Do You Know How Long Can You Keep Rice In Your Rice Cooker?

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Rice cookers make cooking rice easy because they cook perfect rice every time. However, what if you cook more rice than you need? What if you have a dinner party and serve rice? Can you store the extra rice in your rice cooker?

You can keep rice in your rice cooker on the “keep warm” setting for up to 12 hours as long as you ensure the temperature stays above 140° F/60° C. After 12 hours, transfer your extra rice to the fridge or freezer. 

Rice inside the rice cooker with a logo of Fooducopia on the lower right side of the image.

How Long Does Rice Stay Good For in a Rice Cooker?

Rice can stay in a rice cooker on the ‘Keep Warm’ setting for 10-12 hours. This setting keeps the rice above 140° F or 60° C, so your rice stays at a safe temperature. That way, bacteria can’t grow and spoil your rice. My Aroma model can keep rice warm for 12 hours, but other rice cooker warm settings may vary based on the brand. Make sure to check your user manual to be sure.

Rice cooker turned on with plastic laddle in the counter.

Can You Eat Rice Left in a Rice Cooker Overnight?

You should not eat rice left overnight in your rice cooker unless you set it to the ‘Keep Warm’ setting. Rice starts to spoil after 2 hours at room temperature. If you want to keep your rice in your rice cooker overnight, make sure it maintains the rice at the correct temperature. To be extra sure, use a kitchen thermometer to ensure the rice cooker can keep your rice at a safe temperature. 

Can I Leave a Rice Cooker on ‘Keep Warm’ For Days?

You should not leave your rice cooker on ‘Keep Warm’ for over 12 hours. After 12 hours, your rice will become hard and dry, and bacteria will begin to grow. Some models can keep your rice warm for days, but many do not have that capability. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions so your rice remains safe to eat. 

4 Signs Your Rice Is Spoiled

If you leave your rice in your cooker for over 12 hours, your rice may spoil. If you notice any of these signs, your rice is not safe to eat:

  1. An unpleasant smell–rice smells sour or musty when it spoils. If it no longer smells nutty and fresh, toss it out!
  2. A slimy texture–spoiled rice loses its plump softness and appears like it is covered in oil.
  3. Mold–mold can be white, green, blue, gray, or brown. If you see mold, throw out your rice and sanitize your cooker.
  4. A color change–rice becomes grayish or dull as it spoils. 

To avoid spoilage, transfer cooked rice to an airtight storage container and put it in the fridge when it reaches room temperature. You shouldn’t put hot rice in the refrigerator. You can also quickly freeze rice in zip-top bags.

Rice has a green mold growing on it.

What Happens if You Eat Spoiled Rice?

If you eat spoiled rice, you may get an upset stomach or contract food poising. Signs of food poising include:

  • Vomiting
  • Stomach ache
  • Diarrhea

These symptoms usually appear within 30-60 minutes after eating contaminated food. Sometimes spoiled rice can take longer to produce symptoms. Rice bacteria, Bacillus cereus, takes time to germinate in your stomach, so symptoms may not appear until as long as 16 hours later. 

I’m not a doctor, but if you develop these symptoms, try to stay hydrated. Contact your medical provider if symptoms don’t clear up within 24 hours. 

How I Store Rice After It’s Cooked

I usually store my cooked rice in the fridge. I put it in an airtight container and can keep it for 3-4 days. I eat it as soon as possible because it begins to harden after a few days. If it gets hard, I add a tablespoon or so of water to the rice before I microwave it. The extra moisture helps the rice get some of its fluffy texture back. 

Can You Freeze Rice?

You can freeze rice, cooked or uncooked. I place my rice in a zip-top bag and squeeze out as much air as possible. Then, I make sure to write the date and type of rice on the bag. That way, I’ll remember what’s in the bag when I pull it out of the freezer. Then, freeze!

Pro Tip:

If I have multiple bags of rice to freeze, I stack them on a cookie sheet. Once they’ve frozen, I remove the cookie sheet. This method creates flat bags of rice that take up less room in my freezer!

Can You Reheat Rice in a Rice Cooker?

Yes, you can reheat rice in a rice cooker. It just takes longer than on the stove or in the microwave. Here’s how: 

For every cup of rice, you’ll need one tablespoon of water. 

  1. Add rice and water to the inner pot of your cooker 
  2. Turn your cooker to ‘Keep Warm’ and close the lid. 
  3. Let it warm for about 1 ½ hours. 
  4. Check frequently and stir a few times while it’s heating. 

What I Do With My Leftover Rice

Most of the time, I store my cooked rice with leftovers in my fridge. I often cook extra servings of a meal so I don’t have to cook every day. Sometimes, I have extra rice I don’t want to freeze or put in the fridge. In that case, I make one of these recipes.

Rice Pudding

Enjoy as a sweet snack or dessert. 

  1. Add equal parts cooked rice and milk to a saucepan. 
  2. Add 2-3 TBSP butter. Stir to combine. 
  3. Add ⅓ cup sugar, one teaspoon vanilla, and ½ tsp cinnamon. 
  4. Stir constantly and bring to a boil. Cook for about 15 minutes until the mixture thickens. 
  5. Serve warm!

Fried Rice

Quick and easy. 

  1. Scramble egg whites or two whole eggs in a pan. 
  2. Add a bag of frozen, mixed vegetables. Heat through.
  3. Add your cooked rice. Sprinkle in a few dashes of coconut aminos and sesame oil.
  4. Stir the mixture often until everything is hot. 
  5. Add seasoning to taste and serve!

You can add leftover meat or canned chicken if you prefer meals with protein. Otherwise, this dish is delicious, just as is.

Final Thoughts

The “Keep Warm” setting on your rice cooker helps keep your rice at a safe temperature. Only keep your rice warm in the rice cooker for up to 12 hours to ensure you stay healthy. After that time, quickly cool and store your rice in the fridge or freezer. 

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