Is It Safe To Eat Leftover Rice?

Although rice is a staple in many popular meals and dishes, it may not always be safe to eat it as a leftover. This is because eating leftover rice can potentially cause food poisoning if it's not stored or reheated properly (via Romper). According to Dr. Tamika Sims, the director of food technology communications at the International Food Information Council Foundation, rice can contain a harmful bacterium called Bacillus cereus. Its spores produce a toxin when food is left out at room temperature for too long.

The longer the rice is left out, the greater the chance that it will give you food poisoning, which can cause nausea, stomach cramps, vomiting, and diarrhea. That's why it's important to store your rice correctly by refrigerating it shortly after you're done cooking it. "Within two hours of cooking food (or after it is removed from the stove, microwave, etc.) leftovers should be refrigerated," Sims told Romper.

How to safely store and reheat leftover rice

It may not be enough to just stick it in the fridge, however. Real Simple says that cooked rice needs to be stored at 40 degrees Fahrenheit and should be disposed of after 3-4 days. It might also be helpful to store your rice in shallow containers while it's still hot. This can help prevent and reduce bacteria growth. While rice has a much longer shelf life if you store it in the freezer, you should discard it after 3-4 months.

When it comes to reheating your leftover rice, you can either microwave it, steam it, or stir-fry it. If you decide to microwave your rice, make sure you add 1-2 tablespoons of water for every cup of rice. This will help ensure that the rice re-steams while it heats up in the microwave for 3-4 minutes.

The same goes for steaming your leftover rice in a saucepan, except the internal temperature should be at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit. If you want to stir-fry your rice, however, you'll need to cook it in a sauté pan or a wok over medium heat while coating it in a layer of oil. Before you serve it, you should check the internal temperature to make sure it's over 165 degrees Fahrenheit.