Can you reheat rice? Tips for preventing food poisoning

Rice is more problematic than some other leftover foods as it may contain bacteria called Bacillus cereus, which survive some cooking processes.

This bacterium is often the cause of food poisoning from reheated or cooked rice. Food poisoning usually causes diarrhea and vomiting and can cause severe complications in people with other health issues.

If people do not follow food safety guidelines correctly, the bacteria may grow on leftover rice and make people sick. However, handling food correctly can prevent illness.

How to prepare, store, and reheat rice safely

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) outline the safest ways to cook, store, and reheat food, including rice, properly.

Each of the following steps will ensure that reheated rice has a low risk of making people sick:

1. Wash hands well

Always wash hands thoroughly before preparing and cooking food. Keep utensils that have touched raw animal products separate.

Food poisoning symptoms typically include:

  • diarrhea
  • vomiting
  • abdominal pain
  • fever
  • chills

The symptoms will come on quickly and should only last a short time. According to one report, there may be up to 84,000 cases of food poisoning caused by Bacillus cereus each year in the U.S.

Most people will recover quickly with no complications. Speak to a doctor if:

  • symptoms persist longer than 48 hours
  • symptoms worsen
  • new symptoms appear


Reheating rice is safe when done correctly. It is essential to practice food safety and hygiene whenever cooking.

Following specific steps will reduce bacteria growth and limit the risk of food poisoning from eating reheated rice.

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