It’s happened to the best of us. We cook a scrumptious meal for our family only to have more leftovers than we intended.
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However, leftovers are a blessing because it means we don’t have to cook the next day. And sometimes, leftovers can be used to make a delicious meal. When it comes to leftover rice recipes, there are tons of yummy options.
Are you wondering what to do with leftover rice? You can make so many cooked rice recipes that will delight your family and taste like you made up a batch of rice just to make leftover rice recipes.
From fried rice to stuffed burritos, stuffed peppers, and savory soups, you can find something on this list of leftover rice recipes that will be crowd-pleasing.
1. Rice Frittata
Most dedicated carnivores love bacon, and if that’s you, you know we have you covered. Frittata is a classic main dish meal that you can enjoy for breakfast, brunch, lunch, or a light dinner.
This frittata recipe is made with leftover rice and has plenty of veggies, including corn, zucchini, and carrots. Make this with the cheese you love: cheddar cheese, mozzarella cheese, or shredded gouda cheese.
2. Crispy Thai Rice
A leftover rice recipe doesn’t have to include soft rice. Why not shape leftover rice into patties or balls and fry them for a satisfying treat?
For this rice recipe, you need curry paste or curry powder. Other ingredients include fish sauce, finely chopped shallot, a little sugar, and chopped scallions. The fried egg adds the perfect finishing touch.
3. Rice Pancakes
Even the pickiest eaters will usually go ga-ga over a plate piled high with pancakes. With this leftover rice recipe, you get to add in some nutritious grain and fiber with your rice pancakes.
You still need all-purpose flour to make these rice pancakes, but it’s much less than for traditional pancakes. Garnish with sliced bananas and real maple syrup.
4. Risotto Cakes
Do you want a healthy air fryer recipe for your leftover rice? Try these crispy risotto cakes. Fried risotto cakes can be a wonderful side dish or a main dish meal to serve atop a green salad.
The seasonings for this recipe are freshly ground black pepper, dried oregano, and garlic powder. Make these risotto cakes with plant-based milk for a vegan recipe.
5. Parmesan Cheese Rice Cakes
Rice cakes are delicious regardless of which ingredients you use to make them, but parmesan cheese adds so much flavor.
For this recipe, you can use either cooked white rice or cooked brown rice. You also need some seasoned breadcrumbs to make these rice cakes. The veggies include red bell pepper and green onions (scallions).
6. Rice Cutlets
These rice cutlets are another recipe that can be prepared using your air fryer. You can serve these little golden gems as a light lunch or as a welcome appetizer for guests.
Tons of flavor come from turmeric, red chili powder, grated ginger, garam masala powder, chaat masala powder, and coriander. Veggies are potatoes, carrots, onion, spinach, and chopped green beans.
7. Wild Rice and Fried Chicken Waffles
Fried chicken and waffles are a Southern classic, but when you use wild rice or a wild rice blend, you’ve got an elegant meal with lots of hearty flavor.
These healthy waffles are made with whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, and oat flour. The rice can be either a wild rice blend or all wild rice.
8. Egg and Bacon Fried Rice Recipe
Fried rice for breakfast? You betcha! When you pair your leftover fried rice with scrambled eggs and crispy bacon, you’ve got a meal that goes well with any time of day.
The secret to this fried rice recipe is in the sauces used. In addition to two types of soy sauce, you also need Shaoxing wine.
9. Stuffed Bell Peppers
What’s one of the best things you can do with a garden-fresh bell pepper? Stuff it! If you have a bumper bell pepper crop, you’re ready for a delicious main dish meal that you can prepare in advance.
We’ve tried lots of different stuffed bell pepper recipes over the years, and this is one of our favorites because it calls for leftover rice.
10. Rice Pudding Recipe
Few leftover rice recipe ideas are as timeless as creamy, comforting rice pudding. This recipe shows you how to make an old-fashioned recipe for rice pudding, and it won’t disappoint!
