What to do with leftover cold hard rice?

We have all done it. Ordered too much take out or made too much rice and stuck it in the fridge. Now it is cold and hard. Don’t throw it away. You could put it in freezer ziploc bags and freeze it. Or what I usually do is make it into fried rice. This is another great meal that can clean out the fridge. I throw in lots of veggies and any leftover protein. (except fish). I’d serve fish on the side. My kids love to take fried rice to school for lunch. This works better with brown rice than white.

Basic Fried Rice

Hardware- nonstick deep sided with lid skillet,  frypan, or wok, wooden spoon, peanut butter knife, small bowl, fork

Software- cooked white or brown rice (I prefer brown), garlic powder, low sodium soy sauce, sesame oil, toasted sesame seeds, 2-3 Tablespoons butter, about a cup water, for fresh veggies (I use carrots, green beans, mushrooms, corn), I always keep a frozen bag of mixed veggie in the freezer in case I’m out of fresh. It really does taste fine. My kids like the blend of carrots, green beans, corn, and lima beans. (They think the lima beans are edaname beans, which they love), egg, cooked chicken, pork, sausage, or beef. In desperate situations, Spam or hot dog. ground black pepper (optional)

“AHN” – Adult Help Needed to use the stovetop


  • On a med to med high heat melt the butter. Roll the pan so it evenly coats the bottom.
  • Add the frozen Veggies. A good ratio is veggie amount is equal to  1/3 the amount of rice.
  • If you are using uncooked meat, cut them into bite size pieces and once the veggies are thawed add the meat into the pan. cook til the meat if fully cooked.
  • Add the cold hard rice to the pan.
  • Pour water over the rice to dampen, not drown, and put the lid on to let the rice re-steam.
  • Stirring everything together allows the rice to get a more even consistency.
  • If you are using Cooked chicken, sausage, pork, or beef. Cube or shred it and add it now.
  • Once it has soften, use the 3 second pour rule to soy sauce until you achieve the saltiness you like. See note. Keep stirring.
  • Then sprinkle garlic powder and black pepper evenly on the rice, keep flipping the rice over so that it seasons evenly and doesn’t burn.
  • Drizzle sesame oil. Sesame oil has a strong flavor so a little goes a long way.
  • Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds and stir again.
  • In a separate omelet pan, make a scrambles egg. Add it to the fried rice and stir.
  • turn off the heat and cover with the lid til ready to serve.

Note: Sesame oil will go bad  I didn’t give you exact amounts, because I don’t know how much left over rice you have. So use this as a guide. Add seasonings slowly because you can always add more if you need more, but you can’t take away a seasoning if you added too much. Enjoy.

Some folks have asked for measurements so here are some for you to use as a general guideline.

1 C of each Veggie, 8 C of cooked rice, (brown rice holds up better if you are using nonrefrigerated rice.) 1 C water to rehydrate rice that is hard from the fridge. 1/3 C soy sauce + 2 TB more, 1/2 Tablespoon garlic powder, 2-3 tsp of crushed sesame seeds.


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