How to Freeze Rice

how to freeze rice

I’m pretty lazy—I mean “organized,” and find that having staples like rice pre-cooked and ready to go makes it easy to throw together a greater variety of healthy meals in a hurry instead of relying on packaged or fast foods.

I usually do one big batch every other weekend, then freeze it and pull some out as needed. Frozen rice is good for roughly 30 days, so if you had the time and the freezer space, you could even do it just once a month.

Subscribe to the MOMables menu plan for more ways to prep foods and dishes ahead to make lunch-packing easier!

Step 1: Cook the Rice

I usually do a blend of rice(s) and quinoa for a more nutritional punch (and I add the proper water ratio for the amount of each grain I’m cooking, and cook according to the instructions for the ingredient with the longest time). But for just regular rice, check out this MOMables post on How to Make Perfect Rice!

Step 2: Let the Rice Cool

Either in the fridge or *cough cough* in the pot forgotten and left on the stove until after the kids are in bed. Warm or hot rice tends to freeze into a big clump, and if you like your rice fluffy, you’ll want the granules to freeze separated.

Step 3: Portion and Freeze the Rice

I tend to portion into both snack-size and sandwich-size zip-top baggies, for both single-serve and single-meal-size options. Since those baggies are not freezer-safe, I then put those into a larger freezer bag. But don’t be afraid to portion into serving sizes right for your family.

Or when I’m feeling particularly frugal and eco-friendly, I portion and freeze the rice into a silicone muffin pan, and then put those pucks into a larger freezer bag. (I use silicone because it’s easy to get the frozen pucks out. No promises on metal ones.)

Either way, be sure to use a straw to suck out as much excess air as you can from all the baggies, and label at least the outer bag with the contents (including serving size[s] if applicable) and the date.

Step 4: Thaw and Reheat the Rice

Here are some MOMable tips on using frozen rice for school lunches.

I try to keep a baggie thawed in the refrigerator ready to go any time, but on days when I need a larger amount, or just plum forgot to grab a new one out of the freezer when I used up the last one, there are a few ways I thaw and cook the rice.

When I want the rice to add in a dish, I submerge a baggie of frozen rice in warm water, and let it sit, refreshing the water a few times when it gets too cold.

If I just want hot rice, I put it in a microwave-safe container, add a splash of water, and reheat it in the microwave, loosely covered. I cook it in 30-second increments, breaking apart and stirring between cooking, until hot.

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.

About Kendra Peterson

Kendra has two daughters on a gluten free, dairy free, and dye free diets. She cooks meals that don't come from a can, boxed or with unidentifiable ingredients. She makes miracles with the random veggies she gets from her CSA box and can be seen pulled over at the park or library feeding her kids food packed in lunch boxes. You can also find her making fun waste-free lunches on her blog, Biting the Hand That Feeds You.