Have you ever made a huge batch of rice and wondered, “can you freeze rice?”. The answer is yes! This step-by-step post shows you how to freeze and reheat rice so it turns out fluffy and tender.
Rice is a staple ingredient universally liked by everyone and served with many of our family’s favorite recipes.
Having a stash of cooked rice in the freezer can save you 30 minutes of cook time during a busy weeknight and makes putting together a balanced meal much more streamlined.
The directions in this post will work for any variety of rice: white, brown, multi-grain, Jasmine, basmati, long grain, short grain- you get the picture.
Can You Freeze Rice
Rice holds up great in the freezer and will last for up to a month stored in freezer-safe zip bags. It’s worth freezing a batch to have cooked grains on hand for weeknight dinners and hot lunches. Once reheated, frozen rice has a uniform texture to freshly cooked rice.
That’s the beauty of meal prep. It creates room to make healthy and delicious meals all week long while spending less time in the kitchen during busy weeknights.
If you’re looking for more family-focused recipes that can be made ahead and stored for later, check out these meal prep ideas. Each recipe can be served as a family meal or split up into individual servings and refrigerated for a couple of days.
Freezing Cooked Rice
The best way to freeze rice is simple and broken down into 3 simple steps below.
How to Freeze Cooked Rice
Prepare the rice on the stove-top or in your rice cooker.
Once the rice is cooked, allow it to cool down to room temperature. If you allow it to cool down, it separates into individual grains, keeping the rice tender once it’s thawed and reheated. Freezing hot rice will cause it to clump and give it a weird texture.
- Pack and freeze
Portion the rice into freezer bags and freeze for up to 1 month. I’ve found that snack-size bags work great for single-serving portions, and quart-size bags will hold a full meal.
A fun but useful tip to prevent freezer burn is to suck out excess air from the bags with a straw!
Another option is to freeze rice portions in a silicone muffin pan (it will not work with metal pans) to get single servings and then place all of the frozen rice pucks into a larger freezer bag. This will allow you to get many servings in one bag.
Reheating Rice After Freezing
It couldn’t be simpler to reheat frozen rice and give it new life.
Reheating frozen plain rice
To thaw frozen rice, microwave it in 1-minute intervals or pan-fry it with a little oil. Both methods make the rice tastes like you just cooked it on the stove-top.
To prevent the rice from drying out in the microwave, add 1-2 tablespoons of water, and loosely cover the dish with plastic wrap. Microwave in 1-minute increments, pausing to stir until the rice is tender.
Adding frozen rice to a recipe
If using frozen rice in a recipe, you can warm it up as shown above or add it frozen with the other ingredients such as fried rice or soup (chicken and rice soup, anyone?).
For more tips on what to do with leftovers or extras designed to be eaten over several meals, check out these MOMables tips on How to Store and Use Up Leftovers.
Can You Freeze Fried Rice
Fried rice is an excellent option to freeze for future meals. Just place the cooked and cooled rice in single-serve containers, seal, and freeze for up to 1 month. I recommend reheating it in a skillet with a little oil, so the rice keeps its toasty flavor and crisps up.
How to Pack Rice for Lunch
To pack frozen rice for lunch, reheat one of the single-serve portions of rice in the microwave and pack it in a thermos container. Add cooked protein and veggies and seal. How easy is that?!
Check out more thermos and hot lunch ideas you can pack with rice in the 101 Packed Lunches eBook for school lunches. You’ll find chicken teriyaki and numerous power bowls that suit both kids and adults.