How Long Can You Keep Rice in a Rice Cooker?

Rice cooker clipartIf you’ve ever used an automatic rice cooker, you’ve probably set it up to cook a batch of rice and forgotten all about it until hours later. This normally leads people to ask the question, “How long can you keep rice in a rice cooker?”.  The answer, which you will find below, may surprise you.

Rice is a food staple in the diets of billions of everyday people. And for some, like the Thai people, the connection to the crop is deep and spiritual. Unfortunately, for many others, cooking rice is too much of a hassle. The process involves finding a ratio of water to rice that can be difficult to find.

This is why more and more people are discovering the convenience of cooking rice with an automatic rice cooker.

How Long Can You Keep Rice in a Rice Cooker?

Well, the answer will depend on the specific situation you are talking about, but as long as the temperature is above 140°F, a good rule of thumb is to throw out any rice that has been sitting for more than 11 or 12 hours. And while it may be tempting to trust your rice cooker’s warm setting to keep your rice fresh for days, this isn’t always the case, or a good idea. Therefore, you should confirm it with a thermometer to be sure.

Of course, you can inspect the rice in question yourself. You can do this the same way you would with cooked rice you have left in the fridge. If the rice has any of the qualities featured below, it’s best to pitch it and start over again.

Signs Your Rice Has Gone Bad

So, are you worried your rice might have been sitting in your rice cooker for too long? Well, the signs of rice going off are readily apparent. For example, your rice changing in color or taste is just two possible signs of many. Keep the following in mind when inspecting your rice:

  • Does your rice smell weird? Strange odors are one of the first and clearest signs that harmful bacteria may have started to grow in your cooked rice.
  • Your rice is moist or slimy in appearance.
  • Your rice has dried out and is now hard or crumbly. This happens when rice loses the moisture it gains during the cooking process.
  • If you see any obvious visual signs of bacteria growth, throw out your rice right away.


In conclusion, we now have discussed how long rice will keep in a rice cooker, along with some signs to check for if you think it has gone bad. So, the next time someone asks you “How long can you keep rice in a rice cooker?”, you’ll know exactly what to tell them: that you should throw out any rice that has been sitting in a rice cooker for more than 12 hours, as well as signs to look out for to know it it has gone bad.