Does Rice Expire or Go Bad? (FULL ANALYSIS)

image of rice shelf life, expiration date, and storage tips

Hey there, rice enthusiasts! Today, we’re finally answering the age-old question: does rice expire or go bad?

Since it’s a staple grain, we all love to think that rice lasts forever, and will stand the test of time. 

So if you have a stock of rice that has been in your pantry for so long, you might be asking if the rice is still nice or if it’s already expired. Can rice go bad?

Sad fact: Yes, all types of rice can go bad over time. 

But how long does rice last? Rice shelf life depends on a wide range of factors, and these are exactly what we’ll be discussing in this article. 

So if you want to know the nitty gritty on your favorite grain, then keep on reading!

image of rice in bag

Does Rice Expire? Can It Go Bad?

Yes, rice can go bad. However, how they go bad will vary depending on the type of rice you have and whether or not it’s still uncooked or already cooked. 

Does Uncooked Rice Go Bad?

Uncooked rice comes in different types and varieties. Let’s start with the most popular option—white rice. 

White Rice:

As a dried grain, white rice won’t go bad in the sense that it will get spoiled. 

However, its quality will start to degrade over time. But instead of spoiling, white rice will lose its flavor and will become brittle as time goes by.

Brown rice:

Unlike white rice, brown rice can go bad. This is because of the high-fat content in its bran layer. 

Since it doesn’t go through the polishing or milling process like white rice, the fat in brown rice will become rancid and will cause the rice to taste sour eventually. 

Will Cooked Rice Go Bad?

Cooked rice has the shortest shelf life. Due to its high moisture content, it can get spoiled faster. 

As compared to uncooked rice, spoiled cooked rice is no longer safe for consumption as it can cause a wide range of health issues that we’ll discuss in the next few sections. 

How to Tell if Rice Is Bad?

The shelf life we’ve shared above is just an estimate. The best way to tell if your rice is still good is to inspect it closely and monitor for any telltale signs that it has gone bad. 

– Rancid Dry Rice Signs –

For dry rice (opened or unopened), here are the signs to watch out for:

  • Mold Growth: If the dry rice has green or black spots all over them, it’s time to throw them out. 
  • Off Smell: This won’t be an issue with white rice, but it’s a common sign that brown rice has gone bad. When the oils in brown rice become rancid, it will start to give off a strong chemical-like smell which you can easily get a whiff of upon opening the package. 
  • Presence of Pests: Did you just open the bag and found a few pantry pests inside? If so, dispose of the rice immediately. While there’s still no evidence that the consumption of food items contaminated with pantry pests will cause health issues, would you still want to consume that rice? We guess not, right?
  • Water or Dampness: If water got in your pack of rice or it was stored at a place with high humidity, your rice will feel damp. The presence of water or dampness will most likely result in molds, so get rid of it right away. 

Spoiled Cooked Rice Signs –

Below are the tell tale signs of spoiled cooked rice: 

  • Foul Smell: Spoiled rice will give off a strong bitter or harsh smell. You won’t miss it because it’s an extremely foul odor.
  • Slimy Texture: If you noticed that the rice already feels slimy and wet, throw it out right away. 
  • Discoloration: Mold growth is characterized by green or dark spots. At times, it might be a fuzzy white growth in the rice. You should throw cooked rice with mold growth as soon as possible. 

How Long Does Rice Last? ( Shelf Life of Rices + Table Included)

How long rice last will depend on several factors, including:

  • Type of rice,
  • Whether it’s cooked or uncooked,
  • Whether it has been opened or unopened, 
  • Moisture content,
  • Storage conditions (light, temperature, humidity, etc.),
  • Presence of rodents and insects,
  • And its quality at the time of purchase. 

With that said, here are the expected shelf life of the different types of rice and their corresponding storage places: 

 Type of Rice Pantry RefrigeratorFreezer
  Dry White Rice (Unopened)2 yearsNot recommendedNot recommended
  Dry White Rice (Opened)1 yearNot recommendedNot recommended
  Brown Rice 3 to 6 months6 to 12 months12 to 18 months 
  Cooked RiceNot recommended3 to 4 days8 months 

How to Store Rice to Extend Its Shelf Life?

If you wish to prolong the shelf life of your rice, you need to pay extra attention to how you store it. To help you out, we’ve shared some of the best storage tips below:

– Storing White Dry Rice

Place in an airtight container or food-grade plastic bucket.

Before adding the dry rice, make sure to wash the container first. After that, dry it thoroughly to protect the rice from moisture. 

Not only that, but you also need to ensure that the lid is tightly sealed to ward off pantry pests. 

Add oxygen packets to the container.

For an added layer of moisture protection, you can add food-grade silica gel or oxygen packets inside the container. 

Pro Tip: You can skip this if you only plan to store the dry rice just for a few weeks. 

Place the container in a cool, dark, and dry place.

Never place your rice container in a hot and humid place as such conditions can introduce moisture to your rice, causing it to spoil faster.

– Storing Dry Brown Rice

To prevent from going rancid, freeze or refrigerate it.

The cold temperatures will prevent brown rice’s fat content from going bad.  

– Storing cooked rice

Store in the refrigerator. 

Cold temperatures can prevent bacterial contamination, so refrigerate leftover cooked rice right away. 

Pro Tip: You can freeze it for longer shelf life. 

Let cooked rice cool down before refrigerating it. 

But before you do so, make sure to let the rice cool down first to prevent moisture and condensation from forming inside the container. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Learn more:

The Bottom Line

Does rice expire or go bad? Yes, all types of rice go bad, but they differ in the way they go bad. 

For one, white rice doesn’t spoil, but it’ll lose its quality over time. On the other hand, brown rice gets rancid while cooked rice spoils. 

The good news is you can simply extend the rice’s shelf life simply by following the storage tips we’ve shared in this article.  

Does Rice Expire or Go Bad?

Find out how long cooked and uncooked rice can last before they expire or go bad.
Learn the signs of spoiled rice and discover the best storage methods for freshness.
Prep Time15 minutes
Active Time1 hour 35 minutes


  • Rice Cooker
  • Airtight Container


  • Uncooked Brown Rice
  • Cooked Brown Rice
  • Cooked White Rice
  • Uncooked White Rice


  • Rice does not typically expire or go bad, but it can become dry, hard, and less flavorful after a few months of storage.
    If stored properly in airtight containers, rice can last for up to two years in the pantry.
  • Rice can last up to two years when stored in an airtight container.
    To maximize shelf life, store in a cool, dry place and check periodically for any signs of expiration or spoilage.
  • If rice has an off smell, discoloration, or grain texture thats not usual, it's likely gone bad and should be discarded.
    To check if rice is still safe to eat, boil a small amount in water – if the rice tastes off or has a sour smell, throw it away.
  • Rice should be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.
    Make sure the container is kept away from any heat sources or high humidity areas to prevent spoilage.
    Check on the rice regularly and discard if there are any signs of expiration or spoilage.

Up Next: Your Common Food Ingredient’s Shelf Life – A Comprehensive Guide By Groups

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