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Mar 16, 2011 09:11 AM

How well does rice freeze?

We are going to be tiling our kitchen soon and expect the project to take a couple weeks. During that time, my stove will be out of the kitchen, and as such, unusable. I plan to spend a weekend leading up to this cooking LOTS of stuff that can be reheated in our microwave/convection oven combo. One thing that we like to cook all the time is stir fries, and they make great leftovers, just put rice in a container, then top with veggies and meat or tofu, then add sauce on top. It can even be consumed out of said container (which is helpful considering my dishwasher will be gone too!). I know the cooked veggies and meat/tofu will freeze fine, but how about the rice?

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  1. Rice freezes fine but can become a bit dry. I usually freeze rice separately and splash some water on it when reheating in the microwave.

    1. Freeze it separately, while still warm, in one- or two-serving-size zip-top bags, flattened out so they'll stack easily in the freezer. I learned this tip from an interview with no less than Iron Chef Morimoto.

      So, to answer your question, it freezes beautifully!

      1 Reply
      1. re: LauraGrace

        Thank you Laura, this is great advice. I love the idea of freezing it separately, but It seemed a terrible waste to use such big bags for one rice. So, to keep them separate we strung them together on a length of minted floss and wrapped that around a frozen flounder we had handy - and we're able to reuse the same flounder bag for extra savings.

      2. It might depend on the type of rice.

        I freeze short and medium grain brown rice in snack-size zip bags all the time to use in rice salad work lunches. No complaints.

        1. I cook for a crowd on the weekend then freeze individual meals in old Stouffer's Lasagna large trays wrapped in plastic wrap, to eat later when want a quick home cooked meal from basic ingredients. When make something like beef stroganoff over rice with water chestnuts for crunch the rice re-heats just fine after being frozen - either in the oven when at home or in a microwave if out.

          The host of Simply Ming on PBS Create, Ming Tsai, made sushi rice in bulk and advised to freeze in small portions to eat later at the end of the show. Could not find a link to his actual show for the comment as the video does not appear to be there. At the bottom of the page you could ask Ming on twitter if desire confirmation beyond my memory. Here is how Ming Tsai's makes sushi rice:

          NOTE: Caution to others about eating food from microwaves or plastic as we minimize. Something my grandma who lived to be 97 got me started doing long ago. Some of my Stouffer's trays have been used something like 50 times and are probably leaching plastic into my food while hope re-using so much helps minimize. We try to cook the food outside the container in a bowl or on a plate to minimize plastic contact with food especially when heat is added. Left overs covered in a low oven at about 250 steams it done. Some things taste better re-heated than fresh, an example is home-made lasagna.

          2 Replies
          1. re: smaki

            I'm not a big fan of the texure of brown rice (dense chewy) but was using some that I had frozen and liked it much better..


            1. re: don515

              One of Trader Joe's biggest sellers is their frozen brown rice, container w/three microwavable bags for three bucks. Very, very good; it comes out perfect every time, unlike my own somewhat variable results …

              Never thought to try freezing home-cooked. I like the notion of packing it in Zips, but I'll go one better and use my FoodSaver (which I keep forgetting I have!).

          2. I have frozen rice for years but have found that converted aka parboiled rice freezes well while basmati or ordinary long-grain doesn't. The converted rice grains stay apart; the other kinds mush together. I cook the biggest pot I can do in my large rice cooker and package individual portions in plastic sandwich bags for freezing. As for whether you will like frozen rice as well as fresh-cooked rice, remodeling your kitchen is like having a new baby in the house---convenience trumps everything else.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Querencia

              That's true, Querencia -- I dislike Basmati when frozen. Shorter grain rice, and even medium-grain, freezes VERY well.

              1. re: LauraGrace

                That's what I've found too.
                Can't comment on converted rice though...I despise the stuff and never make it to begin with.