Have you ever noticed how nearly impossible it is to properly estimate and portion out certain foods for one, single meal? Pasta comes to mind along with another favorite household staple and ancient grain: Rice.
Do you catch yourself hesitating before tossing out the excess after dinner; uncertain what your options might be? Leftover rice recipes are here to help you live more sustainably and healthily while using your groceries to their fullest. Curious?
Rice is one of the most versatile ingredients out there. There are so many options out there, this list will help you narrow down what to do with leftover rice.
1. Quick Fried Rice
The first option on our list is one of many wonderful recipes with cooked rice. You can utilize either white or brown rice that you’ve cooked or even gotten from take-out.
All it requires is a few household staples including oil, eggs, and frozen veggies.
This is a fabulous one-pan meal that you can make unique every time by incorporating different garnish options or proteins.
Before you know it, you’ll be making this easy option to satisfy friends and family for every Stir-Friday.
2. Leftover Rice Pudding
Recipe number two on our list of leftover rice ideas is a sweeter option, but it stays simple! Can you believe that this dessert only requires five ingredients and 25 minutes?
You can use that leftover long-grain rice and a few other things you’re sure to have in the cabinet to impress anyone with a cross-cultural classic: Rice Pudding.
Want to make it even more exciting? You can add any of your favorite sweet treat ingredients as toppings. Nuts, sauces, and fruit are all wonderful options to add to this comforting recipe.
3. Leftover Rice Casserole
Casseroles are a lovely, classic option that always comes through for us in the end.
One of the best ways to use your leftovers is with this recipe that combines several common, seasonal ingredients including fresh or leftover veggies and protein for a balanced, one-pot meal.
This simple mixture of all the coziest ingredients is sure to comfort you and yours through any upcoming mealtime.
You can edit it to your taste and add any of your favorite complementary casserole components.
4. Bean & Rice Burrito
Feeling a little spicier than the first few ideas? Look no further than this Spanish-inspired, vegetarian favorite: Bean & Rice Burritos.
Simple steps take us through the filling, utilizing your leftover white or brown rice along with some vegetables and spices, then the vital burrito-rolling moment commences. You’ve got this.
Burritos are a treat similar to casseroles in that once you master the form, you can get creative with the filling and garnishes.
You can even grill a burrito for extra flavor.
5. Rice Pancakes
Have you ever eaten rice for breakfast? This is common in many places around the world and one easy, 30-minutes recipe you can try is leftover rice pancakes.
This option only calls for six ingredients and they are easier to make than regular pancakes!
You can edit the flavor to suit your style, but we also recommend sticking with classics like vanilla, cinnamon, and maple.
This is a treat that will surely surprise and satisfy everyone the next morning.
6. Chicken & Rice Soup
Still, wondering what to make with leftover rice? You’re in luck! We have a wide variety of other options to suit whatever your tastes are.
The next option is a classic, cozy, and comforting soup. Combine your cooked rice with a few vegetables, chicken, seasoning, and broth to create this family favorite.
While the prep time might be a little longer than some of the other recipes, letting your soup simmer will only elevate your flavor profiles and it is even great the next day as well.
Soups like these are a wonderful option for anyone looking to have a balanced and healthy meal on hand.
7. Stuffed Bell Peppers
Looking for a flavorful, but also a more carb-conscious option for leftover rice? You can use this recipe to make your rice a complement to the refreshing, protein-rich stuffed peppers listed here.
Ground beef, cheese, spices, and refreshing bell pepper all meld together for a rich entree utilizing your leftovers without making them the star of the show.
This recipe could be edited for those who don’t consume ground beef. While the task may seem intimidating, stuffing peppers is deceptively simple!
You’ll be sure to impress the table with this treat.
8. Rice Balls
Recipes for leftover rice often focus on entrees like those we’ve listed, but there is plenty of finger food, snack, and appetizer options to consider as well.
One of these is a collection of curated Korean rice balls. Feel free to follow the recipe to each detail and enjoy a variety of vegetable and protein options, or get creative and use the recipe to develop your flavors.
These can be a fun snack for a picnic or packed into a lunch.
