Leftover rice recipes: 9 ways to use cooked rice

Give those glorious grains a new lease of life...
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  • 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

    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, including how to freeze food 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 
    Slimming World’s spicy rice stuffed peppers 
    Mediterranean stuffed peppers 

    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 

    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 
    Slimming World’s special fried rice 
    Sausage fried rice  
    Singapore egg fried rice 
    Phil Vickery’s special fried rice 

    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 
    Bean and pea stir fry
    Asian prawns stir fry with Jasmine rice 
    Nasi Goreng 
    Garlic, ginger and chilli prawns 

    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 

    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 
    Pomegranate chicken and cinnamon Pilaf  
    Phil Vickery’s curried spam Pilaf

    7. Leftover rice: Burrito

    Body Coach Joe Wicks Lean in 15 recipes naughty steak 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 
    Vegetarian burrito 
    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 
    Broad bean and brown rice salad 
    Tuna and brown rice salad 
    Thai chicken rice salad 
    Chicken, beetroot and rice salad

    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  
    Chicken gumbo 
    Canja de Galinha 
    Vietnamese chicken Congee 


    See more of our leftover collections below…
    Ways to use up leftover pork: Leftover pork recipes
    Easy leftover beef recipes
    Leftover chicken recipes
    Delicious leftover lamb recipes
    How to use cooked salmon: Leftover salmon recipes