Make Ahead Brown Rice for the Freezer

5 from 2 votes

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IMG_0249When we first moved to Portland a few years back, I became *slightly* obsessed with Trader Joes. They have such yummy dinners and snacks to eat!

Hello cookie butter!!

Anyways, one of their products I went ga-ga over was their frozen rice. You put a little pouch into the microwave, zap it for a few minutes and voila! Instant rice for your dinner. Well, a few times after consistently buying this pre-made rice, my husband said to me “why are you wasting your money on that? You could totally make that at home a lot cheaper!” You guys. He was totally right! {And yes, it pains me to say that…}

You can make it yourself at home for pennies AND it tastes better AND it’s super easy. Winner winner tasty rice dinner.

Here’s how I made it:

IMG_0138Find some brown rice at the store and bring it home. This is organic brown rice from the bulk bins. Cheap cheap cheap!! IMG_0146Rinse your rice off and measure out double the water. Sprinkle in a little salt and bring it to a boil. Reduce to simmer and cook 30-45 minutes or until it’s cooked completely.IMG_0222It should be nice and soft and fluffy! Hello mr. rice. Let this cool 30 minutes and then divide between some freezer bags.IMG_0244Mark them well, take all the air out of them and freeze! When you’re ready to reheat for dinner, open the bag, add in 2 tablespoons of water and microwave 3-5 minutes or until hot! Super simple, and it comes out soft and fluffy {not chewy and slightly crunchy like the Trader Joes version}. Haha….suckers! Here’s the printable–happy friday!

5 from 2 votes

Make Ahead Brown Rice for the Freezer

This is the perfect solution to getting dinner on the table fast! Precook a large batch of brown rice, divide between freezer bags and freeze! Ready to eat after a few minutes in the microwave.
servings 4
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 1 hr
Total Time 2 hrs

Ingredients

  • 4 cups brown rice
  • 8 cups cold water
  • salt to taste, optional

Instructions

  • Rinse brown rice well. Place rice, water and salt into large pot. Cover, bring to boil, reduce to simmer and cook until rice is completely soft. Stir with a fork to fluff.
  • Cool for 30-45 minutes on the counter. Divide rice between freezer bags into 4 equal portions. Remove all the air, seal and freeze.
  • To reheat, open bags, add in 1-2 tablespoons of water and microwave 3-5 minutes or until hot. Serve as you like.

Nutrition

Calories: 688kcal | Carbohydrates: 145g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 31mg | Potassium: 509mg | Fiber: 6g | Calcium: 77mg | Iron: 3mg
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Brown Rice, freezer
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39 Responses
  1. Karen

    Thank you for this….now I can stop buying those individual rice cups that you microwave for a minute. I think you know the ones I am talking about!

  2. Bryn Broussard

    Quick question…do you seal the bag after adding the water to trap in the steam, or leave open while in the microwave? Thanks so much for the recipe! This will save tons of $$$ in our house.

  3. Caroline P

    My concern, should you be microwaving in plastic bags? Have been hearing horrible things about chemicals leeching into food this way. Great idea, will try this using glass containers unless I find it’s safe in plastic freezer bags.

    1. Lauren

      If you’re worried about the chemicals coming out of the plastic, glass is a great option. It just doesn’t save space in your freezer! When you go to microwave it, be sure to rest the lid lightly overtop of it.

    2. Danielle

      Per, the Ziploc website…

      Can Ziploc® brand Bags be used in the microwave?
      Ziploc® brand Freezer and Storage Bags may be used for microwave reheating and defrosting. When defrosting or reheating, always open the zipper one inch to vent. Be careful when reheating foods that are high in fat or sugar content (bacon, pastries), because these foods reheat very quickly and may exceed the softening point of the bags.

      Ziploc® brand Sandwich Bags and Snack Bags should not be used in the microwave because they are too thin.

