Cooking rice takes time. It takes about 25 minutes to cook white rice and 45 minutes for brown rice. Some days there is not enough time to wait for the rice to cook. We just want to cook a quick meal and relax in the evening. As a result, we often choose quick and not-so-healthy meals over something nutritious that takes more time to prepare. Luckily, freezing cooked grains is a thing, and it can be a real lifesaver. Enter freezing cooked rice.
Cooking large batches of rice takes just as much time as cooking a meal-size portion. You can take advantage of this fact and cook a larger batch in a weekend and freeze the leftovers. This way you can have cooked rice ready in minutes on weeknights. If you are interested in freezing cooked rice, read on.
How to freeze cooked rice
Let’s start by cooking the rice of your choice (white, brown, wild, basmati rice). After that, there are only 4 steps to freeze the cooked grain: chill, portion, pack and freeze. Let’s look at each step in detail:
- cool rice. Spread the rice thinly on a baking sheet or on a few plates so that it cools quickly. If the rice sticks to the surface, run the tray under running water first (so it’s slightly wet). This should prevent the rice from sticking to the surface. After 10 to 30 minutes (depending on how thinly the rice was spread on the pan) the rice should be quite cold. If it’s still a little warm, you can put the tray or plates in the fridge for 10-20 minutes to make sure it’s cold.
- portioning. Portioning the cooked rice well is very helpful when defrosting. Think about how you will be using the rice in the future and portion it out based on that. If you’re not sure how much rice you’ll need at one time, you can always split the batch into 1 or 2-cup portions.
- Packaging. Each serving should be packed in its own freezer bag. Spread the rice evenly in the bag with your hands so that it forms a thin layer. Thin and even layers have two main advantages. Firstly, the cooked grains can also be reheated more easily and evenly in the microwave. Secondly, if the portion is too small, you can easily defrost another layer. Once the freezer bags are prepared, label them with name, quantity and date for future reference.
- Throw the rice in the freezer
Read Also: Can you freeze cream cakes?
How to thaw frozen cooked rice
Here are some options when it comes to defrosting cooked rice:
- Microwave. The fastest option, although not the healthiest, is the microwave. Microwave in one-minute increments, making sure to leave a glass of water in the microwave when reheating. This will help keep the reheated rice moist.
- Frying pan. You can prepare the frozen rice in minutes by reheating it on the stove. Pour the rice into the pan and heat the grains over low heat. Add a tablespoon of water (or more if needed) and allow the rice to thaw and reheat. Once the rice clumps begin to break up, stir the grains from time to time so they cook evenly. If you have frozen cooked rice with some sauce, you don’t need to add the water.
- Include it directly in the meal you are preparing. If it’s a dish that’s been cooked in any way (soups, stir-fries), you can add the frozen rice straight in. A good example of this is a stir fry of frozen shredded chicken with BBQ sauce. Be sure to add a few minutes of cooking time to allow for thawing and cooking of the rice.
- In the refrigerator. This option takes time, and the rice may become mushy.
How to use frozen rice
The texture of frozen and thawed rice is almost the same as the texture of freshly cooked rice. Because of this, you can use thawed and reheated rice almost the same as freshly cooked rice.
You can use the rice for soups, french fries, casseroles and rice bowls. You can also add some sauce and egg white and enjoy the reheated rice.