Most people like fried rice, but when it comes to cooking it at home, it never seems to work out exactly the same as what you buy from the restaurant. Is there a secret to cooking fried rice, and can it be stored for more than a day without needing to throw the rice out?
Did you know that you can’t cook fried rice successfully with freshly cooked rice? The water content in the rice is too high, causing the rice to clump and not taste the same as restaurant fried rice.
Fried rice seems like an easy dish to master, so why do so many of you struggle to make excellent fried rice? We answer many frequently asked questions to prove you with culinary expertise. This article unveils the techniques for making great fried rice and how it can be stirred for more than just a couple of days.
Let’s get after it.
Does fried rice expire?
Yes, fried rice expires faster than you may think.
The common denominator in fried rice is rice, which does not have a long shelf life when cooked. Cooked rice sitting in the rice cooker or rice pot has a life of 2 hours before it should be thrown away, so making fried rice needs some thought and a little planning.
Cooked boiled rice in the fridge only has a shelf life of 24 hours before it deteriorates, so the key to cooking fried rice is to plan your meal.
The key to fried rice is to use boiled rice that has been in the fridge for 24 hours, the rice has dried after losing moisture, and now the greatness will be easy to separate. The dish never works like the professionals if you don’t use refrigerated day-old rice.
Don’t worry. It is not complex, just a simple thought process that will have you pulling fried rice from your freezer in a couple of days. That’s as good as any restaurant. But when it comes to keeping fried rice, other factors need to be considered.
At the very least, you must break down your fried rice dish into its components. Most fried rice includes eggs.
The egg is precooked omelet style and then placed on the side, then added to the fried rice and broken up. A cooked egg will have a longer shelf life than rice. Incidentally, fried rice will last for two days in the fridge.
Most of you add some vegetables to the rice. They have a longer shelf life than rice, so they will not spoil in the fridge. Adding protein like shrimp. Pork or chicken all have a longer shelf life than rice.
So it’s easy to deduce that rice is the common denominator in fried rice, having a short shelf life.
Does fried rice have to be refrigerated?
Yes, fried rice and the ingredients in the dish have a shelf life of two hours outside the fridge and two to three days in the fridge.
The shelf life will depend on the freshness of the fried rice ingredients and if the rice is stored in an airtight container.
It may seem obvious, but it is worth noting that it’s only cooked rice, boiled or fried, that needs to be refrigerated. The dry, uncooked rice can sit in the pantry for months, if not years.
Does fried rice need to be covered in the fridge?
Yes. Your fried rice may contain aromas such as onion and garlic that will contaminate other foods stored in the fridge and vice versa. Plus, fried rice is susceptible to bacteria growth even in the fridge. You may be surprised to read that fried rice can grow mold in a short time in the fridge.
Store fried rice in an airtight container with a sealable lid. It could be Tupperware or Ziploc bags. If you use the bags, expel as much air from the bags as possible, this will help prevent bacteria growth on the rice.
Rice is a significant contributor to food poisoning, and it can be challenging to prevent the bacteria from growing, so cold refrigeration and thorough cooking of fried rice is essential.
Keep the fridge temperature around 33℉. The cooler, the better to preserve the fried rice for as long as possible
Can you put warm fried rice in the fridge?
Suppose you read online that you can’t put warm fried rice in the fridge because of condensation coalescing into water droplets that will drip and make your fried rice soggy and less appealing at best this is why you can’t put the warm fried rice in the fridge. In that case, sadly, this information is wrong and misleading.
Your fridge temperature will be 40℉ -18℃ or a little lower. Placing warm fried rice in the fridge will elevate its temperature while it radiates heat.
Your fridge may not be as efficient as you might have thought at removing heat. Most fridges take hours to come to 40℉ after being switched on after cleaning.
So, what’s the big deal? The big deal is that food sitting at a temperature of 40-140℉ is in the food danger zone. It’s not just your fried rice. It is the contents of the entire fridge.
Above 40℉-18℃ bacterial growth on perishable foods will accelerate exponentially. It should be discarded if the food remains at an elevated temperature above 40℉-18℃ for just two hours.
Seems harsh? According to the USDA, after two hours in the food danger zone, perishable foods contain enough bacteria to cause food poisoning.
Furthermore, the fried rice should be covered in the fridge so there will be no condensation!
How long can warm-cooked fried rice sit out?
Two hours. Remember the food danger zone? According to the USDA, perishable goods sitting out for two hours should be discarded, and the bacteria growth on the food has multiplied rapidly, making the food unfit for consumption.
Eating food sitting out for two hours or more could cause food poisoning.
But what’s the problem? You can always flash the fried rice in the wok and kill the bacteria, right?
Cooking the fried rice again kills the bacteria, but it is not as easy as that because the bacteria has left toxins behind that are not killed by heat, so you are not out of trouble.
For double trouble, rice contains its own bacteria called Bacillus cereus, a bacteria that produces spores. Rice needs to be cooked to 167℉ or 75℃ to kill the bacteria.
How long does fried rice last in the fridge?
It can depend on the ingredients, such as if you have used shrimp as a protein, the shrimp’s freshness could determine the shelf life of refrigerated fried rice.
This is important to understand. Fried rice has to be cooked hot, so it kills all of the bacteria, including the bacillus cereus in the rice; forget about the other ingredients.
If the rice is not at least 167℉, the bacteria will survive and grow spores. The refrigerating process is not going to kill the bacteria. It will not even slow it down as it spreads its matrix of spores through the rice.
So let’s assume you did achieve 167℉. Your fried rice will last for three days in the fridge inside an airtight container.
Does frozen fried rice go bad?
In theory, any food frozen at 0℉ or below has an indefinite shelf life. Still, when it comes to so many foods, including fried rice, the theory crumbles, and you find out the shelf life of frozen fried rice is between 3 and 6 months if continuously frozen at 0℉ or below.
Here is the correct way to freeze fried rice.
- Freeze fried rice that has been freshly cooked, and let it cool down. The ind=gredients are going to be at their peak.
- The rice needs to cool all the way through, you can spread it around the wok, but it should cool within 15 minutes.
- Keep the rice in good condition. It should not look mashed. The grains want to be whole, looking like good fried rice. Rice that is squashed will be mushy when thawed.
- Place the cool rice into suitably sized freezer bags. Make sure you fill the bags about an inch from the top.
- Once the bag is topped off, remove the excess air by gently rolling the bag forward and then sealing the bag tight. This will prevent freezer burn.
- Mark the Ziploc bags with the freezing and expiration dates, or make a best-before date, so you don’t exceed the freezing time.
- Place the bags in the freezer.
Fried rice is a wonderfully tasty, quick dish, and if cooked well with day-old rice from the fridge, you can produce fried rice as good as you get from a restaurant. It is worth noting most of the fried rice ingredients are cooked separately and then added to the rice when it is cooked.
To keep everything fresh and dry.
Freezing fried rice is child’s play, and it will last for 3 to 6 months in the freezer, depending on the ingredients used in the fried rice.