How to Freeze and Reheat Cooked Brown Rice


How to Make Ahead and Freeze Brown Rice

Freezer cooking is not just about preparing and freezing complete meals. More often than not I utilize this cooking technique to have ready meal starters and staples for easy dinners during the week.

Brown rice is one food that I always have on hand for sides or to include in a recipe. Even though it’s rather simple to cook rice using a rice cooker it still takes over an hour until it’s ready. I don’t know about you but when my kids are hungry screaming for dinner I am not going to sit around waiting for the rice to cook.


Good news is that rice freezes beautifully resulting in no need to cook a batch from scratch every night. Follow my simple tips below to always have prepared fluffy delicious rice straight from the freezer.

Tips for Freezing and Reheating Brown Rice

  1. Once a week or whenever you are getting low make a large batch of rice. My rice cooker allows me to make 8 cups of brown rice at a time. Of course you could make the rice on the stove top though using a rice cooker is so much easier. In addition they are relatively inexpensive and in my opinion a must have for busy parents who want to easily incorporate rice into their meal plans.
  2. When the rice is done cooking allow to it to cool slightly. You still want the rice to be warm when you package it up. This helps retain its moisture and will result in nice fluffy and fresh rice when you reheat it.
  3. Portion the rice out and place in freezer bags. I measure my rice into 1 cup portions because that is typically what I use in my recipes and meal plans. The great thing about freezer cooking and ultimately creating your own freezer meals is you are in control of the portions.
  4. Put packaged rice into the freezer. Cooked rice will last approximately 3-4 months in the freezer.
  5. When ready to eat defrost rice in the microwave. First, I run the bag under warm water to remove the rice and place in a microwave safe bowl. Next I will warm it up in the microwave for about 2-3 minutes more or less depending on the amount of rice. Some people warm up the rice in the bag but I prefer to use a bowl because I do not want to take the chance of the bag melting.
  6. Eat as is or use in any recipe that calls for cooked brown rice. My favorites are Chicken Curry, Turkey “Fried” Rice, and Black Bean and Rice Burritos.

These tips will work for both white and brown rice.

This is a very basic and easy freezer cooking technique that you will find extremely time saving when trying to put together dinners during the week or even to grab on the go for lunches.

What are some of your tips for freezing rice?  In what ways has this helped you put together healthy meals for yourself and family?

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  1. What a simple and good idea. I’m sick of buying the grocery store 2 portion jawns because of the sodium and lack of deliciousness. Bravo!

    • This is such an easy and basic concept. However one that I did not think about until recently….so I thought it would be good to post it for people just getting started with freezing foods.

      Thanks so much for popping in!

  2. Awesome we’re totally going to try this, we love brown rice!

  3. Just wondering if you have any advice on how to cook/defrost the rice without the use of a microwave 🙂
    Great instructions other than that, I’m putting on my big batch of rice right now.

    • Hi there! If you don’t use a microwave then you can warm as you would other foods. You can warm on the stove or in the oven. Hope that helps.

      • SK Rainsford says:

        I also was wondering about the No Nukes option. Warming rice can be tricky. Normally I add an oz. or two or water into the pot and keep a lid on it, low heat., (if stovetop) for 10 min. The water “steams-heats” it and keeps it moist. But if it’s frozen should you thaw at room temp first or not?

  4. I’ve been freezing individual portions of brown rice for many years, ever since my kids left home and I am cooking for just one. I cook the rice and use the old Tupperware hamburger form to make 1/2 cup servings into what looks like rice cakes – put them on a tray to freeze, then pop into a freezer bag or round container. So convenient to have on hand to add to a stir-fry or even as a healthy snack reheated with a little butter, some raisins and cinnamon & sugar. Also cook and freeze Irish oatmeal (groats/steel cut) to have on hand for breakfast – reheat with a little milk. Any long cooking grain can be cooked and frozen for convenience and to save time when preparing an otherwise quick meal – really helps to keep it healthy when you don’t have the time for the long cooking required by many of these healthy grains. Glad to have found your website through Snack Girl 🙂

    • I love that idea! I have the hamburger press from Tupperware and will definetly use it now. Both for my steel cut oats and brown rice! Thank you.

  5. magnoliasouth says:

    One other tip on reheating. Once you put the rice in a microwave safe bowl, dampen a paper towel and place it on top of the bowl. This helps reheat with steam and I’ve found it adds a more freshly cooked texture. It’s just enough to re-steam it a bit.

  6. Love this! We did this with our Healthy Aging class at UConn in Hartford! I’m writing about it in my blog this week, and will link to your directions for “How To”. There are so many tricks to freezer cooking! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  7. Jessie Rose says:

    Not sure why I really searched for a guide on how to freeze rice, but this super-simple method helped me a lot! Thanks for posting, this will be utilized shortly. 🙂

  8. Caroline McKay says:

    Thank you for this, I am pregnant and feeling awfully tired most of the time and have other health issues which makes cooking all the time hard so today I made a homemade curry and brown rice and portioned it out into foil dishes and am going to freeze it, I dont have a microwave though so will have to add a few drops of water and cook them in the oven, my worry was bacteria in the rice but I am hoping if its cooked till piping hot it will be okay, any advice for oven cooking from frozen??

  9. Michele Turner says:

    Can the freezing method work with other flavored rice, chicken, Spanish, or fried? When we use our RV this would be so easy to keep on hand. Thanks for he great tips.

  10. Thanks for so many good tips! Rice is a pain to cook for 1, but it had never occurred to me to freeze it.

  11. i have been doing this for years. A couple of tips for you: Before microwaving in a bowl, wet fingers and sprinkle a little water over the rice, then cover with a small plate. This resteams the rice as it warms and it comes out perfect.

  12. Wonder if quinoa would freeze the same way? Ever tried it?

  13. Stephanee says:

    This thread may be long dead, but does anyone have advice on whether it’s safe to use this method for travel? For instance, if I pre-cook rice and freeze it, then put the frozen bags in a cooler and transfer that to a hotel mini-fridge once I arrive. (Drive is about three hours.) How long will it stay fresh at that point, refrigerated? I have dietary restrictions that make travel and food difficult, and I am always looking for the best way to do this! Has anyone mixed anything in with the rice before freezing, such as cooked vegetables and maybe shredded chicken?
    Thank you!

  14. Get a DuoPot. Rice takes 12 minutes.


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