Got leftover rice and are looking to make a simple rice dish for tonight’s dinner? Or are you simply searching for new ways to cook with rice? Whatever the reason may be, here are 20 fun and tasty rice recipes that are easy to make and that your entire family will love!

I grew up eating rice for breakfast, lunch, dinner, even as a snack.

If one of your parents is Asian, I’m sure you can identify with the above statement since rice is a staple in Asian cuisine. It can be served as a side to complement a stir fry or a curry, topped with a savory sauce or dry toppings, shaped into rolls stuffed with fish or vegetables, etc…

When it comes to cooking with rice, the options are endless.

There are so many different ways to cook with rice that I thought it would be fun to create a roundup of my favorite rice based dishes. In this roundup you will find rice recipes that are simple and easy to make and some that require a bit more work.

If you often find yourself wondering what to eat with rice, or what dishes to make with rice, this list should give you plenty of ideas to start with!

1. Basic Chinese Fried Rice

basic fried rice recipe

Everyone should have a basic fried rice recipe they can go to for a quick meal that can be made with leftovers. Making fried rice is so easy and versatile, plus, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like it! You can adjust the taste to your liking and add your favorite vegetables and proteins to it.

Really, the only ingredient you absolutely must have in your pantry to make fried rice, is rice! All the other ingredients can be substituted or omitted.

Type of rice needed: White medium grain or brown rice.


2. Omurice


A childhood favorite of mine, omurice is a popular Japanese home style meal that combines what is essentially ketchup rice and an omelette. Omurice is the quintessential kid friendly meal that you will see on family restaurant menus across Japan. It’s usually topped with an American flag in okosama lunches, which are kid size meals.

The dish is very simple – tomato and ketchup flavored rice stir fried with veggies and sometimes sausages, wrapped in an omelette topped with more ketchup. It’s really yummy!

Type of rice needed: Japanese short grain white rice. Click here to learn how to cook Japanese rice.


3. Congee

basic congee - Chinese rice porridge

I fell love with congee a couple of weeks after moving to Hong Kong.

A good friend of mine took me to a whole in the wall congee restaurant and told me I would fall head over heels in love with the dish.

To be honest, I didn’t expect to enjoy a bowl of porridge this much since it looked so bland. What looked like plain mushy white rice ended up being the most comforting bowl of chicken porridge I had ever tasted. The rice was silky soft and the broth delicately seasoned to perfection. On the table were various toppings to add such as fried shallots, cilantro, scallions, dried shrimp, and ginger.

That congee restaurant became a regular eating spot during the three years I lived there. I can still see myself walking down the street in Causeway Bay, pushing through crowds of people just to have a taste of that dreamy congee.

Nowadays I make congee at home when I have a little rice left or whenever I feel under the weather.

Type of rice needed: Long grain white rice.


4. Inari Sushi

Inari Sushi

When it comes to inari sushi, or inarizushi, you either love it or hate it.

The dish is very simple – sushi rice that’s been stuffed in seasoned deep fried tofu pockets. What makes it such a love it or hate it thing is the flavor combination – sweet, vinegary, and salty. Some people like my husband find it too overwhelming, while I, on the other hand, love it.

It can be served as a side to noodle soups such as udon, or as part of a homemade meal. In Japan, inari sushi is also popular on special occasions such as new year’s celebration, a funeral, or a wedding.

It’s very easy to make and fits into a bento box nicely, for your kids to take to school. It also makes a yummy, somewhat healthy late night snack.

Type of rice needed: Japanese short grain white rice. Click here to learn how to cook Japanese rice.


5. Ochazuke

Ochazuke is a popular Japanese dish served after a meal to use up the leftover rice. The concept is very simple – pour hot green tea over the leftover rice and top with various toppings such as fresh herbs, nori, bubu arare (crispy puffed rice), sesame seeds, wasabi, pickled plum, or salmon.

What you get is a tasty and savory green tea flavored soup that’s delicate and comforting. It’s a great way to end a meal!

Type of rice needed: Japanese short grain white rice.


6. Onigiri


My favorite snack of all time!

Onigiri are Japanese rice balls that are stuffed with various ingredients such as pickled plum, katsuobushi (bonito flakes), miso, tuna mayonnaise, mentaiko (spicy cod roe), tarako (pollock roe), pickles, and wrapped in nori (seaweed).

You can find onigiri sold in all the convenience stores across Japan as they are the nation’s most popular snack.

Making onigiri at home is very easy and only a few ingredients are needed – cooked Japanese rice, nori, and whatever filling you want to use. This is at the top of my list of kid friendly snacks to take to school. They fit so nicely in a bento box!

Type of rice needed: Japanese short grain white rice.


7. Arroz Caldo

filipino arroz caldo

Arroz caldo is a famous Filipino dish that’s very similar to congee but uses sticky rice instead of regular rice, and comes topped with shredded chicken and hard boiled eggs. The result is a light and savory porridge that’s as satisfying and comforting as a bowl of chicken noodle soup.

My good friend Marivic grew up eating arroz caldo and this recipe is her mother’s creation. While most arroz caldo recipes use sticky rice, this version is made using regular white rice.

Type of rice needed: Glutinous rice or medium grain white rice.


8. Seafood Paella

seafood paella

There is so much flavor in this paella that you don’t need anything else to go with it. It’s a main dish that’s both filling and satisfying.

Packed with savory, briny and smoky flavors, this classic Spanish rice dish will keep your palate excited bite after bite after bite.

Type of rice needed: Short grain or medium grain white rice.


9. Bibimbap


Bibimbap is such a fun dish to eat and isn’t that hard to make either!

