The Ultimate Guide On How To Store Rice Long Term

Eight Different Types of Rice

Rice is a very versatile product and comes in various kinds for several types of diets. Whether it’s white rice, brown rice, basmati rice, or even the cooked variety, storing rice will affect its consistency and shelf-life over time.

How to store rice depends on whether it’s cooked or still raw. The most convenient way to keep uncooked rice is in an airtight container, placed in a cool and dry area in your pantry. Meanwhile, you can store cooked rice in airtight glass or plastic containers.

This article will show you how to store rice in the most convenient yet effective way possible.

Why Store Rice?

Knowing how to store rice for the long term is a must in the kitchen. In many households, it’s used in different dishes and cooked multiple ways aside from just the base of a flavorful meal. You can even use it for a rice cake or a good sushi roll for appetizers in other cultures. 

Properly storing rice will lengthen its shelf-life, giving home cooks and professional chefs the chance to maximize its use. It’s also one of the best foods you can consume during emergencies.

Apart from its versatility, rice also boasts tons of nutrients and is proven to be rich in fiber, ideal for lowering cholesterol and lessening the risk for heart disease. Keeping them in your pantry for months-long can help you prepare healthier meal options to add to your diet.

Can Dry Rice Go Bad?

Like other foods, dry rice can still accumulate mold over time, making it inedible and putting it to waste if not stored properly. Insects and rodents can still access rice if you store them in random boxes, so it is best to invest in good quality and airtight containers to keep moisture out and lock in freshness.

Sealing the rice container halfway or forgetting to lock one clasp could still allow for ventilation and lead to bugs and other pests contaminating the contents. Plus, exposure to heat causes the rice to sweat, making it more prone to bug infestation. 

Poor storage on the corner pantry without a proper seal on the rice container’s lid can also create a moist environment for insects to build nests and lay eggs.

Can You Store Rice in the Freezer?

Yes, the freezer is an excellent spot to store rice since it can last up to 18 months in a cold and dry environment. The recommended temperature for rice storage is 40°F or lower, which works well for households who don’t cook rice daily.

How to Keep Bugs Out of Rice

A Bug Found in White Rice

A way to store rice while keeping bugs out is by putting dried chili peppers through its layers. Placing them on the shelves where you keep the rice is another way to force the bugs to stay out.

According to Oregon State University, the heat that emanates from hot peppers is an effective biochemical pesticide. Capsaicin acts as a deterrent for many insects, pests, and mites both indoors and outdoors. This naturally occurring substance in peppers can irritate tissue and impact the bugs’ nervous system, eventually damaging their cells’ membrane before death. 

If you’re not a fan of leaving chili peppers on your pantry shelves, you can create an all-purpose pest spray using chili peppers instead and use its natural deterring substance as an ingredient for a solution.

How to Store Cooked Rice

Cooked rice has a life span of a few hours at room temperature. And it has an even lower shelf life when stored in high temperatures, eventually leading to spoilt rice with hard consistency and a rancid odor.

This situation can be frustrating, especially if you tend to cook rice in large quantities for big families. In such cases, using the leftover to make fried rice should be done on the same day to avoid spoiling. You can also store cooked rice in a food-grade container with a tight seal and place it inside the refrigerator, increasing the shelf life.

Before chilling the rice in the fridge, ensure to let it cool first. Glass, ceramic, or BPA-free plastic containers are excellent options to store rice. Cooked rice can last 4 to 7 days in the fridge if properly stored, which you can later use for other dishes.

How to Store Uncooked Rice

Storing uncooked rice can be done in a few simple steps to ensure it sits well in an airtight container and adapts to a cool environment. Consider putting uncooked rice in a tall rice box and carefully find a spot in your pantry or kitchen that is cool and dry to ward off moisture development and bug infestation. 

In addition, you should cook the rice within the first year of purchase to achieve its optimal flavor and texture. Uncooked rice can also be stored in the side of your fridge but ensure you get a storage container with a secure silicone seal and clasps to ensure the rice’s freshness, even if it’s in cold storage.