Depending on what you choose to create them with, they can be one of the most nutritionally-dense and valuable options to include in your diet.
9. Broccoli Cheese Casserole
Earlier in this list, we gave you a recipe for a very simple rice casserole, but now we’ve advanced to true hitters in the recipe hall of fame. Who doesn’t love the classic broccoli and cheddar combo? Add it to a casserole? Get ready to please the whole party.
This casserole is not only delicious, but it’s a fun and easy way to both utilize your leftovers as well as sneak in some super healthy vegetables. We think this one will become a staple for leftover rice ideas.
10. Spanish Rice
Are you a huge fan of rice dishes and simply want to change up the flavor profile for your follow-up meal? We have a great idea.
Turn your cooked brown or white rice into a beautiful and complex Spanish rice dish garnished and seasoned to your liking.
Spanish rice is a delicious, one-pot meal option that can be elevated to your taste using a variety of complementary ingredients to go along with it.
It is also exceptionally satisfying on its own.
11. Rice Patties
Have you ever been curious about how you could make vegetarian patty alternatives at home? One of the easiest and most delicious ways you can do this is with a simple rice patty.
The basic recipe only requires four ingredients and then there are tasty seasonings to add.
This recipe only has four steps! It’s as easy as a seasoning, mixing, forming, and frying.
These patties can be served on their own as a vegetarian entree option, used as an alternative or an addition to a burger, or simply enjoyed as a wonderful snack.
12. Best Chicken & Rice Soup
Looking for something a little more complicated, perhaps to feed a few more than our last sop recipe allowed? This is the recipe for you.
Those foodies who appreciate the details will love the layers of seasoning added to this soup on top of the quality core ingredients.
Utilize your leftovers in this recipe to save yourself some time and money.
Soups like this are always a hit. Your friends will be glad to have you when sick days roll around.
13. Mushroom Pilaf
Excited to continue elevating your leftover dishes? This exquisite mushroom rice pilaf recipe can be made vegetarian or using chicken broth in a matter of 30 minutes.
This savory dish is a revered option throughout famous restaurants. Perfecting rice pilaf is a skill worth honing on your cooking journey and you’re well on your way with this recipe.
Mushrooms are rich in nutrients that complement the ancient grain and other ingredients. A bit of beautiful garnish will truly bring your plate to the top.
Serve this as a side with your favorite entree or enjoy it as a balanced meal.
14. Rice Tikka
If you’re feeling particularly adventurous one day, this next cooked rice recipe is for you. While the ingredient list may look overwhelming, don’t fret quite yet.
The prep time only takes 20 minutes! Get ready to level up your rice game.
This spellbinding blend of inspired spices will give your vegetable and rice cutlets the exotic and intriguing flavor profile that only Indian food can provide.
Each ingredient offers a variety of beneficial nutrients and balanced health to satisfy your needs and your cravings.
15. Rice Cutlets
Are you intrigued by the last recipe but not quite sure about all those spices? Check out this option that uses even more of your favorite holiday leftovers.
This particular rice cutlet recipe calls for mashed potatoes!
This combination of tasty traditional treats transforms into a crispy and crave-worthy bite. Your family will be glad they stayed for leftovers when you pull these out instead of the classic turkey sandwich.
These are a wonderful option the day after any American-dream dinner.
16. Stuffed Peppers
While this recipe might be similar to the last stuffed pepper recipe in spirit, it stands out on its own in flavor and culture.
This is an Italian take on the stuffed bell pepper and it is another carb-conscious way to complement your meal with leftovers is a colorful entree that can be enjoyed any season.
By choosing varying colors in your bell peppers, you can achieve different flavors. Try them all for a beautiful plate and pick your favorite for future recipes.
Each one offers a unique and satisfying meal option.
17. Cabbage Fried Rice
If you want to try a particularly inspired version of typical fried rice, here’s a new favorite for you. Boost your vitamin and mineral intake while also adding dynamic texture to your dish with this cabbage-fried rice recipe.
Grating vegetables is such a wonderful way to extricate the flavor while also creating a tantalizing texture to complement whatever you might be making.
The recipe is simple and easy to follow while also offering an insightful and nutritious option for your leftovers.
