Skip to main content

Cheap & Easy Ways to Use Leftover Rice

Mrs Frugal is a freelance writer who enjoys making and creating simple and delicious recipes. She can often be found in the kitchen.

You will love this great variety of main, side, and dessert recipes. You'll never throw out your leftover rice again!

You will love this great variety of main, side, and dessert recipes. You'll never throw out your leftover rice again!

Extra Rice Can Be Nice

Rice is a versitile grain that goes well with a variety of foods and meals. Since it's cheap, filling and nourishing, it is loved by many all over the world.

A cup of uncooked rice when cooked, can easily feed five to six adults. Depending on how many you are cooking for, you can easily have a surplus of rice.

We've probably all had some type of leftover rice. Whether we wanted it or not, it was there, and we had to do something with it. You might be finishing up a meal and distributing seconds, maybe thirds, and your amazed that there's still plenty of rice left.

I know there are those reading this who never eat leftovers and just throw uneaten food away. You might be thinking leftovers will not taste good reheated, it's not worth the trouble, or if saved, it will be forgotten and wasted.

We've probably all been there and thought those same things. I would like for you to see how you can reuse a simple leftover, like rice. You might be surprised at it's possibilities!

Remember, no matter what kind of leftover rice you have, it can be transformed into a tasty new meal or side dish. Know one will even know they're leftovers, unless you tell them of course!

Spanish Rice and Beans is a filling and cheap meal.

Spanish Rice and Beans is a filling and cheap meal.

You won't be able to taste the rice mixed in with your taco meat.

You won't be able to taste the rice mixed in with your taco meat.

12 Simple Recipes With Leftover Rice

1. Spanish Rice (Side Dish)

A great & tasty side that compliments most Mexican meals. With minimal ingredients, it is cheap, easy, and delicious!

*Makes 4 servings*

1 Cup of leftover rice

2 Tbsp of Oil (Bacon grease or Vegetable Oil)

1 Onion, chopped

1/2 of a Green Pepper. chopped

1 Garlic clove, minced

1 (10 oz) can of Diced Tomatoes and Green Chilis, drained

2 tsp of Chili Powder

1 tsp of Cumin

  • Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Cook onion, garlic, and bell pepper until onions and green peppers are tender.
  • Stir in rice, tomatoes,& season with chili powder, cumin, and salt. Cook everything until heated and serve.

2. Tacos or Taco Salad

Stretch your taco meat by adding leftover rice. The rice will retain the flavor of the meat making it a cheap and filling meal.

3. Cinnamon Rice (Dessert)

A comforting dessert that's simple, yet delicious. Great dessert for Fall and Winter!

3 cups leftover rice
3 cups milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter
2 cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Ground cinnamon
Whipped cream

Combine rice, milk, sugar, butter and cinnamon sticks in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat for 20-25 minutes. Stir frequently. Remove pan from heat. Take out cinnamon sticks and stir in vanilla. Sprinkle with cinnamon and top with whipped cream.

Makes 5 Servings

4. Rice & Sausage (Main Dish)

1 pkg of Smoked Sausage (sliced)

1 green pepper, chopped

1 onion, chopped

1 garlic clove minced

1 tbsp Oil

4 cups of leftover rice

1/4 cup of chicken broth or water

1 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

Cut sausage into slices and cook over med heat for 6-7 minutes. Just enough time to barely brown them. Set them aside and then add to the same pan your green pepper, onion, garlic, and oil. Cook until soft and then add your salt, pepper, chicken broth, and leftover rice. Cook until hot and the liquid is absorbed. Makes 4 Servings.

5. Magic Meatloaf (Main Dish)

A tasty meatloaf that is perfect for children and picky eaters.

1 pound ground beef

3/4 cup leftover rice

1 tbsp brown sugar

1 tbsp salt

1 tsp pepper

3/4 cup chopped onion

1 tbsp ketchup

1 Egg

1/2 cup ketchup or bbq sauce ( to spread on top before baking)

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a bowl, combine the beef, rice, brown sugar, salt, pepper, onion and 1 tablespoon ketchup. Mix and put in a greased loaf pan.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Spread remaining 1/2 cup ketchup or bbq sauce on the top and bake for 10-15 minutes more.

6. Stuffed Green Peppers (Main Dish)

Great & easy meal for the Spring & Summer months. Young and old enjoy these!

6 Green bell peppers

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1 pound ground beef or ground pork

1/4 cup onion, chopped

1 can of Petite Cut Tomatoes (they are smaller than diced and you can use any brand that carries them)

1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

2 small cans of Condensed Tomato Soup

3/4 cup water

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Fill a large pot with water and place on high. Prepare your peppers by cuttinf og the top and taking out all the seeds. When your water comes to a boil, put your peppers in the pot,. and cook them for 5-6 minutes.

