40+ Easy Dinners That Start with Rice

updated Feb 4, 2022
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
jambalaya in a pot with a metal spoon
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Anna Stockwell

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 / 6
Arroz Verde
Fresh cilantro and poblano peppers give this rice dish a vibrant green hue and an incredible herby flavor.
Go to Recipe
2 / 6
Cilantro-Lime Rice
This cilantro-lime rice is zesty and fresh, and the perfect addition to almost all of your weeknight meals.
Go to Recipe
3 / 6
Turmeric Rice
A warm bowl of fragrant and gorgeous turmeric rice is the kind of side dish that immediately elevates any meal.
Go to Recipe
4 / 6
Jollof Rice
Jollof rice is a smoky, spicy tomato and pepper-based rice dish that's a staple throughout West Africa.
Go to Recipe
5 / 6
Vermicelli Rice
Rice gets cooked with ghee-fried vermicelli for a comforting and delicious Egyptian-style vermicelli rice.
Go to Recipe
6 / 6
Red Rice

The rice turns a bright-red shade from tomato paste and takes on a nice, smoky flavor from the sausage.

Go to Recipe

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.

1 / 11
Easy Fried Rice

Perfect for when you want to go classic or as a great starting point to a version of your own.

Go to Recipe
2 / 11
Kimchi Fried Rice
This classic Korean comfort food is made with kimchi, cold rice, and a perfect balance of spicy and salty seasonings.
Go to Recipe
3 / 11
Chinese Sausage Fried Rice
Chinese sausage is the easiest way to amp up the flavors in fried rice.
Go to Recipe
4 / 11
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.
Go to Recipe
5 / 11
Spam Fried Rice
Crispy, meaty Spam is a fantastic addition to change up your fried rice.
Go to Recipe
6 / 11
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.
Go to Recipe
7 / 11
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.
Go to Recipe
8 / 11
Breakfast Fried Rice
Eggs, sausage, and, yes, cheese go into this comforting breakfast fried rice.
Go to Recipe
9 / 11
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.
Go to Recipe
10 / 11
Andrea Nyguen's Pho Fried Rice
Inspired by the brothy Vietnamese noodle soup, this humble fried rice is packed with a ton of flavor.
Go to Recipe
11 / 11
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.
Go to Recipe

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.

1 / 5
This jambalaya is packed with rich, deep flavors, and stars smoky andouille sausage and juicy chicken thighs.
Go to Recipe
2 / 5
Chicken Bog Recipe
What makes this dish stand out is its rich and creamy rice.
Go to Recipe
3 / 5
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.
Go to Recipe
4 / 5
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.
Go to Recipe
5 / 5
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.
Go to Recipe

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.

1 / 7
Baked Risotto with White Beans, Herbs, and Lemon
While most risottos are weighed down with cheese, this plant-based one is fresh and vibrant, with a crunchy panko topping.
Go to Recipe
2 / 7
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.
Go to Recipe
3 / 7
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.
Go to Recipe
4 / 7
Congee Rice Porridge
Congee might be more traditional for breakfast, but we see no problem in turning it into a breakfast-for-dinner situation.
Go to Recipe
5 / 7
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.
Go to Recipe
6 / 7
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.
Go to Recipe
7 / 7
Aash-e Jow (Persian Barley, Rice, & Bean Soup)
This herbaceous, aromatic Persian soup is made with barley, lentils, rice, beans, and spices.
Go to Recipe

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 / 3
Chicken Bacon Ranch Casserole
Ranch-enthusiasts will love this cheesy, flavor-packed casserole.
Go to Recipe
2 / 3
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.
Go to Recipe
3 / 3
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.
Go to Recipe