18. Salmon Fried Rice
Looking to add a more exotic protein to your fried rice rather than picking a new vegetable? Try Salmon!
This is such a delicious and healthy protein option that can take any dish to the next level.
Follow the simple instructions to turn your leftover fried rice into a mealtime favorite.
Complex herbs and sauces are used to develop this exciting flavor profile with easy preparation.
This is a wonderful option if you want to impress a dinner date at home and can’t fit full meal prep into your schedule.
19. Cheesy Beans & Rice
How can you even go wrong with a recipe like cheesy rice and beans? This is a protein and fiber-rich vegetarian option that is sure to please your party.
A simple set of ingredients and straightforward steps lead to this treasure.
You can control the level of spice enjoyed by which salsa you choose. You can make it even more complex with a bit of lime juice and a little cilantro garnish.
This is a simple favorite that you’re sure to get creative with.
20. Corn, Ham, & Rice Casserole
Next, we have another fun twist on the traditional casserole. This is such a consistently good option for using any of your leftovers.
This casserole could easily be created after you have enjoyed a variety of other meals.
This particular recipe offers a unique collection of seasoning suggestions including mustard and oregano. It is anything but a boring old basic and sure to fulfill friends and family.
File this one away, because it is surely going to be useful someday.
21. Grandma’s Casserole
We can’t talk about casserole without mentioning grandma. While each grandparent and parent might have their other favorite casserole recipes, this one is a classic sure to please the entire family.
Grandpa would be proud that you’re giving it your best shot.
Everyone loves bacon and cheese! Looking for a pork-free alternative? Try turkey bacon or even a vegetarian option. It’ll be worth the experience.
Nothing beats the nostalgia of smelling bacon cooking in the kitchen, except eating it.
22. Shrimp Fried Rice
Are you ready to feed five in 20 minutes with only one skillet? This isn’t a scam, don’t worry.
This is your next menu staple. Shrimp fried rice is beloved worldwide and now you can recreate it in your home using this easy and delicious recipe.
Leftover white rice recipes are endless, but this option will satisfy you and yours while making the most of your money well-spent.
Rice is one of the easiest ways to feed the masses well. This recipe would be a hit anywhere.
23. Cheesy Beef Casserole
Looking for a creative alternative to Taco Tuesday that also lets you use your leftover cooked rice?
Try this delicious recipe as-is or check out all of the editing options for alternatives to suit and satisfy all of your loved ones’ diet, health, and lifestyle needs.
Dishes like these can be shapeshifters in your recipe collection. Once you figure out your favorite casserole-style, it’s so fun and easy to get creative within that. Try something new with this one!
24. Stuffed Pepper Soup
Were you pleased with or even intrigued by the stuffed pepper recipes on this list? If so, you might also love this option!
The fabulous flavor profile transformed into a soothing soup that’s packed with vegetables and protein for a hunger-crushing combination.
This soup is especially seasonal when all those peppers start popping out of the garden near the end of summer, but it’s delicious year-round.
A recipe such as this could be the beginning of a beautiful new tradition.
Congee is a particularly intriguing cultural experience that you can create right in your kitchen, with leftovers nonetheless! It can be prepared right in the rice cooker or on the stove.
You need a blender, but besides that, it’s a one-pot dish. You can add protein and garnish to your liking if you want to round out this Chinese delicacy.
This is another example of how you can use your leftover cooked rice to create interesting and creative dishes later.
Congee can be created to soothe whatever your current craving might be, savory or sweet.
25 Easy Leftover Rice Recipes
- 3 tbsps vegetable oil, divided
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 3 c cold, cooked white rice
- 2 c chopped cooked chicken
- ½ c sliced celery
- ½ c shredded carrot
- 1 c frozen green peas, thawed
- 2 green onions, sliced
- 3 tbsps soy sauce
- Bring the ⅓ of your oil to medium-high heat in your pan before adding the egg and cooking it thoroughly. `
- Add the remaining oil, stir in the rice until it is coated, then add the rest of your ingredients, reduce your heat to medium, and cover to steam for about 5 minutes or until it reaches your desired temperature throughout.