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Leftover Brown Rice Recipes: 15 Quick & Tasty Options

Leftover Brown Rice Recipes: 15 Quick & Tasty Options

Brown rice is one of the trickiest leftover ingredients to deal with. It dries up when refrigerated and might go soggy if reheated on the pan.

Still, there’s no need to throw leftover brown rice away.

To be honest, I deliberately cook larger rice portions and store them upfront for busy weeks.

When hunger strikes, leftover brown rice can make a healthier alternative to instant noodles. 

In this article, I’ll share my list of dressed-up leftover brown rice recipes, which never get boring through a long week. 

1. Leftover Brown Rice Pudding

Rice Pudding recipe

Let’s go for dessert first.

Provided your leftover brown rice isn’t salted, you can turn it into a healthy treat.

Rice pudding can thicken with its rice starch

However, since you probably washed it off before cooking, you’ll have to thicken it with egg yolk.

Beware though, you need to add the yolks before the milk heats up so they won’t turn into scrambled eggs.

Sweeten up the treat with brown sugar, stevia, or any healthy alternative. 

Finally, top with cinnamon powder, raisins, and nuts before serving.

2. Indian Tomato Brown Rice

Brown Rice dish

The Indian cuisine is one of my personal favorites.

It’s aromatic, flavorful, but sometimes a bit too spicy. So, I think you might want to add the chili carefully to this dish.

To set the aroma on fire, toss the cumin, bay leaf, cinnamon, cloves, and cashews with ghee on medium heat.

Besides, this dish wouldn’t be so Indian without ginger-garlic paste.

Guess what’s next?

More seasoning. Add garam masala, chili powder, turmeric, and salt to the tomato paste before the brown rice drops in.

What a dish to remember!

3. Brown Rice Cucumber Medley

Brown Rice salad recipe

Let’s relieve the Indian heat with a cold brown rice salad.

Cold rice?

Yes. Here’s a 5-minute chilled brown rice snack.

This is the quickest recipe on the list.

Just season and mix the vegetables, then stir in the olive oil and lemon juice. Add the leftover brown rice, mix, and serve immediately.

4. Mexican Vegetable Brown Rice

What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when thinking of Mexican cuisine?


Yes. This brown rice recipe uses taco sauce and seasoning to pronounce its identity, but there’s more to its Mexican roots.

I admire the Mexican genius behind mixing rice with beans, and that’s what we have here: rice plus plant protein.

Lime is a game-changer for this meal, so don’t skip it.

Of course you can do this with your leftover Spanish rice when the time comes!

5. Korean Fried Brown Rice

Kimchi fried rice dish

Freshly cooked rice is moist, so it can easily clump and get soggy.

Therefore, fried rice is best made with leftover brown rice, which naturally dries up when refrigerated.

You can use a single pan to make the eggs before you add more butter to sauté all the vegetables.

Remember to cook the rice on high heat so it doesn’t get soggy.

Top with sunny-side-up eggs and garnish with sesame seeds and spring onions.

This is one of my favorite rice toppings that’s so easy to make!

6. Thai Brown Rice Soup 

Have you thought of brown rice soup before?

This warm Thai-inspired dish is plant-based from start to finish. 

What’s the best part?

The chewy brown rice addition. 

Interestingly, Shiitake mushroom-infused water is our soup base.

In a pot, start by adding the kelp and white radish to the mushroom water and boil for 20 minutes.

Besides air-fried tofu, dwarf bok choy, and fried garlic.

7. Indian Brown Rice Cake (Idly)


Native to India and Sri Lanka, Idly is a savory rice cake eaten for breakfast. 

It’s especially fulfilling with the traditional Indian sambar.

The fermented batter is made from ground beans, semolina, and brown rice.

Use a wet grinder to get a smooth paste.

To get that runny batter into shape, you’ll need rice cake pans. Alternatively, you can cook the runny batter like pancakes.

If you want to take things up a notch check out some yummy rice cake toppings to augment this even more.

8. Curried Brown Rice and Zucchini Fritters


I even have some vegetarian patties on the list, thanks to brown rice.

Just mash the leftover brown rice and mix all the ingredients. 

Feel free to add more corn flour to absorb the excess moisture before shaping the patties.

Those health bombs are equally serious about taste.

