Can You Leave Cooked Rice Out Overnight?

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So, there we were – a family of four – with enough cooked rice to last us for weeks. Rather than tossing it or feeding it to the chickens, we were wondering if we should just leave the rice out overnight and eat it tomorrow.

So can you leave cooked rice out overnight?

No, you cannot leave cooked rice out overnight! You run the risk of making yourself very sick. Cooked rice may become unsafe to eat due to bacteria growing if they are left at room temperature for more than a couple of hours.

If you do find yourself with leftovers and with no access to a fridge, the best thing would be to dispose of the rice.

How Long Can You Leave Cooked Rice Out?

Cooked rice can be left out for up to four hours without becoming unsafe to eat.

After four hours, the bacteria that can cause food poisoning will start to grow.

If you cooked rice but will not be eating it right away, you need to refrigerate it.

How to Tell if Rice is Bad?

There are a few ways you can tell if your rice has gone bad. It is best to be cautious.

If you notice any of these signs, it is best to dispose of the rice:

– Smell

Smell the rice. If it smells ‘off’ for example if smells sour or musty, it has likely gone bad and you should not eat it.

– Texture

Rice should be glossy and firm. If it is sticky or mushy, it has likely gone bad.

– Color

Pay attention to the color of the rice. If it has dark spots or tuning yellowish or greenish, it has likely gone bad.

If you are not sure if your rice has gone bad, don’t risk eating it!

How to Store Cooked Rice?

Once you have cooked the rice, you need to store it in a safe place.

The best way to store cooked rice is in the fridge.

You need to cool the rice and proceed to place it in a covered container or in a zip-lock bag and place it in the refrigerator.

If you are going to store the rice for more than four days, you should freeze it.

How to Cool Rice Quickly to Store it?

The fastest way to cool your warm cooked rice quickly is to spread it out on a baking sheet.

Once it is cooled, you can place it in a covered container or in a zip-lock bag and place it in the refrigerator.

Another way is to divide it into small portions in individual containers, cool it, cover the containers and place them in the refrigerator.


You can not eat cooked rice that was left out overnight. It is better to be safe than sorry.

You are likely to become sick if you eat the rice .

If you do not have access to a refrigerator, it is best to just throw away the rice and find something else for dinner.

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