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20 Ways to Give New Life to Leftover Rice

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Leftover rice is a burden. A small one, I'll grant you, but one that weighs on me nonetheless. As someone who regularly measures out rice in whatever vessel is closest to my arm (juice glass, coffee cup, ramekin, etc.), and then simply adds in double the amount of water, I rarely make the exact amount that I'll need for a given recipe. As a result, I am often left with excess rice, which I shuttle into a tupperware, stick in the fridge, and promptly forget about until it is a hard, dry lump that I toss in shame.

This nags at me. Well-cooked rice is a beautiful, versatile gift; one that has just as much potential on day two (or three) as it does freshly cooked from the pot. Thankfully, these 20 recipes are here to give new life to leftover rice, whether it's with a cardamom-infused rice pudding, a spicy burrito, or a pseudo-quiche. And let's not forget fried rice of all stripes (psst—you don't even need a recipe!).

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There's a whole leftover rice world out there, and baby, it's way bigger than just dousing those grains in soy sauce and calling it a day. In fact, these recipes just might give you reason to make extra rice on purpose in the future.

Note: Some of these recipes have to be tweaked a bit to accommodate already-cooked rice; skip the rice-cooking step and reduce the liquid to make them leftover-friendly.

Chile-Roasted Chicken and Sweet Potatoes with Cilantro Rice
Chile-Roasted Chicken and Sweet Potatoes with Cilantro Rice
Tomato-Kale Quiche in Cheesy Rice Crust
Tomato-Kale Quiche in Cheesy Rice Crust
Fried Rice with Ginger, Bok Choy, and Peas

Fried Rice with Ginger, Bok Choy, and Peas by Gena Hamshaw

Jean-Georges' Ginger Fried Rice

Jean-Georges' Ginger Fried Rice by Genius Recipes

Kimchi Fried Rice

Kimchi Fried Rice by Allison (Spontaneous Tomato)

Breakfast Fried Rice

Breakfast Fried Rice by Kathleen | Hapa Nom Nom

How to Make Fried Rice Without a Recipe
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How to Make Fried Rice Without a Recipe
Wild Rice Veggie Sliders with Herbed Ricotta
Wild Rice Veggie Sliders with Herbed Ricotta
Mujaddara with Spiced Yogurt

Mujaddara with Spiced Yogurt by Rivka

Sephardic Megedarra with Garlicky Brown Rice Pilaf

Sephardic Megedarra with Garlicky Brown Rice Pilaf by creamtea

Jessica Koslow's Crispy Brown Rice "Kabbouleh"
Jessica Koslow's Crispy Brown Rice "Kabbouleh"
How to Make Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls) Any Which Way
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How to Make Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls) Any Which Way
Fully Loaded Vegan Burritos
Fully Loaded Vegan Burritos
Forbidden Rice Salad with Thai Coconut-Lime Dressing
Forbidden Rice Salad with Thai Coconut-Lime Dressing
Saffron-Infused Rice Pudding (Sholeh Zard), in the Persian Manner

Saffron-Infused Rice Pudding (Sholeh Zard), in the Persia... by shayma

My Weekday Morning Rice Pudding

My Weekday Morning Rice Pudding by fiveandspice

Paal Payasam (3-Ingredient Rice Pudding)

Paal Payasam (3-Ingredient Rice Pudding) by Panfusine

Rice Pudding with Sesame Crumble and Blueberries

Rice Pudding with Sesame Crumble and Blueberries by Sarah Jampel

Use This Template to Make Rice Pudding Your Way
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Use This Template to Make Rice Pudding Your Way
Chipotle Tomato Egg Skillet
Chipotle Tomato Egg Skillet

What's your favorite way to use up leftover rice? Or you of the "drown it in soy sauce and microwave" preference? Tell us below!


Tags: rice, leftover rice, leftovers, weeknight