Dinner

Sheet-Pan Crispy Rice With Bacon Lets Your Oven Do *Allll* the Work For You

Double down on the crispy bits.

November 30, 2018
Photo by Rocky Luten

If I had a band, we'd be called The Crispy Bits. We'd all wear our hair in gelled-up spikes (Aaron's Party-style) and we'd dress in studded pant suits. Our concerts would sell out immediately—so long as we kept it under wraps that I was lip-syncing—each time tickets went on sale, because everybody loves the crispy bits.

And for good reason. The crispy bits are textural magic, a welcome foil to any soft or squishy elements of a dish. Often (like with the brownie edges, or the top peaks of sheet-pan mac and cheese) they're jam-packed with flavor, which I like to think is because they've had much of their extra moisture sucked out and only the salty or sugary, flavor-y parts remain. (Please don't fact-check that "science.")

But back to the important stuff: my band. We'd need a signature dish to serve at our concerts, because, well, this is my musician fantasy narrative and you're welcome to conduct your own however you like. The Crispy Bits' signature dish would be—hey, Crispy Pete, can you hit a drumroll?—my favorite sheet-pan rice and bacon. (There's tons of other stuff in there, too, like broccoli, mushrooms, scallions, and peas, but bacon begs for first mention.)

All that's missing is you. Photo by Rocky Luten

Inspired by fried rice, sheet-pan crispy rice is my favorite way to use leftover grains of any kind, which I always seem to have by the bucket-full. Use any cooked grain you have on-hand—the drier, the better—and mix-and-match with whichever elements you like; squash, cauliflower florets, shallots, shrimp, sweet potato, or beef would all be delicious subs or additions. Thanks to the generous spatial distribution and high oven heat, you'll have all of the crispy bits, and then some. And the second best part about sheet-pan rice is that your oven does all of the work for you. You just toss together your constituents (grains, vegetables, alliums, anything else you like, soy, rice vinegar) on an oiled sheet pan, place it into a hot oven, and give it a stir every now and again.

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Top Comment:
“Two "cheats" I use: (1) if I don't have a lot of veggies in the house or don't feel like chopping, I add a small bag of mixed frozen vegetables at the point when the peas are added, and (2) instead of dirtying another pan to fry eggs, I scramble 3 eggs, clear a space on the sheet pan and pour the eggs on the pan (at the same time as when the peas are added.) The egg puffs up nicely and then I chop it up with a metal spatula and mix it into the rice. It's not the same as a fried egg, but no one complains! Also, as I noted in a response below, I've made it with a half-and-half mix of regular rice and cauliflower rice and it was great.”
— Rhonda35
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Which leaves you mostly free. You know, in case you need to practice for your band's upcoming concert performance, or something.

What's your favorite dish to pick the crispy bits from to eat first? Let me know in the comments.

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

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    Megmegmeggers
  • DennisH
    DennisH
  • Rhonda35
    Rhonda35
  • Maureen Wander Miller Marcus
    Maureen Wander Miller Marcus
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    Mary P. Brown
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Ella Quittner

Written by: Ella Quittner

Ella Quittner is a a writer at Food52. She covers food, travel, wellness, lifestyle, home, novelty snacks, and internet-famous sandwiches. You can follow her on Instagram @equittner, or Twitter at @ellaquittner. She also develops recipes for Food52, and has a soft spot for all pasta, anything spicy, and salty chocolate things.

12 Comments

Megmegmeggers August 20, 2019
You just changed my life forever.
 
DennisH January 12, 2019
Brava! Absolutely delicious and leaves itself open to so much improvisation. I followed the recipe exactly and in doing so, learned the technique. I have been looking for a crispy rice recipe for a long time and never thought of the oven on a cookie sheet. Now to try other vegetables. Thank you for this.
 
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Ella Q. January 14, 2019
SO happy to hear you enjoyed this, Dennis!
 
Rhonda35 January 11, 2019
This has become very popular in my house and I've made it several times. Two "cheats" I use: (1) if I don't have a lot of veggies in the house or don't feel like chopping, I add a small bag of mixed frozen vegetables at the point when the peas are added, and (2) instead of dirtying another pan to fry eggs, I scramble 3 eggs, clear a space on the sheet pan and pour the eggs on the pan (at the same time as when the peas are added.) The egg puffs up nicely and then I chop it up with a metal spatula and mix it into the rice. It's not the same as a fried egg, but no one complains! Also, as I noted in a response below, I've made it with a half-and-half mix of regular rice and cauliflower rice and it was great.
 
Author Comment
Ella Q. January 14, 2019
Thanks for sharing, Rhonda! Both cheats sound like great additions :)
 
Maureen W. January 11, 2019
I want to try this with cauliflower rice. Will the cauliflower crisp up as much as regular rice?
 
Rhonda35 January 11, 2019
I've made it with half day-old rice and half cauliflower rice and it was delicious!
 
Mary P. December 10, 2018
I was thinking of adding chopped kimchi rather than using vinegar... a little sesame oil and good to go!
 
Rhonda35 January 11, 2019
Yum!
 
Diana S. December 10, 2018
What a great use for leftover rice. Easier than fried rice and so many choices of ingredients. I can't wait to make it and know this will become a favorite in my house. Yum!
 
Posie (. November 30, 2018
Um this is everything I've ever wanted. It's like big-batch shortcut bibimbap!
 
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Ella Q. November 30, 2018
Thanks Posie! I change up the recipe pretty much every time I make it. Excited to hear what you go with if you try it :)