Posts tagged "rice"

5 fantastic reuses: the best recipes for using up leftover rice

It’s all to easy to cook too much rice but thankfully there are lots of ways to use it up.

Food safety warning: bacteria, specifically Bacillus cereus, loves cooked rice – and it can quickly grow to dangerous levels. Minimise it’s growth by cooling it quickly, put it in the fridge as soon as possible then use it with a day or so.

1. Rice pudding

Rice pudding is eaten all over the world in one form or another. The general principle is the same – cook the rice in milk then when it’s tender, add a sweetener (sugar, honey or fruit syrup) and something to give it a bit more flavour such as cream, egg yolk, fruit or nuts and spices such nutmeg & cinnamon. There are thousands of different ways to make it – experiment to find your favourite!

Leftover cooked rice can be used in place of dry rice – particularly if you’re happy to have a mushier pudding in the end. When making it fresh, most people use short grain rice but anything will do – white or brown, long or short, basmati, jasmine – whatever you’ve got on the go.

One of my favourite rice pudding recipes is with coconut and mango – yum!

2. Add it to soup

Leftover rice – again, any time – is great as a bulking agent in soup. Added early on, it breaks down and makes the whole soup thicker; added towards the end, it provides scoopable particles to chase around the bowl.

Add it to a hearty minestrone, or a tasty Moroccan veg soup – or add it to a simple chicken soup for those days when your belly needs something nice and bland.

3. Stuffed peppers (or marrow)

You can quickly make a tasty dinner by stuffing bell pepper or marrow rings with leftover rice.

Cut the top off the bell pepper and remove any seeds/white bits, then mix the rice with any meat, veggies or herbs you fancy, top with a bit of cheese and bake in a medium oven for about half an hour.

As with rice pudding, everyone has their own way of making them with their own favourite ingredients. Some great examples to get you started: beans and rice stuffed peppers; courgette, basil and rice ones; and super saucy tomato and beef mince ones.

To be extra frugal, use whatever meat or veggies you’ve got leftover alongside the rice – a little chilli con carne or casserole is perfect to stir in and lightly flavour the rice.

4. Bake it into bread – or muffins

Have you ever tried rice bread? Not rice cakes, those boring puffy white things but actual proper bread? If not, you should – it’s great and since you need to cook the rice down into a mush, starting with leftover cooked rice will save you time as well as preventing waste.

Check out this video how-to to see how it’s done.

Alternately, fancy something sweeter? Then I give you vanilla rice muffins.

5. Fried rice

Finally, no “uses for leftover rice” list would be complete without fried rice. Fried rice is best made with cooked rice left to go cold so it’s perfect for using up leftovers.

Again, there are a billion varieties and flavours. A simple recipe makes a good side dish but a couple more ingredients – some meat, fish, tofu or exciting veg – and you’ve got yourself a tasty main meal. Try this flavourful chicken and prawns recipe.


Reduce food waste – only cook as much rice as you need each time. Find a cup or dish that makes the correct amount and measure it out each time.

What’s your favourite thing to do with leftover rice?

(Photos by michaelaw and lockstockb)

How can I reuse or recycle cloth/woven plastic rice sacks?

rice_bags.jpgWe’ve had an email from unsteadyocean:

I was just wondering if anyone has suggestions for reusing the cloth bags that bulk rice comes in? I’ve seen suggestions for making them into tote bags but I would love to get more ideas.

Around here, they tend to be plastic-coated cloth or just woven plastic – but either way, ripe for re-using.

So any suggestions?

(Photo by kirsche222)

How can I reuse or recycle leftover cooked rice?

Cooked riceDespite eating rice multiple times a week, John and I have a bit of a mental block when it comes to actually making the amount we need. We usually play it safe and over-estimate, thinking we can have it with leftovers or use it to make fried rice or the like the next day. Given we both eat lunch at home a lot these days, we’re pretty good at using it up but sometimes it accidentally gets left out of the fridge overnight – or forgotten about in the fridge for a couple of days.

I’ve heard some horror stories about cooked rice being a great home for bacteria so we’re always cautious about using it after a couple of days or if it’s been left out of the fridge but it seems such a shame to just bin it. Because of the bacteria thing, I think the non-culinary re-use might be limited but anyone got any suggestions or at least ways of disposing of it more usefully that flinging it in the bin?

And anyone got any good leftover rice recipes for using it up when it is still in edible condition, that aren’t just rice pudding or a misc fried rice dish?

Best Suggestions

  • Reduce: Only cook as much as you need – find a cup or bowl that’s a perfect portion size and use that to measure it out each time.
  • Reuse: Store cooked rice in the fridge and use it to bulk out soups, stuff peppers and other veg, or to make fried rice. See more of our favourite recipes
  • Recycle: Plain cooked rice can be composted or put in a wormery. Avoid composting if you’ve cooked it with fats or sauces though as that might attract unwanted vermin.
  • See the comments below for more suggestions and ideas

(Photo by lazysheep1)