I've read several recipes that call for rice cooked a few days before.
How long is cooked rice good in the refrigerator?
I've refrigerated it for four days and it still tastes fine.
Is left over cooked rice good frozen and thawed?
I Googled this with contradictory results and trust Chowhound more.
Fresh rice is best except for certain preparations that benefit from drier rice (like certain fried rice recipes). The texture suffers from being refrigerated, but it's not dangerous even after a few days in the fridge. Some rice cookers actually have extended keep warm settings to keep the rice warm for several days. I have never tried freezing rice but rice is cheap - why not just try it? it will probably work best with a less sticky variety.
It may be heretical to some, but I too got tired of doing a pot of rice just for myself, so I've begun cooking at least 4 servings worth at once. I put it into a freezer bag and store it in the fridge. I've frozen rice before and don't recall having a problem with it after defrosting, but I'm sure it wasn't in there for months or even weeks.
When I reheat rice to accompany a meal, I just dig into the bag from the fridge and plop the amount I want onto the serving plate, then put it into the microwave. Then 7 or 8 minutes before I figure dinner will be ready to plate, I turn on the defrost cycle for 4 or 5 minutes (to reheat slowly and evenly), giving it a final minute at full power just before I'm ready to dish up the meal.
I'm happy with the results, and will continue to cook, store, and reheat rice this way.
I put leftover rice in the refrigerator, then I make a fresh batch the next time, allowing for the rice I have saved. When the new batch is almost ready, I mix the leftover rice into it.
I have been freezing rice for years and find that the way this works best is to use parboiled (converted) rice. There is an Uncle Ben brand and the Hispanic stores call this yellow or golden rice (not as in saffron rice, don't confuse them, but the converted riceh as a faintly golden tone to it). I cook a large batch in an electric rice cooker then package the rice in plastic sandwich bags to accommodate individual portions. With the converted rice the grains do not stick together---my experience is that long grain or basmati all mashes together in a glop. It is very convenient to have the portions of cooked rice in the freezer to be quickly zapped. No defrosting necessary and it zaps in less than one minute.
i'm not sure about longer grain rice, but short grain rice freezes just fine. I am in Japan now with my fiancee and her family and it is very common practice to overprepare and freeze 6-10 portions. At any given time there are 5-10 individual frozen portions of rice in their freezer which make lunch making and any snack or whatever you want easy. Just pop the rice in the microwave and a couple minutes later its delicious. Sure, there is a marginal difference vs fresh, but its still delicious and very convenient.
My experience with rice is that it doesn't last as well as some other grains in the refrigerator. I toss rice after 6 days. At that time frame I've had it smell wrong and go slimy on several occasions. I use jasmine rice, and that may matter.
Most whole grains freeze well after they are cooked, but I've never frozen rice, since it is the most common grain I make. The microwave heats leftover grains nicely. You may notice a loss of moisture during storage. Sprinkle some water on the grain before you heat it. Try covering it to trap moisture as you nuke it. A small lunch portion heats quickly and evenly.
Note that when I freeze cooked barley, I cool it and place it into a ziploc and flatten the bag and press out the air and place it flat in the freezer. Then once frozen you can bang it on the counter to bust it up and take out the exact amount you desire directly from the freezer. Don't stuff the bag, though, or the banging operation is not going to go too well.
I like fried rice made with 2 day old refrigerated rice. The reason the refrigerated rice is good for fried rice is that the grains change texture over time to be firmer and more separate. If you find that freezing rice doesn't make good fried rice, maybe let it sit a day or two in the refrigerator before you freeze it?
"I've read several recipes that call for rice cooked a few days before."
Probably for fried rice then
"How long is cooked rice good in the refrigerator?"
Depending how cold your refrigerator is and the water content of the rice. I say it should be fine for 2 days and possibly much longer.
"Is left over cooked rice good frozen and thawed?"
I don't get the question.
Nothing beats fresh rice. For recipes like fried rice, day old is fine---much easier to fry that way. For convenience, I might keep it for two days. No more than that. I hate old tasting rice. Rice starts to ferment after a certain point, too.