If rice is part of your meal prep routine, or if you just always find yourself with leftovers, you’ll want to follow these food safety guidelines to avoid getting sick. Eating reheated rice can lead to food poisoning if you’re not careful after first cooking it, the U.K.’s National Health Service advises.
Again, the problem is not with reheating the rice itself, but with how you handle it in the first place. After cooking rice, you should not let it sit out for more than an hour. Uncooked rice can contain spores of Bacillus cereus, a bacteria that can cause food poisoning. That bacteria can survive even after the rice is cooked, and the longer rice is left out at room temperature, the greater the chances the bacteria will multiply and potentially product toxins. If they form and you eat the rice later on, you might wind up with an uncomfortable bout of vomiting or diarrhea.
Luckily, it’s fairly simple to avoid the risk. Option one: Cook the amount of rice you plan to eat, and serve said rice right away. Option two: If you’re making it to eat at a later time, put it away as soon as it has cooled down, the NHS says. This should be no longer than an hour.
The rice should be eaten by the next day (so, no, stretching your leftovers out allll week is not a good idea, unfortunately). When you do reheat it, make sure it’s steaming all the way through. Additionally, you shouldn’t reheat rice more than once.
…That’s a lot of information. In short, don’t leave your cooked rice on the counter for more than an hour, OK? Thank you for coming to my rice-related Ted Talk.