Rice is one of those kitchen staples that's cheap, easy to cook, bulks up a meal, and tastes good, too! These leftover rice recipes are about to blow you outta the water. Don't throw out perfectly good rice when you can turn it into something new!

Leftover rice recipe in a skillet, from Shelf Cooking

We all love a versatile kitchen staple and rice doesn't disappoint! It works as a side dish, as part of the main show stopper, and even in desserts. It's also pretty easy to double or triple and save some for later. But as is human nature, we usually end up eating rice in the same handful of ways and getting burnt out on it.

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Not anymore! We've rounded up the most delicious leftover rice recipes that are going to knock your socks off. They'll make dinner prep a breeze and your whole family will be excited about the new and exciting meals you're making with those leftovers. And we're not just talking white rice, here! Any rice substitute will taste amazing in these dishes.


Don't worry, we're going to get to the leftover rice recipes in a minute! But first, let's go over how to cook that rice to perfection. The absolute easiest way to cook your plain rice is in the Instant Pot or a rice cooker since it does all the work for you! However, you can still easily make it on the stovetop or in the oven and it'll turn out delicious.

Depending on your plan for your leftover rice, you can either store it in an airtight container in the fridge for a few days or in the freezer. If you're going the freezer route, add your rice to a freezer baggie, get as much air out as possible, and save that deliciousness for another time! It's the perfect way to make meal planning a breeze for those busy nights. Just don't forget to add it to your kitchen inventory!


Italian cream cheese chicken on a plate, from Shelf Cooking

Just because you have some leftover rice doesn't mean that you have to eat it the same way! Turn those leftovers into something new with these ideas.

  • Italian Cream Cheese Chicken – Pour this easy recipe over some rice and you've got a quick and delicious meal that everybody will love.
  • Fried Rice – Leftover rice is actually the best way to make fried rice so it won't all stick together! Take whatever veggies, leftover meat, eggs, and soy sauce you've got and make them into this dream meal from Gimme Some Oven.
  • Cheesy Rice Balls – Balls of leftover rice, cheese, and eggs, covered in bread crumbs and fried? Yes, please! You won't be disappointed with Mess for Less' cheesy rice balls recipe.
  • Mexican Rice – Turn that plain white rice into Mexican rice with just a few extra ingredients!
  • Quesadillas – You can't go wrong adding some rice to your favorite quesadillas to make them extra satisfying.
  • BBQ Chicken Wrap – Add some rice to stretch your filling further.
  • Tacos – Make those tacos heartier by adding your favorite rice to them!
  • Hawaiian Chicken and Rice – Easy Instant Pot recipe right here!
  • Taco Salad – This is the perfect way to add in some leftover Mexican or plain rice to your meal.
  • Rice Cakes – Eggs, cheese, bread crumbs, and rice come together beautifully in this rice cake recipe from An Oregon Cottage.
  • Burritos – You really can't go wrong throwing some leftover rice in your burritos!
  • Sushi – It's really pretty easy to make your own sushi and leftover white rice is what brings that all together.

Pro Tip: A little bit of rice can go a long way, as you can see with these leftover rice recipes. Don't throw out any rice because you think it won't get eaten. Even half a cup can go a long way in stretching your meals!


The Cozy Cook's creamy rice casserole dish, from Shelf Cooking
Photo Cred: The Cozy Cook

Is there anything that screams “home-cooked meal” like a casserole? They're so easy to throw together in a casserole dish and your oven does all the work for you! Now that's our kind of meal.

