Cooking and freezing rice is not hard at all. It’s great to do because rice is such a great base for so many recipes. Once it is frozen and stored away, all you need to do is thaw it to make a ton of great recipes.
We will be using an Instant Pot for this recipe. You can also use a Ninja Foodi or any pressure cooker. We chose the Instant Pot because it makes everyday cooking easier and you can find traditional stove top instructions on the rice packaging.
Before freezing rice you’ve got to cook it
First step is you will want to make sure your Instant Pot is clean and ready to cook. Then you will add in two cups of water and two cups of rice.
Most Instant Pots or any modern pressure cooker will have a preset rice cooking function. You can try that out, if you like. If it works for you, that’s super easy and you don’t need to set anything manually.
If you like to customize the process to your personal preferences, you can use the manual function. This is how we do it and we ALWAYS have delicious results. The rice comes out fluffy, not too moist or dry; in other words, it’s perfect!
To use the manual function you just push the manual button and then set the timer for 20 minutes. Now you can walk away until the Instant Pot is finished cooking. That’s it! Again, it’s super easy to do.
Natural release Vs manual release
Once the timer has gone off, you will want to let the rice natural release for about 10 minutes. The reason you let it release the pressure naturally is that this extra time will allow the rice to soak up any excess moisture and become really fluffy.
This next part is optional, but we feel like it really improves the preservation process. Take your cooked rice and dump it into a colander. You can leave it to drain or you can even press down on the rice with a cooking spoon or spatula to squeeze the extra water out.
You want to get the extra moisture out so that there is no extra moisture in the bag once you start the freezing process.
How to freeze rice
Now, grab your measuring cups and start to scoop out your rice. If you have a large family or like to make big dishes, you can freeze the whole batch in a large freezer bag.
You can also portion into smaller portions and put them in freezer bags. We like to put 1-2 cups in quart bags. Smaller portion sizes makes thawing quicker and we can make quick single serving meals.
If you go the route of smaller bags you will then want to flatten out the rice in the bag to make stacking easier. Finally, just place the bags in your freezer and you’re done!
Now, how do you thaw frozen rice? You can thaw frozen rice by putting it in the fridge overnight or defrost/heat in your microwave. Times will vary depending on how much rice you are trying to thaw.
Can you freeze uncooked rice? Yes, you can. Make sure you use proper freezer bags. They are designed to lock out any moisture so your rice will stay fresh.
Can you freeze leftover cooked rice? Absolutely! Just follow the same instructions above.
Can you refreeze rice after it has been thawed? Yes, but it can lose some quality. You also want to make sure that the rice has not gone bad after the initial thawing. You definitely do not want to freeze spoiled rice. If you want to be extra sure, check out the FDA’s website and follow their food preservation safety guidelines.
Can I freeze any type of rice? Yes. The above method will work for jasmine rice, basmati rice, white rice, etc. Cook times may vary but the freezing rice and storage process is essentially the same.
What if my rice is too hard? Can I fix that? Hard rice is an easy fix. Just add a little bit of water, put a lid on it’s container and heat. You can do this on a stove top or in the microwave. You are essentially steaming the rice. This will soften up any rice that may have been under cooked or not had enough water to begin with.