Storing White Rice

White Rice

White rice, more commonly known as polished rice is a main food source for over half of the world’s population. Rice is an excellent addition to home food storage because it’s versatile, high caloric value, and long shelf life. Families should store about 300 lbs of grains per person in a one-year supply. Depending on personal preference, about 25 to 60 lbs of rice should be stored per person. Separate from brown rice, there are three types of white rice in the United States: long, medium and short. In addition, there are several types of specialty rice available.

Long Grain

Long grain polished rice is about three times longer than it is wide. After cooking it is firm and fluffy (not sticky).

Medium Grain

Medium grain polished rice is between 2-3 times longer than it is wide. Cooked US medium grain rice is soft, moist and sticky in texture.

Short Grain

Short grain Rice is less than two times longer than it is wide. Short grain rice is very sticky and sometimes called sushi rice.

Specialty varieties include Arborio, Basmati, Della or Dellmont, Japanese premium, Jasmine, Toro, and Waxy. Analyses on which variety stores best have not been done. Raw rice is made of three layers: the hull, bran, and kernel. Polishing removes the hull and bran layers from the polished rice kernel. Before milling, raw rice may be parboiled, a process of soaking in water and steaming under intense pressure, which pushes the natural vitamins and minerals from the rice bran layer to the kernel.

Quality & Purchase

Purchase quality rice grains from a trusted source. Inspect rice for insects or discoloration[Bj4] , prior to preparing for home storage.


Store rice in a tightly sealed container. Food safe plastics (PETE) containers, glass jars, #10 cans (commercial size) lined with a food-grade enamel lining and Mylar®-type bags work best for long-term storage. Use food-safe oxygen absorbers [Bj5] available from food storage supply stores to preserve rice quality, and protect from insect infestation. #10 cans will hold approximate 5.7 lbs (2.6 kgs) of polished rice.

Storage Conditions

The best temperature to store grains, including rice, is 40°F or below; however, rice stored at a constant 70° F with oxygen absorbers will store well for up to 10 years. In cooler storage areas rice sealed in oxygen-free containers can be stored for up to 30 years. A BYU study sampling polished rice and parboiled rice stored from 1 to 30 years found that both types of rice will keep their nutrients and flavor up to 30 years.

Nutrition & Allergies

In the United States, vitamins and minerals: iron, niacin, thiamin, and folic acid are added to rice. Rice is high in starch and fiber. In addition, rice is low in sodium and a good source of protein. There are no known common allergies to rice or its constituents.

Shelf Life

When properly sealed and stored, polished white rice will store well for 25 to 30 years.

For more information on the shelf life of a veriety of different types of rice see the article Shelf Life of the 14 Most Commonly Used Rice.

Use From Storage

After opening use rice within one to two years.


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Brian Nummer, Jana Darrington

Brian Nummer

Brian Nummer

Food Safety Specialist


Phone: (435) 797-2116
Office Location: NFS 321 / USU Campus

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