Quickly cool the rice by spreading it out on a sheet pan.
Nutty, nourishing brown rice is a great addition to rice bowls and the perfect accompaniment to stir-fries, but its long cooking time makes it a tough sell for busy weeknight dinners. Packaged, precooked brown rice from the frozen section of the supermarket makes preparation quick and foolproof enough for last-minute meals — but why pay extra when it is so simple to freeze your own portioned brown rice at home?
Freezing cooked brown rice flat in freezer bags makes it easy to store. This method also helps the rice reheat quickly straight from the freezer without thawing, which keeps it from becoming mushy. You can even use the frozen rice for fried rice; just add it to the pan frozen and it will quickly warm up.
This technique can be used with other types of rice or whole grains, and is especially useful with long-cooking grains like wheat berries and farro.
How To Freeze Cooked Brown Rice
What You Need
Cooked brown rice
Rimmed sheet pan
Measuring cup (optional)
Quart-size freezer bags
Gallon-size freezer bag(s)
1. Cool the Rice: Run the sheet pan under water and shake out the excess. (The moisture will keep the rice from sticking.) Scoop the rice onto the pan and spread out evenly. Let cool for 10 minutes, or until rice is no longer piping-hot.
2. Portion the Rice: If you want to keep a close eye on portion size, use a measuring cup to divide the rice into the desired serving size. To keep the rice from sticking, wet the cup by filling it with water and pouring it out. Fill the measuring up with rice and transfer to a quart-size freezer bag. Use your hands to spread and flatten the rice, so it forms an even layer in the bag, and seal shut, squeezing out as much air as possible. Repeat with the remaining rice, rewetting the cup if the rice starts to stick to it.
3. Freeze the Rice: Lay the filled freezer bags in flat stacks on a clean sheet pan and place in the freezer for 2 hours, or until the rice is frozen.
4. Pack for Easier Storage: Pack the frozen rice bags into one or more gallon-size freezer bags, labeled with the contents and date. Store in the freezer for up to three months.
5. Reheat the Rice: Transfer the frozen rice to a microwave-safe container, cover and heat in 1-minute increments on full power, until rice is hot. You do not need to thaw the rice before reheating.
• Other Cooked Grains: This method can be used with other types of rice or other cooked whole grains.
• Reuse the Bags: To save money and cut down on waste, wash and reuse the freezer bags after reheating the rice.
Related: Quinoa, Brown Rice, & Beyond: 15 Ways to Eat Whole Grains at Every Meal
(Images: Anjali Prasertong)