Rice Smells Weird: All Reasons & Preventions!

Rice is a versatile meal food that can be used to satisfy hunger. Almost everyone loves the food. However, the smell of rice can sometimes be so unpleasant that you can’t stand it. So, you may think why does rice smells weird? 

Uncooked rice may smell weird if the rice is bad-quality or old rice or if the rice contains chemical contaminations after harvesting. Storing uncooked rice in a non-food grade plastic container and exposure to dampness can also make the rice smell really weird. For cooked rice, not rinsing properly, rinsing and cooking with sulfur water, or storing for a long time can make the rice smelly. A faulty cooker is also responsible for the problem.  

Read the article to find out how to prevent each of these reasons. Furthermore, you’ll learn some great tips for making rice smell better.

Why Uncooked Rice Smell Weird: 4 Reasons & Preventions

Uncooked Rice Smell Weird
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Having rice that smells strange can be pretty irritating, as it can indicate that the rice is spoiled or contaminated and should not be eaten. It may also affect the taste of the rice or the dishes you prepare if the odor is strong.

Reason Preventions
Old, low-quality rice Purchase good rice 
Mold and mildew in the riceKeep rice in an airtight container and dry space 
Rice stored in a plastic and old containerUse a new glass container
Chemical contaminants in the rice after harvesting Inspect the packaging to know about the chemicals before buying

Rice Smells Weird. Reason 1: Old, Low-Quality Rice 

The first obvious reason is purchasing low-quality expired rice that already has a strange or unpleasant odor can cause the rice to smell weird. Sometimes people end up buying smelly rice unconsciously and suffer later from the weird smell it contains.  

Prevention: Purchase Good Rice

When buying rice, inspect it carefully and smell it if there is any bad smell or not. If you do end up buying rice that smells strange, it’s best to return it or discard it and purchase a new bag of rice from a different source. 

Spoiled or contaminated rice may have an unpleasant taste and pose a health risk to those who consume it. In order to avoid spoilage, make sure you always purchase fresh rice that does not smell or show signs of spoilage.

Rice Smells Weird. Reason 2: Mold And Mildew in the Rice

When rice is stored in a damp or humid environment, it can develop mold or mildew, which can cause a musty or earthy smell. An infestation of weevils or beetles, which are more susceptible to damp conditions, can cause the rice to emit an ammonia odor. 

Mold on rice basically happens if your rice is exposed to dampness quite often.

Prevention: Keep Rice in an Airtight Container Or Dry Space

To avoid this issue, it’s best to use a dedicated air-tight container for storing rice. Also, make sure that the container is completely dry before adding the rice to prevent moisture from building up and causing mold or mildew to develop.

Rice Smells Weird. Reason 3: Rice Stored in a Plastic And Old Container

Keeping rice in a plastic container without keeping it clean, dry, and airtight can cause the rice to develop a plastic smell. If you have previously stored other strong-smelling foods in a plastic container, the rice may absorb those odors and develop an unpleasant smell.

Prevention: Use New Glass Container

To prevent the rice from developing a strange odor, it’s important to use a clean, dry, and airtight container specifically designed for storing rice. You can use a glass container which has less tendency to build up a smell. 

Also, the container should be thoroughly washed and dried before use. A new container would also be a good idea if you are uncertain about the previous contents or cleaning of a used one.

Reason 4: Chemical Contaminants in the Rice after Harvesting

The remaining chemical contaminants after harvesting can potentially cause the rice to smell like chemicals. The growing and harvesting of rice often involve the use of chemicals such as pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers. 

So, these chemicals can leave behind unpleasant smells if they aren’t properly removed from rice during processing.

Prevention: Inspect the Packaging Before Buying 

Inspect the packaging of your rice if you notice a chemical odor and look for warnings or indications of chemical use during the growing or harvesting process.

If you suspect that the rice may be contaminated with chemicals, it’s best to avoid consuming it and dispose of it properly. Rice should be purchased from reputable sources in order to reduce the risk of chemical contamination.

Why Cooked Rice Smells Weird: 6 Reasons & Preventions

Why Cooked Rice Smells Weird
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Now, let’s examine the reasons behind the smell of cooked rice. There are some other reasons which are responsible for making your cooked rice smell weird.

Reason Preventions
Rinsing improperly Thoughrougly clean the rice
Rinsing with smelly waterUse clean water
Cooking with sulfur waterCook with filtered water
Rice releasing starchUse polished rice
Storing rice in the cooker for a long timeTransfer rice from cooker after cooking
Faulty Cooker Buy a good cooker

Reason 1: Rinsing Improperly Before Cooking

Rice should be cleaned properly before you cook. When rice is not rinsed properly, it can retain excess starch, which can lead the rice to smell weird. 

