Turn Leftover Rice into a New Dish

Having leftover rice is a frustrating problem. No one wants to eat day-old rice on its own, but at the same time, there are only so many helpings of the white, brown, and wild stuff you can have. Some home chefs have their serving sizes down to a science, but if you’re one of those people who just can’t gauge how much your family is going to eat on a given night, rest assured that with these recipes, your leftover rice won’t go to waste.
In fact, it might even have a better taste when enlisted in these creative food formulas. Whether you’re craving something savory or sweet, we guarantee there’s a recipe on this list that’ll get you excited about your leftovers.

1. Rice Pudding

First up is a rice pudding recipe from Taste of Home. Rice pudding is an old-fashioned dessert that many forget about, but after your first bite, you’ll kick yourself for not perfecting the recipe earlier. Requiring only 5 ingredients, this is a sweet treat you can make post-dinner or the day after.

  • 2 cups cooked long grain rice
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Whipped cream, optional

Directions: In a large saucepan, combine the rice, milk, sugar, and salt. Cook, uncovered, over medium heat for 20 minutes or until thickened, stirring often. Remove from the heat; stir in vanilla. Spoon into serving dishes. Serve warm; top with whipped cream if desired.

2. Fried Rice

Fried rice is another fan favorite, and this formula for the dish highlighted on Food Network is sure to be a winner for dinner. No many how picky your eaters are, it’s hard to resist fried rice, and thanks to this recipe, your guests won’t have to. Your cooked rice is about to meet its match with veggies, ham, garlic, and the most important special ingredient: eggs.

  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil
  • ⅓ pound black forest ham, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 3 whole scallions, thinly sliced on the bias, white and green separated
  • 1⅓ cups medley frozen corn, peas, carrots
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 4 cups cold cooked long-grain rice, white or jasmine rice, grains separated

Directions: Heat a large heavy-bottomed nonstick skillet over high heat. When hot, add 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the ham and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Add the onions to the pan, season with salt and pepper, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes until onion is fragrant. Add the garlic, ginger, and scallion whites and stir-fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the frozen vegetables. Cook until just defrosted but still crisp. Transfer contents of the skillet to a large bowl.
Return the pan to the heat and add 2 more tablespoons of oil. Add the eggs and season with salt and pepper. Stir the eggs constantly and cook until almost set but still moist, then transfer egg to the bowl. Break the eggs up with a wooden spoon or spatula.
Return the pan to the heat and add the remaining oil. Add the rice to the pan and use a spoon to break up any clumps. Season with salt and pepper and stir-fry the rice to coat evenly with oil. Stop stirring, and then let the rice cook undisturbed until its gets slightly crispy, about 2 minutes. Stir the rice again, breaking up any new clumps. Add the scallion greens. Transfer to the bowl. Stir all the ingredients together with the rice, taste, and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, if necessary. Serve.

3. Stuffed Peppers

If you have some vegetarian eaters on your hands, use up your leftover brown rice by making them stuffed peppers the next day for lunch or dinner. These vegetarian stuffed peppers from Kalyn’s Kitchen pack a punch and will leave your eaters full for hours thanks to the fiber and protein that come with these hearty peppers. This formula enlists mushrooms and feta, but the flavor combinations you have with stuffed peppers are truly endless.

  • 6 fresh bell peppers, any color, bottoms and tops sliced off
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 12 ounces mushrooms, chopped small
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons Greek seasoning
  • Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup and ¼ cup crumbled feta cheese

Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Choose the smallest possible baking dish that will hold all 6 peppers standing up, and spray with nonstick cooking spray or olive oil. Cut off the bottoms of the peppers, cutting off as little as possible to make a flat bottom so the peppers will stand up. Slice off the tops of the peppers, cutting off just enough to cut away the stem part. Remove any seeds and membranes from inside the peppers and stand them up in baking dish.
Finely chop the pepper tops and bottoms that you sliced off, as well as the onion. Wash mushrooms if needed, and chop into pieces just slightly larger than you chopped the peppers and onions.
Heat 1 teaspoon of oil in a large nonstick frying pan, add onions and peppers, and sauté over medium-high heat until they’re barely starting to soften, about 4 minutes. Remove to a plate, add 1 teaspoon more oil to pan, add chopped mushrooms, and cook until the mushrooms have released their liquid, the liquid has evaporated, and mushrooms are barely starting to brown, about 6 minutes.
Put the sautéed onions and peppers back into the pan with the mushrooms, add the Greek seasoning and black pepper to taste, and cook 1 minute more. Stir in the cooked rice and add 1 cup of the crumbled Feta and gently combine. One at a time, hold each pepper over the frying pan and fill with the stuffing, pressing it down as much as you can so it’s tightly packed. When all peppers are stuffed, cover the baking dish with foil and cook 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, remove dish from the oven and remove the foil. Put 2 teaspoons crumbled feta on the top of each pepper, pressing it down a little if needed to get it to stick. Bake 20 to 30 minutes more, until the feta is starting to melt and lightly brown, and peppers are done to your liking. Serve hot and enjoy!
If you won’t be eating all 6 peppers at once, take some out of the oven a little sooner and freeze in an airtight container to be reheated for a quick dinner later. For best results, let frozen peppers thaw in the fridge, and then reheat in the microwave or in the oven in a small baking dish covered with foil.

4. Easy Turkey Curry

Here is another of my Mom's old recipes. It is great for leftover turkey after the holidays, when you tire of turkey soups and sandwiches. Optional: if you want to show off, garnish with fresh parsley and side dishes of raisins, chutney, slivered almonds, hard cooked eggs, and both sweet and dill pickle spears

  • 3 Cups Water
  • ½ cups uncooked rice
  • ¼ cup onion minced
  • 1 table spoon butter
  • (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 6 ounce of sliced mushrooms, drained
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • ½ tablespoon curry powder
  • 2 cups cooked turkey meat, chopped or shredded 

  • In a saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add rice and stir. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
  • In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter; Saute the onion until translucent, not browned. Reduce the heat to a simmer, and stir in the mushroom soup, drained mushrooms, and milk. Heat while stirring constantly until the mixture is smooth. Add the sour cream, curry powder, and turkey meat, stirring while it all heats through. Cover and allow to low simmering 20 to 25 minutes. Ladle the curry mixture evenly over the rice for each individual serving.