  • Cheesy Beef and Rice – Beef + cheese + rice = YUM… The Cozy Cook's cheesy beef and rice recipe is the bomb!
  • Chicken Broccoli Rice – This is so easy to throw together and you likely have everything you would need already.
  • Jambalaya – Get your cajun on! You can make pretty much any meat into a jambalaya casserole.
  • French Onion and Mushroom Rice – Take any meat, some French onion soup mix, mushrooms, and rice and turn it into this delicious casserole.
  • Parmesan Chicken and Rice – Any type of chicken, both breaded and plain, will work in this deliciously easy casserole from The Diary of a Real Housewife.
  • Spinach and Artichoke Rice – Really, can you ever go wrong with spinach and artichoke together in a dish? You basically take your favorite spinach and artichoke dip, add some rice, and you've got your new favorite meal. Just follow The Plain Chicken's simple recipe!
  • Beefy Mexican Rice – Take your leftover taco meat and Mexican rice and turn it into one of the most delicious casseroles you've ever had!

Pro Tip: Grease your casserole dish really well before adding your ingredients to it. This will keep them from sticking while baking and makes clean up much easier for you.


Pulled pork rice bowl, from Shelf Cooking

A rice bowl is the perfect way to stretch those small amounts of meat that you need to use up but don't have enough to make the main dish. Take whatever meat and veggies you've got and parcel them out over rice so everybody will have a delicious meal and fully belly when it's all said and done.

  • Cafe Rio Sweet Pork – Bring the restaurant home with this easy copycat recipe! Stretch it even further by putting it over some leftover rice.
  • Steak Fajita – Take your fajita leftovers, avocados, salsa, cheese and anything else to make this rice bowl shine.
  • Teriyaki Chicken – Take some leftover shredded chicken, give it a little drizzle of teriyaki sauce, add some broccoli, peas, carrots or onion and you'll be on your way to Japan in no time!
  • Veggie – Sauté whatever vegetables you've got, add your favorite seasonings or sauces, throw it over some leftover rice and you've got a quick and easy meal.
  • BBQ Chicken – Make some BBQ chicken, add some corn, and a drizzle of ranch dressing to your rice bowl for the perfect summertime meal.
  • Taco – You can't go wrong adding some taco meat to a bowl of plain or Mexican rice!
  • Avocado Salmon – Have a random filet of salmon in your freezer? Cook it, shred it, and add it to some rice using Will Cook for Smile's easy recipe. Don't forget the avocado and cilantro!

Pro Tip: You don't technically have to use a bowl for these leftover rice recipes, but make sure you add your rice to your bowl or plate before anything else. That will keep you from getting too much meat, especially if you're running short on it!


One Lovely Life's salsa verde chicken and rice soup, from Shelf Cooking
Photo Cred: One Lovely Life

Bulk up your soup! These leftover rice recipes are perfect for when the weather is getting cooler and you need something to help warm you up.

  • Salsa Verde Chicken and Rice Soup – If you're tired of the “normal” Mexican dishes, then you need to try this salsa verde chicken and rice soup recipe from One Lovely Life!
  • Build Your Own Soup from Scratch – It's really quite easy to make your own soup using only the ingredients you already have!
  • Creamy Chicken Soup – This recipe will rock your world, especially because it can be made using all leftover ingredients.
  • Wild Rice Soup – Throw whatever leftover meat you have into an easy wild rice soup recipe for a quick and delicious meal.
  • Tortilla Soup – Shredded chicken, broth, veggies, rice, and tortilla strips? Please and thank you.
  • Taco Soup – Take your best recipe and add some plain or Mexican rice to it to help stretch it even further.

Pro Tip: Since you're using leftover rice, there's no need to add the rice when you first start cooking the soup. To keep it from getting overly mushy, don't add it until your soup is almost done cooking. You just need the rice in there long enough for it to heat up.


Food52's Italian rice pudding custard on a plate, from Shelf Cooking
Photo Cred: Food52

Oh, you thought that we were done with our leftover rice recipes? Let us not forget the desserts! It's what some of us are here for, after all.

Pro Tip: Experiment with different fruits in these desserts and see which ones your family likes best.

So, who wants to go cook up a 10-pound bag of rice so they can make all these delicious leftover rice recipes?! What's your favorite way to use leftover rice? Let us know in the comments!

Image with text that reads "how to use your leftover rice and make it tasty" from Shelf Cooking

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