With Indian spices and some ketchup dip, those patties aren’t going anywhere from my meal plans soon.

9. Wholegrain Brown Rice and Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad


My list can’t miss some Middle Eastern authenticity.

Here’s a smart variant of the Levant staple, tabbouleh.

Swap the traditional bulgur ingredient with brown rice and quinoa to meet the latest health trends and make use of your leftovers.

The rich olive oil and herbal flavors will surely evoke a longing for the fresh Mediterranean breeze.

10. Leftover Brown Rice Risotto and Mushrooms 



Brown rice risotto tastes better than its white rice counterpart.

Its nutty flavor and pronounced texture make the dish significantly more exciting.

Since your rice is already cooked you’ll cut some cooking time in the oven.

I promise you won’t mind eating this leftover brown rice risotto several days in a row.

Its creamy mushroom flavor is the best match for the clever Italian dish replica.

11. Leftover Brown Rice and Kale Salad with Goat Cheese and Almonds


We’ve got a new star ingredient on our list:

Goat cheese.

The contrast in colors, along with the premium ingredients, makes this salad an elegant dish.

Let’s not forget all the chewing satisfaction from the crunchy almonds, crisp kale, and creamy cheese in between.

Pro tip:

Massage the kale leaves for a couple of minutes to make them tender for an optimum chew.

12. Spinach, Feta & Brown Rice Casserole


Not too far from goat cheese, this casserole uses feta instead.

The spinach is also a good green swap for the kale.

It’s not as light as it seems:

With a generous amount of eggs and sour cream in the mix, I promise you’ll be full after this meal.

After it’s out of the oven, try to resist the smell while waiting for five minutes before you top it with more sour cream.

13. Baked “Mac and Cheese” Style Brown Rice


Have I gone too far on the healthy side?

Here’s a leftover brown rice dinner meal that’s not so healthy.

Satisfy your guilty “Mac and Cheese” cravings while enjoying the nutty flavor of brown rice.

The crushed tomato wells in between this cheesy landscape perfectly balance the creaminess of the dish.

Still feeling guilty?

Serve with a green salad on the side.

14. Middle Eastern Brown Rice Mujadara


Similar to the Egyptian koshary, the mujadara uses black lentils for plant-based protein alongside rice.

If you haven’t tasted any of the two dishes before, you’ll be surprised at how a vegetarian meal can come out so satisfying.

No wonder, they’re staples in the local cuisine.

Served with garlicky yogurt, mujadara is a true work of art with its nuts, raisins, and caramelized onions.

 15. Spinach Pecan Brown Rice Salad


Still, looking for ways to sneak some spinach into your kids’ meals?

Here’s a leftover brown rice main dish that masks the spinach with wild flavors.

Even better, you’ll sneak in some olive oil in the dressing.

With pecans, pickled olives, and feta cheese, there’s hope for the spinach to taste like the star of the show.

Quick tip:

Toast and chop the spinach for a bite-sized flavorful crunch.

How to Store Leftover Brown Rice?

Have five days passed since you cooked that brown rice?

If not, you’re safe.

Generally, cooked brown rice is safe to consume within four to six days.

However, it might be safer not to consume it once you reach the five-day limit.

As for frozen cooked brown rice, there’s no limit to when you safely eat it.

However, you probably won’t like its texture, because it loses quality with time.

Store the rice in air-tight containers or zip-lock bags.

It’s better to flatten the brown rice in zip-lock bags for freezing. 

When needed, reheat the rice in the microwave or add it to stir-fried vegetables on the pan.

leftover brown rice recipes hdr

Leftover Brown Rice Recipes: 15 Quick & Tasty Options

Ideas and recipes to cook with leftover brown rice


  • Rice Pudding
  • Indian Tomato Brown Rice
  • Cucumber Medley
  • Mexican Vegetable
  • Kimchi
  • Thai Soup
  • Indian Brown Rice Cake
  • Zucchini Fritters
  • Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad
  • Risotto and Mushrooms 
  • Kale Salad with Rice
  • Spinach & Feta
  • Mac and Cheese Style Rice
  • Mujadara
  • Spinach Pecan Salad


  • Choose your desired leftover brown rice recipe.
  • Gather and organize needed ingredients.
  • Create a tasty leftover brown rice recipe to complete your meal!

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