The Best Way to Use Up Leftover Rice

Rice Pudding
Photo by Rasmus Gundorff Sæderup on Unsplash

Rice is a staple in Asian cuisine, but if you’re living in the West, there is a chance you may have some leftover grains in your fridge that need to be put to use. Rice often forms the base for savory dishes, but with some spices and a few other ingredients, you can transform it into a wonderful rice pudding.


  • 1 cup uncooked white rice / 3 cups cooked rice
  • 3 to 4 cups milk
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar, plus more as needed
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt 
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon


  1. Place the rice in a large saucepan. Add 4 cups of milk for uncooked rice, and 3 cups of milk for cooked rice.
  2. Add in the sugar, salt, vanilla, and cinnamon. Bring the mixture to a vigorous simmer over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula so that the rice does not stick.
  3. Reduce the heat to a bare simmer and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the rice is very tender and the mixture starts to thicken. This should take around 20-22 minutes for uncooked rice; 10-12 minutes for cooked rice.
  4. The rice pudding will continue to thicken as it cools. Thin it out with more milk if desired, and serve warm or cold.