Making Leftover Risotto Rice: Does It Taste the Same?

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Leftover rice in bowl and risotto in white bowl placed in wooden board with a text "leftover rice risotto"

Risotto always needs raw, fresh rice grains. However, what if you want to use leftover rice for it? Can you make leftover risotto rice

Out of desperation, I have used leftover rice once to make a risotto. 

The process remained the same as I added olive oil, garlic, mushrooms, and broth to the cooked rice. The result? It was delicious but had a few flaws.

You can make risotto from leftover rice. However, it will lack the creaminess and flavor of an authentic risotto. The cooked rice won’t absorb as many flavors or release starch as uncooked rice. This type of risotto is known as “faux-sotto” and takes less time to prepare.

Can You Make Risotto From Leftover Rice?

Leftover white rice: already cooked.

When I first heard about risotto, I thought you just had to boil the rice and mix it with a creamy sauce.

One day, I watched an episode of Masterchef Australia where the contestants had to cook risotto and realized my mistake.

Unlike traditional rice dishes, risotto doesn’t use cooked rice right from the start

Instead, you first have to sauté raw rice in olive oil and then cook it in several cups of broth. This method allows the grains to soak up the flavors while cooking and release the starch responsible for the risotto’s creamy texture.  

If you use leftover rice for risotto, the final dish will be less creamy and flavorful than an authentic risotto. Most people term it as ‘faux-sotto’ because you don’t cook the raw rice in a broth here. 

I have noticed that faux-sotto has one advantage over risotto. It barely takes five to ten minutes to cook, whereas regular risotto may take over 20 minutes!

Step-By-Step Guide to Cook Leftover Risotto Rice

Leftover risotto rice can never beat the freshness of an actual risotto. 

However, when I don’t have the time to cook risotto from scratch, I go for this quick 5-minute recipe to make the dish using leftover rice. 

If you have some extra leftover rice, I assure you this recipe will make a delicious Faux-sotto out of it. 

Ingredients Required:

  • 1 cup of leftover rice (at room temperature)
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 to 4 sliced garlic cloves
  • ¼ cup of finely chopped onions
  • 3 to 4 sliced mushrooms 
  • ¼ cup of vegetable or chicken broth 
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice 
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)
  • Cheese and parsley for garnishing 

Step 1: Sauté Garlic in a Cooking Pot

Place a stainless steel or non-stick cooking pot over medium-high heat. Add two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. 

Then, throw in three to four sliced garlic cloves and fry until they turn slightly golden.

Step 2: Add Finely Chopped Onions 

In this step, add ¼ cup of finely chopped onions and sauté it along with the garlic. Continue the process until they turn translucent.

If you don’t like the strong flavor of onion, I suggest using shallots, as they are milder.

Sauteed garlic and onion in a cooking pot with a logo of Fooducopia on the upper left side of the image.

Step 3: Toss in the Mushrooms and Cook on Medium-High Heat

Once you have added garlic and onion, add three to four sliced mushrooms. 

Then, put a lid on the cooking pot and let everything cook on medium-high heat for five minutes.

Added sliced mushrooms in the cooking pot with a logo of Fooducopia on the upper left side of the image.

Step 4: Add the Leftover Rice and Break Any Chunks

After the vegetables and mushrooms have cooked, turn the heat to low and combine the leftover rice. 

You can use any rice that you want. Just make sure that you break any chunks with a wooden spoon. I have used leftover Arborio rice here!

Leftover rice added to the cooking pot with a logo of Fooducopia on the upper left side of the image.

Step 5: Pour the Vegetable or Chicken Broth 

Pour ¼ cup of broth and one tablespoon of lemon juice into the cooking pot. Stir the ingredients at low heat and ensure each rice grain is covered in broth. 

Broth added to the cooking pot with a logo of Fooducopia on the upper left side of the image.

Step 6: Cook on Low Heat 

Continue stirring and cooking the risotto until the rice absorbs all the liquid. You can add more broth in this step if your risotto looks dry. 

Step 7: Sprinkle Salt and Pepper

Once the rice has absorbed the broth and has a creamy texture, sprinkle salt and pepper to taste. Then, stir for a minute or two. 

Pepper and salt added to the cooking pot with a logo of Fooducopia on the upper left side of the image.

Since we also have to add butter, use less salt than usual! Otherwise, your risotto may taste too salty. 

Step 8: Add Butter, Chopped Parsley, and Cheese

In the last step, add two tablespoons of butter and mix it well with the risotto. 

Butter added to the risotto with a logo of Fooducopia on the upper left side of the image.

You can also garnish your leftover rice risotto with fresh parsley and parmesan cheese!

Risotto garnished with fresh parsley and parmesan cheese with a logo of Fooducopia on the upper left side of the image.

If you want a vegan version of faux-sotto, I recommend watching this YouTube video.

How to Make Your Leftover Risotto Rice Tastier?

Shrimp, arugula pesto, and brown rice.

Sometimes, I like to enhance my leftover risotto rice with additional flavors. Trust me, adding just a few more things can turn a basic faux-sotto into a premium one. 

Here are some ingredients to make your leftover risotto rice even tastier:

1. Use Truffle Oil

Truffle oil has an intense flavor, which can add a unique earthiness to your risotto. It also has a slightly sweet and nutty taste. 

Note that truffle oil is available in two types, namely, white truffle oil and black truffle oil. 

If you like mild dishes, opt for white truffle oil, as black truffle oil has a bolder flavor

2. Add Dried Herbs 

Truffle oil is pretty expensive and is also not readily available! The second-best option is to sprinkle some dried herbs onto your leftover risotto rice. 

I love to sprinkle oregano generously on my risotto because it adds a slight sweetness and freshness. You can also use dried basil or parsley leaves. 

3. Make Use of Vegetables or Meat

In this article, I have shown a basic mushroom risotto recipe. You can spice it up by adding exotic vegetables like zucchini, asparagus, or broccoli. Each vegetable imparts its unique flavor to your risotto. 

Another option is to add roasted chicken or grilled prawns on top of your leftover rice risotto. The combination of meat and creamy risotto rice is heavenly!

4. Use More Flavorful Cheese Varieties

Most people use parmesan cheese for risotto. However, you can add rich cheese varieties like Pecorino Romano (tangy), Gruyére (buttery), or Mascarpone (creamy) for flavor enhancement.

Final Thoughts

A quick-fix risotto from leftover rice is better than no risotto at all! 

All you have to do is cook the leftover rice with the proper ingredients, stir everything well, and eat it fresh. You can also make the dish more impressive by using additional ingredients like truffle oil, dried herbs, vegetables, or cheese. 

Saniya Baxi Avatar


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