Cooking

Rice to Riches

What to do with the leftover rice from your takeout order
Photos: Tasting Table

Even when your fridge is empty and sad, there somehow always seems to be a container of leftover rice lurking in the back. Inevitably your delivery order came with more rice than you needed, and instead of tossing it at the end of your meal, you decided to save it. You'd eat it eventually, you told yourself.

If you're still staring at that box of rice and feeling so uninspired that you're considering ordering Seamless again, we're here to help you get out of this viscous cycle. Leftover rice isn't a curse. In fact, for dishes like fried rice, it actually works better than fresh rice.

Here are seven ways to put your leftover rice to great use.

1 Fry It Up

Day-old, dried-out rice is perfect for a warm, comforting bowl of fried rice, like this Kimchi Fried Rice or Crab Fried Rice. You'll get a much better texture with rice made ahead of time.

2 Make Arancini

These Italian rice balls might be one of the world's most underrated street foods. Use your leftover rice to make fried gems like Paella Arancini or Carbonara Arancini.

3 The Proof Is in the Pudding

Rice pudding might not be the sexiest dessert on the menu, but it's one of the most comforting. If you start with cooked rice, the cooking time will be cut in half. Try it out in this Forbidden Rice Pudding.

 

4 Stuff Your Peppers

Stuffed peppers don't have to be cool: They're just reliable staples you look forward to in your dinner rotation. And they're a great use of your rice. Try these Avocado, Cucumber and Basmati Salad-Stuffed Peppers.

 

5 Throw Rice in Soup

Rice can add some much needed texture and heft to soups. It's probably the easiest and most satisfying way to rehydrate your grains. Recipes like this Chicken and Rice Soup with Young Collard Greens, Parsnips and Rutabaga will fill you up without weighing you down.

6 Make a Rice Salad

Grain salads, like this Pickled Mushroom and Miso Brown Rice Salad, are all the rage. So take that rice and add it to any combination of vegetables, legumes, cheese, you name it. You now have lunch for the week.

7 Conjure Up Some Congee

Don't be afraid of this comforting rice porridge. It's easier to make than you might think, and you can definitely use your day-old rice for recipes like this Congee with Pickled Plums, Fried Shallots and Chives. But as Yotam Ottolenghi suggests, if you use leftover rice for congee, "make sure you chill the leftover rice within one hour of making it and use within a day."

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