Weeknight Cooking

Leftover-Rice Rice Pudding

January 22, 2015

Each Thursday, Emily Vikre (a.k.a. fiveandspice) will be sharing a new way to love breakfast -- because breakfast isn't just the most important meal of the day. It's also the most awesome.

Today: Leftover rice isn’t really leftovers: It's the start of a very good, speedy weekday breakfast.

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Leftover rice, I believe, isn’t really leftovers so much as it is the start of a new meal. When you have leftover rice, you have the base for fried rice or rice pudding, and it’s worth making leftover rice specifically for both of these dishes. 

More: How to make great, fluffy rice.

Fried rice makes for a splendid breakfast -- it usually has an egg in it anyway, so it’s definitely breakfast food. But today let’s focus on rice pudding, which, while less sizzling, is just as splendid for breakfast in its own gentle way. The soft quietness of rice pudding reminds me of powdery fresh snowbanks, both of which make me think of forgiveness. I’d also like to shove my face into both of them.

Rice pudding made from leftover rice isn’t really a recipe -- it's a forgiving formula. It’s taking your already cooked rice and deciding that it is going to absorb more and become more. You can start with any sort of rice: white, brown, short-grain, long-grain. Just know that different types of rice will give you different textures. You then take your leftover rice and add an equal or up to three times the volume of creamy liquid (milk, coconut milk, almond milk, cream -- it’s best if you use at least some cream or its equivalent. The richness makes the pudding special.) The more liquid you add, the more pudding-y the final result will be, but the longer it will take to cook. Then, you gently simmer the rice and cream together until all the liquid is absorbed and the texture is thick but not gloppy.

I like to sweeten my pudding with maple syrup and spice it with cardamom and cinnamon. Sometimes I add raisins, and sometimes I make a quick sauce from frozen berries to top my pudding Scandinavian-style, but really you can do what you want. My senior year in college, my roommate and I were famous for our wild rice pudding for breakfast. It was a mix of wild rice, cream, dried cranberries and blueberries, and maple syrup. Whenever we had visitors, we would force them awake at 5:30 AM to eat it with us before we headed out for our days -- unforgettable, for a variety of reasons.

More: Dinner will happily take your leftover rice, too.

My Weekday Morning Rice Pudding

Serves 1

1/2 cup leftover cooked rice
1/4 cup milk or coconut milk
1/4 cup cream (or coconut milk)
1/2 tablespoon maple syrup (use more or less to taste)
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 pinch salt
Fruit of your choice for topping (I tend to either use golden raisins or dried currants, or I make a quick sauce with whatever frozen berries are lurking in the freezer)

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Photos by Emily Vikre

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A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

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I like to say I'm a lazy iron chef (I just cook with what I have around), renegade nutritionist, food policy wonk, and inveterate butter and cream enthusiast! My husband and I own a craft distillery in Northern Minnesota called Vikre Distillery (www.vikredistillery.com), where I claimed the title, "arbiter of taste." I also have a doctorate in food policy, for which I studied the changes in diet and health of new immigrants after they come to the United States. I myself am a Norwegian-American dual citizen. So I have a lot of Scandinavian pride, which especially shines through in my cooking on special holidays. Beyond loving all facets of food, I'm a Renaissance woman (translation: bad at focusing), dabbling in a variety of artistic and scientific endeavors.


Kat June 20, 2015
I think I am the only one in my family and amongst friends who will pick custardy, milky treats each and every time (over chocolate that is). I used whole milk with cream which is unmistakeably good, but with creme fraiche it takes it to a whole new tangy level. Excellent. Also, a dollop of Nutella (yeah yeah, gotta have chocolate in there somewhere) stirred through is the business.
lora789 February 5, 2015
it is delicious, nutritious and useful
Katu January 28, 2015
I can't wait to make this!! It looks heavenly. I too, am a morning person! Love being awake before the sun comes up. During the week- I'm out the door by 445. :)
AntoniaJames January 23, 2015
Couldn't agree more, except that I keep it even simpler and just microwave it in the bowl, e.g., https://food52.com/recipes/31933-no-recipe-quick-breakfast-porridge-aka-fridge-forage-porridge And an example: http://instagram.com/p/yLEt6ymB0D/ I highly recommend raw fruit on any type of porridge - especially slightly tart apples for their crunch, juiciness and bright flavor! ;o)
aargersi January 22, 2015
All right hold it RIGHT THERE lady! 5:30 am in COLLEGE? The was no such thing? OK well, there was no getting up then, going to BED then maybe ... heh. AND now I want rice pudding.
Lindsay-Jean H. January 22, 2015
I was thinking the same thing! We need more of this story. What time did classes start? Did this involve hiking/snowshoeing 5 miles uphill both ways to get to and from college? AND now I want rice pudding too.
fiveandspice January 25, 2015
Haha, basically we were weirdos. We both had 8 am classes, and we lived a ways from campus (a couple miles). Plus, we were obnoxious chipper morning people who liked to get up, have time for a sit down breakfast and coffee and then go exercise all before our morning classes. And because we were nice understanding friends, we also liked to impose our schedule on others. ;)