3 Methods to Store Sushi Rice and the Best Way to Reheat It

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Man rolling the sushi rice with a text "How to Store Sushi Rice"

Cooking sushi rice is similar to cooking pasta. 

You might think you’re cooking a small amount, but once it’s done, you end up with much more than expected! 

Thankfully, there are ways to store sushi rice for days and months.

You can store sushi rice at room temperature, in the refrigerator, or even in the freezer. It stays fresh for about two hours at room temperature, up to three days in the fridge, and up to four months in the freezer.

How to Store Cooked Sushi Rice?

Woman's hand operating the microwave.

Sushi rice has a shorter shelf life than other rice varieties because of its excessive starch content

If you want to store it, you can follow three methods as shown in the table below.

Storage MethodShelf Life (Cooked Sushi Rice)
At Room TemperatureTwo hours
RefrigerationUp to three days
Freezing Up to four months

Let’s talk about each storage method and what you must do to keep your sushi rice fresh. 

Method 1: Room Temperature 

Sushi rice in blue bowl.

You can store your cooked sushi rice at room temperature for about two hours. After that point, the rice may get contaminated by bacteria and become inedible.

Ensure that you transfer the rice into an airtight container after it has cooled down. Moreover, don’t forget to cover the rice with a lid to prevent its moisture from drying out.

Airtight glass containers in yellow background.

Method 2: Refrigeration 

Empy fridge opened.

Refrigerating sushi rice is one of the best ways to store it, as it can last up to three days in the fridge. Moreover, refrigerated sushi rice also retains its original texture on reheating.

Here is how you can refrigerate your sushi rice:

1. If your sushi rice is hot, allow it to cool to room temperature before proceeding.

2. Cover a plate or tray with foil and spread the sushi rice to speed up the cooling process.

Sushi rice on a plate covered with foil.

3. Once the sushi rice has cooled down to room temperature, transfer it into an airtight container

Sushi rice in a plastic container.

4. Store the container inside the fridge, and keep it away from food items having a strong odor, like cheese. Ensure that the refrigerator’s temperature is around 41°F (5°C) or below.

Method 3: Freezer

If you want to store your sushi rice for up to four months, you can freeze it. 

I don’t recommend this, as the sushi rice may lose its stickiness and become slightly brittle! Hence, it won’t be ideal for making sushi. 

Here is how you can freeze your sushi rice properly: 

1. If your sushi rice is hot, let it cool to room temperature first. 

2. Transfer the sushi rice into an airtight freezer bag and zip it tight. 

Sushi rice in airtight freezer bag.

3. Remove any extra air from the freezer bag by pressing on it. This helps prevent any freezer burns. 

4. You can also label the freezer bag with the storage date. This way, you can keep track of when you stored the rice.

How to Know if Sushi Rice Has Gone Bad?

Stale rice.

Sushi rice can easily go stale if stored beyond its shelf life! Here are some noticeable signs that can help you determine if the sushi rice has gone bad.

  • Bad Texture: Stale sushi rice may become hard and dry instead of having a soft and slightly sticky texture.
  • Foul Odor: If the sushi rice smells sour and acidic, it’s a sign that it has gone stale. Fresh sushi rice generally has a mild and neutral aroma.
  • Appearance: Sushi rice may look yellow or brown if it is spoiled, as opposed to its usual white appearance.
  • Mold or Discoloration: Stale sushi rice may have mold growth or even discoloration in the form of black, blue, and green spots.
  • Taste: Stale sushi rice has an extremely bitter or sour flavor, indicating that it has gone bad. 

Steps to Reheat Sushi Rice

Reheating refrigerated or frozen sushi rice is pretty similar to reheating other things! Let’s take a look at how to reheat sushi rice:

Frozen sushi rice in a plastic container.

1. Transfer the refrigerated rice into a microwave-safe bowl and gently break any lumps with a wooden spoon. 

Sushi rice in microwavable bowl.

Note: If you have frozen the sushi rice, let it defrost in the refrigerator for up to 12 hours. 

2. Cover the microwave-safe bowl with a damp paper towel. This step ensures that the sushi rice retains moisture instead of becoming dry and brittle. 

Plastic container covered with damp paper towel.

If you don’t have a paper towel, sprinkle two to three tablespoons of water on the rice before microwaving it.

Spoon with water above the plastic container with sushi rice.

3. Microwave the sushi rice for about 20 to 30 seconds, or until it is evenly heated. 

Final Thoughts

Sushi rice can be stored in various ways. If you don’t want the rice to lose its moisture and texture, refrigerate it. On the other hand, if you want to store the sushi rice for months, then freezing is the ideal option.

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