How to Use Leftover Rice
From fried rice to stuffed cabbage to dessert: 15 easy recipes to use up those leftovers.
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By Heath Goldman for Food Network Kitchen
Whether you made a big batch of rice or have a few extra takeout cartons, leftover rice is like a blank canvas waiting for you to create a meal masterpiece. So let your inner break Picasso free! Okay, maybe it’s not that dramatic, but leftover rice is quite versatile — and we’ve rounded up a bunch of different ideas to use it up, including for dessert.
But first, a word on how to safely handle leftover rice. There’s a misconception that it’s not safe to reheat and eat leftover rice. It is important, however, that you should be mindful not to leave cooked rice in the pot while you eat dinner and lounge afterward; instead, move it to the fridge as soon as it’s cooled down. Stash leftover rice in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to four days, or in the freezer for up to two months. And now we've gotten that out of the way… grab your paintbrush chef’s knife and let's start cooking.
Fried rice is arguably the most popular way to use up leftover rice, and there's a good reason why. Leftover rice is drier and therefore gets crispier than fresh rice. In other words, fried rice is tastiest when you make it using leftovers! Check out Jet Tila's recipe, which is amped up with bacon.
Burritos should be easy to assemble, which is why we love using leftover rice and canned beans. This kid-approved recipe calls for 1/4 cup cooked brown rice.
Roll cabbage leaves around aromatic ground beef and 1 cup of cooked converted rice, drown them in homemade tomato sauce and bake until they're caramelized and tender. We have a hunch that this dish might just be your new favorite dinner.
One of the easiest way to use up leftover rice: Turn it into the base of a grain bowl. This version is topped with broccoli, shiitake mushrooms, scallions, edamame, water chestnuts, bean sprouts, a fried egg and sriracha. Y-U-M.
This lightening-fast soup comes together in less than 30 minutes and uses 1 1/2 cups of any sort of leftover rice you have in the fridge.
Stir 2 cups of cooked brown into a creamy, cheesy, spinach-y filling, then spoon it into butternut squash halves and send them straight into the oven for irresistible results.
Made with buttermilk and 1/2 cup wild rice, Bobby Flay's inventive recipe decidedly falls in the savory waffle camp — meaning you can totally eat it for lunch or dinner.
If you don't feel like standing over a stove to make your fried rice, this recipe is a great alternative. Baking the rice on a sheet pan guarantees more of the crispy, crunchy bits that keep us coming back for seconds. For this recipe, the older and drier the rice, the better.
Sunny Anderson's take on the classic Korean dish calls for 6 cups of cooked white rice and plenty of vibrant veggies. Make sure you re-heat the rice so it's sizzling-hot (we recommend covering it with a damp paper towel and nuking it in the microwave).
This speedy skillet dinner comes together with 3 cups of cooked with rice, plus shrimp and plum tomatoes. Minimal dishes? Check. Express train to dinner? Check, check. There's nothing not to love.
Don't forget that a great way to enjoy leftover rice is to serve it as a side. Instead of simply re-warming it, dress it up by heating it in a skillet with garlic and ginger. Brilliant.
Dessert alert! This three-ingredient recipe is made by simmering your favorite ice cream (i.e. whatever you have in the freezer) and leftover white rice until they're thickened. Then top off your creation with cinnamon.
What's that you said? A perfect pantry meal? Combine dried beans, andouille sausage and spices in a slow-cooker, set it and forget it until dinner time. Then dish it over your leftover rice.
Remember when we mentioned storing your rice in the freezer? Well, if you have a stash of frozen rice, this recipe is perfect. It calls for adding 2 cups of frozen rice directly into a cheesy salsa-y chicken-y skillet, then cooking everything under the broiler.
When in doubt, you can always stir leftover rice (refrigerated or frozen) into a pot of soup. Add it at the end and simmer it for a few minutes until it's heated through. This recipe in particular reminds us of the soup version of chili.