12 Ways to Use Up Leftover Rice

Give old grain some new life with our best rice recipes built on leftovers

We've all been there: you cook rice for a simple weeknight dinner, you end up eating about half of it, and then you throw the extra into tupperware and stick it in the refrigerator. When you take it out of the fridge the following day, you're met with a dried-out chunk of starch that could use some revitalizing.

Fortunately, there's a world of recipes that could put those leftovers to good use, whether that's some of our favorite Southeast Asian recipes or Italian recipes. Ready your best frying pans and soup pots. From chile-laced Indonesian fried rice to creamy Venetian rice fritters, these dishes will turn that cold block of rice into something wonderful.

Brown Rice Salad with Avocado
Brown Rice Salad with Avocado
The staff at Huka Lodge in New Zealand used to serve this simple dish for lunch when I worked there as a chef in 2011; I fell in love with it immediately and it's been a regular part of my dinner repertoire since. The combination of crunchy peanuts, creamy avocados, and the sweet bite of ginger make for a dish that's full of complex flavors, yet easy to execute. Serve it on its own or with tofu for a vegetarian meal, or add grilled chicken, fish, or shrimp. —Farideh Sadeghin, test kitchen director Get the recipe for Brown Rice Salad with Avocado »Farideh Sadeghin
Asparagus and Rice Sauté
Asparagus and Rice Sauté
This bright, deep sauté is a good way to salvage undercooked rice. Get the recipe for Asparagus and Rice Sauté »MacKenzie Smith
Indonesian Fried Rice (Nasi Goreng)
Indonesian Fried Rice (Nasi Goreng)
For nasi goreng, leftover rice is stir-fried with a seasoning paste made from chiles, shrimp paste, and palm sugar, yielding a richly flavored dish that's ridiculously delicious. A fried egg on top makes it a satisfying meal. Get the recipe for Indonesian Fried Rice (Nasi Goreng) »Todd Coleman
Kale and Chicken Brown Rice Salad with Cherries
Kale and Chicken Brown Rice Salad with Cherries
This summery salad, which pairs chicken with thin ribbons of raw kale and brown rice, offsets a garlicky pesto dressing with sweet red cherries. Get the recipe for Kale and Chicken Brown Rice Salad with Cherries »Anna Stockwell
Venetian Rice Fritters (Arancini Veneziani)
Venetian Rice Fritters (Arancini Veneziani)
These cheesy rice fritters, often made with leftover risotto, are an addictive snack. Get the recipe for Venetian Rice Fritters (Arancini Veneziani) »Todd Coleman
Bacon and Shrimp Fried Rice
Bacon and shrimp fried rice
Bacon adds smoky dimension to this stir-fry. It's easily adapted to whatever leftovers you have in your fridge—roasted pork or chicken, egg, seafood, or just about any kind of vegetables. Get the recipe for Bacon and Shrimp Fried Rice »Andre Baranowski
Filipino Garlic Fried Rice with Vinegar Sauce (Sinangag)
Filipino Garlic Fried Rice with Vinegar Sauce (Sinangag)
This garlicky rice is a popular breakfast dish in the Philippines and is delicious served with fried eggs and a drizzle of vinegar sauce. Get the recipe for Filipino Garlic Fried Rice with Vinegar Sauce (Sinangag) »Romulo Yanes
Greek Lemon Chicken Soup (Avgolemono)
Greek Lemon Chicken Soup (Avgolemono)
Even though this soup is usually served at Christmas dinner in Greek households, the lemon flavor makes it great year-round. You can easily substitute cooked rice for the raw and shorten simmering time to get this going quickly. Get the recipe for Greek Lemon Chicken Soup (Avgolemono) »Maxime Iattoni
Bacon Fried Rice
Bacon Fried Rice
This simple fried rice is as good for breakfast as it is for dinner. Thick-cut bacon will make for more meaty, chewy bits. Cookbook writer Amy Thielen often adds a little sauerkraut for a further Midwestern touch. Get the recipe for Bacon Fried Rice »Matt Taylor-Gross
Bibimbap
Bibimbap
This staple Korean rice dish can be made with meat or seafood and served hot, but we love this fresh-tasting cold, vegetarian version. Get the recipe for Bibimbap »Todd Coleman
Indian Curd Rice
Indian Curd Rice
This creamy spiced rice is a staple dish of the Pongal harvest festival in Southern India. Get the recipe for Indian Curd Rice »Ingalls Photography
Indian Tomato Rice
Indian Tomato Rice
Flavored with sweet plum tomatoes and aromatic spices, this rice dish is perfect alongside roast chicken. Get the recipe for Indian Tomato Rice »Ingalls Photography