Can You Soak Rice Overnight? Benefits & Risks

Can you soak rice overnight? Yes, you actually can. This question often comes up as people want to know if they can save time by soaking their rice the night before cooking it. 

Soaking rice overnight is a common practice in many cultures. It has many benefits, such as reducing cooking time and improving digestion.

However, some risks are also associated with it. It is important to weigh the pros and cons of soaking rice before deciding whether or not to do it.

 To learn more about whether to soak your rice overnight or not, please read on.

Is it okay to soak your rice overnight?

It is not recommended to soak your rice overnight (except for varieties like wholegrain) as it can lead to the growth of bacteria. If you must soak your rice, make sure to drain and rinse it thoroughly before cooking. 

Other factors to consider are:

1. Rice variety: It is important to consider the rice you use. Basmati and brown rice are typically safe to soak overnight, while jasmine and wild rice should not be soaked for more than 7 hours. 

2. Water: You need to think about the quality of the water you are using to soak the rice. If the water is not clean, there is a risk of contamination. 

3. Storage and preservation: you need to consider how you will store the soaked rice. Soaking rice overnight is best done in a covered container placed in the refrigerator.

What happens when you soak rice overnight?

When you soak rice overnight, you essentially allow the rice to absorb water for a while. This helps to soften the rice grains, making them less likely to stick together or become mushy when cooked. 

It also reduces the cooking time, as the rice will already be “partially cooked” before it even goes into the pot.

What are the benefits of soaking rice overnight?

Less cooking time

Soaking rice overnight can reduce cooking time. Naturally, the rice absorbs water, which helps to soften the grains.

Improved digestion

Soaking rice can also improve digestion. This is because it helps break down the rice’s starch, making it easier for your body to digest.

It can aid nutrient absorption

Soaking rice aids the absorption of nutrients, making them more available to the body.

What are the risks involved?

Bacterial growth

Soaking rice overnight can create an environment conducive to bacterial growth. This is because the rice absorbs water, which creates a warm and moist environment. 

Increased risk of food poisoning

When you soak rice overnight you risk food poisoning. This is because bacteria that may be present on the grain can multiply and cause illness.

Nutrient loss

Soaking rice overnight can also lead to nutrient loss. The water that the rice soaks in can leach out some of the nutrients from the grain.

Starch degradation

Rice soaked overnight is exposed to starch degradation. This is because the water can break down the starch molecules in the rice, making them less nutritious.

What happens if you soak basmati rice for too long?

Basmati rice is long-grain rice often used in Indian and Pakistani cuisine. It is known for its nutty flavor and fluffy texture.

Basmati rice is usually soaked for 30 minutes to an hour before cooking, but some people soak it overnight. 

Soaking basmati rice overnight can cause the grains to become mushy and may lead to bacterial growth. It is important to rinse and cook basmati rice thoroughly to reduce the risk of food poisoning.

Is it okay to soak Japanese rice overnight?

No, it is not. The recommended timeframe for soaking Japanese rice is 30 minutes or one hour in summer and winter, respectively.

Going beyond 8 hours will strip Japanese rice of its flavors and make it slightly watery. 

Sticking to the recommended timeframe will help to create a more authentic flavor. Also, soaking the rice will help soften it, making it easier to cook.

What happens if you don’t soak your rice before cooking?

If you don’t soak your rice before cooking, it will likely be stickier, take longer to cook, and may be less fluffy. The rice will also absorb more water from the cooking process, making it mushy. 

Soaking rice helps soften the grains so that they cook evenly and come out fluffy. It also helps to remove any impurities or dust that may be on the grain.

What is the best way to cook soaked rice?

Soaked rice should be cooked the same way as unsoaked rice. Simply add the appropriate amount of water (usually a 1:2 ratio of water to rice), bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until the water is absorbed and the rice is tender. 

Remember to account for the shorter cooking time when preparing your meal.

What is the proper way to soak rice?

There are a few different methods for soaking rice, but the most popular is to soak the rice in water overnight.

One method for soaking rice is to rinse the rice in a bowl of cold water. Then, fill the bowl with warm water and let the rice soak for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, drain the rice and rinse it again with cold water. 

Another method is to soak the rice in a bowl of cold water overnight. In the morning, drain the rice and rinse it with cold water. 

Repeat the same steps every time you need to soak your rice.


What varieties of rice can you soak overnight and why?

Wholegrain and glutinous rice should be soaked (mostly overnight) before preparing them to soften the grain.

Should you soak Jasmine rice overnight?

No, you should not. Jasmine rice is naturally soft and should not be soaked.

Can you soak brown rice overnight?

Yes, you can. Overnight soaking will help to soften the rice and make it easier to cook. After soaking your brown rice, rinse thoroughly before cooking. 


From the above information, it is clear that you can soak rice overnight. However, it is important to ensure you drain and rinse the rice adequately before cooking it. 

Soaking rice overnight is best done in a covered container placed in the refrigerator. It will help to keep the rice from becoming contaminated with bacteria.

Thank you for reading.

For more valuable rice tips, check here on Millenora.