Leftover rice recipes: 9 ways to use cooked rice

Leftover rice recipes

If you’re stuck for ideas when it comes to using up your leftover rice, we’ve got plenty of inspiration including stuffed peppers, fried rice, and more easy leftover rice recipes.

Too often, leftover rice will sit in the fridge until eventually thrown in the bin. We've rounded up the best ways to use up this popular grain. From pilaf to burrito, we've got lots of wholesome recipes to choose from.

One of the main concerns of using leftover rice is whether it's safe or not to eat cold or reheat. This is because uncooked rice can contain spores of Bacillus Cereus, which, unlike other spores, can survive when cooked in boiling temperatures. If cooked rice isn't stored correctly, the spores can mutate into bacteria, which is what can give you food poisoning (opens in new tab)

To prevent this, you need to make sure you cook the rice correctly and store any leftovers correctly too. To find out more about how to cook rice (opens in new tab), including how to freeze food (opens in new tab) correctly and safely, see our ultimate guides.

Here are some of our best leftover rice recipes...

Leftover rice recipes 

1. Leftover rice: Stuffed peppers

Stuffed peppers are fantastic for using up any old rice. Simply add your favourite veggies (these can also be leftovers) and stuff into pre-roasted peppers and bake until piping hot. They’re great for when you’re dieting as they tend to be quite filling, not to mention being packed with goodness.

Try one of these recipes:

Feta and rice stuffed peppers (opens in new tab)  Slimming World's spicy rice stuffed peppers (opens in new tab)  Mediterranean stuffed peppers (opens in new tab) 

2. Leftover rice: Arancini

Cheesy arancini

If you’ve made a delicious creamy risotto and happen to have any leftovers, you simply have to make arancini. These little deep fried balls of rice are a staple in Sicilian cuisine. Often stuffed with cheese, they make for a great starter at a dinner party, or are a wonderful addition to sharing small-plate style dining. 

Try one of these recipes:

Cheese Arancini  Annabel Karmel’s rice balls (opens in new tab) 

3. Leftover rice: Fried rice

Singapore egg fried rice

When you’re looking for a speedy midweek meal, then fried rice is certainly the way to go. The key to a good fried rice is making sure that the rice is at least one day old, using freshly cooked rice just isn’t the same.

Try one of these recipes:

Egg fried rice (opens in new tab)  Slimming World's special fried rice (opens in new tab)  Sausage fried rice (opens in new tab)   Singapore egg fried rice (opens in new tab)  Phil Vickery’s special fried rice (opens in new tab) 

4. Leftover rice: Stir-fry

Dinner ideas for two: Nasi goreng

As with fried rice, stir-frys, and the work of mere moments, therefore ideal for busy weeks when cooking is the last thing on your mind. Stir-fries tend to be a lot more ‘veg heavy’ than fried rice. The rice tends to compliment the overall dish and isn’t necessarily the start of the show. 

Try one of these recipes:

Lemon chicken and rice stir fry (opens in new tab)  Bean and pea stir fry Asian prawns stir fry with Jasmine rice (opens in new tab)  Nasi Goreng (opens in new tab)  Garlic, ginger and chilli prawns (opens in new tab) 

5. Leftover rice: Kedgeree

600 calorie meals Quick kedgeree recipe

Kedgeree is a fantastic way you use up any leftover rice. It’s delicately spiced with curry powder and served with smoked fish and boiled or poached eggs. Originating in Colonial India during the time of the British Raj, it's now a treasured recipe loved by Brits and mostly enjoyed for breakfast or brunch. 

Get the recipe: Quick Kedgeree (opens in new tab) 

6. Leftover rice: Pilaf

pomegranate chicken with cinnamon pilaf

Pilaf’s are great for injecting a little more life into rice that may be a little bland. Though not usually made with leftover rice, you can certainly achieve a great result by cutting down on the cooking times. As the rice is already cooked and cooled, it will quickly stuck up all those flavours and make for a mouthwatering dinner in minutes. 

Try one of these recipes:

Chicken Pilaf  (opens in new tab) Pomegranate chicken and cinnamon Pilaf (opens in new tab)   Phil Vickery’s curried spam Pilaf (opens in new tab)

7. Leftover rice: Burrito

If there was ever a cuisine that makes rice truly sing, it’s Mexican food, and the Tex-Mex creation, a burrito is delicious. Using cooked rice when making burritos not only cuts down on time, because the rice has cooled and slightly dried out, it's great for absorbing juices from meat and salsa.

Try one of these recipes:

Joe Wicks' naughty steak burrito with pineapple salsa (opens in new tab)  Vegetarian burrito (opens in new tab)  Breakfast burrito 

8. Leftover rice: Rice salad

When you’re tired of the same packed lunches, or the local supermarket meal deal just isn’t cutting it, these rice salads are ideal. Using up your leftover rice to meal prep for work is certainly one way to do it. They’re healthy, easy and absolutely delicious.

Try one of these recipes:

Avocado and brown rice salad (opens in new tab)  Broad bean and brown rice salad (opens in new tab)  Tuna and brown rice salad (opens in new tab)  Thai chicken rice salad (opens in new tab)  Chicken, beetroot and rice salad (opens in new tab)

9. Leftover rice: Soup

quick Quorn lunch bowl

Adding cooked rice to soups, especially broths is a fantastic way to bulk it up, and make for a more satisfying meal. Cooked rice is particularly great as it will save you time in the kitchen. 

Try one of these recipes:

Quick Quorn lunch bowl (opens in new tab)   Chicken gumbo  (opens in new tab) Canja de Galinha (opens in new tab)  Vietnamese chicken Congee (opens in new tab) 

See more of our leftover collections below... Ways to use up leftover pork: Leftover pork recipes (opens in new tab) Easy leftover beef recipes (opens in new tab) Leftover chicken recipes (opens in new tab) Delicious leftover lamb recipes (opens in new tab) How to use cooked salmon: Leftover salmon recipes (opens in new tab)

Keiron George
Freelance Food writer

With over 12 years of experience, arts graduate Keiron turned to food to channel his creativity, specifically cake decorating. Keiron set up his wedding cake business in 2015. And, in late 2016 won a scholarship at the world-renowned culinary institute - Le Cordon Bleu, London, where he studied the art of French Pâtisserie. He's worked in some of London’s finest 5-star hotels, collecting a wealth of knowledge along the way. As a Food Writer and Stylist food isn’t just a job, it truly is Keiron's passion.