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Is rice OK to eat if left out all night?

I made plain rice in my rice cooker yesterday, I had some, left for work, and then forgot about it until this morning. It's been in the rice cooker since last evening. If I reheat it, will it be alright to eat?

Answer »
KLL5 added almost 3 years ago

Yes!! Unless of course it had egg/milk/meat or some perishable in it. But otherwise it should be totally fine. To test take a wiff... if it doesn't smell bad it is all right.

plevee added almost 3 years ago
Voted the Best Answer!

NO! Bacterial spores are not uncommon in uncooked rice and are not destroyed by cooking. Left at room temperature they can produce toxins that cause food poisoning and ( very rarely) death.
Refrigerate rice as soon as possible after cooking.

Panfusine added almost 3 years ago

it should be perfectly fine (assuming that it was kept covered with a lid). the rice would probably be a touch drier freshly made rice, & maybe slightly clumped up in the shape of the rice cooker pan. you can always sprinkle some water, cover & microwave it before eating. If you find even the slightest bit of squelchiness compared to fresh cooked rice, toss it out.

nutcakes added almost 3 years ago

Although many people do leave rice in the cooker overnight, (I've done it,in cool weather andI had a Korean foreign exchange student who would do that), you should be aware of a bacteria named Bacillus Cereus that grows rapidly on rice and causes severe food poinioning. I would not feed to to children, elderley or large groups.

And it isn't helped by cooking it again, as in fried rice, because it can survive high temperatures. So, strictly speaking it is not safe, if you eat it you are taking some level of risk by not properly refigerating it.


Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added almost 3 years ago

I have to weigh in with nutcakes and plevee: NO! Rice is cheap. Throw it out.

ellenl added almost 3 years ago

If you had a party would the rice remain out the same amount of time? Does it smell and feel OK? It may just be me, but I don't get so worked up about these things, though I don't want to be foolish either. I also don't enjoy cold food--I like it room temp. Other than a heat wave, I often leave food out, covered, on purpose. I made a summer vegetable torta Thurs. eve. On Friday eve. I took out of the refrigerator and left it out. It will be dinner tonight--Sat. Don't know if this helps at all.

amysarah added almost 3 years ago

As with all food, it partly depends on the temp in the room. (To serve something room temp, taking it out of the fridge an hour or two before eating usually suffices) But with rice, I'd err on the side of caution and toss it.

Starchy food is a common medium for bacteria. There's apparently even something called 'Fried Rice Syndrome' associated with cooked rice left out too long at room temp - even frying it at hi-temps doesn't kill the spores that have formed:

Starchy foods, such as rice or potatoes, are commonly associated with B. cereus emetic (vomiting) toxin outbreaks. Due to its preparation process, one of the most common food vehicles for transmission of emetic B. cereus illness is fried rice, and there have been several reported outbreaks. The spores of B. cereus are activated in the initial preparation of the rice, which if stored at abusive temperatures (approximately 59 to 104°F or 15 to 40°C) for an extended time, will outgrow and produce a toxin that is heat stable and will not be inactivated during subsequent cooking.

innoabrd added almost 3 years ago

I'm not always totally compulsive about food safety, but as someone else said...rice is cheap. Cured pork products might be worth the risks. Raw milk cheese, if you're not pregnant, sure. But plain rice? Nah...toss it.

Donna added 7 months ago

I wish it were safe but it is not. Contrary to what one person posted, cooked pasta and rice are perishable foods. Staphylococcus aureus (staph), can form a heat-resistant toxin that cooking can't destroy and one of the most common sources of staph bacteria is the human body. Even healthy people carry staph.

petitbleu added 7 months ago

Any moist, dense food is a prime candidate for bacterial growth. I have eaten rice that was left out all night, and I'm still here to tell the tale, but from an objective standpoint you should throw it away. It's cheap and quick to make and not worth the risk.

chefM added 4 months ago


lloreen added 4 months ago

I am sure there is a minuscule chance of bacteria and food poisoning, but if leaving rice out overnight was deadly, most of the population of Asia would be decimated. Every Japanese family I know leaves rice in the cooker all day. Seriously, people, get a grip.

nutcakes added 4 months ago

This thread is over 2 yrs old, I think she has her answers by now.

creamtea added 4 months ago

Why do old threads pop up to the top of the hotline? I'm guessing that when things are too quiet, the hotline gods churn up some old cosmic matter to generate interest. I notice it often happens. Then users again get highly exercised by something that they don't realized was resolved aeons ago.

lloreen added 4 months ago

Sorry, this thread popped up to the top of Hotline. I didn't know it was 2 years old. If your rice has been sitting out for 2 years, don't eat it ;)

creamtea added 4 months ago

I meant to type "realize", not "-ed".

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