40+ Easy Dinners That Start with Rice

updated Feb 4, 2022
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Credit: Photo: Jason Rampe; Food Styling: Amelia Rampe

Rice is such an easy-to-make, easy-to-store, and easy-to-use kitchen staple that it can feel indispensable. We bet you’d be hard-pressed to find a kitchen where there isn’t at least one kind of rice stocked in the pantry. You can cook rice on the stove, or in a rice cooker. We even tested a variety of cooking methods and found that (gasp!), even the microwave works. Rice is wonderful for meal prep and for stretching leftovers and proteins into a complete meal.

Come mealtime, more often than not, it plays a supporting role. But why not try making a rice dish the star of the show? Here are more than 40 rice dishes that lift rice from its side-dish status and bring it to the center of the plate. We have ideas from casseroles and grain bowls to soups and stir-fries. So the next time you’re looking at a bag of rice in your pantry, wondering if you can turn it into dinner, pick one of these recipes and get cooking!

Simple Rice Recipes

For those times you need a simple meal that comes together with just a few ingredients, a single pot, not too much time on the clock, or barely any effort, these are the recipes that deliver.

1 / 9
Arroz Verde Recipe
Fresh cilantro and poblano peppers give this rice dish a vibrant green hue and an incredible herby flavor.
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2 / 9
Cilantro-Lime Rice Recipe
This cilantro-lime rice is zesty and fresh, and the perfect addition to almost all of your weeknight meals.
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3 / 9
One-Pot Mediterranean Shrimp and Rice Pilaf
This vibrant dinner has a little bit of everything: tender rice, protein-packed shrimp, crunchy fresh veggies, and tangy, creamy cheese.
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4 / 9
5-Ingredient Spinach Risotto
This creamy, cheesy, impossibly easy risotto that's adaptable to whatever ingredients you have on hand.
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5 / 9
20-Minute Bean and Rice Burritos
These four-ingredient burritos are seriously satisfying, and are cheap and easy to make at home.
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6 / 9
One-Pot Coconut-Cilantro Rice with Chicken
This 30-minute, one-pot recipe is perfect for nights when you want something warming and tasty without a whole lot of fuss. Store-bought rotisserie chicken keeps the cooking to a minimum, and snow peas and cilantro add a pop of freshness to an otherwise pantry-friendly meal.
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7 / 9
One-Pot Creamy Chicken and Rice Casserole
Tender chicken, onions, and sweet peas cook together with long-grain rice in a creamy cheddar and thyme-scented sauce for a fast and hearty weeknight dinner.
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8 / 9
One-Pot Weeknight Dirty Rice
For a weeknight version of this classic Creole dish, we sub in spicy chicken andouille sausage for the giblets and liver and cook the rice right in the pot with everything else, making this a one-dish meal that tastes like you’ve been cooking for hours.
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9 / 9
Tuna, Avocado, and Rice Bowl
Fancy up that canned tuna with the addition of brown rice, avocado, sesame seeds, and an orange-ginger dressing. It’s the perfect dish for a satisfying lunch or a low-key dinner.
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Rice Recipes with Chicken

Chicken and rice are natural partners. From soup to skillet dinners to hearty, family-friendly classics, here’s a little bit of everything.

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Chicken Bog Recipe
What makes this dish stand out is its rich and creamy rice.
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2 / 10
Tomato-Basil Chicken and Rice
This recipe for a chicken thigh and tomato basil rice casserole can feed a crowd this summer.
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3 / 10
Chicken and Rice Soup
A whole chicken is simmered to make a rich broth, tender chicken and rice that is as thrifty as it is lux.
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4 / 10
Slow-Cooker Chicken Burrito Bowls
These chicken burrito bowls only require five minutes of hands-on prep time — the rest of the work is done by your slow cooker.
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5 / 10
Spicy Thai Chicken and Brown Rice Bowls
These vibrant Thai chicken and brown rice bowls are topped with a rainbow of crunchy vegetables and drizzled with curried peanut sauce.
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6 / 10
Creamy Turkey and Rice Stuffed Peppers
This shortcut dinner starts with leftover turkey bolognese, which makes quick work of veggie-packed stuffed peppers.
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7 / 10
Instant Pot Teriyaki Chicken and Rice
Learn how to cook flavorful chicken teriyaki, steamed vegetables, and rice all at once in your Instant Pot.
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8 / 10
Instant Pot Chicken and Rice
This family-friendly dinner promises juicy pieces of chicken, fluffy rice, perfectly tender veggies, and a level of creaminess that just can't be beat. Plus, it cooks in less than 30 minutes.
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9 / 10
One-Pan Chicken and Rice with Olives and Lemon
This weeknight-friendly chicken and rice dish cooks all in one skillet, making cleanup a breeze. It's also extremely adaptable based on what's in your pantry.
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10 / 10
Gratitude Chicken and Celery Rice
Andrea Nguyen, author of Vietnamese Food Any Day, says this recipe is about her experience as a refugee in California.
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Vegetarian Rice Recipes

From one-bowl meals to veggie burgers and risotto to soup, there’s no shortage of ways to make rice the star of a wholesome meat-free meal.

