31 Delicious Ways to Use Leftover Rice

published May 15, 2024
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six stuffed peppers in baking dish; one being pulled
Credit: Photo: Ryan Liebe; Food Styling: Brett Regot

If you have a pot of leftover rice in your fridge, don’t let it go to waste! Leftover rice is a versatile ingredient that can be transformed into brand-new meals the following day, from quick and tasty breakfasts to easy 20-minute weeknight dinners.

We all know that cold leftover rice makes the best fried rice, so we’ve included all our best fried rice recipes here. Our 15-minute pork fried rice is popular for good reason — it’s one of the most satisfying and quickest meals to make with leftover rice, ground pork, a couple of eggs, and frozen vegetables. And our highly adaptable easy fried rice is a good baseline to add any leftovers from the night before, like leftover ham or leftover steak. Fried rice isn’t just for dinner, either! Try our breakfast fried rice with sausage or breakfast fried rice with bacon for a hearty and satisfying breakfast in the morning.

Beyond fried rice, leftover rice can bulk up other dishes like stuffed bell peppers, chicken and rice soup, and cabbage rolls. You can even use leftover rice for dessert! Our easy rice pudding is sweet, creamy, and the perfect way to end a meal.

From quick breakfasts and dinners to easy dessert, here are 31 delicious ways to use up your leftover rice.

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Pork Fried Rice

A quick skillet of pork fried rice is one of the easiest, most satisfying ways to transform leftover rice into a complete meal. Here, we’ve added crumbles of ground pork, a couple of eggs, and whatever vegetable you’ve got in the freezer to create a winning dinner the whole family will enjoy.

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Stuffed Bell Peppers

Stuffed bell peppers are stuffed with everything your dinner needs. The veggies, rice, and protein are all packed into colorful, single-serving “cups” and finished with a cap of melty, browned shredded cheese.

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Easy Fried Rice

Perfect for when you want to go classic or as a great starting point to a version of your own. Leftovers like braised pork belly, shrimp stir-fry, and even steamed dumplings would be great additions to this easy fried rice.

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Easy Rice Pudding

How to turn just five ingredients into the creamiest, dreamiest rice pudding. It's one of the easiest puddings you can ever make, starting with a short ingredient list of kitchen staples with infinite customization possibilities.

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Shrimp Fried Rice

Shrimp fried rice is a one-pan wonder, full of plump shrimp, fluffy eggs, and toasty rice that can be adapted to your mood and the contents of your refrigerator. Our version below goes from prep to plate in less than 30 minutes — which is even faster (and we think tastier!) than takeout.

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Burrito-Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

These burrito-stuffed cabbage rolls are packed with ground beef, tomatoes, rice, and shredded cheese; nestled into a bed of salsa; and baked until the cheese bubbles and browns.

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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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Cheesy Broccoli Rice Casserole

Broccoli and long-grain and wild rice enrobed in delicious cheese sauce and covered in crispy breadcrumbs. Yes, please!

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Chicken Fried Rice

Here's everything you need to know about cooking chicken fried rice at home without a wok. This recipe calls for cooking and cooling rice, but if you’ve got leftover rice already, use it up!

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Vegetarian Stuffed Pepper Skillet

This deconstructed stuffed pepper skillet is ready in half the time. It's packed with beans, rice, fire-roasted tomatoes, and plenty of spices, then topped off with melty cheese.

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11 / 31
Breakfast Fried Rice

This quick-cooking dish features softly scrambled eggs and breakfast sausage. Everything is tossed together with some soy sauce for flavor and frozen peas for color and sweetness, and finished with melty cheddar cheese (yes, cheese!). It’s not your typical fried rice, but it’s just as tasty and satisfying.

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Mushroom Rice Pilaf

This creamy mushroom and herb-flecked skillet recipe makes the perfect side to anything you're cooking for dinner. Or better yet, top it with a yolky poached egg for a creamy bite.

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Griddled Rice Cakes with Furikake

In this fast and easy recipe, sticky sushi rice is formed into patties and griddled to toasty perfection.

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Freeze-Ahead Horta Phyllo Pockets

These two-bite appetizers are filled with garlicky greens, fresh dill, feta, and just a bit of rice to hold all the good stuff together.

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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. Serve garlic fried rice with fried eggs for a quick and delicious meal.

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30-Minute Creamy Chicken and Rice Soup

Elevate leftover rice and chicken into a comforting chicken and rice soup that you can make in less than 30 minutes.

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Chinese Sausage Fried Rice

Chinese sausage is the easiest way to amp up the flavors in fried rice. It’s a quick and easy weeknight meal — especially when paired with some stir-fried bok choy!

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Leftover Risotto Balls (Arancini)

A shatteringly crunchy crust encasing a creamy, gooey, and cheesy risotto rice center makes risotto balls the real reason to make risotto in the first place.

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Beef and Broccoli Fried Rice

We’ve paired up this classic Chinese-American dish with another takeout staple, fried rice, resulting in a one-pan meal loaded with crisp-tender broccoli, savory ground beef, and fragrant, garlicky rice. It’s a two-for-one dish that means you don’t have to pick up the phone and order delivery for dinner.

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Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers

These weeknight-friendly vegetarian stuffed peppers are packed with protein in the form of black beans and brown rice.

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Jalapeño Popper Rice Balls

This recipe combines the best of both worlds: a light and crispy panko-coated rice ball with a creamy, cheesy, jalapeño-flecked filling. It’s an ingenious way to use up leftover cooked sushi rice, and you likely have the rest of the ingredients on hand, too.

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Pineapple Fried Rice

This dish combines the sweet, tangy tropical fruit with curry powder and cashews for a vibrantly hued, texturally striking, and flavor-packed fried rice. Jasmine rice is best for this Thai-style fried rice.

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Supplì Classici (Classic Rice Croquettes)

A step-by-step guide to making classic Roman rice croquettes that are similar to arancini.

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24 / 31
Fried Rice with Scallops and Five-Spice

The whole recipe can be prepared in 30 minutes, which makes it perfect for a weeknight dinner or a last-minute potluck item.

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25 / 31
Spanish-Style Chicken and Rice Skillet

This 20-minute skillet dinner, made with garlic, onions, tomato paste, and chicken broth, takes inspiration from Spanish-style rice.

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Breakfast Fried Rice with Bacon

Fried rice is the perfect blank canvas for adding whatever ingredients you want, and here, that means your favorite breakfast staples. This version is loaded up with crispy bacon and veggies, then topped with eggs and baked in the oven just until the whites are set.

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Silog Plate with Longanisa, Garlic Fried Rice, and Pandesal French Toast

French toast made from lightly sweet pandesal is the star of this Filipino breakfast plate with longanisa and garlic fried rice.

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Microwave Cheesy Egg Rice with Spam and Kimchi

A simple microwave egg rice with melty mozzarella cheese, salty Spam, and spicy kimchi.

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Andrea Nyguen's Pho Fried Rice

Most people know pho as a brothy noodle soup, but it can be more than that. For extra protein, top this flavorful fried rice with a fried egg.

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Crispy Fried Rice Waffles

Use your waffle maker to crisp up your leftover fried rice! It works better when the rice is cold, so it makes reheating leftovers just as easy as using the microwave, but with the benefit of getting crispy rice.

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