While it may look tedious to make, seasoning or pickling each topping doesn’t take that long. The bibimbap sauce also doesn’t require a lot of work and can be made using ingredients that are easy to find. This is one of my favorite recipes to make when I want something substantial but also light and nutritious.

Type of rice needed: Short grain or medium grain white rice.


10. Warm Asian Salmon Salad

warm Asian salmon salad

If all rice salads were this good, I would eat them all the time!

The combination of sweet mandarin oranges, soy sauce, and melt-in-mouth tender salmon is simply wow!

It’s an explosion of flavor and talk about being good for you too – in addition the ingredients I’ve already listed, this salad also contains almonds, spinach, edamame, red onion, and sesame seeds.

Type of rice needed: Whole grain, brown, or long grain rice.


11. Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers

vegetarian rice stuffed peppers

These colorful vegetarian stuffed peppers make a wonderful side to southwestern and Mexican inspired dishes.

They are stuffed with brown rice, black beans, mixed vegetables, seasoned with chili powder, and cumin powder, and topped with avocado and melted parmesan cheese.

They are so good you won’t be able to stop at one but no need to worry – since they are chock full of vitamins, indulging in them is a virtually guilt-free experience!

Type of rice needed: Brown rice.


12. Light Spring Minestrone Soup

spring minestrone soup

Sometimes there’s nothing better than a comforting bowl of soup filled with vegetables to make me feel good.

I’ve omitted the tomatoes to give this soup a cleansing feel, especially since the addition of beans and rice make it quite filling.

It can be served as a main with a side salad, or as a starter to a light lunch or dinner.

Type of rice needed: Brown or whole grain rice.


13. Tofu and Vegetable Poke Bowl


I love me a poke bowl any day of the week!

And while I absolutely adore the classic poke bowl served with raw fish, I sometimes crave the veggie and tofu kind.

Whenever I want to cut back on seafood I make myself a poke bowl topped with plenty of colorful vegetables and dress it with a simple soy and citrus sauce. This recipe is very easy to make and just like with fried rice, most of the ingredients are interchangeable.

Type of rice needed: Japanese short grain white rice.


14. Kimchi Fried Rice

kimchi fried rice

Smoky, pungent, spicy, salty, chewy… So yummy!

And you won’t believe how easy it is to put together. You can make kimchi fried rice in just 15 minutes and the best part? Very little prepping is required! Make it more filling by topping it with a fried egg, or skip the egg for a completely vegan meal.

Type of rice needed: Japanese short grain white rice.


15. Temari Sushi

temari sushi

I had so much fun making these temari sushi balls last Christmas! And I had even more fun watching my dinner guests oohing and aahing over the designs I had created.

Full disclosure: This might be the hardest recipe to make in this entire roundup but it’s totally worth it because temari sushi is so delicious.

You will need to have access to sushi grade fish, or you can skip the fish and use thinly shaved cucumbers, radishes and carrots, lettuce leaves and herbs, sesame seeds, or any other ingredients that sticks and molds well with sticky Japanese rice.

The goal is to create bite size rice balls decorated with fun designs for kids and adults to enjoy ❤️.

Type of rice needed: Japanese short grain white rice.


16. Maki Sushi

maki sushi

These mini sushi rolls can be made at home using any type of ingredient as a filling.

You will need a bamboo mat, cooked Japanese rice, rice vinegar, sugar, nori sheets, and various fillings such as pickles, avocado, cucumber, sweet potato, sushi grade tuna or salmon, cooked shrimp, etc…

Maki sushi are always a popular choice to serve as party appetizers or as part of a Japanese family dinner.

Type of rice needed: Japanese short grain white rice. Click here to learn how to cook Japanese rice.


17. California Roll

Even though the California roll is a Western invention that doesn’t exist in Japan, it’s still considered to be a favorite among sushi lovers. Using ingredients that are easy to find (avocado, imitation crab, cucumber) means it’s a breeze to make at home!

I make these all the time since they are cheaper to make at home than to order them from a restaurant. Plus, I like to add variety to my rolls by adding or leaving out certain ingredients.

Type of rice needed: Japanese short grain white rice.


18. Yakimeshi

japanese fried rice - yakimeshi

If you ask me what my favorite type of fried rice is I would have to say it’s yakimeshi, or Japanese fried rice.

What makes yakimeshi different from Chinese fried rice is the use of Japanese short grain rice, which is stickier than regular medium grain rice, and the addition of shredded lettuce, which adds a lovely crunch and an almost refreshing taste.

I also find the flavor of yakimeshi to be less aggressive than other types of fried rice.

Type of rice needed: Japanese short grain white rice.


19. Spicy Tuna Roll

One last sushi roll recipe for you to contemplate making in your kitchen.

This one is a “poor man’s version” of the classic tekkamaki, or tuna roll. For this recipe, canned tuna is used instead of sushi grade tuna, and is mixed with a spicy sriracha mayonnaise.

The result is a spicy tuna roll that’s so tasty, no dipping is needed!

But rather than serving these for a dinner party (let’s be honest – they aren’t very pretty to look at), I like to snack on them while watching my favorite show on Netflix.

Type of rice needed: Japanese short grain white rice.


20. Thai Mango Sticky Rice

mango sticky rice

This roundup wouldn’t be complete without the addition of a very famous Thai rice dessert – mango sticky rice.

The combination of sweet chewy rice, creamy coconut milk, and fruity mango, is pure perfection. Sweet but not too sweet, this is one dessert I always leave room for when dining at a Thai restaurant.

Type of rice needed: Glutinous rice (also called sweet or sticky rice). Click here to learn how to make sticky rice .


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