Rice is a crucial part of every home’s food storage. I use different types of rice in various meals that we eat on a regular basis so knowing how long rice can be stored under different conditions, how to tell if it has gone bad, and simple ways to extend its shelf life is important. Does rice go bad? What is the shelf life of rice?
Most types of rice such as white rice have a shelf life of 30+ years (possibly indefinite) if stored in a sealed, oxygen-free container/bucket that is in a cool location (70°F or below). Once a container is opened and used regularly the rice should be consumed within one to two years.
Rice is one of the most commonly stored food items due to its long shelf life, high caloric value, and being such a versatile ingredient.
See also, our complete guide on how to store rice long-term.
The Shelf Life of the 14 Most Commonly Used Types of Rice
|Type of Rice||Shelf Life Sealed Container (Oxygen-free, dry, cool)||Shelf Life Opened Container and Regularly Used|
|Long Grain Rice|
|Red Cargo||6 mo. – 1 yr.||6 months|
|Parboiled||Up to 30 yr.||1-2 years|
|Medium Grain Rice|
|Black||6 mo. – 1 yr.||6 months|
|Rosematta||1 yr.||6 months|
|Short Grain Rice|
|Brown||6 mo.||3 months|
|Camargue Red||30+ yr.||1-2 years|
|Sticky||3-5 yr.||1-2 years|
|Sushi||6 mo. – 1 yr.||6 months|
|Valencia||1-3 yr.||1-2 years|
What Rice has the Longest Shelf Life?
White rice has the longest shelf life of 30+ years when it is sealed in an airtight container/bucket with oxygen absorbers and stored in a dry, cool location. When white rice is stored in an oxygen-free environment like in a #10 can or a mylar bag with oxygen absorbers, white rice will stay good for at least 30 years.
When white rice is left in the store-bought container it will stay good for up to 5 years under proper storage conditions even though the stated best-by date is only 1-2 years.
White rice consists of kinds of rice such as:
What is the shelf life of cooked rice?
Cooked rice can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 3-5 days. Refrigeration will not stop the growth of bacteria but it will slow it down which is why rice should not be consumed after 5 days.
How can you tell if cooked rice has gone bad?
You can tell if the rice has gone bad if it has an unpleasant smell or if the rice has become dry and hard. It can also develop mold. If you see any of these signs it is best to throw it out to avoid consuming bacteria that can cause food poisoning making you very sick.
How to reheat cooked rice?
To reheat rice, add 2 tablespoons of liquid (water or broth) to every cup of rice. Heat on the stove for about 5 minutes, heat in the microwave one minute at a time fluffing between each minute till heated through.
Storing Rice Long-term?
Rice is best-stored long-term in an airtight container such as a mason jar, mylar bag, #10 Can, or 5-gallon bucket all with an oxygen absorber (see how to safely use oxygen absorbers in foods like rice to extend its shelf life). It will also help extend the shelf life if you store rice in a dry, cool, and dark location. See our complete guide on how to store rice long-term.
What to store rice in:
- Mylar Bag – Check the price of this pack of 100 Mylar bags on Amazon (oxygen absorbers are included)
- #10 Can
- 5 Gallon Bucket – Check the price of these 5-gallon buckets and airtight lids on amazon
- Mason Jar
We also suggest using oxygen absorbers to help extend the storage life of your rice.
Store rice in locations that are:
- Cool (less than 70°F)
Storing rice in the refrigerator or freezer can extend the shelf life of uncooked rice. When uncooked rice is stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator it can extend the life of the uncooked rice by 6 months to a year. When uncooked rice is stored in a sealed container in a freezer it can extend the shelf life of the uncooked rice by 1-2 years.
What type of container is best for storing rice?
The best type of container for storing rice is a container with an airtight lid that will keep out dust, moisture, and other contaminants. Additionally, the rice should be stored in a cool, dry, dark place.
A common container is a 5-gallon bucket with a gamma lid. A 5-gallon bucket will easily store a bulk size bag of rice. 5-gallon buckets work well to store in many locations around your house and they stack on top of each other easily.
6 durable 5-Gallon Buckets | Airtight lids | Food Grade
These buckets work well for storage. We use them for rice, wheat, flour, sugar, and more and they create an airtight seal so we haven’t experienced any spoilage of food that we store in them. In addition to the buckets for long-term storage, we also like to use mylar bags.
Check the price of these 5-gallon buckets and airtight lids on amazon
In addition to the buckets also consider getting the following:
To help with planning your long-term food storage check out our FREE Food Storage Calculator tool and our article Best Foods for Long-term Storage.
Also, learn about the shelf life of other common foods that are good for long-term storage including flours, yeast, and sugars so you can tell when they go bad and how to store them in your long-term storage.
Does Rice Expire or Go Bad?
While rice has a long shelf life it does go bad or expire. The original package should have an expiration date on it which will help you plan ahead. However, you can store rice in containers or buckets with airtight lids and oxygen absorbers and in a cool, dry location which will help you extend its shelf life beyond the packaging stated best by date.
How can you tell if your rice has expired?
You can tell if rice has expired or gone bad by checking the packaging for any signs of spoiling such as moisture stains on the outside of the packaging, mold growth, discoloration, stale or rancid smell (especially with brown rice), or bugs. See in detail how to get rid of bugs or weevils in rice.
Also, for anyone who stores rice or any other type of food storage it is critical to know what factors affect food storage life and how to prolong it.
12 Things You Can do With Expired Rice
I like to get the best use out of my food and other things. It never feels good to throw things in the garbage so it’s nice to know that expired uncooked rice that has gone bad can be used for things other than eating.
What to do with expired rice? Expired dry rice can be used to make a long list of things such as:
- Rice heating/ice bag
- You can easily use rice to make hot/cold pads with a pouch of fabric and rice that can easily be heated in the microwave or frozen in the freezer.
- Small rice heating bags to use as hand warmers
- You can use rice to make mini heat bags that can be used as reusable hand warmers.
- To dry a wet electronic device
- It is common to use rice to dry and try to save an electronic device.
- Unclump salt
- If you are having a hard time with salt that clumps, adding rice to the salt shaker is a great way to solve the problem
- Use as a pie weight
- It is common to use dry beans as pie weights but rice will work just as well.
- Clean slender vases by being more abrasive when shaken
- Adding rice to a container with a small neck that your hand won’t fit in can help get the hard to reach places that need scrubbing.
- Absorbing moisture to prevent rust or tarnish
- Storing things such as silver, or things made of metal will help avoid tarnish or rust as the rice absorbs the moisture.
- Ripen fruit
- Burying fruit in rice will help fruit to ripen faster as it locks in the ethylene gas.
- Sensory bin for kids
- A bin full of rice and measuring cups and spoons is a great way to entertain kids and help them build useful skills. You can easily dye the rice with a tablespoon of vinegar and a shirt of food coloring. Lay the rice out to dry completely before play and there will be no color transfer.
- Sweet smelling sachet
- Place rice in a small fabric bag, drop a few drops of your favorite essential oils or herbs or flowers and sew or glue the bag shut and tie it with a ribbon.
- There are so many different crafts you can make with rice, a rain stick, art work, noise makers, and sand art bottles with colored rice just to name a few.
- Noise maker for kids
- You can use a plastic easter egg with a little bit of rice inside then glue or tape the egg shut to make a noise maker for a little kid.
Brown Rice: Storage Life and How to Store it to Extend it’s Life
Information on the shelf life of white rice and best practices for Storing White Rice from Utah State University