I completely forgot I soaked the rice on Monday night. It was completely submerged in water. Left at room temperature. If I cook it now, would it be safe to eat?


3 Answers 3


No, certainly not.

Food is generally not safe to leave at room temperature for more than 2 hours. Foods which are shelf-stable (can be left out, it doesn't matter how long) are the ones which have had some of the necessary bacteria growth factors removed.

Rice is a food which doesn't grow bacteria because it doesn't have enough water to sustain a colony. Once you add the water back in, you remove the exact circumstance which protects it from spoiling. It is certainly not safe.

Besides, "after cooking" doesn't matter, as you can't turn unsafe food back to safe, not by cooking or by anything else.


Hmm, well, I've soaked rice for two days, though that was in a 3% - 5% salt solution and in a sealed (rubber gasket) container. No idea in your case whether the good microbes (those would be the lactic acid bacteria) won, or whether the rice has just spoiled.

  • Why would you soak rice for two days in a salt solution?
    – Jack M
    Dec 17, 2017 at 23:58
  • @JackM why not?
    – thrig
    Dec 18, 2017 at 15:34

I agree with the previous answer.

Interesting question. If people always simply discarded, things like cheese and wine wouldn't exist. But way back, when people were discovering how to eat disgusting and rotten foods, nobody even knew about bacteria. The little fellas weren't discovered yet.

Technically speaking, if the bacteria was simply salmonella, you could cook the rice and be home free. Other bacteria leave nasty toxins behind as calling cards that may not be readily killed by a quick fling in the saucepan.

Back in the middle ages, there's no question. They would have eaten the stuff. Things are a little different now.

Your nose knows...if it smells bad, it probably is...but then, do you really want to risk pooping your brains out...or worse?

When in doubt, throw it out.

If the rice had been in the fridge, in water, for 2 days, I would cook and eat it. At room temp, not so much. When those little baci boys get started, they multiply exponentially. Good turns to bad very quickly.

Don't take a chance. Toss it.

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