Homemade Baby Rice Recipe and Storage Tips

rice cereal

Image Source / Getty Images

If you have a baby, whole grain rice cereal is likely a pantry and shopping list staple, but did you know that you can make your own at home? All you need is rice (you can even opt for whole grain), some water, and a few kitchen implements.

You might be used to stocking up on store-bought dehydrated infant cereal flakes, but buying rice in bulk, then whipping up small batches of cereal at home is easy and saves money.

You do not have to start with rice cereal when starting your baby on solids. If you do use infant cereals, be sure to vary the grains used so you're not only using rice.

You should also keep in mind that homemade rice cereal does not contain the same amount of iron that a store-bought fortified infant cereal would. If you'll be making your own rice cereal, you'll need to incorporate other iron-rich foods into your baby's diet.

If you want to make your own infant cereal at home, correctly storing and preserving your rice is key for getting the most value and nutrition for your money, time, and effort. Here's an easy rice cereal recipe as well as some must-have storage and cooking tips.

Homemade Rice Cereal Recipe

The only ingredients needed to make your own supply of your baby's first food are rice and water. When you're ready to get cooking, you'll also need measuring cups, a blender, grinder, or food processor, a saucepan or microwave-safe dish, and some storage containers.

There are many varieties of rice to choose from, including white, brown, basmati, and jasmine. Many types of rice come in quick-cook versions, which can save you some time in the kitchen.

Once you've chosen your rice, all you'll need is some water. You can also throw in another type of liquid like broth to add flavor or boost nutrition, or even mix in some baby formula or breast milk.

Preparation

Start by pouring your whole rice grains into a colander and rinsing them in cold water to remove the extra starch.

While you can cook the rice whole, grinding it first will ensure your cereal comes out nice and smooth. You can use a blender, food processor, or spice grinder to turn the whole rice grains into a fine powder.

Cooking

If you're cooking with whole grains:

  • Pour 1/2 cup of rice and 1 cup water into a saucepan
  • Cover, turn the heat to high and let the mix come to a boil
  • Once it's boiled, turn the heat back to low
  • Let the rice simmer—how long it takes to cook will depend on the type of rice you use. Either follow the directions on the package or give it a "taste test" after about a half-hour. Most rice will need to cook for 20 to 45 minutes.
  • Remove your rice from the heat and let it sit for about 10 minutes
  • Pop the rice into a blender, food processor, or baby food maker
  • Add a 1/2 cup of liquid (water, breast milk or formula, or broth) to the rice
  • Blend until it reaches a smooth purée consistency (about one to two minutes)

If you're cooking with rice powder:

  • Add 1/2 cup water to a medium saucepan
  • Cover, put heat on high, and let the water boil
  • Once boiling, add 2 tablespoons of your rice powder to the water
  • Whisk nonstop for 30 seconds
  • Turn the heat back to low and let simmer for about 10 minutes
  • As it simmers, keep whisking the mixture occasionally (the goal is for the consistency to be creamy, not clumpy).
  • If the mixture is getting too thick, you need to break up clumps, or you just want to add some flavor, mix in a liquid when you whisk (such as water, breast milk, formula, or broth).
  • When ready, you can serve the cereal warm or get it ready for storage.

Storing Uncooked Rice Grains

The basic storage guidelines are the same for white and brown rice. However, because brown rice has more bran (which contains oil) it will not last as long as other kinds of rice.

There are also a few additional things to keep in mind for whole versus ground rice grains, as well as climate considerations.

Whole grains keep best in an airtight container stored in a cool, dry place. Ground grains can also be stored in this manner, or you can refrigerate them.

If you live in a hot or humid climate, or the temperature of your home increases (such as during the summer), keep your grain containers in the fridge.

Storing Cooked Cereal in the Refrigerator

Once cooked, your whole grain or ground rice cereal can be safely stored in the refrigerator for about three days. However, for longer storage and the best quality, pop your containers in the freezer rather than the fridge.

Keep in mind that after being in the fridge or freezer, the cereal's texture might change. When you're ready to use, adding a liquid such as water, breastmilk, or formula will help reconstitute the cereal.

Freezing Cooked or Uncooked Rice

It might seem odd, but the freezer is actually a great place to store uncooked and cooked rice. Not only does it keep it safe, but this storage method helps the grains stay moist.

Cooked rice cereal can be stored using a similar method for freezing homemade baby food purées.

  1. Immediately after cooking your rice, pack it in a container that's safe for freezing (an airtight microwavable container would work, as the key is to retain the steam from cooking to help the rice stay soft).
  2. Set the container aside and allow it to cool down.
  3. When it's cool, pop the container in the freezer.
  4. Cooked rice will keep in the freezer for about a month.

To cut down prep time, you can also cook up some rice, freeze it, then thaw it when you're ready to make a batch of baby cereal. Just remember that once thawed, you'll need to use the rice within three days.

To get the best consistency and ensure it's moist, you'll probably need to add some liquid after it's been frozen and thawed.

Depending on how much you need to cook, and how often, you might find it easier to freeze whole or ground grains in meal-sized portions (try using an ice cube tray).

You can keep a package of uncooked rice in the freezer for about 18 months, but for the best quality, try to use it within six months.

Was this page helpful?
Article Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.