Can You Eat Cold Rice?

Most of us know that rice is a food you have to be careful of or it can make you ill. When it comes to cooking, preparing and storing cooked rice you have to do so in a way that ensures harmful bacteria can’t grow. Rice contains a bacteria called bacillus cereus and the spores of this bacteria can even survive the cooking process.

The temperature where this bacteria grows best is room temperature which is why it is so important to ensure any cooked rice is kept in the fridge and consumed within a day or two of cooking. With this in mind it is no wonder you are wondering, can you eat cold rice?

The Quick Answer

Can You Eat Cold Rice?

You can eat cold rice as long as it has been cooked properly and stored well in the fridge. You should eat it within 24 to 48 hours of cooking and never store it out of the fridge or harmful bacteria can easily grow.

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What Does Cold Rice Taste Like?

Cold rice tastes like rice! The flavour itself doesn’t change much from cooked rice. It is the texture where you can notice the biggest change. Cold rice will have a thicker, slightly stodgier feel to it, rather than the light, fluffy texture you get from freshly cooked rice.

How to Eat Cold Rice

Cold rice has a surprising number of uses, from salads to throwing into your meals for quick and easy meals made from leftovers. Take a look at these ideas.

Make a Quick and Easy Tuna Salad

Cold rice makes fantastic salads. A great idea for a quick lunch is to open a tin of tuna and mix it into your cold rice. Chop up some onions and cucumber and stir this through. Season with salt, pepper and a little fresh lemon juice or add your favourite salad dressing. Make sure you keep your salad and rice in the fridge at all times until you are ready to eat it to ensure the rice doesn’t end up making you ill.

Make Improvised Sushi

To make sushi, you would normally use sushi rice, but if you love the flavours, then you can use your cold rice to make cold wraps and rolls that give you the flavours of sushi without having to make it from scratch yourself. Wrap cold rice in wilted lettuce leaves with peppers and tuna for a fantastic snack or as part of a meal.

Make Sushi with Cold Rice

Bulk Out Your Wraps and Lunches

You can make a satisfying and filling lunch by mixing up cold rice with some protein and salad and popping it into a tortilla wrap. Add some chilli sauce or your favourite dressings, and pop it in the fridge, ready for lunchtime.

If you want a lower-calorie alternative, then you can substitute the wrap for lettuce or cabbage leaves. Either wrap your rice and ingredients in a fresh lettuce leaf or lightly steam a cabbage leaf and use that as the wrap instead.

Make Some Delicious Fried Rice

Leftover cold rice is fantastic to make quick and easy meals that taste delicious. You can quickly whip up some fried rice by popping the cold and cooked rice into a wok with a little oil and your favourite veggies and stir fry until the rice is fully heated throughout.

Benefits of Eating Cold Rice

The biggest benefit of eating cold rice is ensuring you don’t let food go to waste. This helps your pocket and the environment. In addition to this, there are some delicious recipes you can make with cold or leftover rice.

Dangers of Eating Cold Rice

Cold rice can seem fairly safe and innocuous, but it can easily make you sick. It is one of the food types that are most likely to cause mild food poisoning. This is because uncooked rice contains spores of a bacteria called bacillus cereus, which is not killed off even when you cook the rice.

This means that cooked rice can still contain this bacteria, and once cooled to room temperature, this bacteria can then multiply to harmful levels.

To avoid getting sick, you should only eat cold rice if it has been kept in the fridge and is no more than 24 to 48 hours has passed since cooking the rice. Never consume rice that has been left at room temperature for more than an hour since it has been cooled.

Should You Eat Cold Rice?

As long as you can be sure that the rice is safe and you know it has been kept in the fridge, then you should eat the rice rather than allow it to be wasted. However, if you are in any doubt about the safety of the cold rice, then you should throw it out rather than risk getting ill.

Other Questions about Eating Cold Rice

Below are some other questions people often ask when it comes to eating cold rice. If you do find yourself with further questions, however, then please do ask in the comments area at the bottom of this page:

Can You Reheat Rice?

You can reheat rice. This is not the problem. The problem is when storing the rice initially. If rice is left at room temperature for too long, then it can harbour bacteria that are not killed during the cooking process. This is why it’s vitally important you put your rice in the fridge as soon as it is cool enough.

Can You Eat Cold Microwave Rice?

Generally speaking, microwave rice is cooked in the factory and sterilised in the packet. This means it’s ready to eat from the packet. Microwaving is just a quick reheat of the already cooked (and safe to eat) rice.