What to do with leftover rice: recipes and ideas

Cooking the right quantity of rice is not always easy. Amateur cooks are quick to prepare too much, ending up with a lot of leftovers and that ‘what to do with leftover rice’ dilemma.

Instead of throwing it away or spending the following week eating the same thing try these six recipes that are the perfect tasty way for using up those leftovers.

From golden fried Sicilian rice balls, vibrant salad and baked stuffed peppers to creamy puddings, the choice is yours. Find the recipes below.


Arancini, or fried rice balls, are an easy and tasty Italian recipe: learn how to make deep-fried rice balls with cheese and saffron, a traditional street food. Once you’ve mastered the basics, you can make countless variations.


Southwestern rice salad

This wholesome rice salad is as simple as throwing all the ingredients together with your cooked rice, including black beans, sweetcorn, tomatoes and plenty of seasoning. Its fresh flavours would be perfect as a barbecue side dish.


Rice-stuffed peppers

A tasty and impressive dish using leftover rice with added olives, pine nuts, parsley and chilli flakes stuffed inside green peppers and baked to perfection. A great side with grilled meats or a delicious vegan main.


Gluten-free rice cake

Why not turn your rice into a cake? A great gluten-free and vegetarian easy brunch option, a slice of this will go down like a treat. It will also look impressive on any table.


Egg fried rice with spring onions

Short on time and hungry for Asian flavours? This simple recipe will rescue you. Simply fry up the rice leftovers with some added spring onions for flavour. Why not add cooked chicken or prawns for an extra protein kick?


Rice pudding with coconut milk

Sweet tooth? Try this creamy coconut pudding and make a dessert out of your leftover rice. Garnish with physalis and serve in individual glass dishes.


How to store cooked rice

The most important thing is to cool cooked rice as quickly as possible – ideally within one hour of it being cooked the first time around. Keep your leftover rice in the fridge for no more than a day before reheating. Ensure it is always cooked through and steaming hot before serving.

This article was updated on 22/03/2023.

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