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Baked Risotto with White Beans, Herbs, and Lemon Recipe
While most risottos are weighed down with cheese, this plant-based one is fresh and vibrant, with a crunchy panko topping.
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2 / 10
Brown Rice Bowl with Lentils, Caramelized Onions & Fried Egg
Smoky, cumin-scented lentils with a fried egg, spicy harissa, and toasted pine nuts make for the perfect rice bowl.
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3 / 10
Mushroom Risotto with Caramelized Onions
This comforting risotto skips the usual endless stirring. Instead, it’s cooked, largely hands-off, in the oven. The results are every bit as rich, creamy, and crowd-pleasing.
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4 / 10
Roasted Eggplant and Brown Rice Bowl with Turmeric Tahini
This vibrant grain bowl is topped with chickpeas, roasted eggplant, and a vibrant turmeric tahini sauce.
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5 / 10
Wild Rice Bowl with Red Lentil-Coconut Curry and Spinach
Cut down on pre-dinner cooking time by making the wild rice for this satisfying vegetarian grain bowl a day or two in advance. The rest of this flavor-packed dish comes together in a flash.
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6 / 10
Congee Rice Porridge
Congee might be more traditional for breakfast, but we see no problem in turning it into a breakfast-for-dinner situation.
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7 / 10
Wild Rice Burgers
If you’re bored with all the other veggie burgers out there, it’s time to try these vegetarian wild rice burgers. We’re ready to see their deliciousness spread.
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8 / 10
Sweet Corn Risotto
This delightfully creamy corn risotto is one of our favorites. If you’re able to use fresh corn, simmer the corn cobs in the stock before it’s added to the Arborio rice to give it an extra depth of flavor.
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9 / 10
Chitra's Chitranna (Shredded Cabbage, Lime & Peanut Rice)
A variation of nimbekai chitranna, made with shredded red cabbage and carrots lightly sautéed in oil and then tossed with cooked turmeric rice, fried peanuts, lime juice and chopped cilantro.
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10 / 10
Aash-e Jow (Persian Barley, Rice, & Bean Soup)
This herbaceous, aromatic Persian soup is made with barley, lentils, rice, beans, and spices.
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Fried Rice Recipes

Anytime you find yourself with leftover rice, fried rice is always a good idea. And there are so many different ways to pull this meal together. These are a few of our favorites.

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The Best Chicken Fried Rice (Without a Wok)
Here's everything you need to know about cooking chicken fried rice at home without a wok.
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2 / 9
Beef and Broccoli Fried Rice
Two Chinese takeout favorites — beef and broccoli and fried rice — join forces in this quick dinner. If you’d like to make the dish even easier on yourself, swap in frozen broccoli florets.
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3 / 9
Kimchi Fried Rice with Extra Greens
Looking for a new way to use your favorite kimchi? Try this fried rice, packed with egg and extra greens.
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4 / 9
Andrea Nyguen's Pho Fried Rice
Inspired by the brothy Vietnamese noodle soup, this humble fried rice is packed with a ton of flavor.
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5 / 9
Sinangag (Filipino Garlic Fried Rice)
In Tagalog, sinangag translates to “garlic fried rice," and it's exactly as it sounds: rice fried with a generous amount of garlic, salt, and pepper.
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6 / 9
Pork Fried Rice
Tossed with crumbles of ground pork, a couple eggs, and frozen vegetables, a pan of savory pork fried rice is one of the most satisfying and quickest meals to make with leftover rice.
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7 / 9
Shrimp Fried Rice
This one-pan wonder is full of plump shrimp, fluffy eggs, and toasty rice that can be adapted to your mood and the contents of your fridge.
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8 / 9
Breakfast Fried Rice
Eggs, sausage, and, yes, cheese go into this comforting breakfast fried rice.
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9 / 9
Kimchi Fried Rice
This classic Korean comfort food is made with kimchi, cold rice, and a perfect balance of spicy and salty seasonings.
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Rice Casseroles

Whether you’re looking to use up a lot of rice or make a big-batch meal to feed the whole table, go for a casserole.

1 / 5
Chicken Bacon Ranch Casserole Recipe
Ranch-enthusiasts will love this cheesy, flavor-packed casserole.
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2 / 5
Chicken and Rice Casserole
Get ready to grab your largest serving spoon to scoop up generous portions of seasoned chicken and creamy rice and vegetables.
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3 / 5
Honey-Garlic Shrimp Stovetop Rice Casserole
Rice, shrimp, and broccoli all steam together in one pot, and are finished with a savory honey drizzle.
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4 / 5
Cheesy Lentil, Mushroom & Rice Bake
This meatless casserole is designed to feed a crowd, but don’t hesitate to cut the recipe in half if you happen to be cooking for fewer. Just use an 8×8-inch dish and shave off a couple minutes of baking time.
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5 / 5
Chicken and Wild Rice Bake
Drippings from the chicken blend with the rice and seasonings to make the most delicious sauce. The cook time is lengthy, but the whole thing is totally hands off.
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