Storing Mexican rice can get tricky. It doesn’t just contain rice but also beans and vegetables, which can quickly go stale once you keep them for too long.
I remember forgetting about Mexican rice in my fridge for a while. My fridge had never smelled so disgusting! This unfortunate incident made me question how long Mexican rice lasts in the refrigerator.
Mexican rice can last for only four to six days in the fridge, after which it may show signs of spoilage like foul odor, slimy texture, and discoloration. Its longevity also depends on the refrigerator’s temperature, the freshness of the ingredients, and the storage technique.
How Long Does Mexican Rice Remain Fresh in the Fridge?
Refrigeration is one of the best options for storing Mexican rice for several days. The low temperature slows bacterial growth and keeps the dish fresh for days.
From my experience, refrigerated Mexican rice is good for four to six days. I kept mine for five days, and when I took it out and reheated the rice, it was as good as new.
However, certain factors can determine the freshness of your Mexican rice in the fridge. They’re listed below:
1. Refrigerator’s Temperature
There was a time when any food I kept in my fridge went stale within one to two days. Soon enough, I realized the problem was my fridge’s poor cooling, not the food itself!
According to the FDA, your refrigerator’s temperature should remain below 4 degrees Celsius or 40 degrees Fahrenheit. High temperatures lead to rapid microbial growth, which ruins foods like Mexican rice within a day.
2. Ingredients in the Mexican Rice
As seen in this YouTube video, Mexican rice contains rice and vegetables. The meal won’t last more than a day if you are using old or slightly stale ingredients.
3. Storage Technique
How you store your Mexican rice can also affect its freshness and longevity in the fridge.
Generally, you should store the rice in an airtight container to preserve moisture and reduce bacterial contamination. One time I forgot to put the cooked rice in a sealable container, which made it dry and chewy!
What are the Signs of Stale Mexican Rice?
Mexican rice can remain fresh in the fridge for up to four days but may spoil early, depending on several factors. Therefore, check for any signs of staleness before you reheat it. Signs to check for include:
Mexican rice is supposed to have a slightly dry texture, so if it appears sticky, discard it immediately. This texture indicates bacterial growth and makes your Mexican rice unfit for consumption!
Note: If the Mexican rice was mushy before storing due to excess water content, you should check for other signs.
One of the most prominent signs of spoilage in any food is its pungent odor.
The best part about Mexican rice for me is its spicy and earthy aroma due to the presence of herbs.
However, spoiled Mexican rice gives off a sour smell as the ingredients, like tomatoes and onions, go bad.
Mexican rice has a reddish-orange hue because of the multiple spices and vegetables in the dish. Refrigerating may lead to slight discoloration due to temperature and moisture changes, but once you see any significant discoloration, like white spots on the grains, it signifies mold growth. Because of mold, you might also notice black, greenish, or gray coloration.
How to Store Mexican Rice in a Fridge?
It’s essential to store the Mexican rice properly if you want to keep it fresh in the fridge for a few days. Below are the steps to follow.
Step 1: Cool the Mexican Rice
You shouldn’t refrigerate warm Mexican rice. The heat evaporates and releases moisture in the grains, further increasing the chances of bacterial contamination.
Moreover, the extra heat can also increase the refrigerator’s temperature, which encourages mold growth, as discussed above.
You can follow my method to cool the rice; all you have to do is transfer the hot Mexican rice into a dish from the pot. Then, spread the rice grains, and let them cool for 10 to 15 minutes.
Ensure you don’t keep the rice at room temperature for more than two hours, as it may go stale.
Step 2: Transfer the Mexican Rice to an Airtight Container
After the Mexican rice has cooled down, transfer it to an airtight container and close the lid tightly. Another option is to store it in a plastic bag, but if you choose this option, don’t forget to remove the extra air first.
Step 3: Store the Mexican Rice
Trust me, your refrigerator’s arrangement can improve Mexican rice’s freshness.
I recommend storing the Mexican rice container or bag on the topmost shelf because it’s slightly warmer than the lower shelves. This way, the rice and vegetables will retain freshness instead of drying out.
Also, keep the container away from raw meat to reduce the contamination risk and prevent the Mexican rice from absorbing its pungent odor.
Can You Freeze Mexican Rice?
When I want to store Mexican rice long-term, I freeze it instead of refrigerating it!
If you’ve packed it correctly, freezing Mexican rice keeps it fresh for up to three months. The reason is that cold temperatures cause the microorganisms to enter a dormant stage. As a result, they can’t grow and spoil the food.
The method to freeze Mexican rice is similar to refrigerating it; you just need to follow these steps:
- First, allow the rice to cool.
- Next, transfer the rice to freezer-safe bags or containers and pack them tightly.
- Remove the extra air from the bags to prevent any spoilage due to freezer burn.
- Freeze them for up to three months. You can also label the containers or bags.
How to Reheat Mexican Rice?
No matter how nicely you store Mexican rice in the fridge, it may still lose a bit of moisture and become dry. You should reheat it well to restore the original texture and fluffiness. Here are two methods for reheating frozen Mexican rice.
Method 1: Reheating Using the Microwave
The first method for reheating frozen rice is to use the microwave. The microwave is the fastest way to reheat frozen Mexican rice. All you need is a microwave-safe bowl and a damp paper towel. Then, follow the steps below:
- First, transfer the Mexican rice to a microwave-safe bowl.
- Then, sprinkle one to two tablespoons of water for every cup of rice.
- Cover the bowl with a damp paper towel. You can also use a plate or microwave-safe plastic wrap as a covering instead.
- Microwave for at least three to four minutes.
Method 2: Reheating Using the Oven
An oven is another option for reheating Mexican rice. The only drawback is that it takes more heating time than a microwave. Here’s how you can reheat frozen rice using an oven:
- Take the Mexican rice out of the container or bag and spread it evenly on a baking tray.
- Break any rice clumps using a fork.
- Next, sprinkle one to two tablespoons of water on the rice.
- Cover the tray with aluminum foil and place it inside the oven.
- Set the oven’s temperature to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Heat the rice for at least 15 minutes until it is light and fluffy.
After removing the Mexican rice from the oven or microwave, fluff the grains with a fork before serving.
Mexican rice is a treat for the tastebuds. It’s spicy, aromatic, and a little tangy! However, you should only refrigerate it for four to six days to retain its flavorful taste and freshness.
If you want to store Mexican rice for months, freezing is the better option.