This rice pudding recipe is made with leftover rice, whole milk, white granulated sugar, a little bit of sea salt, and vanilla extract. Sprinkle cinnamon on top if you want.
11. Korean Rice Bowl (Bibimbap)
Korean recipes have become increasingly popular, and one of our favorites is Bibimbap, also known as a Korean rice bowl. This recipe has tons of vegetables, and it’s made with marinated beef and topped with a fried egg.
The secret to this recipe is the spicy Bibimbap sauce, which is made with sesame oil, Korean chili paste, honey, soy sauce, garlic, and rice vinegar.
12. Risotto Balls (Arancini)
How about some creamy, cheesy, crispy fried risotto balls? Also known as Arancini, fried risotto balls are made with leftover arborio rice, garlic, fresh herbs, and three types of cheese.
The cheese you need for this recipe is Pecorino Romano cheese, mozzarella cheese, and ricotta cheese. The coating is made with Italian seasoned breadcrumbs and shredded Romano cheese.
13. Chicken Rice Broccoli Casserole
In the past, we have made this chicken and broccoli rice casserole recipe on the stovetop with Minute Rice. However, our cooking skills have definitely improved, and now we love baking this rice casserole in the oven.
This casserole gets lots of creamy goodness from the cream of chicken soup, cheddar cheese, sour cream, and milk.
14. Rice Pakoras
For a tasty snack or light lunch, these rice pakoras are perfect for serving to the kids, and they’re fancy enough for company. To make this yummy little snack, you need leftover rice and veggies.
The veggies are shredded cabbage and grated carrots. For seasoning, use chaat masala, cumin powder, Kashmiri chili powder, and coriander.
15. Wild Rice Stuffed Mushrooms
Anytime we can make a wild rice recipe, we know it will be an incredible dinner. Many people only use wild rice to make chicken and wild rice soup, but these vegetarian stuffed mushrooms are to die for!
You can make these wild rice stuffed mushrooms with a wild rice blend or just wild rice.
16. Gluten-Free and Vegan Lentil Loaf
Meatloaf is an American classic, but if you’re vegetarian, you can enjoy this lentil loaf instead. Best of all, this recipe is made with pantry staples you probably already have in your kitchen.
In addition to the lentils, the veggies in this recipe include red bell pepper, carrots, celery, onion, and garlic.
17. Tuna Rice Salad
Leftover rice isn’t just great for savory soup, stuffed burritos, and rice pudding. You can also use leftover rice to make this tuna rice salad recipe.
Sometimes you just want something light for lunch or supper, and a salad fits the bill perfectly. You can use brown rice or fluffy basmati rice to make this salad recipe.
18. Rice and Ground Beef Casserole
Ground beef is a staple in most American kitchens because it’s so versatile. You can brown a pound of ground beef and use it to make everything from spaghetti to sloppy Joes.
For a hearty main dish, you can’t go wrong with this ground beef casserole that’s made with leftover rice. The French onion soup adds lots of delicious flavor.
19. Hot Dog Fried Rice
Hot dog fried rice is the ultimate fusion food! With classic American hot dogs and leftover rice, this fried rice recipe is a crowd-pleaser that’s super affordable to cook.
For veggies, you have frozen sweet peas and diced carrots. Garnish this fried rice recipe with sliced green onions and toasted sesame seeds.
20. Paella Salad
We love a Spanish rice recipe, and we also love having leftover Spanish rice. Why? So that we can make this easy paella salad that’s tossed with garlic vinaigrette dressing and loaded with protein-rich shrimp and chicken.
You can make this paella recipe with leftover chicken, or you can cook chicken breast from scratch in the oven or on the grill.
21. Rice Fritters
One of our favorite ways to use leftover rice is by making crispy rice fritters. This is the perfect light recipe for busy weeknights, and when served with a dollop of sour cream, you’ve got a main dish meal or a tasty little snack.
This recipe is a great way to sneak some veggies into your cooking because it’s loaded with grated zucchini and carrots.
