Does Rice Go Bad In The Pantry? [Inc. Tips for Keeping Rice Extra Fresh]

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What’s not to love about rice? It’s filling, versatile, and easy on your wallet! But just how long does this pantry staple last? Before you buy a bulky bag of basmati, you’ve got to check out our in-depth research into rice’s longevity.

Uncooked white rice has an indefinite shelf life, so it technically never goes bad. Brown rice, on the other hand, only lasts about six months in the pantry. To protect your rice from bugs and mold, please remember to store it in a reliably cool and dry space.  

If you want to learn more specifics about rice’s shelf life, then you’ve got to keep reading this post. In addition to answering common questions about rice’s longevity, we’ll share priceless info on proper rice storage.

A woman taking a jar of rice in kitchen pantry, Does Rice Go Bad In The Pantry? [Inc. Tips for Keeping Rice Extra Fresh]

Can Dry Rice Go Bad?

Uncooked white rice is well known for its long shelf life, but that doesn’t mean it can’t go bad. In this first section, we’ll explore everything you need to know about rice spoilage.

How Long Can You Keep Uncooked Rice?

Technically, you can keep uncooked rice in your pantry forever. Although dry white rice might lose some nutrients after a few years, it never really “goes bad.” If you keep your white rice well sealed in a reliably dry and cool area, it should last indefinitely in your pantry.

The only exception to this rule would be uncooked brown rice, which has a shelf life of about six months. Because brown rice is less processed than other varieties, it has more natural oils. While this means brown rice has higher nutritional value, it also hastens the spoiling process.

How Can You Tell If Rice Is Spoiled?

Although uncooked white rice has an indefinite shelf life, that doesn’t mean it’s immune to issues like mildew and pests. You should always look out for bugs like weevils before cooking your rice. Also, be sure your rice is free from nasty mold before adding it to a pot of water.

In most cases, white rice only “spoils” if it’s not stored correctly in your pantry. No matter what rice you purchase, you need to keep it well sealed in a cool, dry area to deter pests and moisture.

How Can You Tell If Brown Rice Is Bad?

The rancid odor is a significant warning sign your brown rice has seen better days. Trust us, your “nose knows” when it’s time to throw out a bag of brown rice.

In addition to off-putting aromatics, bad brown rice is usually extremely sticky. While brown rice naturally has a higher-than-average oil content, it shouldn’t feel excessively greasy.

What Happens If You Eat Expired Rice?

As long as you’re not eating expired brown rice, there are no major health concerns related to eating expired white rice. However, this doesn’t mean you should eat white rice if it has an odd odor or mold. Eating poor quality rice could cause symptoms like nausea or digestive upset.

If you eat expired brown rice, you might notice side effects like a stomachache or diarrhea. Of course, if you’re experiencing any severe symptoms, please get in touch with a medical professional ASAP.

Keep Your Rice Extra Fresh With These Storage Tips

Now that you know how long uncooked rice lasts let’s go through a few effective storage strategies. Following the tips below will keep your uncooked rice fresh for years.

How Do You Store Rice For A Long Time?

The easiest way to store rice for a long time is to place it in an airtight container. There are many different container shapes, materials, and sizes to choose from, so take your time picking the design that works best for your pantry.

For instance, here’s a large airtight container put out by OXO:

Find out more on this Amazon page.

Check out these products put out by Chef’s Path if you want a collection of differently shaped containers:

For more details, visit this Amazon link.

There are, however, many other ways to store rice for the long term. For instance, some people like to place their rice in mason jars.

Find out more on this Amazon page.

Another way you could store your rice is to place it inside vacuum-sealed Mylar bags. Often, people who use this strategy place an oxygen absorber inside each bag to enhance shelf life.

Click this Amazon link for more details.

How Do You Store A Big Bag Of Rice?

For those who like to buy rice in bulk, there are many large airtight containers you could buy for long-term storage. All you have to do is transfer the rice in your bag into the container.

Find out more on this Amazon link.

How Do You Store 10 Pounds Of Rice?

If you need to store a 10-pound bag of rice, the most convenient option would be to buy large airtight containers. For instance, each of these containers can hold over 170 ounces:

Click this Amazon link for more details.

For those who don’t want to use airtight containers, you could also consider tossing your rice in a food-grade bucket. Just ensure this bucket has a tight lid to keep air and moisture out.

You can find many food-grade buckets online like this one:

Click this Amazon link for more info.

Does Rice Need To Be Stored In An Airtight Container?

You don’t need to place rice in an airtight container, but it is one of the simplest, safest, and most affordable storage options. Because these containers eliminate oxygen exposure, there’s virtually no chance moisture or bugs will destroy your rice.

You could read more about the benefits of airtight containers on this post.

How Do You Keep Bugs Out Of Rice?

Storing your rice in an airtight container is the first line of defense against pantry pests. Many bugs can tear through plastic and cardboard, but airtight containers do a great job deterring insects from outside.

Another neat way you could keep bugs out of your rice is to place a few bay leaves in your kitchen pantry. You could also put a bay leaf in your rice for extra protection. Interestingly, weevils do not like the scent of this staple herb.

Please keep in mind that weevil eggs could already be inside a rice bag without you knowing it. These eggs take months to hatch and are undetectable to the human eye. The only way to get rid of these eggs is to place your rice inside the freezer for at least three days before transferring them to an airtight container.

Can You Freeze Uncooked Rice?

It is safe to store uncooked rice in the fridge or freezer. This is an especially handy trick for folks who like to buy a lot of brown rice. Indeed, uncooked brown rice could last for as long as 12 months in the fridge or 18 months in the freezer.

If you are going to store rice in your refrigerator, please ensure it’s sealed in freezer-safe bags or containers like the ones below.

Click this Amazon link for more details.

By the way, you could learn more about the benefits and drawbacks of different containers on this previous KitchenSeer post.

Store Your Rice Well For Superior Shelf Life

As long as you use the techniques listed above, you shouldn’t have significant issues keeping your rice fresh for the long haul. For the best results, we recommend using airtight containers, but feel free to use any method above that works best for you.

FYI: if you need help figuring out how to cook your rice, KitchenSeer has just the post for you! Please follow this link to discover the perfect pot for boiling a delicious bowl of rice.

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