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What to Do With Leftover White Rice [20 Recipes]


Found yourself having a lot of extra rice at home but the entire family is all done with dinner and can’t eat any more? Don’t throw away that leftover rice just yet! Whether you have two scoops or half of a rice cooker left, there are numerous easy meals that you can make with leftover rice and guaranteed they all taste amazing! Here are some leftover rice recipes that you can make!

What Can I Do With a Lot of Cooked White Rice?

Leftover food can always be reworked into something new and delicious! If you have a lot of cooked rice left, don’t think about throwing it away. Instead, transform that cold rice into a great dinner! 

One of the best leftover rice recipes is fried rice. It’s the first recipe that comes to mind whenever someone has a lot of leftover cooked rice. Other leftover rice recipes you can make are rice soup, pudding, stuffed peppers, rice casserole, rice fritters, and so much more!

How Do You Use Leftover Cooked Rice?

There are many ways to use up leftover rice! You can top it with a fried egg or scrambled egg, use it to make your favorite stir-fried rice dish, enjoy a warm rice soup, use it for rice pudding, or even make rice cakes with it. There’s no shortage of recipes that have leftover rice as its main ingredient! 

What Can I Do With Unused Rice?

You’ll be surprised at how versatile leftover white rice is and how many dishes you can make with it. Check out some of the best ways to use leftover rice!

Simple Fried Rice Recipe

The best and easiest way to cook any leftover rice is to turn it into fried rice! Rather than freshly cooked rice, fried rice works best when using cooked and cooled rice. Day-old rice is dryer and the grains are separated, giving your fried rice a good texture. The dry grains also help bring out the flavor of the other ingredients you wish to incorporate into fried rice. 

For a simple fried rice recipe, cook your meat first and add in any vegetables that you’d like. Once they’re cooked, push the ingredients to the side and cook the eggs, letting them scramble. Lastly, add in your leftover rice and toss them together to create the perfect fried rice.

Rice Fritters

This rice dish is very simple but it makes for a good side to almost any meal. It’s lightly spiced and cooked until the edges are crisp. You definitely can’t go wrong with this one.

Chicken and Rice Soup

This is the ultimate recipe if you have both leftover rice and chicken. Chop up some vegetables and add it to chicken and rice soup cooking in the pot and you’ll have a warm and soothing dish in no time.

Leftover Rice Roti

Craving for some Indian cuisine? Make some rice roti! This recipe is a rice-based flatbread from India and the perfect alternative to naan bread or flour tortillas. They’re made using leftover cooked rice, rice flour, and a touch of salt and pepper. They’re gluten-free and vegan too!

Curd Rice

This dish is an important aspect of South Indian cuisine. A simple combination of cooked rice and yogurt, this recipe can be served either sweet or savory.

Rice Pakora

Deep-fried spice rice balls are a great way to use up leftover cooked rice! Crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, these rice balls are filled with chopped vegetables and spiced with ginger, turmeric, curry powder, and ground lentils. They can be eaten along with butter chicken.

Stuffed Peppers Recipe

Use leftover rice to stuff bell peppers and pop them in the oven for a quick snack! A bell pepper can hold its shape very well even when stuffed with meat, rice, and cheese and chucked in the heat of an oven. Its flavor is also subtle enough that it will go well with pretty much anything.

You can make stuffed peppers with rice, ground beef, and melty cheese, and you’re all set for the day.

Skillet Chicken and Rice Burritos

This easy recipe requires only one pan to cook! Get your leftover rice, shredded chicken, salsa, spices, and a flour tortilla, and your dinner’s all set!

Vegetarian Bean and Rice Burritos

A burrito doesn’t have to be filled with meat, it can be filled with just rice and your favorite veggies! For a vegetarian rice burrito, pack it with caramelized onions, beans, garlic, tomatoes, and spicy guacamole. Use refried beans if you want some moisture and if you want more texture, use black beans instead.

