How To Make Rice Pudding With That Container Of Leftover Rice

Rice pudding can be time-consuming to make — not only does it require up to an hour to put together, most versions require frequent stirring. However, you can cut out the most significant amount of preparation time by using already-cooked rice. This is a great way to use up leftover rice of any sort, and it means you can have rice pudding more often if you tend to not make it because of the cooking time. Basmati and jasmine are the best rice types for classic rice pudding, but you can use whatever leftovers you have. 

To make rice pudding with a container of leftover rice, mix one part cooked rice with one part milk (any type works, including non-dairy alternatives) and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently. Turn the temperature to medium low and add sweeteners like white or brown sugar or maple syrup as well as any spices you'd like. Classic spices include cinnamon and nutmeg, but you can get creative and add whatever you have on hand, including vanilla bean, cardamom, or cloves. Once the pudding has reached your desired sweetness, flavoring, and consistency, serve immediately or refrigerate after cooling to room temperature and serve it later. It should keep for about four days in the fridge.  

Adapting rice pudding recipes with leftover rice

It's easy to adapt your favorite rice pudding recipe to use up leftovers. The key is to adjust the cooking time and amount of liquid you use since the rice is already cooked and has absorbed some moisture. Start with a 1:1 ratio of cooked rice to milk and adjust as needed for consistency. With pre-cooked rice, the mixture only needs to be heated so that the flavors meld and until the pudding reaches your desired consistency, which is typically about 15 minutes. You can incorporate the spices into the milk and rice mixture before heating or add them with the sweeteners once the pudding begins to heat, stirring frequently to ensure even distribution and prevent sticking. Add more milk when needed to further prevent burning and sticking. 

For example, to make our coconut chai rice pudding, skip the initial two steps and instead add the cinnamon stick and star anise to the leftover rice and milk in step four. Similarly, skip the first two steps when making Mexican hot chocolate arroz con leche and combine milk with the pre-cooked rice for step three, bringing the mixture to a boil and turning the heat down to medium-low. The cook time can be reduced to about 15 minutes to reach the pudding consistency because the rice is already cooked. By modifying your favorite recipe to use leftover cooked rice, you can enjoy this comforting treat more often and with less effort.