I remember when I first tried making Spanish rice at home, it was always easy to make more than I needed.
You probably know how nothing is more discouraging than having leftover rice in the fridge and not knowing what to do with it.
But you know what?
This recurring situation motivated me to look online and ask around to find various dishes to incorporate my Spanish rice leftovers into.
So, without further ado, here’s a list of 15 easy-to-make scrumptious leftover Spanish rice recipes!
1. Mexican Fried Rice
I couldn’t possibly begin this list with any dish other than the simple Mexican fried rice.
Fried rice is one of the few dishes that are made better with leftover rice, so your leftover Spanish rice is ideal for this dish.
This dish combines the flavors of traditional Mexican rice with the textures of Asian fried rice to create a delectable fusion of cuisines. Yum!
You can eat it as a meal on its own or with fried eggs.
2. Pulled Pork Enchiladas With Spanish Rice and Spicy Creamy Sauce
These pulled pork enchiladas are bursting with complex, rich flavors that’ll keep you coming back for more.
The tropical salsa, raspberry chipotle finishing glaze, Spanish spices, and savory pulled pork all complement each other perfectly.
This scrumptious filling is then wrapped in warm, fluffy tortillas and smothered in a creamy cheese sauce to create the ultimate comfort food.
The best part?
You can skip a few steps because the rice is already prepared.
3. Leftover Spanish Rice Vada
In this Spanish-Indo fusion, you get these donut-shaped savory pastries that are crispy on the outside and spongy on the inside.
The recipe is simple: mix the Spanish rice with salt, pepper, ginger chili paste, chopped ginger, and coriander leaves.
Cook this batter in a nonstick pan for four to six minutes, or until it reaches a dough-like consistency.
After it cools, divide the dough into smaller pieces, flatten them, shape them like a donut, then fry them in hot oil until they become golden brown.
You’ll find that these vadas have a distinct blend of Spanish and Indian flavors, and there’s almost no greasy taste or smell.
4. Spanish Rice Soup
If you’re looking for an easy-to-make, hearty soup to warm you on a cold day, this is for you.
This Spanish rice soup only takes 30 minutes, and most of the work goes into sauteing the onions, garlic, and celery.
Once they’ve caramelized a bit, toss in the remaining Tex-Mex ingredients and add the rice a few minutes before serving.
You can store any leftover Spanish rice soup for the next day. It will still taste just as good, if not better.
5. One-Pot Mexican Casserole
Speaking of hearty meals, this one-pot Mexican casserole will keep you warm and satisfied.
It also won’t require much effort or result in a cluttered kitchen.
In one pot, you’ll cook the ground beef with the onion, and then add in the leftover rice, corn, tomato sauce, broth, and salsa.
When the rice has warmed up, cover the pot with cheese and let it melt.
This goes way beyond a simple rice topping, but it’s so easy and packs a good-sized punch.
Needless to say, this casserole is a wonderful Mexican ground beef idea that’s perfect for a mid-week dinner.
6. Pulled Pork Spanish Rice
Say it’s the tail end of the week, you’re tired from cooking, and you’ve got some leftover pulled pork and Spanish rice from taco night.
This pulled pork Spanish rice dish is your savior.
All you have to do is sweat some onions, garlic, corn, green chilis, and spices in olive oil.
Then, add your leftover Spanish rice and a splash of broth to soften it up again. When the rice has absorbed the broth, stir in the pulled pork.
That’s it. Dinner is ready!
7. Crispy Spanish Rice Arancini
Crispy Spanish rice arancini are popular appetizers among both children and adults.
This finger-licking three-ingredient dish combines the Spanish rice’s savory spices and the Italian ooey-gooey arancini.
What’s not to like?
My favorite thing about this recipe is that it can be made ahead of time and frozen until needed. You can also serve it as a snack, a party appetizer, or even a dinner side dish.
8. Mexican Chicken Soup With Leftover Spanish Rice
Nothing’s more mouthwatering than combining the classic Mexican chicken soup with Spanish rice.
You’ve got each Spanish rice grain soaking up the wonderful, punchy flavors of the Mexican chicken soup.
So, if you want to make soup for dinner but want it to be filling, this is the recipe for you.
The beauty of this recipe is that you’re not limited to a single set of ingredients. It can be made with any leftovers you have in your fridge.
9. Mexican Fiesta Rice Cups
You don’t have to wonder what to do with leftover Spanish rice when you can make jolly Tex-Mex rice cups for lunch, snacking, or as a side dish
Mexican fiesta rice cups are simple, quick but flavorful one-bite snacks that are sure to please everyone.
Both kids and adults will devour the rice cups and beg you to make more for them.
10. One-Pot Spanish Rice with Chorizo
If you’re looking for a quick recipe that won’t leave you with a mess of dirty dishes, this one-pot Spanish rice chorizo recipe is for you.
All this dish needs is a pot and 30 minutes to spare.
