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Food Myths Busted: Can You Really Eat Leftover Rice?

‘Rice’ to meet you!

Reheating Rice

We’ve all been there — coming in from a night out and gobbling a leftover spoonful of yesterday’s curry and rice — but are you putting yourself on a one-way trip to the toilet or potentially even the hospital? This time, we’re diving into the depths of food myths to expose whether eating reheated rice is dangerous for you.

Up there with refreezing ice cream as a potential food poisoning minefield, there’s been a long-held idea that reheating rice can be deadly. According to the NHS, rice should ideally be eaten as soon as it’s cooked. However, we all know cooking for one is never as easy as it seems. If you’ve got leftover grains knocking around, the NHS advises you should cool rice down and put it in the fridge within 1 hour.

Cooked Rice and Curry Food Served on White Plate
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When it comes to reheating for a midnight snack or the next day’s dinner, the site confirms leftover rice should be consumed within 1 day if it’s been in the fridge. You should always check your rice is steaming hot the entire way through and never reheat more than once.

It’s advised that you add  1–2 tablespoons of water per cup of rice, place the lid lightly on top of the container, and let the rice re-steam in the microwave.


Rice should be separated into various containers as soon as possible and sealed. If you’ve gone a little fancier and made something like a risotto or paella, they’ll apparently freeze better than plain rice. Even freezer rice should be consumed as soon as possible.

Kua Kling, Roasted Rolling Pig, Curry, Dish, Food
Pixabay

While we might take into account ensuring last night’s chicken is piping hot before your hungover self tucks in, it’s easy to forget about the rice portion of your Sunday sesh. As the Food Standards Agency reminds us, “Rice can contain spores from a type of harmful bacteria.

“If cooked rice is left at room temperature, the bacteria could start growing again from the spores. These bacteria will multiply and may produce toxins (poisons) that cause food poisoning. Reheating will not get rid of these.”

Related image
20th Century Fox

The potentially harmful bacteria is called Bacillus Cereus and will basically give you a lot more than a tummy bug. If you want to start making friends with the loo or your doctor thanks to a nasty case of vomiting and diarrhea, go ahead and eat all the lukewarm rice you want.

Bacillus Cereus is a serious cause for concern when it comes to food poisoning and can survive the reheating process — that’s why it’s so important to take the NHS’ advice on board when it comes to reheating rice.

Maybe it’s safer to just order a pizza next time?

[Featured Image: Universal/Pexels]



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