Home » How to store rice for the long term (11 easy steps)

How to store rice for the long term (11 easy steps)

How to store rice for the long term equates to storing rice in a 5-gallon bucket; it is a simple process. I’ve accumulated hundreds of pounds of rice using food-grade buckets, Mylar bags, and 2000cc oxygen absorbers. It’s easy, believe me; if I can do it, anyone can.

To store rice in a 5-gallon bucket for long-term storage, first line a food-grade bucket with a five mils+18″ x28″ Mylar bag, pour white rice in the bag, place a 2000 cc oxygen inside the bag and seal the top with a household iron. Use a permanent marker to write the date and type of food on the bag. Place a cheap plastic lid on the bucket.

8 tools for long-term storage

If you get all this stuff organized ahead of time, repackaging rice into buckets will go much smoother.

#1 5-gallon bucket

Have one five-gallon food-grade bucket for every 36 pounds of white rice. 

#2 plastic lid

One plastic lid for each bucket to protect the Mylar and for stacking buckets.

#3 Mylar bag

One 18″x28 Mylar bag per 5-gallon bucket

1-gallon Mylar bag(s) to store food that won’t fit in the bucket.

#4 clothes iron 

I use a clothes iron to seal the bag. Preppers also use hair-straightening irons, and impulse sealers.

#5 permanent marker 

Used to mark the bag with the date and food-type

#6 oxygen absorber(s)

For white rice, purchase 2000cc oxygen absorbers or use smaller absorbers that add up to 2000cc absorption.

#7 Wood Board

 Used to place the top of the bag over when you seal it with the iron

#8 Scissors 

Scissors make a clean cut, so pouring the rice out of the bag is easier.

Up next planning how much rice will fit in a 5-gallon bucket.

How Much Rice Will Fit In a 5-gallon Bucket?

Approximately 36 Pounds of long-grain white rice will fit in one 5-gallon bucket.

Dive deeper into storing emergency food in buckets and Mylar bags. Check out the Ready Squirrel article, “What Foods Can I store In a 5-gallon bucket.”

Ok, let’s get to storing rice in eleven easy steps.

How To Store Rice In a 5-Gallon Bucket: 11 Easy Steps

5-gallon bucket lined with a Mylar bag.

Step #1

Line a 5-gallon food-grade bucket with a Mylar bag.

Mylar bag sizes, mills, Oxygen absorber sizes, how much rice will fit in a 5-gallon bucket

This bucket holds beans, but it’s the same concept. Dry rice, wheat, beans, and rolled oats are stored the same way in 5-gallon buckets.

Step #2

Pour rice into the Mylar bag.

You can store any white rice in long-term storage with Oxygen absorbers, do not store brown rice as it is too high in oil content and will go rancid after nine months regardless of how you keep it.

Step #3

Gently pull the Mylar bag up and tap to compact rice

fill rice one inch from the top or rim of the bucket so you can get the lid on

Ready to stockpile food for a cataclysm? Ready the Ready Squirrel article, Cheap Survival Food For the Cataclysm

Step #4

Place a 2000cc oxygen absorber in the bag.

For white rice, you need 2000cc of oxygen absorption, I prefer to use the 2000cc absorbers, but you can combine smaller absorbers for the total absorption. For example, you could use four 500cc absorbers.

Step #5

Seal the bag.

I use a household iron set on the hottest setting to seal my bags., on my iron, it’s the linen setting. You can also use a hair straightening iron or purchase an impulse sealer specifically designed for the purpose.

Keep the iron moving when sealing the bag, and don’t let it sit in one place too long.

Step #6

Write the date and food type on the bag.

It’s essential to mark your Mylar bags or buckets with the type of food and date or quickly lose track of what you have.

I’ve forgotten to write this info on a bag, and I cut it open to find out what’s inside. It’s a pain because the food has to be repackaged.

Step #7

Let the bucket sit until cool.

When oxygen absorbers scavenge oxygen from a container, they heat up and can create a vacuum-type seal.

It takes an oxygen absorber 4 hours to finish working in the bag, and then it will start to cool down.

Step #8

Gently fold the Mylar bag into the bucket.

Mylar is pretty tough, but it can be punctured or torn. I feel like it should be handled with kid gloves, especially when 36 pounds of rice are in it.

Step #9

Place a plastic lid on the bucket.

The lid keeps the critters out and allows for the organizing, stacking, and stowing of food buckets.

Consider using a Gamma lid for easy access on working buckets accessed often.

Step #10

Store bucket(s)

Store buckets in a cool, dry location away from warm appliances.

Avoid stacking more than three high, or they will crack or tumble over.

Step #11


If you are storing food in 5-gallon buckets, you will have “overflow’ extra rice that won’t fit into the bucket or leftover rice that won’t fill a full bucket.

I use one gallon-Mylar bag, with a minimum of 400 ccs of oxygen absorption for each 1-gallon Mylar bag of rice.

No matter what dry food I store, there is always some leftovers that won’t fit into the bucket.

Ideally, store the overflow bags in a lidded food-grade bucket or a plastic bin with a lid.

I’ve run into the problem of having so many overflow Mylar bags that I just started stacking them on the shelf. If a mouse enters my food storage, it will quickly chew through the Mylar.

Warning: Do not store foods higher than 10% moisture content or high in fat, oxygen-free, it may lead to botulism food poisoning.

Dig deeper into everything rice in the Ready Squirrel article, “The Best Way To Store Rice Long Term.”

What Size Mylar Bags Fit in a 5-gallon Bucket

There are two sizes of Mylar bags that will fit in a 5-gallon bucket, 20″x30″ and 18″x28.” Both sizes will also line 6-gallon buckets.

Do I need Food Grade Buckets With Mylar Bags?

Using food-grade buckets with Mylar isn’t necessary, but I wouldn’t store the bulk of my food without them.

Mylar is excellent oxygen, moisture, and light barrier, but it may not be tough enough to last by itself for thirty years.

Avoid using Food-grade buckets without Mylar bags because the plastic in the bucket isn’t a sound oxygen barrier. It may not kill bug eggs and allow food oxidation over more extended periods of storage.

Get started storing dry staples for a year’s food supply. Read the Ready Squirrel article, How Much Food For A Year: Proven Dry Staples.

Can I store Brown Rice In Oxygen-free Storage?

Brown rice is high in lipids or fat. High-fat foods, including brown rice, should not be stored oxygen-free.

Fats in brown rice will go rancid whether oxygen is present or not—brown rice stores for a maximum of 6 to 9 months.

Ready to learn about Non-perishable food for long-term storage? Check out the Ready Squirrel article, “Non-perishable Emergency Food: Grub With The Longest Shelf-life.”

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