5 Unexpected Ways to Use Leftover Rice

(Image credit: Leela Cyd Ross)

So you’ve already mastered the art of turning leftover rice into a big batch of crispy, crunchy fried rice? Time for some fresh inspiration!

The world of leftover rice possibilities is vast, and fried rice is really just the beginning. In fact, once you realize just how much there is to do with the cooked grain, you may find yourself making a double batch every time you cook up some just so you have enough to explore all your other options. Here are five unique ideas to inspire you.

1. Burger Bun Subtitute

Forget your regular ol’ wheat burger bun and look to cooked rice instead. The idea is simple, but most definitely unique: Compress cooked white rice into round patties and sear them in a hot, oiled pan to get nice and crunchy on the outside, but still fluffy on the inside. Use them to sandwich anything from a juicy hamburger to crispy fried chicken.

2. Gluten-Free Savory Pie Crust

Combine rice with cheese and a couple of egg whites and you’ve got the easiest press-in pie crust around, which also happens to be gluten-free. The savory, crispy crust is perfect for quiche or other vegetable tarts.

Read More: Kale Quiche with a Cheddar-Rice Crust from PureWow

3. Congee

This comforting porridge is often eaten for breakfast in many parts of Asia. It’s a wonderful alternative to oatmeal that’s made savory with toppings like a boiled egg, chili oil, and sautéed vegetables. While you can start with uncooked rice, using cooked rice jumpstarts the cooking process. Just put the rice in a saucepan and add enough water to cover it. Then bring it to a boil and it let simmer until thick and creamy.

Read More: Basic Congee

4. Appams (or South Indian Pancakes)

Cooked and uncooked rice come together to form these light, lacy South Indian pancakes. Enjoy them for breakfast, topped with a fried egg and a spicy chutney, or alongside a hearty Indian-inspired dinner.

Read More: Brown Rice Appams

5. Fritters

This works best with leftover short- to medium-grain risotto rice versus long-grain rice since its starchy, sticky quality helps keep things together. Mix in some cubes of melty cheese when forming the fritters so they’ll melt and get extra gooey when they’re fried.