Waste not, want not: here are 29 deliciously Easy Ways to Use Leftover Rice. From rice balls to rice pancakes, these Asian Recipes 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. Hence, this collection of delicious recipes where leftover cooked 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. However, 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
- 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 Easy Asian Leftover Rice Recipes!
Toss your leftover rice with poached shrimp, diced vegetables and some soy sauce-sesame oil ginger dressing!
Meatballs, Burgers & Rolls
Add 1 quarter cup of leftover rice to this pork meatball recipe. It will work like breadcrumbs, and absorb the moisture!
Use the extra rice to make Korean sushi!
These wrapped rice rolls are 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.
Pack your rice tightly together into a ball, then pan-fry and press down till it develops a crust and is in the shape of a bun. Perfect for Rice Burgers!
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.
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!
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!
If you love canned abalone, here are more recipes to use them up!
Poached Rice & Soup
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!
Instant Pot Soup
Pumpkin Rice Soup
Shrimp Poke Bowl
If you have leftover rice, this Rainbow Rice Bowl is ready in 15 minutes or less!
Korean Mixed Rice, or Bibimbap, is another great way to use up extra rice grains.
Asian Fried Rice
The easiest way to use day-old rice is to stir fry with some soy sauce, sesame oil and an egg.
The best way to cook Chinese fried rice is to use day-old rice that has dried a little. The cold rice will have the perfect texture (It won't be soft and mushy. Make sure to store it properly!)
Tip: Stir-fry on high heat to give it the smoky char (wok hei), like the best Chinese restaurants do!
Thai Fried Rice
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
You can also use the sauce for Thai Drunken Noodles to fry rice!
Korean Kimchi Rice
Turmeric Fried Rice
Vietnamese Fried Rice
Chicken Fried Rice
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
- 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.
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!