Does rice mold?

In this article, we will answer the question “Does rice mold?”, how long does dry rice last, how to tell if the uncooked rice has expired, what is the shelf-life of cooked rice, what happens to rice when it expires, and how to store rice.

Does rice mold?

Yes, rice molds. It is rare for dry rice to mold but it is possible if the moisture gets to it. Mold in cooked rice is a rather common occurrence. It happens due to either prolonged storage or improper storage. 

Mold can be seen growing in the form of green, black, or blue fuzzy spots or patches all over the surface of the rice. Eating moldy rice has serious repercussions. 

Moldy rice cause food poisoning which is commonly characterized by diarrhea, vomiting, headache, and stomach ache. 

The severity of the symptoms depends on the amount consumed, the immunity of the individual, and the pathogenicity of the microbe ingested. Cooked rice is often contaminated with Bacillus cereus.

How long does dry rice last?

Both the white and brown dry rice have a long shelf-life. But brown rice is more prone to spoilage due to its high-fat content. 

Brown rice has its husk intact which contains all the fat, fiber, and minerals. This makes brown rice nutritionally superior to white rice but also results in the reduction of its shelf-life.

If stored correctly, dry white rice can be expected to last up to 2 years. Whereas, dry brown rice will stay good for about 3-6 months past processing.

How to tell if the uncooked rice has expired?

When it comes to non-perishable food items such as dry rice, the expiry date is just a warning that the quality of the rice will deteriorate quickly from here on. It has little to do with the safety of the product.

If stored correctly, you can expect the dry rice to last months past its expiry date. However, you must closely inspect the expired uncooked rice for signs of spoilage before cooking them.

Telltale signs of spoilage in rice are insect infestation, the presence of holes in the package, and moisture in the rice. If it is brown rice, you may notice a rancid smell emanating from the rice, s well as a discolored appearance which will make the rice look unappetizing and unpleasant.

What is the shelf-life of cooked rice?

Irrespective of the type of rice, cooked rice stays good for only 3-4 days in the fridge. After 4 days, you should toss your cooked rice even if they appear fine. If you want your cooked rice to last longer, consider freezing.

Freezing cooked rice is a no-brainer and it extends the shelf-life of the cooked rice for up to 8 months. The longer you freeze your cooked rice, the inferior its quality gets. It is recommended that you consume your frozen rice within the first couple of months of storage to enjoy the best quality.

What happens to rice when it expires?

Apart from becoming moldy and unappetizing in general, the nutritional value of the expired rice degrades. In addition to the live microbes of Bacillus cereus, spoiled or moldy rice may also contain Mycotoxins.

Now mycotoxins are no joke. These toxins are extremely dangerous as their main target is your vital organs such as the heart, lungs, and brain. These toxins cannot be cooked or washed out of your rice because cooking temperatures are not high enough to destroy them.

Ingesting rice that contains mycotoxins will break your immune system, and lead to convulsions, coma, and an increased risk of cancer. 

How to store rice?

As long as the rice package is unopened, you can safely store it in a cool pantry or a kitchen cupboard. Make sure no heat, moisture, or sunlight gets to their package.

Once opened, store the rice in an air-tight container or a freezer bag since the original package can no longer provide a barrier against contaminants.

Then you can keep it in the fridge or freezer. If you opt for a freezer bag, make sure to press the excess air out of the bag. Put a clear label on the bag to keep track of its expiry. Then chuck it into the fridge or freezer.

Refrigeration in an air-tight container and freezing in a resealable bag are two viable storage options for cooked rice. 

Once cooked, let the rice drop to room temperature before packing it away in bags or containers. Do not let the cooked rice sit on the counter for more than 2 hours. Freeze your rice before its refrigeration shelf-life elapses. 


In this article, we answered the question “Does rice mold?”, how long does dry rice last, how to tell if the uncooked rice has expired, what is the shelf-life of cooked rice, what happens to rice when it expires, and how to store rice.


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