22. Vegetarian Rice and Bean Burrito
Does your family love Spanish rice? If so, use your leftover Spanish rice or Mexican fried rice to make these tasty stuffed burritos. But we are also huge fans of cilantro lime rice, which you need for these tasty black bean and rice burritos.
This burrito recipe calls for three types of zesty and sweet peppers: red bell pepper, chipotle peppers, and poblano pepper.
23. Chicken and Rice Soup
If you love comforting chicken noodle soup, you’ll be delighted with this hearty chicken and rice soup. This is a healthy meal that is filling enough to stand on its own without anything else.
You can use leftover rotisserie chicken to make this soup. Veggies include garlic, carrots, and onion.
24. Kale, Turkey, and Brown Rice Soup
If you love rice but feel a tad guilty about the carbs, go with brown rice instead. Yes, brown rice also has carbs, but it is a healthier option and a wholesome grain.
For this hearty soup, you need carrots, onion, kale, and red bell pepper. The amazing flavor comes from red pepper flakes, turmeric, fire-roasted crushed tomatoes, and a dash of cayenne pepper.
25. Rice Toti (Ubbu Rotti)
Ubbu rotti is a recipe for Indian flatbread that is usually made from rice flour. However, you can also use leftover rice to make this unique recipe.
For a truly unique flavor, serve your ubbu rotti with chutney powder or spicy chutney.
26. Rice and Chickpea Soup
Almost everyone loves chicken and rice soup, but what if you’re vegan or vegetarian? With this recipe for chickpea and rice soup, you can enjoy the same savory flavor.
The lemon zest (you an also use fresh lemon juice) gives this soup a bright flavor and a delightful zing. The flavor comes from fresh ginger, garlic powder, ground turmeric, and plenty of garlic. This soup is also loaded with veggies, including onion, spinach, carrots, and celery.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long will cooked rice stay fresh in the refrigerator?
In most cases, you can store your cooked rice overnight in the refrigerator. It will last for about four days. This includes most types of rice, including brown rice, basmati rice, and white rice.
To help rice stay fresh for longer, experts recommend storing the rice in a resealable plastic bag or an airtight container. Either of these methods will keep the rice from being exposed to airborne bacteria. When you have leftover cooked rice, get it packed into an airtight container and into the refrigerator within a couple of hours.
How long can you store leftover cooked rice in your freezer?
Like most foods, leftover cooked rice will keep longer in the freezer than it will in the fridge. If your cooked rice is frozen in a freezer bag or airtight container, it will keep well for about 4-6 months.
After the six-month period, rice will still be OK to eat, but the quality starts to diminish. Rice can become mushy if it’s frozen for too long.
How do you know if your leftover rice has become spoiled?
You can’t cool and reheat leftover rice too many times because you give the rice the ideal environment for bacterial growth. If your rice spells bad, it’s probably spoiled and should be thrown away. Don’t eat leftover rice that has a rancid or unpleasant smell.
If the rice grains become dry and hard, it’s also a sign that it’s spoiled. When the rice starts to get crunchy or dry when you reheat it, don’t eat it. Like most spoiled foods, leftover rice can cause food poisoning, so be sure you throw it out if you have concerns about the quality.
Can you eat cold rice?
As long as it’s properly handled, cold rice is totally OK to eat. To make sure your rice doesn’t spoil, store it in the fridge within an hour after you cook it. Then, keep it refrigerated in a fridge with the correct temperature. If you take these precautions, your leftover rice is safe to eat.
Watch this video for some more ideas for cooking leftover rice recipes.
25+ Easy Leftover Rice Recipes (+Tuna Rice Salad)
- 2 pounds leftover rice
- 1 can tuna in water
- 2 diced bell peppers
- 3 chopped tomatoes
- 5 sliced green onions
- Chopped parsley
- 1/4 cup chopped green olives
- 4 Tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- Mix everything together.
- Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
Organize all the required ingredients.
Enjoy the food.
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