If stored correctly, dry white rice has a shelf life of up to 2 years at room temperature once opened. On the other hand, brown rice can only last for about 6 months.

How Do You Store Rice Long Term?

Storing rice long-term isn’t complicated, but it does require the need to create the right conditions for longevity. Consider the temperature and do not settle for areas in your kitchen that go below 40°F.

Some kitchens might be small or have low ceilings, bringing in more heat into the kitchen, which is why you can also keep rice up to 70°F. This approach may require you to purchase oxygen absorbers to help create a layer of protection for your rice and prevent them from deteriorating over time.

  • Airtight Containers

Airtight containers are the most straightforward way to keep rice in your pantry or kitchen. They’re flexible, spacious, and usually come with extra accessories to make them easier to use in the kitchen or when traveling for cook-outs and public functions like catering. 

Follow these simple steps on how to store rice in containers correctly:

Step 1: Prepare the Rice Storage Container

Initially, storing rice in airtight containers requires cleaning and removing dirt, dust, unwanted odor, especially when they’re newly bought. 

Drying the container should also be thoroughly done, as damp containers could add moisture and change the environment of your rice storage, which could breed bacteria and mold if you’re not careful.

Step 2: Add Rice Based on the Container’s Capacity

Check the container’s bottom for any lingering dirt, then add a couple of oxygen absorber packets to eliminate oxygen from the rice storage box. This method is ideal for those who buy in bulk and would like to store rice for more than three months. 

Think about the length of storage before adding the packets, too, since it wouldn’t be essential if you’re keeping rice around for two to three weeks at a time.

Step 3: Select Your Storage Area

Lastly, find the most accessible spot in your kitchen or pantry. Check if your chosen area has the right temperature for storing uncooked rice. 

If you want immediate use for your rice, like lunch or dinner prep, it would be best to keep them on the mid-corner shelf of your multi-level pantry. Also, consider how much rice you’re going to keep for long-term storage since they can usually go in the undercabinet of your kitchen sink.

  • Freezer 

Another way to keep bugs out of rice is by storing them in the freezer, extending their shelf life. Follow these easy steps to get you started:

Step 1: Get a Clean Ziploc Bag

Available in several supermarkets, you will need a Ziploc bag to contain excess rice. If you have extra freezer space, this is an excellent tip to try. Before anything else, wipe down the insides of the plastic bag using a microfiber cloth to remove dust.

Step 2: Remove All Air Before Sealing

The next step is to eliminate moisture from the Ziploc bag by removing all the trapped air inside. Pour in the dry uncooked rice and evenly press on them to distribute it throughout the bag. 

Step 3: Store the Bag in the Freezer

Once you’ve secured the rice evenly, you can proceed with storing it lying down or standing up at the side of your freezer. You can also keep it at the very back of all the meats and fish to avoid mixing it with daily ingredients used for meal prep.

Remember to use the rice within three months from storage since keeping it in the freezer for more than that could dehydrate it, leaving you with subpar texture for cooking.

  • Mylar Bags

    Black Mylar Bag

A somewhat underrated way to store leftover dry rice is keeping them in mylar bags. Its material is made from metalized polyester, which plays a role in blocking more oxygen. Mylar bags are tougher and more resistant to permeating gas from rice storage. Here’s how to use them:

Step 1: Get a Mylar Bag 

You can easily purchase them in container stores and even hypermarkets. Mylar bags come in different sizes, thicknesses, and colors. Check how much rice you plan to store before buying them in one size or assorted sizes. Also, ensure you get the thicker variants to avoid holes and punctures.

Step 2: Measure then Pour the Rice into the Bag

Measure the leftover rice you have using a measuring cup or spoon and portion them out. Pour them into the Mylar bags, leave one inch to the seal, and then zip the bags accordingly. Ensure you only preserve white or jasmine rice, as brown rice is not ideal for Mylar bag storage.

Step 3: Add Oxygen Packets if Necessary

Oxygen packets are optional to add into Mylar bags, but they are needed for more extended upkeep and better oxygen absorption. Seal the bags properly, then keep them in a dry and cool place in your pantry or cabinet. 

