Can You Freeze Brown Rice?

Brown rice is a staple ingredient in many kitchens throughout the world. There are so many things you can pair it with, making it very versatile. Make a rice bowl with lentils and caramelized onions or a bowl with spicy Thai chicken. Pork rice is delicious as is shrimp fried rice.

Have it with stroganoff or add it to a red pepper soup. It is a great accompaniment to Mexican dishes and can be turned into a pilaf, risotto, or paella. However, it takes a long time to cook so isn’t suitable for a quick meal. You are looking at a good 45 minutes of cooking time. It’s not something you would want to cook if you came in late from work.

Is there an easy solution? Yes, there is, and that is to cook it in bulk when you have the time, and then freeze it. In this article, we will be telling you how to freeze cooked brown rice and how to defrost it (see also Can You Freeze Jambalaya?). It is important to note that there is no point in freezing uncooked brown rice as it has a long shelf-life.

How To Freeze Cooked Brown Rice

It isn’t difficult to freeze cooked brown rice. The main problem you could have is the rice sticking together but if you follow our instructions, you should achieve success.

1. Cook the rice for 45 minutes.

2. Cool down the rice.

Drain the water out of the pan using a sieve. Put the rice in a cold bowl and cover it with cold water. Leave to cool down. This should take around 15 minutes. You need to cool it down within two hours otherwise bacteria could start to form.

3. Divide the rice into meal-size portions.

You don’t want to defrost more than you need for a meal so use a cup to measure the rice out.

4. Put the rice in freezer bags.

Make sure that you squeeze out the air from the freezer bags so that freezer burn doesn’t occur. Freezer burn will cause the rice to lose taste and texture, and you will probably find that it is mushy when defrosted. When you have done this, lay the bags on their sides and flatten the rice. This helps stop the rice from clumping. Put labels on the bags with the date frozen and the contents. You don’t want to keep the rice in the freezer for longer than the use-by date.

5. Freeze.

Tips For Freezing Brown Rice

  1. Squeeze out the air from the freezer bags to stop freezer burn from occurring.
  2. When filling the bags, use a cup. You will need to put the number of cups needed for the recipes in the bags. It is a good idea to write on the label what you intend to use the rice for so that you know how many cups of rice are in each bag.
  3. Wet the cup a little. This helps to stop the rice from clumping together in the bags.
  4. Store the freezer bags flat so that the rice doesn’t stick together.
  5. Use the rice from frozen.
  6. You can use the method above to freeze other types of rice such as white long grain rice, white short grain rice, jasmine rice, and basmati rice.

For How Long Can You Freeze Cooked Brown Rice?

Cooked brown rice can be frozen for up to three months. It won’t spoil after this time but ice crystals may start to form and as a result, when you defrost the rice, it will be mushy.

How Do You Defrost Brown Rice?

You don’t have to defrost brown rice. You can either fry it or put it in the microwave. The important thing to remember is that you must ensure that it is hot before you eat it. Otherwise, you run the risk of food poisoning.

However, if you intend to use the brown rice cold in a salad, you will need to defrost it slowly in the fridge. When it has defrosted, make sure that you use it up within two hours otherwise bacteria may start to develop.

Can You Refreeze Brown Rice?

Refreezing brown rice, or any other rice for that matter, is not recommended as the more times you freeze, defrost, and refreeze, the mushier the rice will become. In addition, it can encourage bacteria to form and you could become sick when you come to eat it. It is much better to freeze the brown rice in meal-size portions so that you only defrost as much as you need that day. If you do have any leftovers, it is better to throw them away. 

Is It a Good Idea To Freeze Cooked Brown Rice?

It is a good idea to freeze cooked brown rice. It takes so long to cook that cooking it in bulk and then freezing it saves time in the future. As a result, you will be able to have quick meals after a hard day at work.

Frequently Asked Questions

Hopefully, you now know all there is to know about freezing brown rice but in case you are still curious, we have answered a few questions here. 

Can you freeze risotto?

Yes, you can, and you can freeze it for three months. Once cooked and cooled, put in freezer bags or airtight containers. You can also freeze other dishes like paella, pilaf, or fried rice.

What can I make with my defrosted cooked brown rice?

There are so many recipes out there that you will be spoilt for choice. Try garlic chicken and brown fried rice, toasted brown rice with mushrooms and thyme, one-pot Mexican beef and brown rice casserole, black bean and brown rice enchiladas, and even a dessert, brown rice pudding.

Can I freeze cooked wild rice and what can I do with it when it is defrosted?

Yes, you can freeze cooked wild rice. Follow the same instructions we gave you for freezing brown rice. There are many recipes out there to choose from. Try autumn wild rice soup with vegetables, creamy mushroom wild rice, wild rice pilaf, wild rice salad with beets, grapes, and pecans, and one-pot chicken, mushroom, and wild rice casserole.

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