      Ziploc® Zip’n Steam® Bags are specially designed for microwave steam cooking. They are made of two layers of plastic laminated together that are formulated to stand up to the high temperatures of cooking in the microwave, so they will not get soft and flimsy. When pressure builds up in the bags, specially designed vents allow it to escape. Always allow the bag to stand for one minute before handling. When opening, hold the top of the bag, as the blue area above the zipper remains fairly cool to the touch, and open the bag away from your body to allow the hot steam to escape.

      I recently heard media reports that plastic products contain a chemical that can encourage prostate cancer. Do SC Johnson’s plastic products contain BPA (bisphenol A)?
      A recent study conducted and published by the University of Cincinnati found that the estrogen-like chemical BPA (bisphenol A) has been shown to encourage the growth of a specific category of prostate cancer cells. BPA is commonly used in the manufacture of certain plastic products, such as food-can coatings, milk-container liners, food containers, and water-supply pipes. As a result, media have been reporting on this study and the fact that this chemical is commonly found in plastic food storage containers.

      SC Johnson does not use BPA in its plastic products, Ziploc® brand Bags and Containers.

      SC Johnson is a leader in providing high-quality products. All of its products are extensively evaluated for toxicity and safety and comply with—and often even exceed—applicable quality and safety regulations.

  4. Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca)

    What a great idea!! I love rice, and often have leftovers, but have never thought to freeze it. I also sometimes want brown rice for dinner, but don’t want to wait for it to cook.

  5. Sarah @ Will Run for Pasta

    You’re a genius Lauren, thank you!! When figuring out what to do for dinner on a weeknight, the idea of waiting on rice is not appealing so this is perfect!!

  6. Melissa

    I have froze rice for years and have never reheated it with any added water and it always turns out fine without. I might test adding a little water next time and see what happens. 🙂

  7. Erin

    Thank you! With school getting ready to start again I am looking for lots of easy shortcuts to make week night dinners a pinch 🙂

  8. Erin

    Microwaving ziplocs is not something anyone should be doing. They are not created for microwaving and release some nasty chemicals.

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  11. Christina

    Do I let the rice Unthaw on the counter during the day and then warm up before serving or pull from freezer right before serving and microwave ?

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  13. Sam

    Which size freezer bag are you using to the 2 T. of water? Quart-size? Do you leave open an inch of a corner to allow steam to escape? Can I do this method also with jasmine rice? Thanks.

    1. Lauren

      I used the size up from 1 quart. And I add in the water while it’s frozen, then vent it by opening the bag about half way. I’ve never tried it with jasmine rice, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work 🙂

  14. Carroll

    I’m TERRIBLE at making rice – it never turns out well for me (sob). So when I found this method on line for cooking brown rice, I tried it and it’s a great way to do it. Perfect rice every time – at least, I’ve made it twice and so far so great . . . Being able to freeze it will make it even better for me. LOVE your blog.

    How to Make Perfect Brown Rice
    http://www.melskitchencafe.com/2013/02/mels-kitchen-tip-how-to-cook-perfect-brown-rice.html

    You can use any type of brown rice (long grain, basmati, etc.) If you make this and find the rice isn’t quite as tender as you like, add another minute or two to the boiling time.

    1 c brown rice
    6 c water
    ½ tsp salt (optional)

    Bring water to a boil in a large pot with a tight-fitting lid. While the water is coming to a boil, rinse the rice under cold water for 30 seconds. When the water comes to a boil, stir in the rice and salt (optional), stirring once.

    Boil, uncovered, for 30 minutes.

    Pour the rice into a strainer/colander set in the sink. Let the rice drain for 10-15 seconds then return it to the pot off the heat (it will still be a bit moist).

    Immediately cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid. If your lid isn’t really tight, place a kitchen towel over the pot before nesting the lid tightly into the pot. Let the rice steam for 10 minutes before uncovering the pot and fluffing the rice with a fork. Season with more salt, if desired.

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  16. Whitney L

    I just stumbled across this recipe linked in the cheesy broccoli and rice recipe. I’m thrilled to have found it! My hubby won’t eat brown rice unless we’re out of the white. I crave it constantly and now I’m excited to try both of your recipes. Thanks for sharing!

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