Top it off with some hot sauce to seal the deal.

Crockpot Cabbage Roll Soup

If cabbage rolls are your favorite recipe, try out this unstuffed cabbage soup. Made with ground meat, rice, simple seasoning, and cabbage, this warm and comforting soup will certainly become one of your easy dinner favorites.

Chinese Fried Rice

Once you master this recipe, you won’t need to run down to the nearest Chinese restaurant to get takeout! Toss some garlic, chopped onions, soy sauce, and sesame oil in your frying pan. Add in two or three beaten eggs, stirring them lightly until scrambled. Add your leftover cooked rice, vegetables, and your choice of seafood or meat.

Voila! An easy Chinese Fried Rice recipe in the comfort of your own home.

Chicken Fried Rice

Fried rice is highly versatile and you can make it with almost any ingredient that you wish! If you’ve got some chicken on hand, toss it with your leftover rice for a scrumptious Chicken Fried Rice!

Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole

You can speed up the cooking time of a casserole by using cooked rice instead of fresh rice! Combine cooked shredded chicken with broccoli, green onions, cheese sauce, extra cheese, and a bed of leftover rice in one casserole dish for a straightforward dinner.

Instead of using homemade sauce for this recipe, use cream of chicken soup to increase the flavors and make it creamier. You can also use a slow cooker to make this incredible rice recipe!

Ground Beef and Rice Casserole

Looking for a quick dinner that’s also satisfying? This recipe is for you. Start by browning the beef with onions and garlic. Drain the liquid and combine the beef with leftover rice, mushrooms, a bag of frozen veggies, and some creamy soup. Top with grated cheese and bread crumbs for a finishing touch.

Pan-Fried Kimbap

This Korean favorite is a delicious way to use cooked rice. Fill your kimbap rolls with day-old rice, spam, ham, cheese, egg, and radishes, and roll them up using seaweed. Give the roll a dip in beaten egg and pan-fry it to soften the grains inside. 


Arancini are deep-fried rice balls that are common street foods in Italy. Your leftover rice can be used in making this delectable Italian recipe, and you won’t even have to fly out to Italy for a taste of it. This recipe only needs pre-cooked rice, cheese, and your choice of filling from ground meat to prosciutto, to vegetables.

Rice Pudding

It may not have occurred to you but you can totally use leftover rice to make sweet treats! One great recipe for those with a lot of leftover rice and a sweet tooth is rice pudding. This simple dish only needs basic ingredients such as cream, evaporated milk, sugar, and cinnamon. Add in some extra touches like fruits, chocolate, or nuts, and you have one tasty dessert in your hands.

Use your slow cooker and cook on low for 3 to 4 hours until all the liquid is absorbed.

Rice and Lettuce Wraps

This dish is fairly simple. All you need are lettuce leaves, rice, and your choice of filling: meats, vegetables, cheese, nuts, anything that you want. Think of this dish as something slightly similar to sushi but bigger. Dip it in soy sauce or sesame oil with salt and pepper.

Meatless Vegetarian Grain Loaf

Meatloaf is a comfort food classic in American households. If you’re vegetarian, you can still have this classic by turning your leftover rice into a grain loaf.

Chicken Pot Jambalaya

This one is a dish that can be thrown together in minutes. Get your Instant Pot out, toss in the cold rice, cube chicken, broth, sausage, shrimp, vegetables, Cajun sauce, and spices, and let your cooker do the magic!

Final Note

You don’t have to fret anymore about wasting cooked rice as you now have an arsenal of delicious rice recipes in your hands. Try out each one of them and see which ones you and your family loved the best to make them a mainstay in the household. Bon appétit!

Eager for even more recipes? Have a look at our collection!

Hui Yin

Hui Yin moved from Hong Kong 🇭🇰 to the USA 🇺🇸 when she was just 8 years old. Now in her late 20's she enjoys writing and taking long walks in the park to burn off the copious amounts of rice she eats for dinner.

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