35 Ways to Use Leftover Rice

rice with beef, peas, and corn in wok
Photo: A Day In the Kitchen

It seems like I always cook more rice than I need, but that might not be such a bad thing. Leftover rice is one of the most versatile ingredients—use it to make soups, stir-fries, casseroles, rice pudding, and even breakfast. Repurpose your leftover rice with one of these top-rated recipes, all of which call for cooked rice.

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Delicious Chicken Casserole

Delicious Chicken Casserole

Turn a cup of yesterday's rice into tonight's casserole dinner. "This is definitely a comfort food dish," says reviewer lamwickert. "My guests loved it and all asked for the recipe. So quick, easy, and yummy—you can't go wrong!"

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DASH Diet Mexican Bake

rice and chicken mexican bake

DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, which is why this Mexican rice bake is loaded with brown rice, fresh vegetables, and lean protein.

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Vegetarian Mexican Inspired Stuffed Peppers

Vegetarian Mexican Inspired Stuffed Peppers

Dress up your leftover rice with some seasoning and use it to stuff bell peppers for a quick and easy dinner. "I created this so it's not too spicy, but is packed with flavor," says recipe creator donnam. "My kids loved it! For variety, add corn or other vegetables or switch to other chopped tomato varieties. Follow the boiling method prior to baking if you don't want a crispy bell pepper."

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Breakfast Rice from Japan

Breakfast Rice in a blue bowl
Baking Nana

"Healthy and quick breakfast I learned from friends in Tokyo. Use chilled white or brown rice," says recipe creator caquilter. Chilled white or brown rice is dressed up with scrambled egg, green onions, and soy sauce.

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Old Fashioned Creamy Rice Pudding

Old Fashioned Creamy Rice Pudding

Go from savory to sweet by using leftover rice to make rice pudding. "Cooked rice is combined with milk, sugar, and an egg and flavored with butter and vanilla in this quick stovetop rice pudding," says recipe creator Jennifer Korpak Bechtel.

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Stuffed Mexican Peppers

Stuffed Mexican Peppers

Peppers are stuffed with a classic blend of ground beef, tomato sauce, rice, cheese, and seasonings. "The rice absorbed all of the other flavors beautifully," says reviewer catinmylap.

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Funfetti Rice

rice and bell peppers, carrots, and celery in orange bowl

Plain white rice is seasoned and sautéed with bell pepper, carrot, and celery, and topped with French-fried onions. Recipe creator Patty Cakes suggests keeping some of the seasoned rice stashed in the freezer for easy meals.

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Spicy African Yam Soup

Spicy African Yam Soup

Reviewer Nikki says: "I have to say that I wasn't sure about this recipe just looking at the ingredient list. But, I had some sweet potatoes that needed to be used and was up for something a little different...Wow, am I glad I tried it! This was delicious."

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Kimchi Fried Rice

kimchi rice with fried eggs

This is a humble dish made with leftover rice, kimchi, cubed ham, and vegetables, but don't be fooled—it's packed with flavor.

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Authentic, No Shortcuts, Louisiana Red Beans and Rice

bowl of red beans and rice
Esther Alston

When you've got rice, beans are the natural next step. Recipe creator Melissa S. says: "This is my take on a Louisiana classic. No shortcuts! Put everything into the slow cooker in the morning and you will have your meal ready in the late afternoon or evening, whenever you are ready. This recipe will feed a lot of people."

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Lemon Barbecue Chicken Salad

chicken salad with rice and bacon in green dish

Believe or not, your day-old rice and chicken can transform into a creamy summer salad for your next potluck.

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Hearty Chicken and Rice Soup

Hearty Chicken and Rice Soup

"I've made a resolution to stop wasting so much food this year. We had chicken and rice for dinner so a quick search led me to this recipe to use leftovers in," says reviewer Kayla Casey. "The soup looks and smells great, and was so quick and easy to make, the chicken was pre-cooked. Some quick packaging in mason jars will make for tasty grab and go work this week."

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Green Chile Chicken Corn Chowder

Green Chile Chicken Corn Chowder

Leftover rice makes a great base for this corn chowder made with smoky Hatch chiles. Serve with a side of tortilla chips.

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Polish Stuffed Cabbage

stuffed cabbage rolls in plate

This Eastern European comfort food is very budget-friendly. "It smelled just like Grandma's kitchen," reviewer PAMELA SWIFT says. "I'll be making this a lot more."

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Grilled Teriyaki Tofu Bowls

tofu, green peppers, zucchini, pineapple, and onions with sesame seeds and soy glaze in white bowl
France C

What better way to use leftover rice than to top it with your favorite veggies and protein? Here, leftover rice is topped with grilled bell peppers, zucchini, pineapple, onion, and tofu, and drizzled in a teriyaki sauce.

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Quick Pork Fried Rice

Quick Pork Fried Rice
Corrina M

"A few leftovers and bits from the fridge turn into a great dinner in less than 45 minutes! If I have a leftover grilled pork chop or the tail of a roast, I freeze it until I have enough for this dish," says recipe creator Carrie Elizabeth. "You can also use chicken and substitute some of the veggies for bits you are cleaning up from the fridge. Serve with sweet Thai chili sauce on the side."

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Cheesy Buffalo Chicken Casserole

cheesy buffalo chicken casserole with cereal topping

Made with ranch dressing, Buffalo wing sauce, shredded chicken, Colby Jack cheese, Cheddar cheese, and corn chips, this casserole is pure comfort food.