If the rice hasn’t been thoroughly rinsed, it may contain dirt, debris, or other contaminants that can affect the cooked rice’s taste and smell.

Prevention: Thoroughly Clean the Rice Cooking

To avoid this issue, it’s important to rinse the rice 5-6 times thoroughly before cooking. Use your hand to rub the rice which will help vastly. Ensure that any excess starch, dirt, or contaminants are removed. 

Remember to use warm water to rinse the rice until the water runs clear, and then drain the excess water before cooking. Lastly, use cold water to wash the rice. 

Reason 2: Rinsing with Smelly Water 

If you use smelly water for rinsing the rice, it’s going to smell weird for sure. The rice will become smelly because it absorbs the water’s smell.

Prevention: Use Good Water for Rinsing the Rice

Always ensure that you’re using good water for rinsing and it’d not smelly. It will also help remove any remaining smell of the rice.  

Reason 3: Cooking or Rinsing Rice with Sulpher Water

If you use water that smells like sulfur, the rice can smell like sulfur. Also, sulfur water is responsible for making rice smell like poop. Because there is a strong and unpleasant odor associated with sulfur water that resembles rotten eggs due to its presence of hydrogen sulfide gas. 

So, the gas hydrogen sulfide can be absorbed by rice when cooked or rinsed in sulfur water.

Prevention: Use Filtered Water

Make sure to cook the rice with water that is sulfur free. You can use filtered or bottled water which can also be an alternative to avoid any unpleasant smell or taste. 

Reason 4: Rice Releasing the Starch

Some cheap, low-quality rice is available in the market that is not polished enough. If you cook them, it is going to release a lot of starch which can make the rice smelly.

If you cook rice with too much water, the excess water can break down the starch and make the rice too sticky, along with an unpleasant odor. Usually, this can also happen if the rice is overcooked or left to sit in hot water after cooking.

Prevention: Rice should be polished

Always make sure to use polished rice to cook. Go for brands that have good reputations. Also before cooking, wash the rice properly to get rid of the weird smell. 

Reason 5: Storing the Rice in the Cooker for a Long Time 

Keeping rice in the cooker for a long time can cause the rice to develop an unpleasant smell. 

As a matter of fact, if cooked rice is left in a closed container for an extended period of time, bacteria and fungi can grow, which results in the rice spoiling and smelling weird.

Prevention: Remove the Rice From the Cooker

To avoid any unpleasant smells when storing cooked rice, it’s best to transfer the rice to a different container. 

Reason 6: Faulty Cooker

The last potential reason could be having a faulty cooker. If the cooker itself is not ok, the cooked rice could be smelly. A malfunctioning rice cooker may cause the rice to become undercooked or overcooked. 

Having a malfunctioning rice cooker heating element can result in undercooked rice with an unpleasant raw taste and odor. On the other hand, overheating can lead to burnt or charred rice if the heating element is too strong.

Prevention: Change the Cooker

If you find the rice still smelling weird even after trying all the preventions described above, it’s high time to inspect your cooker and purchase a new one. Don’t opt for cheap ones, rather buy one of the premium rice cookers.

Tips to Make Your Rice Smell Better

Rice is a versatile food to fill your hunger. It will be more appealing to you if it smells better. Let’s find out how you can make it smell better. 

  • Use jasmine or basmati rice to make your meal. It consists of an aromatic smell that helps the rice to smell better. 
  • If you cook instant rice which is not supposed to rinse, add a tablespoon of vinegar to the rice while cooking.
  • You can use herbs like cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, and ginger in the rice. These spices tend to make the rice smell better.    

FAQs: Rice Smells Weird

Why does rice smell sour?

Rice that smells sour is often an indication of spoilage or bacterial growth. When rice is exposed to moisture or warm temperatures, it can create an environment where bacteria can thrive, causing the rice to spoil and emit a sour odor. To prevent the rice from developing a sour smell, it is important to store it in a cool, dry place with good ventilation and use it within a reasonable time frame. 

Why rice smells like Play-Dough?

There is a compound called geosmin present in rice that causes it to smell like playdough. Bacteria and algae naturally produce geosmin, an organic compound. Freshly cut grass also smells like this compound. 

What does fermented rice smell like?

The fermented rice smell like the mild aroma of alcohol. Also, fermented rice may have a slightly sour or acidic smell due to the production of lactic acid during the fermentation process. Moreover, some types of fermented rice, such as koji or amazake, may have a nutty or earthy aroma due to the presence of mold or yeast.

Conclusion: Rice Smells Weird

Hopefully, you’ve got to know why your rice smells weird. You’ll get to know the prevention for each and every reason which is responsible to create a weird smell. 

Always try to purchase the best rice and follow the preventions provided in the article for having well-cooked rice without any smells. Also, get a good rice cooker so that you can avoid potential issues related to the cooker.

Happy Eating!

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