20 Tasty Ways to Turn Rice Into a Meal

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(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

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. Rice is inexpensive and easy to make, but more often than not it plays a supporting role come mealtime.

Why not try making rice the star of the show? These 20 recipes will lift rice from its side-dish status and bring it to the center of the plate. We have ideas for everything from brown and wild to basmati and Arborio rice. All you need to do is pick one and get cooking!

This one-pot dinner is extremely adaptable: Swap in deli ham or turkey for the chicken, use another cheese, or try stirring some frozen broccoli into the pot.

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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Fried rice is undoubtedly the best way to transform last night’s leftovers into a satisfying meal. You can use pretty much any fresh, frozen, or even leftover vegetables for this recipe, which makes it infinitely adaptable.

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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Almost all the components of this Middle Eastern-inspired grain bowl can be assembled ahead of time. Then it’s just a matter of piling everything together and frying an egg.

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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

What makes this recipe especially awesome is that everything — the rice and the chicken — is cooked together in one single casserole dish. That makes it a great choice when you’re looking for a hands-off dinner that feeds a crowd.

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(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

This twist on a classic Louisiana dish comes together without fuss in one pot and is loaded with spicy andouille chicken sausage, which adds flavor and bulks it up.

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(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

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, feel free to swap in frozen broccoli florets.

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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Leaning on a bag of frozen shrimp and a bag of frozen broccoli ensures this one-pot meal comes together in no time — you don’t even need to defrost the shrimp before using it.

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(Image credit: Maria Siriano)

This comforting risotto skips the usual endless stirring that’s required and opts for baking in the oven instead. The results are still rich, creamy, and crowd-pleasing.

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(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

It’s wise to make a double batch of this wholesome recipe, as leftovers pack up well for whatever lunches you need for the remainder of the week.

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(Image credit: Karen Biton-Cohen)

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 no time at all.

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(Image credit: Maria Siriano)

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 one. Just use an 8×8-inch dish and shave off a couple minutes of baking time.

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(Image credit: Faith Durand)

A bowl of miso soup on its own isn’t quite enough for a dinner, but add some white or brown rice and a poached egg, and you have one of our favorite winter comfort foods.

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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Looking for a new way to use your favorite kimchi? Try this fried rice, packed with egg and extra greens.

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(Image credit: Christine Han)

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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(Image credit: Faith Durand)

This is a great freeze-ahead meal to be prepped when you have extra time or need to drop off a dish to an under-the-weather friend. It needs nearly an hour to cook, but the perfectly baked results are worth the waiting time.

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(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

We love a slow-cooker recipe, and one that is this fast and easy to assemble is destined to become a favorite. All you need is a few extra minutes in the morning, and you can have this dish waiting for you after work.

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(Image credit: Melissa Ryan)

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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(Image credit: Maria Siriano)

Inspired by the brothy Vietnamese noodle soup, this humble fried rice is packed with a ton of flavor.

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(Image credit: Sarah E Crowder)

We couldn’t have an entire list of rice dishes and leave off risotto. This delightfully creamy corn version 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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(Image credit: Izy Hossack)

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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