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I love rice and chicken dishes in my family, and as the primary cook in my home, ensuring I always have a bunch of those prepped and ready to go is essential. But I had to figure out whether you can freeze chicken and rice meal prep.
Can Chicken and Rice Meal Prep Be Frozen?
You can make multiple dishes with rice and cuts of chicken. Did you know that if you create these meals for meal prep, they can all be frozen? Fried rice, casseroles, soups, biryani, oven-baked rice with chicken, etc., are a few examples of chicken and rice meal prep dishes you can freeze. I have done them all!
An essential aspect to remember is that your dish must be cooked well, cooled properly, and sealed in freezer-safe airtight containers or plastic bags before freezing. You must ensure to prevent freezer burn and follow the recommended freezing time.
How to Freeze Cooked Rice and Chicken
Meal prepping rice and chicken is super simple. I create at least one chicken and rice dish with every meal prep session, and it never fails to be a great decision. It saves me time when rushing for dinner and is the perfect solution for last-minute guests. I have those days more often than not, and pulling out a homemade frozen chicken and rice meal helps reduce my anxiety.
Here’s the deal, though, you have to get it right. If you mess up the freezing process, you could easily lose your entire meal or end up with a soggy, watery mess. Alternatively, you could find yourself in front of dry, tasteless food. I have been through both scenarios during the learning process. So let me tell you my most trusted method for freezing chicken and rice meal prep.
- Ensure your rice and chicken dish is cooked through properly.
- Let your dish cool down enough. Once it is not steaming hot anymore, you can place it in the freezer. One of my favorite tips is spreading it out in a tray and putting it in the refrigerator to cool it down faster.
- Then place the meal in a freezer-safe airtight container (or multiple for each serving). You can also dish food like fried rice in freezer-safe Ziploc bags.
- Label them with the date of preparation and pack your food in the freezer.
How Long Can Chicken and Rice Be Frozen?
Cooked chicken can last for several months in the freezer, but the rice will only be good for a couple of months. When freezing cooked chicken and rice together after meal prepping, avoid exceeding more than two months. Always label your containers or packets of food with the date you prepared them and use them up within a month or two at most.
I once left a chicken and rice casserole in the freezer for two and a half months. Believe me when I say it was a terrible idea. The rice was dry and breaking, and the dish was tasteless. However, the situation beat the time when I didn’t ensure airtight safety with some biryani. That resulted in a pool of water when I heated it and a very soggy meal that went to waste. Sad, but I live and learn, right?
How to Reheat Frozen Chicken and Rice
So you have meal prepped your chicken and rice dishes, frozen them, and a few days or weeks later, you are ready to enjoy them for an effort-free Sunday dinner. Best system ever! But how do you reheat the meal prep without spoiling it and still ensure it looks good and passes as fresh?
The safest and best way to reheat your cooked frozen chicken and rice dish is by placing it in the microwave. When reheating rice and (especially) cooked chicken, you want to ensure that you heat it really well and all the way through. Spread the food out before placing it in the microwave for even heating. Then give it a couple of minutes to cool down before you eat.
You can also heat the food on the stove but use water, oil, or butter to prevent it from sticking to the bottom or drying out. This option works best with small portions only. An oven is also a great option; add some water to prevent it from drying out.
Is It Safe to Freeze Cooked Chicken and Rice?
Can You Freeze Chicken and Rice With Other Ingredients?
You can freeze any chicken and rice dish with various ingredients like vegetables, cooked greens, etc. crockpot soups, casseroles, fried rice, biryani, and taco filling, are only a few examples of chicken and rice meal prep ideas for freezing.
Chicken and rice meal prep dishes can be frozen and are a fantastic way to save time while you still enjoy homemade food on busy days. Always seal the food properly in airtight containers and use the meals within two months.
Nathaniel Lee is an avid cook, drawing on his decades of home cooking and fine dining experience. He is a contributing chef at Mashed, and his recipes and contributions have been featured in Tasting Table, Edible Arrangements, Insanely Good Recipes, and The Daily Meal.