How to Store Cooked Rice and Keep it Fresh

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Medium grain white rice is usually used for Japanese and Chinese dishes.
Medium grain white rice is usually used for Japanese and Chinese dishes. (Image: cooked rice image by Liz Van Steenburgh from Fotolia.com)

Rice is a staple of Asian cuisine. Whether you're making curry, chicken teriyaki, or sweet and sour pork, you need fresh rice. Unfortunately rice loses its freshness within an hour unless it's properly stored. As cooked rice comes in contact with the air, it becomes hard and stale. Plastic wrap can protect rice from drying out, and freezing the wrapped rice traps its natural moisture inside for later use.

Things You'll Need

  • Microwave
  • Large spoon or rice paddle
  • Measuring cup
  • Plastic wrap
  • Freezer

Cook rice according to the directions on the package and remove from heat immediately after it finishes cooking to ensure the best possible freshness. Fluff rice with rice paddle or spoon.

Rip off a piece of plastic wrap about 1 foot long and lay it on a clean working surface. Measure out 1 cup of rice and place it in the center of the plastic wrap. Wrap the plastic around the rice, creating a tight ball. Repeat until you run out of rice.

Freeze the still-warm balls of rice immediately to preserve the most freshness possible. The natural moisture will be frozen into the rice and preserved. Place the rice balls in your freezer in a convenient place and leave them until you are ready to eat.

Remove your rice from the freezer, place it on a plate, and put it into your microwave without removing the plastic. Microwave it for 30 seconds at a time, turning the rice over between each 30 seconds to thaw it evenly. The rice will re-steam in the plastic wrap. After one minute, open the plastic wrap and use your finger to check whether the rice is cooked all the way through. Continue until the rice is fully heated. Place rice on a plate and eat with your favorite Asian food.

Tips & Warnings

  • Frozen rice stays good until it gets freezer burn, or about two weeks.
  • Rice that has begun to dry out can be frozen using this method, but will not be as fresh as rice frozen immediately after cooking.
  • Thin plastic wrap can begin to melt if it's heated for more than 30 seconds at a time. Microwaves may vary. Never walk away from microwaving plastic wrap.

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