21 Ways to Use Leftover Rice
I almost always cook more rice than I need. My eyes seem to be bigger than my stomach when it comes to rice, as it can be deceptively filling. But before you toss those leftovers, consider giving them new life with these top-rated recipes. Each one calls for pre-cooked rice. If you keep opening your fridge to find that little container of rice staring at you, it's time to use it up before it goes bad. Repurposing leftovers helps you to save money and reduce food waste. First, learn how to properly reheat rice. Then, check out these 21 leftover rice recipes.
Delicious Chicken Casserole
Turn a cup of yesterday's rice into tonight's casserole. "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!"
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. My kids loved it! For variety, add corn or other vegetables or switch to other chopped tomato varieties (chiles, jalapenos, etc.)," says recipe creator donnam. "Follow the boiling method prior to baking if you don't want a crispy bell pepper."
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.
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.
Spicy African Yam Soup
This is an unusual combination of ingredients, but they come together beautifully in just 45 minutes. 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."
Authentic, No Shortcuts, Louisiana Red Beans and Rice
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."
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."
Polish Stuffed Cabbage
This Eastern European comfort food is very budget-friendly. "It smelled just like Grandma's kitchen. I'll be making this a lot more," says reviewer PAMELA SWIFT.
Quick Pork Fried Rice
"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."
Cajun Style Red Bean and Rice Soup
"I had a party of 12 people and everyone said it was great," says reviewer DKowalczyk. "The flavors blended nicely. I added some chunked leftover ham and served it with white rice."
Chorizo Stuffed Poblano Peppers
Want to take your stuffed peppers up a notch? Give poblanos peppers a try. "What a step up from the often-bland stuffed bell peppers," says reviewer Jennifer.
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, froze leftovers," says reviewer ChickinStew.
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."
Dee's Mexican Rice
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."
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."
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."
Quick Festive Ground Meat Skillet
"Very easy and convenient to make; can be adapted easily to preference or creativity," says reviewer Sarah Link. Ground beef mingles with garlic pepper, corn, ranch, salsa, and oregano and served over rice.
Garlic Rice Roast Chicken
"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."
Chinese Pepper Round Steak
"A simple meal recipe that is different from other pepper steak recipes that I have found. 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," says recipe creator TUNA’S MOM.
Switch noodles for rice and you have a comfort-food classic that you can make using ingredients you'll likely 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."
Classic Turkey and Rice Soup
Recipe creator Sarah says, "Is there anything as warm as a bowl of soup made with the leftovers of a meal that you shared with your family?"