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Is Rice a Good Survival Food? | How Much to Store per Person

Sacks of Rice In Survival Stockpile

Rice is a grain that is easily accessible via grocery stores in most of the modern world. It has been prominent throughout history since it can be stored for indefinite periods of time, a safeguard against famine for centuries. This same principle can apply on a smaller scale for your personal emergency food stockpile.

Rice is an excellent survival food. It is a great source of carbohydrates and is capable of being efficiently stored for long periods of time. Besides the benefits of long-term storage, it is also calorie-dense as compared to the space it takes to store it.

For long-term storage, make sure you only use white rice like this type found on Amazon. Brown rice spoils much too quickly.

Now that we know rice is a good survival food, let’s take a closer look at some of the finer points to consider when including this grain in your emergency food stockpile.

What is the Best Rice for Long-Term Storage?

Top view of various different types of uncooked rice in wooden spoon

When evaluating the viability of long-term storage for rice, you need to look at multiple factors to determine shelf life, including the type of rice you are storing, whether or not it has been cooked, and the method of storage you plan to use.

Brown and white rice have drastically different shelf life due to the difference in composition as well as the differences in oils and other nutrients. Brown rice maintains many of the oils and nutrients that are capable of spoiling and has a drastically shorter shelf life, staying fresh for about six months. White rice is typically stripped of most of the oils capable of going rancid and is easily stored for years.

Cooking the rice has an enormous impact on the viability of storage for the rice. Cooked rice lasts six months in a freezer, a few days in the refrigerator, and less than a day at room temperature. This difference happens because the cooking of rice introduces so much moisture content, allowing the food to grow bacteria, which eventually causes spoilage.

Storage methods make a big difference in shelf life. The colder and drier you are able to keep your rice, the longer the shelf life will be.

Uncooked white rice is the best option for long-term storage by a large margin with a shelf life that can measure in decades with thoughtful storage and preparation.

I recommend buying in bulk. Here is a really good American-grown option, found on Amazon.

What is the Shelf Life of Rice?

One of the best benefits when looking at rice as a survival food is the long shelf life that it has when properly stored. There are some differences between types of rice to take note of when evaluating shelf life.

Rice TypeShelf Life
Uncooked Brown Rice6 months
Uncooked White Rice5+ years
Cooked Brown Rice6 months in the freezer
1 week or less in the refrigerator
1 day or less at room temperature
Cooked White Rice6 months in the freezer
1 week or less in the refrigerator
1 day or less at room temperature 6 months in the freezer
1 week or less in the refrigerator
1 day or less at room temperature

How Much Rice Should I Store for a Year?

The most important thing to remember is rice expands up to four times its volume when cooked, so you probably need much less than you think.

A good rule of thumb is you’d want to save anywhere from 1-3 cups of rice per day, depending on your survival goals. One cup of raw rice is about 600 calories, so you’d need about three cups if you were to survive an entire day on rice alone.

There are approximately 2.5 cups of rice in a pound. So, if you’d like to depend on your rice stores every day and have 1-3 servings per day, that translates into between 34 and 102 lbs of rice per person per year, depending on your tastes and what other foods you have stored away.

Decide How Many Servings You Want

A Plate of Rice With a Fork and Spoon Nearby

In order to make sure you have an adequate supply, just figure out how many servings of rice you need per person. Since there are about 11 servings of rice per pound, you just have to do the math.

Multiply the number of people in your family by the number of days you want to have an ample rice supply. Then divide this by 11 and multiply it by how many servings you want to have each day. This is the number of pounds of rice you need to have stored away.

For example, a family of 5 wants a year’s worth of rice at 2 servings each per day.

  • 5×365/11×2= 332 Pounds of rice.

Here is a table of how much rice a family might consider storing for a year:

Number of People1 serving per day2 servings per day
134 lb67 lb
268 lb133 lb
3102 lb200 lb
4136 lb266 lb
5170 lb332 lb
6204 lb399 lb

Here is a video I did on what a serving of rice looks like:

For more, check out How Much Is a Serving of Rice? | In Ounces (With Photos).

How Long Can a Person Survive on Rice Alone?

Rice’s superpower is carbs, and while that’s a really good energy source, it misses out on all the other precious nutrients you’ll need, such as protein, vitamins, minerals, and fats.

And while it’s true that rice is a super calorie-dense food and an amazing investment for any survivalist, you probably couldn’t survive for long on rice forever. Even so, similar to hardtack, people have been known to live for several months or even over a year on rice alone.

The main point here is that variety is important in any diet. The real value of rice lies in supplementing it with other protein and nutrient-rich foods such as beans, lentils, or eggs.

Final Thoughts

Overall, due to its long shelf life and ease of storage, rice should be a top priority for anyone looking to build their survival stores. Billions of people worldwide count on rice as their main staple. If it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough to be in my stockpile.

I recommend storing rice and beans together, which pretty much gives you all the nutrition a person needs in two simple staples.

Related Products

Here are a few storage-related Amazon products that you may find helpful:

DIY Storage

If you want to save some money and store it yourself, you will need a few things.

Check out my article on Storing Rice and Beans for the Long Term, which covers a sound methodology that can extend the shelf life of any dry food.

Warning: Be sure that anytime you use oxygen absorbers, it is in foods with less than 10% moisture. If the moisture is too high, it can cause botulism bacteria to grow. Please use oxygen absorbers at your own risk and do your due diligence. Survival Freedom will not be held liable for any consequences that might be experienced as a result of the information in this article. It was obtained mainly through research.

Check out my article on Storing Rice and Beans for the Long Term, it will tell you all you need to know to store your rice for long-term storage.

Ready-Made for Storage

If you want to save yourself the hassle, a really good (and surprisingly affordable) option is to just buy rices pre-packaged for the long term. I highly recommend the products at

Related Questions

Is wild rice a grain? Despite its marketing, rice isn’t actually a grain but is instead a seed of a long-grain marsh grass native to North America.

Which type of rice is healthiest? Going purely off of nutrition, your best bet for selecting healthy rice is brown rice because it includes more nutrients such as B vitamins and minerals such as phosphorus and magnesium.

For more, check out The 5 Best Cheapest Places To Buy MREs.

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Tuesday 5th of December 2023


Jim James

Sunday 10th of December 2023

You are right, thanks for catching that typo!