Given its incredible versatility when it comes to cooking, rice is a staple ingredient in many cuisines.
Many types of rice exist, including white, brown, basmati, wild, or jasmine, to mention a few.
Still, regardless of which type you prefer, you may wonder how long rice keeps.
This article explains whether dry and cooked rice goes bad and the dangers of eating expired rice.
The shelf life of dry or uncooked rice varies depending on the type of rice.
Although there are many types of rice, the main difference when it comes to shelf life is between white and brown rice.
Because brown rice is not milled or polished, it has a higher oil or fat content. Therefore, it may become rancid more quickly than white rice.
Still, both types of rice are considered shelf-stable when dry, which means that they can be safely stored at room temperature (1).
- White rice: up to 2 years
- Brown rice: 3–6 months from the date of manufacture
Keep in mind that refrigerating and freezing may significantly extend both their shelf lives.
How to tell whether dry rice has expired
Shelf-stable foods usually have an expiration date — often called best-by or use-by date. Still, they may be safely consumed after that date if there are no signs of deterioration on the product’s package (1).
Determining whether dry rice has gone bad is relatively easy.
Just check the package for spoilage signs, including holes, bugs, dampness, or water, which may lead to mold growth.
When it comes to brown rice specifically, you may also look for discolorations, a rancid or funny smell, or an oily texture.
If you wish to prolong your rice’s quality for as long as possible, make sure to store it in a dry place, such as your pantry or kitchen cupboard.
You may also store it in an air-tight container after opening it. This way, you’ll also protect it from bugs and moisture.
Dry white rice has a shelf life of up to 2 years, while brown rice keeps up to 6 months. Signs of expired rice include holes in the packaging, bugs, water, and mold. Brown rice may become rancid, oily, or discolored.
Contrary to dry rice, cooked rice’s shelf life is virtually the same for all types of rice.
Once cooked, rice may keep its flavor, texture, and quality for 3–4 days in the refrigerator — although some claim it may last a whole week (1).
You may also freeze cooked rice for up to 8 months.
How to tell whether cooked rice has expired
There are a couple of ways to tell whether your cooked rice has gone bad.
First, smell it. Unlike freshly cooked rice, which has almost no odor, expired rice will have an unpleasant or strange smell.
Second, take a closer look at its texture. Instead of being airy and fluffy, expired rice may become slimy or gooey.
Lastly, check the rice for mold, which often appears as green, blue, or black spots.
If you notice any of those signs of spoilage, make sure to discard your rice.
Cooked rice lasts for about 4 days in the fridge or 8 months in the freezer. Expired rice may have an unpleasant smell, gooey texture, or mold.
Moreover, mold contamination in dry rice may also reduce its nutritional quality (
Additionally, keep in mind that regardless of whether rice has expired, the improper food handling of cooked rice may increase the risk of food poisoning from Bacillus cereus, which often leads to abdominal pain, diarrhea, and vomiting (6,
Bacillus cereus is a bacteria typically found in rice that may survive cooking (
Thus, if rice is not refrigerated or frozen within 2 hours of cooking, the bacteria may produce the toxins that make you sick (
Mold contamination in expired rice may lead to mycotoxin intake, which may be detrimental to your health. Also, non-expired rice that’s poorly handled may lead to food poisoning from Bacillus cereus.
The shelf life of dry rice varies from white rice to brown rice, but once cooked, all types of rice have the same shelf life.
Dry white rice may last for up to 2 years if kept at room temperature, while brown rice only lasts about 6 months. Refrigerating and freezing them increases their shelf lives.
Cooked rice must be refrigerated, and it keeps for about 4 days. It may also be frozen for longer.
If you notice any changes in smell, taste, or texture, or signs of mold growth or bugs in both dry or cooked rice, make sure to discard it right away.