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Cajun Style Red Bean and Rice Soup

Cajun Style Red Bean and Rice Soup

"I had a party of 12 people and everyone said it was great," reviewer DKowalczyk says. "The flavors blended nicely. I added some chunked leftover ham and served it with white rice."

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Shrimp and Rice Packets with Olives and Oranges

rice, shrimp, and lemon in parchment paper
Trusted Brands

This shrimp and rice dish is cooked en papillote, meaning "in parchment." The parchment packet helps to seal in moisture and meld the flavors together.

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Chorizo Stuffed Poblano Peppers

Chroizo Stuffed Poblano Peppers
Soup Loving Nicole

Want to take your stuffed peppers up a notch? Give poblano peppers a try. "What a step up from the often-bland stuffed bell peppers," reviewer Jennifer says.

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Spam Fried Rice

Spam Fried Rice
Matthew Francis

Use up pantry and freezer ingredients with this simple fried rice.

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Quick Black Bean Soup

Quick Black Bean Soup

This pantry-staple soup is ladled overtop a mountain of fluffy white rice. "Best ever black bean soup we've tried. ...Quick and easy, [and we froze the] leftovers," reviewer ChickinStew says.

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Deep-fried Prawn and Rice Croquettes

croquettes with prawns and rice inside and dipping sauce

Prawns and rice are mixed into a creamy white sauce, formed into balls, coated in bread crumbs, and deep-fried to make a decadent side dish or appetizer.

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Rice Casserole

Rice Casserole
Rosemarie Colombo

Cooked rice, canned or frozen corn, and green onions are mixed with a little dairy to create a creamy, versatile casserole that your whole family will enjoy. "I needed something quick for a potluck and had everything in the house," says reviewer dablacks77. "... It was delicious, even cold before I baked. Will make this again especially for a crowd."

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Do-it-Yourself Salmon Poke Bowls

salmon poke bowl with seaweed, ginger, and fish eggs
A Day In the Kitchen

Making your own poke is much cheaper than buying it at a restaurant, and it's ready in just 25 minutes! You can easily change up the toppings to fit your tastes.

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Dee's Mexican Rice

Dee's Mexican Rice
Saran A Dlané

With the help of a little seasoning, plain old boring rice turns into a spicy side dish or stand-alone dish. You can even add ground meat to make it more of a meal! Reviewer STEFYAU says: "I really enjoyed the aroma of the spices in this recipe."

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Pepper Beef Rice Skillet

rice with beef, peas, and corn in wok
A Day In the Kitchen

This one pan dish is as easy to make as it is to clean up after! Thinly sliced beef, rice, peas, corn, and butter are cooked in a homemade garlic sauce.

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Cambodian Chicken Soup

Cambodian Chicken Soup

Reviewer khmera says: "My kids LOVED this soup. It's got a wonderful flavor—chicken, curry, pineapple, and coconut. I made it just as written, but I would suggest only adding about half the rice. It REALLY thickened up."

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Brown Rice Breakfast Porridge

Brown Rice Breakfast Porridge with fruit

You won't even recognize your leftovers when you use them to make this beautiful breakfast. Cooked brown rice makes the base for this cinnamon-honey porridge. You can easily substitute for the berries with whatever's in season.

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Fried Rice with Ham

Fried Rice with Ham

"This is a great recipe that your family will love and is easy to make. Cook the rice a day ahead or buy some from a local Asian restaurant," says recipe creator UBDESIGN. "The quality of the ham used makes a big difference in the recipe results."

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Garlic Rice Roast Chicken

a chicken breast with rice stuffed under the crispy brown skin on a white plate , with wilted Swiss chard in the background
Chef John's Garlic Rice Roast Chicken. Chef John

"This recipe involves stuffing the seasoned rice under the chicken's skin, and the results really were spectacular," says Chef John. "We've done chicken next to rice, on rice, and in rice, but I believe this is the first time we're going to reverse it and do the rice in the chicken—and no, not stuffed in the cavity."

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Easy One-pan Chicken Fried Rice

close up on dish of Easy One-Pan Chicken Fried Rice with peas and carrots

This easy, one-pan fried rice dish is made with with leftover chicken and rice. It's ideal "when you need a meal to feed the entire family and are short on time and groceries," says recipe creator Nicolemcmom. "A handful of veggies add color and texture while a few pantry staple spices and condiments add flavor to this simple stir-fry dish the whole family will love."

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Chinese Pepper Round Steak

Chinese Pepper Round Steak
Joey Joan

"A simple meal recipe that is different from other pepper steak recipes that I have found," says recipe creator TUNA'S MOM. "Tastes even better on the second day! I have also poured the rice directly into the pot and let it simmer. It soaks up the tomato mixture and is especially good this way."

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Rice Lasagna

Rice Lasagna

Switch noodles for rice and you have a comfort-food classic that you can make using ingredients you already have on hand. "I was not expecting this to taste so good," says reviewer Flat Hill Farm mom. "Quick easy way to use up leftover rice from Chinese carry-out and some ground beef. Even my picky family members liked it! I did add some minced garlic to the beef while cooking just for additional flavor."

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Classic Turkey and Rice Soup

Classic Turkey and Rice Soup
Joe Loyola

Recipe creator Sarah asks: "Is there anything as warm as a bowl of soup made with the leftovers of a meal that you shared with your family?"

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More Leftover Rice Ideas:

rice in takeout container
Rachel Johnson
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