What to do with leftover rice? These leftover rice recipes show the best ways to repurpose this grain into another meal….or three!
Got leftover rice and not sure what to do with it? You’re not alone. This age old conundrum has inspired dishes in various cuisines, from fried rice to rice balls, fritters and more. Want to make your rice into another meal…or three? Try these great leftover rice recipes! Each one transforms the leftover grains into a full meal, often providing a time-saving shortcut to the recipe, too. Recipes are listed with the quantity of rice, to help you plan with the amount you have on hand. Let’s get it to it!
And now…leftover rice recipes to turn leftovers into a meal!
Got leftover rice on hand? The number 1 recipe to make with it: Fried Rice! There’s something about the chewy clumps of eggs and the savory ginger and soy-infused bites that feels positively life giving. Here's a basic method for how to make fried rice with day old rice.
Leftover rice quantity: 4 cups (1 cup per serving)
A great way to use up leftover rice? Add it to soup! Here’s a cozy rice soup that tastes bright and restorative: this Chickpea Soup with Rice! It’s similar to a chicken rice soup, except it’s made with chickpeas. Tender grains of rice make for a satisfying thick body to the turmeric and ginger-infused broth, with a punch of lemon zest to brighten each spoonful. (Add 2 cups cooked rice to the linked recipe.)
Leftover rice quantity: 2 cups
Here's how to make leftover rice into a quick dinner: this Easy Rice Bowl! This tasty dinner features easy black beans, a trick to make a bland can of beans taste amazing in 5 minutes. Pair it with rice and colorful veggies. The kicker? A zingy cilantro lime ranch that you’ll want to bathe in.
Leftover rice quantity: ½ to ¾ cup per bowl
Stuffed peppers is a traditional Italian way to use up leftover rice and odds and ends in your kitchen. Starting with leftover rice is a shortcut to this tasty stuffed peppers recipe! The filling is seasoned irresistibly with Italian spices, pizza sauce and melty cheese.
Leftover rice quantity: 2 cups (makes 6 peppers)
A great way to save time making this delicious veggie burger? Start with leftover rice! This incredibly textured and tasty burger is made with a base of rice and walnuts. It makes for a firm, BBQ-slathered patty that stays together on the grill or baked in the oven!
Leftover rice quantity: 2 cups (makes 6 burgers)
A shortcut to black beans and rice? Make it with leftover rice! This recipe feature s black beans, jumbled with rice and green bell pepper, and seasoned with cumin, lime and cilantro. It’s the perfect side to serve with tacos, or as a lunch idea (it saves well for eating throughout the week).
Leftover rice quantity: 3 cups for 4 servings (or make a half recipe)
Bibimbap is a Korean rice recipe: a bowl of warm white rice topped seasoned vegetables, spicy gochujang, Korean chili pepper paste, and a fried egg. The best part: stirring the dish together before digging in melds together all the zingy pickled and fermented flavors from the vegetables with the creamy egg yolk. It's absolute magic.
Leftover rice quantity: 1 cup per bowl
A great shortcut for this vegetarian meatloaf? Make it with leftover rice! This meatloaf is made entirely of nuts, rice, mushrooms, onions, herbs, and cheese. Somehow, it all melds into an appearance and texture just like a meatloaf. And it tastes AMAZING. As in, better than the meat version. (You can use either white rice or brown rice in the linked recipe.)
Leftover rice quantity: 1 ½ cups
Here's a knock-out rice recipe that's ideal with leftover rice: Southwest rice salad! It combines long-grain basmati rice with black beans in a protein-packed side dish. The rice is seasoned with cumin, garlic, and cider vinegar, then mixed with colored bell peppers, green onions and rice. It's a great healthy lunch idea or dinner side dish.
Leftover rice quantity: 3 cups for 8 servings (or make half recipe)
Here’s a classic leftover rice recipe: Shrimp Fried Rice! It’s over the top delicious and total comfort food. Follow this recipe and it’s the path to shrimp fried rice that’s easy and irresistibly tasty. The garlic, ginger and soy sauce meld perfectly with the colorful veggies, bursts of shrimp and gooey bits of egg into a symphony of flavor.
Leftover rice quantity: 4 cups (1 cup per serving)
Here's a quick lunch or healthy easy dinner: the Hummus Bowl! Layer a dollop of hummus with crunchy veggies and rice, and serve with pita wedges. It’s easily customizable and you can make it super basic or fancier with easy additions of ingredients. It takes just 5 minutes to make this Mediterranean-style meal that’s bursting with creamy, tangy, crunchy, fresh, and savory flavors.
Leftover rice quantity: ½ cup per serving
Last up: throw leftover rice into a burrito! This veggie burrito is packed with flavor with seasoned black beans, peppers and onions, and mashed avocado. Substitute leftover rice and mix it with salsa as a quick shortcut for the Spanish rice! (See the recipe for details.)
Leftover rice quantity: 2 cups (½ cup per burrito)
More with rice
Love this healthy whole grain? Outside of these leftover rice recipes, here are a few more resources and recipes to try:
- Grab our top 15 Rice Recipes to Make on Repeat or 12 Tasty Brown Rice Recipes
- Go for classic Cilantro Lime Rice or Spanish Rice
- Try tasty Mediterranean-style Spinach Rice with Feta
- Review which is healthier: Brown Rice vs White Rice
- Learn How to Cook Rice
12 Great Leftover Rice Recipes: Fried Rice & More!
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- Yield: 4 1x
Here’s how to make fried rice! Egg, veggies, garlic and ginger bring aromatic flavor to this homemade comfort food. Variation: Try Shrimp Fried Rice for added protein.
- 1/2 yellow or white onion
- 2 large garlic cloves
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger (about 1 inch nub)
- 2 large carrots
- 2 cups chopped green cabbage (optional)
- 3 tablespoons sesame oil, divided
- 4 eggs*
- ½ cup frozen peas
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 cups cooked rice, at least 1 day old (use How to Cook Rice or Instant Pot Rice), or use shortcut**
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce (optional)
- Green onion, for garnish (optional)
- Mince the onion. Mince the garlic. Mince the ginger. Peel the carrots, then dice them. If using, chop the cabbage.
- In a large skillet or wok, heat 2 tablespoons of the sesame oil medium high. Saute the carrots and onion for 2 minutes. Add the cabbage, garlic and ginger and saute for 2 minutes. Stir in the rice, peas and salt for 1 minute.
- Push the rice to the side. Add 1 tablespoon more oil. Add the eggs and pinch of salt, and scramble them in for 1 to 2 minutes until cooked through.
- Add the soy sauce and fish sauce, if using. Taste and add additional soy sauce or salt if necessary. Heat for a minute or two, stirring, until all rice is coated. Serve hot.
*For a vegan variation, make a Tofu Scramble first, keeping the pieces fairly small. Make the rice without the egg, then stir in the scrambled tofu in the last step.
- Category: Rice
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Rice
- Diet: Vegetarian
Keywords: Leftover rice recipes, what to do with leftover rice