Kitchen Wizard Trick – Batch and Freeze: Rice

Among the many tricks I have up my sleeve the first trick I want to share as the Kitchen Wizard of Japanese origin, has to be about this: RICE!

How much rice do you cook each time?

1/2 cup, 1 cup or 2?  Just enough to serve everyone once? Or cook a lot, but leave the rest to spoil in the rice cooker?

In our household of 2, I cook 3 cups minimum, or sometimes 8 even when we don’t have anyone else over for dinner. We consume all of it eventually (over a few weeks).  Everytime it’s hot, fresh and tasty.


It takes a minimum of 30 minutes to cook decent rice, ideally about 45 minutes to one hour.  Even if you cook more, the time added is minimal.  That’s why I cook so much more.

And here’s the trick.  After the meal:

  1. Make packages of individual portion rice balls (about 2/3c), wrap tightly with plastic wrap.
  2. Leave them at room temp till cool, and put all in a Ziploc bag, and freeze.
  3. Next time you want to eat rice again, microwave rice balls at full power about 1 min to thaw a bit, remove the wrap, cook it in a bowl for another 1 min. (Please adjust the time depending on your microwave.)

Compared with rice kept in the fridge, you can enjoy “takitate” (Just cooked and perfectly steamed) taste which all Japanese and foodies are obsessed about.

You can use these for fried rice, too. Just nuke it half way, and use cold (but not frozen) rice in the recipe.

Other usages: Fried rice, Stuffing for vegetables, rice salad, quick risotto, in soups, rice porridge, Ochazuke (Japanese national midnight snack of rice soups, Mexican dishes, rice pudding, etc.

To save money, buy in bulk. Rice lasts for a while. I buy 20 lbs bag.

So next time you cook rice, cook three times as much. Enjoy the time saved! (and even a child can microwave a rice ball!)


8 thoughts on “Kitchen Wizard Trick – Batch and Freeze: Rice

  1. Thanks Mari – this tip was really helpful. I actually had this issue last night. Normally I cook minute brown rice b/c Erik can’t eat starches and it doesn’t seem worth it for just the little bit that the girls and I eat. Last night I actually made the real thing on the stove and hated to throw out what was left. I will definitely try your tip next time.

  2. Hi Brenda,
    Thank you for your comment! Glad that this trick was helpful. I read that 50% of food in the US is wasted… I’m going to post many tips to optimize what you already have and made, and make life easier too! Say hi to Erik and girls!

  3. Thanks Mari! I shared this tip with some colleagues and we’re all going to try it. Is it critical to leave the rice at room temp until cool? Why? What is the best way to reheat – micro?

    • Hi Amy,
      Thanks for your comment! It’s a good idea to wait till room temp, because you don’t want to put hot food in fridge or freezer. I normally put these rice balls in freezer before I go to bed.

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