Brown Rice vs White Rice: Storage Methods Compared

As a Certified Health Coach many of my clients ask about storing rice, including brown and white rice.

Opened uncooked rice should be stored in a cool, dry place inside a tightly sealed container. White rice can last almost indefinitely while brown rice has a shelf life of six months due to the oil in the bran layer.

Cooked they both should be stored in the refrigerator for three to five days. For longer storage the cooked rice may be stored in the freezer up to six months.

Both should be stored in an air tight container.

This article will take a closer look at the storage methods for each rice including containers, pests and temperature.

Cooked white rice and cooked brown rice in bowls.
Cooked white rice left and cooked brown rice right

I’ve purchased, researched and stored both rice prior to, during and after writing this article.

Shelf Life and Storage Conditions

When you’re deciding how to store rice, the two primary factors to consider are shelf life and the conditions under which you store it. The type of rice determines the storage methods and shelf life.

Brown Rice Storage

Your brown rice has a shorter shelf life compared to white rice due to its higher oil content from the bran layer. Generally, you can expect brown rice to stay fresh for about 6 months when stored in your pantry.

To extend its life, consider refrigerating it, which can keep it usable for up to 12 months, or freezing, which can extend that even up to 18 months. Always ensure it’s in an airtight container to avoid moisture and contaminants.

White Rice Storage

White rice, on the other hand, has a significantly longer shelf life due to the absence of the bran and germ. Typically, it can last in your pantry for 4-5 years past the printed “best by” date.

To achieve this, you should store your white rice in a cool, dry place in an airtight container or mylar bags, which can further protect it from insects and environmental factors. If stored under ideal conditions, white rice can remain safe for consumption for well over a decade.

Best Practices for Extending Shelf Life

Storing rice properly is essential for maintaining its quality and longevity. The following techniques will help you ensure that both brown and white rice stay fresh and free from spoilage for as long as possible.

Storage Containers

To maximize the shelf life of your rice, use air-tight containers. This method protects the rice from moisture and pests, two primary culprits that can cause spoilage.

White rice can last up to 4 years when stored this way, while brown rice, due to its higher oil content, will typically stay fresh for about 6-8 months.

For greater convenience, label containers with the date of storage.

  • White Rice: Store in air-tight containers; shelf life of up to 4 years.
  • Brown Rice: Maintain freshness with air-tight containers; approximately 6-8 months of shelf life.

Disclaimer: Some links in this article are affiliate links which means I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Check out affordable food storage containers on Amazon, food storage containers.

Temperature and Humidity Control

The ideal storage conditions for rice involve cool and dry environments. Keep your storage area below 40°F (5°C) if possible, but at least at a constant temperature around 70°F (21°C) to extend the shelf life up to 10 years or more for white rice.

Brown rice, however, benefits from refrigeration due to its natural oils that can spoil more easily.

  • White Rice: Benefits from being kept at constant temperatures; can last over 10 years at 70°F (21°C).

  • Brown Rice: Refrigeration can help in extending its shelf life due to higher oil content.

Keep in mind that humidity should also be kept low to prevent mold growth and maintain rice quality over time.

Pest Control

When storing rice, pest management is a crucial aspect to consider, as both brown rice and white rice can attract pests. The storage method plays a significant role in preventing infestations.

Brown Rice

Brown rice is more susceptible to pest problems because it retains its bran layer which provides oils that can oxidize and attract pests. To safeguard your brown rice:

  • Use air-tight containers: This limits the exposure to air and pests.
  • Store in a cool, dark place: Ideal to prevent the growth of insects and the oxidation of oils.
  • Regularly inspect the rice: Look for signs of moisture or bugs.

White Rice

White rice, having had its hull, bran, and germ removed, is slightly less prone to pest infestation but still requires careful storage.

  • Consider vacuum-sealing: This removes air that pests need to thrive.
  • Use food-grade buckets with gamma lids: These create an effective seal against insects.
  • Keep in air tight containers to prevent bug access, which can cause significant damage.

Summary Table

Rice TypeSuggest Storage ContainerBenefits
Brown RiceAir-tight containersPreserves freshness, prevents pests
White RiceVacuum-sealed bags or buckets with gamma lidsExtends shelf life, safeguards against insects

Keeping both brown and white rice in air-tight or vacuum-sealed containers is essential for pest control. Regularly check on your storage to ensure it remains secure and free of infestation.

How to Store Cooked Brown and White Rice

Proper storage of cooked brown and white rice is crucial to maintain freshness, texture, and prevent spoilage. The following strategies will help you keep your rice delicious and safe for consumption.

Brown Rice

  • Cool it quickly: Spread your cooked brown rice on a tray to allow it to cool down faster. This prevents bacterial growth.
  • Refrigerate: Store in an airtight container and refrigerate within two hours of cooking. It will stay fresh for approximately 4-6 days.
  • Freeze: For longer storage, freeze in airtight containers or resealable bags. Usage of freezer-safe containers is recommended. Thaw in the refrigerator before use.

The best method for removing air from resealable bags is using a vacuum sealer machine. Check out affordable ones available on Amazon, vacuum sealers.

White Rice

  • Cool it down: Like brown rice, cool your white rice quickly and evenly to room temperature.
  • Refrigeration: Place the rice in an airtight container and refrigerate. Properly stored, it will last for 4-7 days.
  • Freeze: If you need to store it for a few months, seal it in airtight containers or bags designed for freezing. Thaw in the fridge before reheating.

To reheat both types of rice, add a couple of tablespoons of water per cup of rice and cover it to trap steam; then, reheat it either on the stove over low heat or in the microwave.

Ensure you use containers that are clean and dry to prevent any contamination. For best results, try to consume your rice as soon as possible after cooking it.

This video explains how to store brown rice.

If you have any questions about this article don’t hesitate to email us or comment below. You can find an email on our contact page.

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