Weeknight Cooking

Dinner Shortcut: Store Cooked Rice in Your Freezer

Yes, it works. Here’s how.

Published Jan. 14, 2022.

Frozen cooked rice is the perfect time-saver and is just as delicious as the day it was made. I know what you're thinking, but just hear me out.

Picture this: You’ve just gotten back from a long day at the office (yes, home offices count, too), and that leftover chana masala in the fridge is calling your name. You’re hungry and tired and have already queued up the next episode of Selling Sunset before realizing . . . you haven’t cooked the rice.

Yes, right now that may seem like a small inconvenience, an ordinary annoyance. But in the moment you’re devastated—the last thing you want to be doing right now is rinsing and rerinsing rice, waiting for water to boil, and testing for absorption every few minutes.

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Well, here’s the simple trick to save you all that trouble and have you back on the couch in the time it takes to reheat your curry: Freeze your leftover cooked rice. Yes, it works.

According to America’s Test Kitchen’s New Cooking School Cookbook, “Cooked long-grain white and brown rice can be frozen [in a zipper-lock bag in the freezer]. Simply spread the cooked rice on a rimmed baking sheet and let it cool completely. Transfer the cooled rice to a zipper-lock bag and lay it flat to freeze. There’s no need to thaw it before use.”


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To enjoy your frozen rice, simply microwave it to warm it up, or throw it into your favorite stir-fry while cooking and you’re ready to go. 

And it’s not just cooked rice that can benefit from a stay in your freezer; if you have raw brown rice hanging around, it should probably join the party in the icebox, too: “Raw brown rice should be stored in the freezer to prevent oxidation from turning its oil-rich bran and germ rancid; be sure to use it within six months,” The New Cooking School Cookbook adds.

Three simple steps to freezing your cooked rice

  1. Cook your rice as you normally would.
  2. Spread the cooked rice in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet and let it cool completely.
  3. Transfer the rice to a zipper-lock bag and lay it flat in the freezer to enjoy it again.

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