Fried rice is a common dish in many Chinese restaurants, although It’s not fundamentally the same in all places, as Chinese food tends to merge authentic Chinese formulas with some local variations. In any case, it can’t be denied that fried rice acquires a peculiar flavor and texture that can entice even those who are not rice lovers. Fried rice also provides lots of nutrients, making it much more beneficial than most regular fast foods. As much as you like fried rice, you may have make too much fried rice. And these questions sprout up in your mind. Can you freeze fried rice? How about fried rice with shrimp, chicken or pork? How long does fried rice last in the fridge?
It’s definitely possible to freeze fried rice. However, it’s not recommended to freeze fried rice that was ordered from a restaurant, as many restaurants tend to prepare it in advance and place large quantities in the freezer already. It’s always suggested that you only freeze the rice you cook yourself.
Here is the tricky part. You need to have all the tools you need for freezing at your disposal right after cooking. The reason for this is that fried rice takes a long time to make and, by the time you decide to freeze it and while waiting for it to cool down, it’s highly likely that bacteria already got into it. This is not to scare you, but I must stress that rice can go bad very fast at room temperature, especially if it contains bits of pork or shrimp.
With that said, after the rice has cooled down, transfer to airtight bags or containers (preferably in single-serving sizes to avoid thawing it all unnecessarily), seal them well and store them in the freezer. Make sure not to leave any air inside, if it’s a bag, squeeze as much air as possible before sealing. and try not to leave much space between the content and the lid. You’ll want to avoid freezer-burned fried rice!
As a side note, it’s advisable that you separate the rice from any other ingredients such as shrimp, chicken, or pork before freezing. In fact, if possible, cook them both separately and flash-freeze the shrimp to ensure that the moisture doesn’t get to the rice and ruins its feel. If you cooked it with shrimp, flash-freeze the entire recipe by spreading it out on a tray and covering it with baking paper or similar, and then prepare the bags or containers.
Cooked rice freezes very well, generally speaking, due to the fact that rice absorbs moisture in a very aggressive way, so it’s very unlikely for ice crystals to develop and alter its overall consistency. However, it will eventually suffer if you leave it sitting in the freezer for too long.
Freezing fried rice once is already risky enough. If you thawed it in the fridge and didn’t reheat it, then you can probably take your chances and put the pack back in the freezer. If you reheat the rice, then forget about the freezer and eat it right away or share it with as many people as possible.
Fried rice could last surprisingly long in a refrigerator (about a week) set to 40º F or below, but it will go awry and must be thrown out after that period.
In the freezer, fried rice won’t completely spoil since bacteria are not able to grow at such low temperatures, but it should be eaten within 3 months of freezing, otherwise, you will notice a dramatic decrease in quality.
If you want to thaw fried rice, the slow fridge method is usually the safest. Thawing in the microwave will probably render the rice a bit soggy. You can also try submerging the unopened bags or containers in cold water until they thaw, changing the water every 20-30 minutes, and making sure that no water will get inside them.
Don’t ever try to thaw at room temperature.
If defrosting in the microwave turns the rice mushy, reheating fried rice thus will have the opposite effect of drying it up too much. Hence, depending on how dried it gets, you should hydrate it by adding water and stirring.
Nevertheless, you can also reheat the frozen fried rice in a frying pan with a bit of oil. It’s a much better alternative, albeit less practical for most people.