Time-Saver in the Kitchen: Freeze Rice!

April 5, 2023

Many people ask me what is the first thing they should do to save time in the kitchen.

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 temperature until 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.)
  4. If you don’t like to heat your plastic wrap, place the rice in a small bowl, add water to loosen the wrap. Drain water, cover the bowl with a lid (or small plate), and microwave at full power about 3 minute.

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!)

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Kim November 21, 2022 at 1:18 pm

Hi Mari!

I came across your site when I googled ‘Doria’. I am half Japanese and I grew up in Hawaii with my mom and Grandmother. So many of your tips and recipes remind me of my grandma! We always had rice balls in the freezer!

A while back I had started a blog to put my recipes and my grandmother’s recipes up. I named it- “the flexible recipe’:) My grandma always said that she didn’t have a lot of recipes just a small collection of favorites that she could alter to make any time.

I have subscribed to your feed and have looked through some of your posts but didn’t find a recipe list. Is there one? I’m looking forward to receiving your monthly newsletter and seeing your book. I would still love to find a cookbook in English that has everyday Japanese food, like Doria, if you have any recommendations.

Thank you!

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