Last Updated on January 25, 2023 by Claire
How long can rice stay in rice cooker? Well, for experts, 6-12 hours to avoid discoloration, dryness, flavor loss, or exposure to bacteria. For some reason, you have to leave your rice in the cooker. Perhaps, you cooked too much rice or received an emergency call. Would it be safe in the cooker overnight or for how long? The answer will amaze you. Just don’t get scared, your rice won’t quickly become inedible in the cooker.
How long can rice stay in rice cooker?
Rice can stay in a rice cooker for 6-12 hours long to prevent the rice from getting discolored, dry, losing flavor, and spontaneous bacterial growth that can cause food poisoning. In some cases, this will depend on your rice cooker, so it’s best to know the product manufacturer’s recommendations.
However, based on general observations, cooked rice can stay in a rice cooker for a maximum of 10-12 hours at temperatures above 140°F before getting spoiled. The cooked rice should be thrown away if it stays in a rice cooker for over 12 hours as it will become contaminated by bacteria and is no longer safe for consumption. Moreover, per Tiger Corporation U.S.A., “If the keep warm function is used longer than 12 hours, moisture in rice can penetrate through the non-stick coating and bind to it.”
Now, this actually depends on the type of rice in question as well – for example, brown rice usually spoils more quickly compared to white rice- and if the rice cooker you are using has a “keep-warm” function that can keep the rice at temperatures above 140°F for that time.
If the rice cooker doesn’t have this feature then it’s best you keep your cooked rice there for no more than 6-8 hours as opposed to the 10-12 hours previously mentioned.
Store cooked rice in an airtight container in the refrigerator to keep it safe and fresh for consumption.
How long can rice stay in rice cooker on warm?
If your rice cooker has a keep-warm function, you can keep cooked rice warm for about 4-6 hours. Although, it’s best to consume it as soon as possible for food safety reasons.
However, rice cookers without this feature can keep rice warm for anything between 1-1 ½ hours.
But if you want to keep cooked rice warm for a longer time (not advisable), you can turn the rice cooker on to reheat it again, just make sure you don’t overcook it and you consume it as soon as possible.
Factors to consider in keeping rice in a rice cooker for a long time
Here’s a list of factors to consider if you want to be able to keep your rice fresh in a rice cooker for a long time:
- Follow manufacturer instructions when using a rice cooker.
- Don’t use the rice cooker to wash the rice as it might damage the rice cooker quickly.
- Cook the rice properly; don’t undercook or overcook your rice if you want it to stay fresh and tasty for a long time.
- After each use, wipe out the pot nicely to keep your rice cooker clean and dry.
- Don’t reheat or recook too often to help prolong the lifespan of your rice cooker.
Can you leave rice in a rice cooker overnight?
No, it’s not advisable to leave cooked rice in a rice cooker overnight as it will become unsafe for consumption.
Here’s why- Keeping rice overnight depends on a few factors such as environment temperature (hot or cold) and storage method.
Cooked rice kept in a refrigerator at proper temperatures and in an airtight container can stay for as much as 1-2 days before going bad. While cooked rice kept in storage mediums with a warm temperature such as rice cooker, can actually stay for as long as 10-12 hours before going bad (but not recommended).
Now you might be wondering why it’s not advisable to keep cooked rice in a rice cooker for as long as 10-12 hours since the average overnight period (bedtime to waking up) is between 9-10 hours.
This is because when rice cookers use the ‘keep-warm function’, the moisture in rice grains slowly evaporates as the keep-warm function heats the bottom part of the cooking bowl.
Once the moisture completely evaporates, the rice is totally dried out. Thus allowing bacterial spores to break open and begin multiplying, which means the rice has gone bad and is unsafe for consumption.
What happens if you keep rice for too long in a rice cooker?
When cooked rice is kept in a rice cooker for too long it becomes ‘dry rice’, breeds bacteria, and becomes spoiled and unsafe for consumption.
Here’s why- the moisture in rice grains slowly evaporates as the keep-warm function heats up the bottom part of the cooking bowl. Once the moisture completely evaporates, the rice is totally dried out.
When this occurs, bacterial spores break open and start multiplying, thus making the rice spoilt and unsafe for consumption.
What is the best way to store cooked or left-over rice?
When it comes to storing cooked rice, many people have certain methods that work best for them. However, there are 2 methods I usually use.
- Storing the cooked or leftover rice in a rice cooker for a maximum of 10-12 hours at temperatures above 140°F.
- Making sure the freshly cooked rice is cooled down before putting it in a refrigerator at temperatures below 41°F (do this within 1 hour of cooking the rice).
The quickest way to cool down hot rice is to spread it evenly over a baking sheet and leave it for 10-15 minutes. Then you put it in a zip-lock bag or an airtight container for storage in the refrigerator.
Is reheating rice safe?
Reheating your cooked rice is completely safe so far it has not been stored at temperatures below 140°F or for over 10-12 hours, has been properly stored in a refrigerator, and shows no weird signs or smells of getting spoiled.
However, you should consume reheated rice as soon as possible and not store it for long after reheating.
You can use a rice cooker to reheat it until it is edible, but a steamer is recommended for the best results.
How do I know if rice is spoiled?
Below is a few noticeable signs rice will show when it’s spoiled:
- Change in color. rice may have a grayish or dull color when spoiled.
- Unpleasant odor. spoiled rice may have a sour smell, a musty odor, or a weird smell.
- Mold. Spoiled rice will have some visible signs of mold formation on its surface.
- Slimy texture. A slimy or sticky texture is an indication of spoiled rice.
- Bug or insects in the rice. You will almost definitely notice bugs or insects in rice when it gets spoiled.
Frequently asked questions
What will happen to my rice cooker if I leave rice in it for too long?
Leaving cooked rice in the rice cooker and leaving it on for twelve hours isn’t harmful to the appliance (provided you don’t do it too often), but the stored rice is unsafe for consumption.
How do you keep rice from spoiling in a rice cooker?
Add 2 tablespoons of vinegar to the rice before cooking to help keep the taste or texture of the rice, and prevents it from going bad. It’s also a great way to make the perfect rice.
We’ve done justice to the topic “how long can rice stay in rice cooker?” Taking the right precautions is important for storing cooked rice in a rice cooker so you don’t end up keeping the rice for too long and getting it spoiled. All in all, keeping cooked rice in a rice cooker is an ideal way to keep it fresh, ready, and safe to eat for an extended period until you’re ready to eat it.