrigerated rice to 165 degrees Fahrenheit which is well outside the danger zone. This helps kill all dangerous bacteria. 

If you have stored the rice in the freezer, you should thaw it first before reheating it. 

Sometimes you cook rice in bulk for the next few days. In such a case, you should take out only a small portion needed and reheat it. At all costs, you should avoid reheating the entire batch of rice and refrigerating it again. 

To enjoy reheated cooked rice with a delicious twist, consider adding avocado. You can also season it with a pinch of salt, a drizzle of olive oil, or a squeeze of lime for extra flavor. This simple combination of reheated rice and avocado creates a satisfying and wholesome meal.

What are the signs that the rice has gone bad?

Sometimes even if you store the cooked rice after following all precautions, it might go bad. Below are a few of the signs that you should watch out for. 

  • Small bugs on the rice. 
  • Odd odor. 
  • Change in color or texture. 


If rice is your staple food, you will likely have leftover rice in your home. Sometimes you may even cook in bulk to save time.

In such cases, it is very important to refrigerate the rice properly. You should refrigerate the rice as soon as it is cooled down. This inhibits the growth of bacteria and helps keep the rice fresh for long. 

Grace Williams
Grace Williams
Grace is a homemaker who has a deep passion for cooking and creating healthy, delicious meals. She hosts cooking workshops in her community. Grace's main goal is to inspire women to embrace cooking as a way to lead a healthy lifestyle. She enjoys sharing easy-to-follow recipes using simple everyday ingredients and cooking tips.

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