How to Make Congee with Leftover Rice: A Quick 4-Step Recipe

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A bowl of congee rice in wooden background with a text "HOW TO MAKE CONGEE WITH LEFTOVER RICE"

Have you ever wondered how to make congee with leftover rice? Is it even possible to get the same consistency and texture? 

Congee requires cooking rice in extra water for almost an hour to get that creamy porridge texture. However, I found that leftover rice can also be used to make congee, cutting down the cooking time significantly!

Step-by-Step Guide to Prepare Leftover Rice Congee

Leftover rice congee with boiled egg in a bowl.

A few days ago, I had some leftover rice and tried making congee instead of my usual fried rice. The dish only took me about 15 minutes to prepare and cook, but it turned out delicious! 

If you also want to cook tasty and quick congee from leftover rice,  follow the steps mentioned below. 

Step 1: Check if the Rice Is Edible

I suggest checking if the leftover rice is edible before cooking. 

Keep in mind that refrigerated leftover rice lasts 3-4 days, while frozen rice lasts about 2 months. Therefore, if the rice has a slimy texture, mold growth, or an acidic smell, discard it immediately.

Spoiled rice with molds.

Once you’ve ensured that the leftover rice looks fluffy and fresh, proceed to the next step.

Left over rice in a white bowl.

Step 2: Blend Leftover Rice With Water 

The most important step in making leftover rice congee is preparing the congee base. The process is quite straightforward!

Start by taking one and a half cups of water for each cup of leftover rice.

A bowl of water.

Next, combine leftover rice and water in the blender and blend until smooth

Blended rice and water in a bowl.

Note: Avoid over-blending rice and water, as the congee base might become too gooey. The rice grains should also look slightly disintegrated but not mushy.

Scooping blended rice mixture with a spoon in a bowl.

Step 3: Cook the Blended Rice Mixture

Once you’ve prepared the congee base, it’s time to start cooking.

I love extra flavors in my congee, so I have added ginger and garlic. However, you can skip them if you prefer plain congee. 

First, take a cooking pot and add minced ginger and garlic to half a tablespoon of vegetable oil. 

Added minced ginger and garlic to half a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a cooking pot.

Next, sauté minced ginger and garlic over medium-low heat until they become crisp and golden.

Sauteed garlic and ginger in a cooking pot.

Pour the blended rice mixture into the pot and thoroughly mix everything.

Added the blended rice mixture into the pot.

Then, cook the rice mixture over medium-low heat until it turns creamy. Try adding vegetable or chicken broth if the mixture looks gooey. 

Cooking the rice mixture over medium-low heat.

Transfer the congee to a bowl, and it is ready to eat!

Step 4: Garnish the Congee (Optional)

You can garnish the congee with as many toppings as you like to make it more appetizing.

I garnished my leftover rice congee with toasted black sesame seeds, spring onions, half a teaspoon of soy sauce or fish sauce, and a freshly boiled egg

You can also check out this elaborate recipe video for leftover rice congee. 

Best Garnishing Options for Congee

Garnishing options for congee in a plate.

I’ve never been one for plain congee. I prefer adding veggies, protein, and sauces to amp up the flavor!

If you also prefer flavorful congee, below are some popular garnishes that complement the dish perfectly.

  • Fried garlic 
  • Green onions 
  • Boiled egg 
  • Chinese sausage 
Chinese sausage in wooden board.
Fish sauce in a wooden board with chillies on the side.
Kimchi in a white bowl.
  • Shrimp 

Recipe Card – Leftover Rice Congee

Leftover rice congee with garnish on top.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Servings: One to Two People


  • 1 cup of leftover rice
  • 1 ½ cups of water
  • 1 minced ginger (optional)
  • 1 minced garlic (optional)
  • ½ tablespoon of vegetable oil (optional)
  • Toppings (as needed) – toasted black sesame seeds, spring onions, soy sauce or fish sauce, boiled egg


  1. Check if the leftover rice is fresh by ensuring there is no sliminess, mold, or unpleasant odor. 
  1. Blend 1 cup leftover rice with 1 ½  cups of water until smooth. Don’t over-blend!
  1. In a pot, sauté minced ginger and garlic in vegetable oil until golden. 
  1. Add the blended rice mixture to the pot and cook on medium-low heat until creamy. Your congee is ready!
  1. Transfer the congee to a bowl and garnish with toppings like spring onions and a boiled egg.

Final Thoughts 

All you have to do to cook leftover rice congee is blend the rice with water and simmer the mixture over medium-low flame for five to ten minutes.

Once done, you can garnish the congee with the toppings of your choice.

FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions 

Is congee just overcooked rice?

Congee requires slow-cooking rice in water until the rice grains break. However, it isn’t the same as overcooked rice. Unlike overcooked rice, congee has a smoother and less sticky texture. 

Why is congee healthier than rice?

Congee is healthier than plain rice due to its easier digestibility for sensitive stomachs, higher water content, and nutrient-richness, especially if you add more toppings.

Why do you soak rice for congee? 

If you prepare congee from scratch, you should soak the rice overnight. This greatly reduces cooking time and gives a smoother consistency.

How do you make leftover rice congee without a blender?

You can make congee without a blender by adding one cup of leftover rice to a cooking pot with one and a half cups of water. Cook over medium-low heat for 20 to 30 minutes or until you get a creamy consistency. 

What to do with leftover congee? 

You can try reheating the congee with chicken broth and topping it with vegetables or eggs. Another option is to shape congee into pancakes and shallow-fry until crisp.

What is the cooked rice-to-water ratio for congee?

The congee rice-to-water ratio is approximately 1:1.5, meaning 1 cup of rice requires 1 ½ cups of water.

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