How to Store White Rice

White uncooked rice

Storing white rice is relatively straightforward since it is low in moisture, preventing mold growth and bacteria formation. Rice storage containers work great for preserving white rice over long periods. Here’s how:

Step 1: Find a Tightly Sealed Rice Storage Container

There are many rice storage containers you can find in the supermarket. Depending on the capacity, frequency of rice purchase, and the type of white rice, your storage container would vary. 

First, clean the storage container properly with dishwashing soap and give it a good rinse before wiping it with a clean cloth. Make sure the insides are wiped dry.

Step 2: Strain, then Pour in the White Rice

Sort through the white rice and use a filter to rid all the dirt and excess rubble mixed with the rice. Pour it into the storage container and ensure the seal is appropriately locking in moisture by clasping all the lids tightly.

Step 3: Select the Spot to Store the Container

It is best to store rice in bulk or large quantities in the pantry or under the cabinet. Another option is to place it on the side of the fridge for easy access and keep it for as long as six months. This process is ideal for storing rice in small to medium storage containers.

How to Store Brown Rice

Brown Rice in a Bowl with Utensils

Keeping brown rice in a proper container requires a little more mindfulness. Since brown rice is a whole-grain alternative, it has higher natural oil content than other rice variants.

Storing brown rice for more extended periods is possible, but once the oil from the rice starts to seep into the rest of the grains, a rotten smell is released. This situation usually occurs due to improper sealing or careless storage.

You can follow this three-step storage hack to help you keep your brown rice properly: 

Step 1: Find a Durable Mason Jar

Buy a mason jar from any container store and clean it properly with dishwashing soap. Ensure you dry every crevice and corner of the mason jar by wiping it down with a microfiber cloth or a paper towel.

Step 2: Prepare Your Brown Rice and Pour it into the Jar

Sort through your brown rice and shake them in the bag they came with to release the moisture. Pour the brown rice into the mason jar, making sure it can still close with an airtight seal.

Step 3: Place the Jar in the Corner of Your Freezer

The last step is to store the brown rice in your mason jar at the very corner of your freezer. The dry and cold environment will preserve the rice for at least six months. 

What Type of Rice Should You Store?

A Woman Looking At Her Rice Storage

There are many types of rice you can store, but some variants require a more delicate approach. White rice, basmati, jasmine, and biryani rice are excellent for long-term storage up to 5 years in airtight containers at room temperature. While brown rice is better kept in the freezer for 6 to 12 months.

Instant rice requires a shorter time frame for storage compared to regular rice. It is due to its expiration date that only lasts up to two years. On the other hand, brown rice has higher natural oil content that requires it to be consumed faster if bought in small quantities.


Storing rice can be done in multiple ways, depending on its type. The best way to approach it is to buy rice accordingly and keep them with caution. You can use airtight containers, check the seals, and utilize your freezer space to guarantee long-term rice storage.

Let us know in the comments if this guide helped you figure out how to store rice the smart way.


  • I purchased 2 – 25 pound bags of rice and put them in the freezer. It’s been there for six months. How can I dry storage it? Is it wet from being in the freezer? Any suggestions are certainly appreciated. Thank you.

    Larry Smith
  • My plastic juice/soda bottles continue to have a very slight fruity odor even after washing and soaking in diluted bleach water. It’s not overpowering but a bit noticeable and I’m wondering if the rice/beans will take on that odor during long term storage? I will be using O2 absorbers also. Thanks for any comments!

  • Response to gary

    You can separate the stones and dirt from the rice grains by manually handpicking the stones if you can or you may use a bamboo sieve. This bamboo sieve will help filter debris from your rice.

    Or when you’ll cook your rice, you can clean the water as many times as needed until all dirt is removed. Meaning you’ll have to put water, mix the rice, drain the water (make sure there are stones and dirt coming out), and repeat the process until you see the water in your pot is clear.

    Kitchen Science
  • so I read about the storage of rice, it’s pretty straightforward. but when talking about the cleaning of the rice by straining for rocks and dirt it says use a filter! so what kind of filter am I going to find, that, one will let dirt and rock out but not the rice?. can I get clarification here please.


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