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Repurpose Leftover Rice Into A Delicious And Versatile Dish—Rice Pudding

When you find yourself with leftover rice, don’t let it go to waste. Transform it into a delicious and comforting rice pudding. This recipe offers a basic version of rice pudding, but feel free to get creative by adding your favorite flavors and toppings. The dish not only serves as a scrumptious way to tackle waste but also presents a delightful gluten-free option for those with dietary restrictions. Here are some of the key takeaways:

Why Rice Pudding?

  • Versatile: It can be a dessert, breakfast, or an afternoon snack.
  • Gluten-Free: A great option for those who can’t have flour-based treats.
  • Nutritious: Compared to other desserts, rice pudding is relatively more nutritious.

Basic Ingredients

  • White Rice: Usually made from leftover white rice.
  • Milk: Regular milk can be used, or a non-dairy milk for a vegan version.
  • Sugar and Cinnamon: For that sweet and spicy kick.

Variations and Customization

  • Vanilla extract: Adds extra flavor.
  • Eggs and Butter: Optional, but they can enhance the richness.
  • Lime or Lemon Zest: A zesty alternative to vanilla.
  • Nutmeg: Another spice that pairs well with the pudding.
  • Raisins: For added texture and flavor.


  1. In a saucepan, combine the leftover rice and milk over medium heat.
  2. Stir in the granulated sugar, ground cinnamon, and any optional flavorings (nutmeg, citrus zest) if desired.
  3. Cook the mixture, stirring frequently, until it comes to a gentle simmer. Let it simmer for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mixture thickens slightly.
  4. If using raisins or dried fruit, add them to the mixture and continue cooking for another 5 minutes, or until the rice is soft and the pudding reaches your desired consistency.
  5. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract.
  6. Allow the rice pudding to cool slightly before serving. It will thicken further as it cools.
  7. Serve the rice pudding warm or chilled, depending on your preference. You can enjoy it as a dessert, breakfast, or snack.
  8. If desired, top the rice pudding with additional cinnamon, a drizzle of honey or maple syrup, chopped nuts, fresh fruit, or any other toppings you like.

Garnish and Toppings

  • Chefs enjoy dressing it up with toppings like jam, marmalade, custard, dates, or ice cream.


  • For a creamy texture, you can beat an egg and temper it by gradually adding some of the hot rice mixture to it. Then, add the egg mixture back to the saucepan and cook for an additional minute to thicken.
  • Experiment with different spices and flavorings, such as cardamom, almond extract, or cocoa powder.
  • To make it vegan, use non-dairy milk (such as almond milk, coconut milk, or oat milk) and skip the egg.

Note: This recipe is versatile, so feel free to adjust the quantities and flavors to suit your preferences. Leftover rice pudding can be stored in the refrigerator for a few days and enjoyed as a satisfying treat whenever you desire.

Additional Perks

  • It can be served hot or cold, making it a great option for potlucks or picnics.

Rice pudding is more than just a way to use up leftover rice—it can be a culinary delight that is as nutritious as it is tasty, and as fancy or as simple as you’d like it to be. Whether you want to stick to traditional methods or get adventurous with your flavors and toppings, rice pudding is indeed a dish that can be enjoyed in a myriad of ways.

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