Chorizo is mainly spicy, with Mexican chorizo being more vinegary and peppery and Spanish chorizo being more garlicky and sweet.
The rice complements and balances the chorizo’s strong flavors.
When combined with the cooked vegetables and beans, you have a filling and satisfying meal.
11. Mexican Stuffed Bell Peppers
This recipe is my ultimate go-to dinner when I have bell peppers and leftover Spanish rice.
Aside from the rice and bell peppers, all you need are taco meat, seasoned canned black beans, your favorite cheese, and spices.
The combination of spicy and savory Mexican flavors with sweet bell peppers creates an unrivaled flavor profile.
Topped with melted cheesy goodness, this dish simply hits all the spots.
12. Leftover Spanish Rice Croquettes
Crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, these deep-fried Italian rice balls are to die for!
This recipe is also a great way to use up leftover Spanish rice, giving these moreish Italian rice croquettes a Spanish twist.
If you want a healthier option, I recommend brushing these delicious rice balls with a bit of olive oil and baking them in the oven.
Once cooked, you can serve them as an appetizer with your favorite dipping sauce, or as a crunchy late-night snack.
13. Arroz con Calamares (Spanish Squid Rice)
You’ve probably heard of the famous Paella, but have you heard of Spain’s equally tasty Arroz con Calamares?
With its tangy, umami, and slightly spicy flavors, this Spanish squid rice packs a punch.
It’s a simple dish to prepare for anyone looking to enjoy an authentic Spanish dish, and it’s often served as a light dinner with a side of crunchy baguette.
You can make the tomato sauce and calamari in under 40 minutes.
Then it’s just a matter of heating the Spanish rice and letting it soak up all of the tangy, umami, spicy goodness.
14. Crockpot Taco Rice Soup
We’ve all had the experience of accidentally doubling the ingredients for taco night.
Luckily, you won’t have to make another taco night the next day with this crockpot taco recipe soup.
Just put all of the leftover taco ingredients, minus the Spanish rice, in a slow cooker until everything is emulsified.
Right before it’s time to serve, add the rice, stir it through, and let the soup simmer for 15 minutes.
15. Instant Pot Burritos
You can make a burrito with leftover ingredients and it’ll taste just as good as one made with freshly cooked ingredients.
This is what to make with leftover Spanish rice.
Simply combine it with the beef and corn filling in a pot, and the rice will absorb the aromatic Tex-Mex spices.
The grated cheese will give your filling a creamy, tangy flavor, while the fresh cilantro will cut through all the spice and grease.
If you stop here, you’ll have these simple but delectable Tex-Mex instant pot burritos.
You can still add some spicy guacamole and shredded lettuce for some extra flavor dimension.
How to Store Leftover Spanish Rice
If you have some extra cooked Spanish rice, whether intentionally or unintentionally, you’ll need to store it properly if you want to use it in another dish.
Step 1: Cool It Quickly and Completely
Ideally, you should store any amount of rice that you won’t use right away after cooking.
Because cooked rice is very moist, leaving it at room temperature creates a breeding ground for bacterial growth.
Spread your leftover Spanish rice on a baking sheet or place it in a container before refrigerating or freezing it. Place it in the refrigerator to cool completely.
Step 2: Store in an Airtight Container
Transfer the cooled rice to an airtight container and gently squish it down to remove any air pockets. Seal it tightly, and you’re ready to go.
If you plan to freeze the rice, place it in a Ziploc bag. Just make sure to get rid of as much as you can before closing the bag.
Step 3: Place It in the Refrigerator/Freezer
After sealing the leftover Spanish rice in an airtight container, you can store it in the refrigerator for three to four days.
Alternatively, lay the rice Ziploc bags flat in the freezer to save space and help the rice defrost faster when you need it.
The good news is:
You can store rice in the freezer for one to two months, giving you plenty of time to find leftover Spanish rice ideas.
Step 4: Reheat Rice
Allow frozen rice to thaw in the refrigerator or on the counter until the Ziploc bag unsticks from the rice before transferring it to a bowl.
To reheat refrigerated or frozen Spanish rice:
Spray the top of the rice with water and cover with a paper towel. Then, microwave the rice for one to two minutes, or until it’s hot throughout.
If you’re making hot dishes like soups and stews, you don’t need to thaw frozen rice. Simply add it to the dish while it’s on the stove.
What to Make with Leftover Spanish Rice
- Mexican Fried Rice
- Pulled Pork Enchiladas
- Rice Vada
- One-Pot Mexican Casserole
- Pulled Pork
- Chicken Soup
- Fiesta Rice Cup
- Spanish Rice With Chorizo
- Arroz con Calamares
- Crockpot Taco
- Instant Pot Burritos
- Choose your desired leftover Spanish rice recipe.
- Gather and organize needed ingredients.
- Create a tasty leftover Spanish rice recipe to complete your meal!