Waste not, want not: here are easy but delicious Asian Leftover Rice Recipes that are a healthy meal for the whole family. (And they're not all fried rice!)
Do you know that almost half of the food is wasted in the US, most of it perfectly edible?
Throwing away leftover food is not only bad for the environment, but also for our wallets. Hence, I have an entire category devoted to recipes which use leftovers in this blog, such as "What to do with leftover bak kwa/ Chinese pork jerky" and "What to do with leftover Thanksgiving roast turkey and chicken."
In an Asian kitchen, 1 of the most common leftover foods is rice which is why I have this collection of recipes where leftover rice is the main ingredient!
Note: If you're specifically looking for ideas for leftover sushi rice, click here. For non-Asian leftover rice recipes, there's paella, risotto, Dolmans, arancini, taco filling, burrito stuffing, rice pancakes, frittatas and more!
Leftover rice can make for very tasty food but there are some important things home cooks need to know about it!
How to Store
Store in an airtight container in the fridge ASAP.
Don't leave at room temperature
Leftover rice can give you very bad food poisoning so make sure you store cooked rice correctly. Whilst I'm all for reducing waste, if you're ever in doubt, toss it!
Uncooked rice has spores that can causes food poisoning which survives the cooking process. According to the NHS, if the cooked rice is left at room temperature, the spores turn into bacteria which multiply, and may produce toxins that lead to vomiting.
The longer the rice has been sitting at room temperature, the higher the possibility that it's no longer safe to eat.
Side note: similarly, it can be very dangerous to eat 5-day old pasta: people have even died after doing so!
Safe storage tips
According to the NHS:
- Eat the rice right after it has been cooked
- Cool the rice within 1 hour and store in the fridge
- Don't eat leftover rice that is over a day old
- Don't reheat rice more than once
- Rice should be steaming hot after reheating
Note: if safely stored, some scientists say that eating "leftover" rice could reduce the amount of calories absorbed by up to 60% and thus help prevent Diabetes. The rice needs to be prepared in a specific way though (click the previous link to find out more.)
Now that we've covered that, here are the Leftover Rice Recipes!
Making congee is a great way to use up leftover rice. Congee is all about breaking down the rice grains to make a creamy porridge and, with leftover rice, you're halfway there!
Garnish the Chinese congee recipes below with some green onions, fresh ginger, a fried egg, and you have a complete meal. You can also add these rice congee toppings and side dishes.
Tip: if you don't have time to watch the stove, just throw the leftover rice and water or stock in the rice cooker.
Leftover Roast Chicken Porridge
The ultimate wallet-friendly recipe: be extra virtuous and save not just leftover rice but also leftover roast meat (which can also be turned into these rotisserie chicken recipes)! To top it off, keep the chicken bones to make stock!
Besides making congee, you can also use the extra rice to make Poached Rice, which is re-heated rice added to soup. (So you get individual rice grains in liquid, instead of the oatmeal-like consistency of congee.)
Tip: honestly white rice- and even brown rice- can be stirred into almost any soup, not just the pumpkin seafood soup below!
Pumpkin Rice Soup
Shrimp Rice Bowl
If you have leftover rice, this Rainbow Rice Bowl is ready in 15 minutes or less!
Asian Fried Rice
The best way to cook Chinese fried rice is to use day-old rice that has dried a little and has the perfect texture (It won't be soft and mushy.) This easy Asian comfort food goes well with almost everything, such as these easy fried rice side dishes.
Tip: Stir-fry on high heat to give it the smoky char (wok hei), like the best Chinese restaurants do!
BBQ Pork Rice
This recipe uses not 1 but 2 leftover ingredients: rice and BBQ pork! Any extra Char Siew goes really well with these dishes!
Thai Fried Rice
Korean Kimchi Rice
Tip: Turmeric is really good for you- here are more ways to incorporate turmeric into your diet!
Vietnamese Fried Rice
Chicken Fried Rice
Wrapped Rice Rolls
This is possibly my favorite way to use up leftover long-grain rice! (Works really well with wild rice.)
Besides cabbage rolls, you can also use the rice to stuff into bell peppers, squash, pumpkins or zucchini, then bake them.
Paired with Something Spicy
If you've made something hot and spicy, like curry, a bowl of white rice is the perfect complement!
Pandan Rice Pudding
If you're looking for a sweet treat, try rice pudding.
- 3 Cups cooked rice
- 3 Cups of Coconut Milk
- Alternatively, mix 1 Cup coconut cream with 2 Cups pandan juice
- ⅓ Cup brown sugar or gula melaka palm sugar
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- a few knotted pandan leaves
- Toppings: gula melaka caramel or pandan syrup.
Add all the ingredients to a pot. Bring to the boil on medium heat then simmer for 10-15 minutes till tender.
Stir in the coconut caramel or pandan syrup. (You can also use maple syrup.)
Instant Pot Soup
Before compiling this list of delicious leftover rice recipes, I didn't even know there was such a thing!
Simply mix the previously cooked rice with small pieces of bell pepper, potatoes and spices such as black pepper. Separate into balls, then fry.
For more details, check out this Indian rice cutlet recipe (which goes really well with Chai Coffee.)
Vegan Kimchi Rice
Thai Fried Rice
Tip: For super simple rice fritters, mix with spring onions, egg yolk and parmesan cheese then pan fry in some olive oil. You can also use the rice in Pakora (which go super well with these Indian dipping sauces.)
Personally, I use up my cooked rice within 1-2 days maximum and always make sure it's in the fridge within 1-2 hours of cooking. (Don't eat rice that has been left out overnight!) For leftover rice recipes, click through to the post!
For best quality, use up the cooked rice within 4-5 months. You can also freeze uncooked rice- this actually helps the rice to break down more quickly, making it perfect for cooking Asian rice porridge!
It is food poisoning caused by Bacillus cereus, a toxin-producing bacteria, and is 1 of the most common types of food poisoning. According to Frontiers in Microbiology (2019), there are about 63,000 cases of Bacillus cereus food poisoning cases annually in the United States! Click through to my post for how to store leftover rice safely.
If you make any of these Easy Leftover Rice Recipes, don't forget to tag me (@greedygirlgourmet) on social media! And maybe you'd like to sign up for my recipe newsletter?
I'd love to see what you make!
love this round up for leftover rice. so many option
Thanks Nancy, I figured Asian households will always have leftover rice and may need ideas!