Cooking with Leftover Rice: 5 Recipes

Cooking with Leftover Rice: Rice Pudding

Next time you order Chinese takeout, don’t throw away the rice when you’re done. Check out these recipes for cooking with leftover rice instead.

We try not to do takeout meals often at our house except for our weekly pizza. There’s always a lot of packaging waste with takeout food and the nutrition value is usually poor. Somewhere along the line however, we started the tradition of getting Chinese takeout on the first day of school. And yesterday was it.

I’ve been paying much closer attention to the amount of food waste that my family of four produces lately.Β  As I wrote about in The Shocking Statistics of Food Waste, about 30% of the food produced in America gets thrown away. The environmental impact of wasted food is immense.

As I cleared the table after dinner last night, I thought about the three cups or so of white rice that came with our takeout that nobody touched. Nobody ever touches it. It usually gets put in the refrigerator only to be thrown away a week later.

leftover white rice

Cooking With Leftover Rice

It’s perfectly good rice so I decided to spend a little time finding some recipes that could use it up. Here are five recipes that you can make using leftover, cooked white rice next time you’re faced with one or more of those uneaten containers.

  1. Garlic Rice – This is a simple Philippine fried recipe that calls for adding pantry staples plus some ground pork, but after reading comments made on the recipe from users, the pork can be omitted and vegetables such as mushrooms and green peppers can be added.
  2. Calas – A sweet rice fritter made with leftover rice, flour, sugar, vanilla and eggs. Like the garlic rice above, this too can be made with things you most likely already have in your pantry.
  3. Tomatoes Stuffed with Rice – If you’re looking to use up your leftover rice and the baskets full of tomatoes you’re bringing in from your garden, here’s aΒ  Giada De Laurentiis that will help you. I’ve never made a recipe from Giada that I didn’t like.
  4. Anything Rice – This recipe takes your leftover rice, some eggs, onions, green peppers, and anything else you have leftover in your frig and creates a meal out of it.
  5. Rockin’ Rice Pudding – Tyler Florence’s recipe for rice pudding using three cups of cooked rice. Hmmm. I have three cups leftover from last night. Guess what I’ll be making tonight!

One other tip – Cooked white rice can be frozen after it’s cooled, so if you can’t use it right away, put it in an airtight container and freeze it.

The majority of these recipes use things that you probably already have in your refrigerator and pantry. Instead of tossing your leftover rice, next time use it up and make a very inexpensive meal.

Do you have a way to use leftover, cooked white rice? Share it in the comments, please.

Read more about using leftovers:

Creative Commons images courtesy of Wikimedia and quinn.anya

19 thoughts on “Cooking with Leftover Rice: 5 Recipes”

  1. Here is a simple recipe.

    fold in 1 egg into the left over rice and set aside.

    unshell a few shrimps, a saute them in vegetable oil.after a few minutes, remove the shrimps and in the same remaining oil, fry some garlic careful not to overcook.Then toss in the rice with egg regularly mixing and tossing to avoid sticking. mix in the sauted shrimps. garnish with some green peas and finely chopped carrots and leeks.Season with salt to your taste. VOILA

  2. being a broke college student, cheap food shopping is key in mine and my boyfriends lifestyle. we like to make a make shift fried rice.

    ~ white rice (cook and measure according to box/or use left over…it's just as good)

    ~ soy sauce

    ~ veggies (we like to use sugar snap peas, shredded carrots, onion, purple cabbage, water chestnuts, broccoli, and egg. however, experimenting is always fun. we found asparagus, green beans, green/red peppers are also delicious)

    ~ if you want you can add chicken, beef, or shrimp. it's still delicious without though.

    ~ start buy putting just a tiny, tiny bit of veggie oil in a pan and sautee. don't add too much though because you are going to eventually add soy sauce in the pan to give the veggies flavor.

    ~ once the veggies have browned a little bit, add the soy sauce. let the veggies soak for about ten minutes.

    ~ if using meat of any kind, you want to add this next.

    ~ then throw in the rice and add more soy sauce. i like to add a lot, but it's all in personal taste how much you want to add.

    ~ afterwards, remove from the heat, let cool a little bit and then serve. i like to add some pepper for taste, but that's just because i'm a pepper fanatic!

    if your daring, and want to spice it up a bit, go to your local food store and buy chinese egg roll wraps. try to roll your own egg rolls!! it's very easy to do and a lot of fun. and since i don't own my own deep fryer, i just put a little bit of veggie oil in a pan and cook them over the stove. they turn out awesome!!

    hope you guys enjoy!

  3. Mix the rice with cheese whiz, cream of mushroom soup, cooked broccoli, and boiled chicken that has been torn apart. Bake at 350 for about 30-45 mins then add Frenches fried onions to the top and put back in over a few mins to brown. You have a full meal–meat, veggie, and starch.

