Leftover rice recipes – Zero waste ideas

Wondering what to do with the leftover rice? Sometimes we may end up cooking more rice than actually needed. It happens for everyone at some point. But don’t worry here I’ll share some simple recipes (breakfast, lunch and evening snacks) which are tasty as well as healthy. Let’s start from easiest recipes.

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Leftover rice Breakfast:

1. Pazhaya saadham


  • Leftover rice
  • Water


  1. Here, we’ll soak the leftover rice in the plain and clean water overnight.
  2. Don’t drain the water as the water mainly contains all the nutrients.
  3. We’ll have this as our breakfast with some onions and chillies as the side dish.

FYI, Pazhaya saadham is a Tamil word. This is considered one of the healthiest breakfast in India. Sounds weird right? Sometimes we should give a try for the things which are followed by our ancestors.

2. Akki roti with leftover rice


  • Leftover rice – 1 cup
  • Rice flour – 1 cup
  • Onion – 1 medium size (Finely chopped)
  • Carrot – 2 tablespoons (Finely shredded)
  • Cabbage – 2 tablespoons (Finely shredded)
  • Coriander leaves – 3 teaspoons (Finely shredded)
  • Curry leaves – 3 teaspoons (Finely shredded)
  • Cumin seeds – 2 teaspoons
  • Salt – As required
  • Hot water – As required


  1. Grind the cooked rice in the blender and make it a paste.
  2. Prepare the dough by adding rice flour to this paste.
  3. Add hot water to it occasionally as it is required to make soft rottis.
  4. Make small balls of dough and flatten it using a roller pin as you usually do while preparing your rottis or you can even use your hands to flatten it.
  5. Heat the pan and place the roti on it for a minute then flip the roti to cook for the other side.
  6. Your akki roti is ready. You can serve it with coconut chutney.

Leftover rice lunch recipes:

3. Vegetable fried rice


  • Rice 2 cups
  • Carrot – 4 tablespoons (Finely chopped)
  • Cabbage – 4 tablespoons (Finely chopped)
  • Beans – 4 tablespoons (Finely chopped)
  • Capsicum – 4 tablespoons (Finely chopped)
  • Spring onion – 3 tablespoons
  • Pepper ½ teaspoon (Crushed)
  • Garlic 1 tablespoon (Finely chopped)
  • Soya sauce – 2 tablespoons
  • Vinegar – 1 tablespoon
  • Salt – As required


  1. Heat the oil in a frypan and add garlic to it.
  2. Saute it for few seconds and add carrot, cabbage, beans and capsicum to it. Cook for 2 minutes.
  3. Now add soya sauce, vinegar and salt to taste.
  4. Finally, add the rice and the pepper and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
  5. Your vegetable fried rice is ready.

4. Curd rice


  • Leftover rice – 2 cups
  • Curd – 1 cup
  • Milk – ¼ cup
  • Ginger – ½ teaspoon (Finely chopped)
  • Mustard seeds – ½ teaspoon
  • Curry leaves – A bunch (Chopped)
  • Coriander leaves – A bunch (Chopped)
  • Pomegranate arils – ½ tablespoon
  • Oil – As required
  • Salt – As required
  • Add the curd and milk and salt to the rice and mix well with no lumps


  1. Heat a little amount of oil in a pan.
  2. Add the mustard seeds and saute it for few seconds. Then include the ginger and cook it for 30 seconds.
  3. Now, curry leaves and coriander leaves should be added and saute it for 3 to 5 seconds.
  4. Add this mixture to the rice and use the pomegranate arils for the toppings.

5. Lemon rice


  • Cooked rice – 2 cups
  • Lemon – 1 (Juiced)
  • Mustard seeds – ½ teaspoon
  • Black gram – ½ teaspoon
  • Peanuts -10 to 20
  • Cashew nuts – 5 to 10
  • Curry leaves – A bunch
  • Red chillies – 2
  • Turmeric – ½ teaspoon
  • Salt – As required


  1. Fry the peanuts and cashew nuts separately till it becomes golden brown and keep them separately.
  2. Now, heat the oil and add mustard seeds and after few seconds add the black gram.
  3. Saute it for few seconds and include the red chillies and curry leaves. Then cook for a minute at low flame.
  4. Add the turmeric and salt to taste. Mix well and switch off the flame.
  5. To the rice, add this mixture, the fried peanuts and cashew nuts and mix well.

Leftover rice snacks recipes:

6. Kurkure

Yes, Kurkure which we used to buy in plastic packaging. Want to know its recipe? You can check out the Kurkure recipe over here.

7. Rice Vadam


  • Leftover rice – 2 cups
  • Chilly powder – 1 tablespoon
  • Cumin seeds- 2 tablespoons
  • Salt – As required


  1. Grind your leftover rice in a blender by adding little amount of water and make it a paste (dough consistency and shouldn’t be watery).
  2. Now add the chilly powder, cumin seeds and required amount of salt to it.
  3. Mix them well and shape them into small balls.
  4. Place them on the plate and sundry for 3 to 4 days until it becomes completely dry.
  5. Once they are dried completely store them in the air-tight container. This will come for days.
  6. Whenever needed fry them in the oil as you usually do and serve it as a side dish for the Lunch.

8. Rice cutlet


  • Leftover rice – 2cups
  • Boiled potato – 1 (Mashed)
  • Onion – 1 (Finely chopped)
  • Green chillies – 2
  • Gram flour – 6 tablespoons
  • Cumin seeds – ½ teaspoon
  • Coriander powder – ½ teaspoon
  • Turmeric powder – 1 teaspoon
  • Chilly powder – As required
  • Salt – As required
  • Coriander leaves – A pinch
  • Oil – Few tablespoons


  1. Mix all these ingredients with the help of your hand and make the patties.
  2. Take the oil in the pan and heat it in the medium flame.
  3. Start frying the patties on both sides till it becomes golden brown.

Serve them with the tomato sauce for the evening bite. It tastes delicious.

9. Rice pakora


  • Leftover rice – 2 cups
  • Onion – 1(finely chopped)
  • Coriander leaves – A bunch
  • Gram flour – 3 tablespoons
  • Green chillies – 2 (finely chopped)
  • Cumin seeds – ¼ teaspoon
  • Salt – ½ teaspoon
  • Oil – As required (To fry)


  1. Take 2 cups of rice with other ingredients and mash it well using your hands.
  2. Heat the oil in a pan and drop the mixture in little quantities.
  3. Fry the pakora till it becomes golden brown.

Try these mouth-watering recipes and make sure to mention your favourite one. What do you do with your leftover rice? Share your recipes in the comments.

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