A Huge Change You Can Make TODAY: Freezing Grains

Two of the cornerstones of healthier eating are 1) cooking your own meals and 2) consuming whole grains. This becomes a snafu of sorts when the concept of time is  thrown into the mix since whole grains take longer than a hot microwave minute to cook. So, once a month, I cook ahead.

I like to keep a stockpile of pre-cooked rice and quinoa in the freezer in storage bags. (Occasionally, I’ll cook another grain like kamut or wheat berries, but rice and quinoa are my standbys.) If you can’t find affordable, organic grains in your area, consider Green Polka Dot Box, an online grocery store.

How to Freeze Grains
Recipe type: Main
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 15-20
Freezing grains is an easy way to have healthy meals ready in a flash.
  • Two large pots with lids
  • 1-2 lb. bag of organic brown rice (or 4-5 cups)
  • 4 cups organic quinoa
  • water*
  • *The general ratio for cooking most grains is 2:1. Two parts water to one part grain. So, 8 cups of water for 4 cups of rice.

  1. Pour 8 cups of water into each pot. (Depending on the amount of rice or quinoa you have, place the appropriate amount of water in each pot. You will cook each grain separately in its own pot.)
  2. Bring the water to a good, rolling boil. Add salt if you like.
  3. Add your pre-measured grains to the water.
  4. Cover. Immediately reduce heat to low.
  5. Allow the grains to simmer. Usually, 50 minutes for rice, 20 minutes for quinoa.
  6. When the grains have finished cooking (you’ll know because you will smell them and all the liquid will have been absorbed), turn off the heat and remove from the heat source.
  7. Fluff with a long spoon.
  8. Once the grains have cooled, portion them into plastic storage bags by 2 cup increments. (I put 1 cup into a few bags for easy go-to lunches. Label them.)
  9. Squeeze the air out the bags as you close them and put them in the freezer.
  10. Voila! Your grains are ready when you are. I like to defrost mine in the microwave for 1-2 minutes before using, or just throw them into a hot pan with whatever I’m cooking (add a little liquid and cover).


I often use these frozen grains in my Simple Rice & Beans recipe, my go-to meal.

Easy, healthy eating! What are your tips for healthy eating on the quick?

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5 Responses to A Huge Change You Can Make TODAY: Freezing Grains

  1. Dana S. August 30, 2011 at 4:48 pm #

    I didn’t think rice froze well. I’m going to have to try this. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve planned a meal that involves rice but then forgot to cook the rice until it was too late! Either dinner winds up late (which results in a cranky toddler) or we are scrounging for something else! This would make it so much easier!

    • HealthfulMama August 30, 2011 at 10:46 pm #

      Dana, rice does really well in the freezer. And I can’t tell you how often it’s been a lifesaver for me to have it in the freezer! Veggie+grain+protein=meal!

  2. Sarah White August 31, 2011 at 10:53 pm #

    As I was cooking rice for dinner today, I was thinking, those “ready rice” pouches are so convenient. What would be a healthier way to have rice available for quick meals. :) thanks for answering my question!

    • HealthfulMama September 1, 2011 at 7:19 am #

      Sarah, I find that a little more forethought is required, but healthy and quick don’t have to be mutually exclusive! Glad I could help :)


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    [...] Prepare a pot of grains (rice or quinoa, for example) and freeze them for a quick microwave re-heat.  [...]

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