  4. You can make this with fish but I veggie so here it is.
    Rouge (brown butter and flower) in large pot.
    Add Onions and lots of garlic.
    Add stock and pureed tomatoes (cans is fine).
    Add rice and any veg you have left over, simmer 10 min and done.
    Add hot sauce or put it on the table.

  5. My Dad loved to have leftover rice as cereal in the morning..
    Just put the rice in a bowl with warmed milk, add nuts (walnuts, etc.) raisins, 1 tsp of sugar (brown or white) or maple syrup, and away you go!

  6. most americans eat too much and waste too much. after visiting
    many other coountries and watching how other people eat—in moderate amounts, i realized how wasteful and selfish we are. no one needs a 16 oz steak or half a chicken per person for a meal. in thailand, i took a cooking class and learned to feed 5 people very well on 5 ounces of chicken. in europe, there is a small serving of meat, vegetables, salad and a small starch….everybody is full.

    1. This is so true – I have witnessed people scrape *several full meals* from pots and pans into the waste bin after dinner. In ALL the families I stayed with in my travel across the North-American continent, they threw away left-overs after eating. It was sickening.

    2. Just because 5oz of chicken can be used to feed 5, or even 10, people, doesn’t mean it’s always enough protein. Yeah, we don’t need 16oz steaks – with the typical American sedentary lifestyle. Those who are extremely active though need more. I’m extremely skinny and can eat a pound of chicken in a meal. If I were to cut down to an ounce and eat less overall, I’d get sick. I agree though that the typical American eats too much in relation to their lifestyles.

  7. Well, Truthfully, for all that Chinese rice that no one eats…I make dog food. To the ricem I add shredded chicken & meat bits, animal & fish skin, maybe an egg, plus small peices of cooked zucchini, broccoli, squash, sweet potoates, or greenbeans and combine with water or veggie broth to lend flavor & cook it on the stove on low eat until well mixed for 15 minutes. I then store the remainder in the Chinese One quart plastic containers & feed my dog half for dinner.

  8. I suppose it’s too easy to really count as a “recipe,” but I’ll often mix up equal parts cooked rice and drained canned black beans, sometimes with a can of diced tomatoes and sometimes not, with Mexican or Southwestern seasoning of some kind–chili powder, cumin, garlic, oregano, or half a jar of salsa, or whatever. Really good, and an easy way to stretch the rice out to make another meal. Or to REALLY stretch it–have the leftovers of THIS meal the next day wrapped in flour tortillas, and call it burritos.

    Or if you have cajun seasoning, you could do pretty much the same thing (beans and rice) and just call it “Cajun beans and rice.” Easier, cheaper, and healthier than the Zatarain’s stuff!

  9. I usually fry (in a spoonful or two of oil or butter) some chopped left-over meat or a sausage (even a wiener or wurstel is fine), an egg or two (just stirred around in the frying pan till they harden right after the sausages/meat, which gets pushed towards the edges, so the eggs get fried in the middle), and some frozen peas that have been defrosted (that is, taken out of the freezer in the morning – don’t be stupid and waste energy by using the micro!). In the end I throw in the rice, with some extra oil if needed, and mix everything while heating. It’s fast and delicious.

    It can even be re-heated in the frying pan with some good oil, and eaten with whatever one normally eats with rice. It actually gets tastier when fried like this.

    A Scandinavian dessert I often make from left-over rice is “rice cream” or “rice a la Malta” where you mix the rice with an equal amount (volume-wise) of slightly sweetened whipped cream (real cream from the real milk from a real cow, mind you) and serve it with a thick fruit sauce made from either raspberries or strawberries. Some like to mix some finely chopped almonds with the rice and cream. This dessert is a traditional Christmas fare many places. Yes, *left-overs for Christmas* – as somebody else here pointed out, Americans are extremely stupid when it comes to food. Left-overs are just as good as newly-made food – sometimes even better.

  10. Great ideas for leftover rice. I used to buy Birds Eye frozen Rice, peas, and muchrooms; but haven’t been able to find it in the store for several years. I started to make my own, which is of course better. Just take fresh mushrooms (which ever you like best), add chopped onions and garlic (if you like) and saute. Right before they are cooked to your liking, add frozen peas and cook until tender. Sometimes I add a little butter for flavoring, but most of the time I add a couple tablespoons of chicken or vegetable broth and cook until liquid is absorbed, stirring constantly. Now add your rice and stir fry until dry or cooked to your liking. If you like it mushy, add more liquid. I prefer dry. I also add salt (or garlic salt) and ground pepper to taste while sauteing.

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