In a skillet sauté onions and beef for 5- 7 minutes, or until the meat browns and then drain off the fat. Add your salt, pepper, leftover rice, tomatoes, cheese and worcestershire sauce.

Stuff each pepper with you meat and rice mixture and place them in a baking dish. In a bowl combine the tomato soup and water. Pour the soup mixture over the peppers and place in oven. Cook for 30 minutes.

7. Eggs over Rice ( Main Dish)

Reheat your rice. Add water if needed to keep it soft. Make poached, fried, scambled eggs, etc. Season them well with salt, pepper, and chives (optional). Then serve them over your hot leftover rice. Makes a filling, cheap, and delicious breakfast.

8. Parmesan Rice (Side Dish)

A easy side dish that goes well with a variety of meals.

3 Cups of Leftover Rice

3 tbsp Butter or Olive Oil

1/2 Onion, minced

1/4 cup of fresh (or dried) parsley, chopped (if fresh)

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Melt butter in large skillet and sauté onion and parsley for 5 minutes.Add rice, parmesan, and stir well. Makes 6 servings.

9. Fast & Easy Chicken Casserole (Main Dish)

2-3 cups of cooked chicken, chopped or cubed

2 cups leftover rice

1 cup frozen peas

1 small can of cream of chicken soup

1/2 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp salt

Combine all ingredients in a microwave oven and heat for 4 minutes and then serve. Makes 4 servings.

10. Easy Enchilada Rice (Main Dish)

1/2 pound of ground beef

1 can (smallest can) of chopped black olives, drained

1 can of Petite or Diced Tomatoes, drained

1 Can of Cheddar Cheese Soup

2 cups leftover rice

Cook ground beef in skillet. Add rest of ingredients and cook until hot. Makes 4 Servings.

11. Home Style Ham & Rice

1/2 large onion, chopped

2 Tbsp Butter or oil

2 Cup Cooked diced, cubed, or chopped ham

3 Cup Leftover Rice

1/4 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup chicken broth

1/2 cup shredded swiss, provolone, etc

Sauté onion in a large pan with butter for 5 minutes. Add ham to pan and cook together for another 5 minutes.Then add the pepper, ham, rice, and chicken broth. Cook on medium heat until hot and liquid is absorbed. Add cheese to top of rice and cover pan until cheese is melted. Makes 4-6 Servings.

12. Red Beans & Rice

3 Tbsp Oil

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp creole seasoning

1/2 tsp pepper

1 onion, chopped

1 green pepper, chopped

1 pkg of smoked sausage, chopped (optional)

1 (15 oz) can of kidney beans, drained

1 can of diced tomatoes, undrained

2 cups of leftover rice (reheated)

Add oil to a skillet and sauté pepper and onion until tender. Add sausage and cook until brown. Add beans, tomatoes, salt, pepper, and creole seasoning. Cook until hot and serve over leftover rice.


Charito Maranan-Montecillo from Manila, Philippines on November 21, 2019:

Hi, Penny.

Thank you for sharing this.

I come from a country where rice is our staple food.

Wow! I didn’t think you could even mix leftover rice with taco fillings and cinnamon. This is new to me. I’d love to try it.

ideadesigns on January 08, 2015:

You have great recipe ideas for rice, shall pin!

peachy from Home Sweet Home on December 04, 2014:

i prefer fried rice, the local malay style are great and simple

Susan Hazelton from Sunny Florida on July 23, 2014:

You have some ideas that are pretty clever. I'll have to try a few.

Mrs Frugal (author) from United States on September 09, 2013:

Thanks for your comments Chris! Hope you enjoy these recipes and have a wonderful day!

ChrisLingCheng on September 08, 2013:

Absolutely interesting! We have leftover rice every single day and the only way we know how to make use of it is to turn it into fried rice. You have just opened up a bag of goodies here. Will be doing some of these next time. Looking forward to reading your other hubs! Thanks! God bless!

Mrs Frugal (author) from United States on April 22, 2013:

VVaNess- We LOVE Jasmine Rice. It is my very favorite! I can eat it everyday and not get tired of it. Parmesan and Cinnamon rice, so yummy! Please let me know if and when you try any recipes. Hope your day is wonderful~

Victoria Van Ness from Fountain, CO on April 21, 2013:

Yum. The Parmesan rice and the cinnamon rice both sounded scrumptious. We always have leftover rice but it's usually not more than a cup or so, so I could easily make one of the above just for me as a snack in the afternoon in front of the TV. :)

But I love all of your other recipes using rice. We're definitely going to try some of them in the next couple of weeks. We make Jasmine rice (or sticky rice) in our rice cooker for almost every meal. Yummy! It has a nice flavor and really adds to any meal we make. Thanks. Voted up!

Related Articles