What To Do with Leftover Spanish Rice: Three Must-Tries 

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Plate of Spanish rice with garnish.

Not to food shame you or anything, but remember that leftover Spanish rice patiently waiting for you? 

Yes, that. 

Good. Now that I’ve jogged your memory…

Let’s start this article with you getting it out of the fridge from its current sad, solitary existence and thinking of a way to revive it. 

I mean, it was with your own volition to save it for another day. And that day has finally arrived. 

So, suck it up. Here’s what we’re going to do with your leftover Spanish rice.

The Morning After: What Spanish Rice?

I see you doing your version of walk of shame in your kitchen right now. I don’t mind the pjs or the bed head. 

What I do mind is you forgetting that leftover. 

Roll out of bed, roll up your sleeves. 

I’m about to take you on another culinary adventure. No questions asked. 

While you’re still slowly waking up and drinking your coffee (or tea), let’s talk about Spanish rice for a bit.

Spanish rice goes by many names…

Spanish rice on a plate.

The most common one is Mexican rice. But if you want to practice rolling your r’s, you can call it Arroz Rojo or Arroz a la Mexicana. 

Wait, wait. Mexican? 

Yup. This totally got me, too. 

Despite being called Spanish rice, it’s actually of Mexican origins. 

And while this Mexican rice is left lifeless in your fridge, it sure is the life of the party in any Tex-Mex fiesta. 

Hence, let’s do it some justice and figure out what to do with leftover Spanish rice.

Pudding Leftovers in A Spotlight 

Spanish rice pudding on a bowl.

When life gives you leftover rice, make rice pudding!

Not to call this a total rip off of the classic dessert, but yeah.

Still! I would argue that we’re just giving the typical rice pudding a Mexican twist. 


  • 2 cups of Spanish rice leftovers
  • 2 cups of milk (your choice)
  • ¼ cup of white sugar
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp of ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • ¼ cup of raisins (only if you’re a fan)

Cooking Utensils

  • Saucepan
  • Whisk
  • Bowl


  1. Whisk together your Spanish rice, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt over medium heat. 
  2. Let it simmer in the saucepan for 15-20 minutes. Make sure you stir frequently to achieve a thick creamy pudding consistency.
  3. Remove from the heat and add the raisins if you like.
  4. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and dust off with cinnamon for that added garnish.

Becoming a Mexican Soup-erstar 

Spanish rice soup on a bowl.

Is it chilly? A cozy blanket and a bowl of hot soup sounds enticing right about now. 

If not the pudding, then go for a bowl of Spanish rice turned soup. 

It’s not just a side dish anymore, it can be the star on its own with the proper nudge. 


  • 2 cups of Spanish rice
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 small diced onion
  • 2 cloves of minced garlic
  • 1 diced bell pepper
  • 1 diced medium carrot
  • 1 diced celery stalk
  • 4 cups of broth (your choice again)
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes ( 14.5oz)
  • 1 can of black beans (15 oz)
  • 1 tsp of ground cumin
  • ½ tsp of dried oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and pepper (we’re gonna let the ancestors guide us with this one, refer to our red beans & rice discussion)
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Sour cream 

Cooking Utensils

  • Large pot
  • Spatula
  • Ladle
  • Bowl


  1. Using the large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Then add the onion and garlic.
  2. Sauté for about 3-4 minutes until the onion is translucent and the garlic is fragrant. 
  3. Add the bell pepper, carrot, and celery stalk. Cook for 5-7 minutes until the veggies soften.
  4. Sprinkle cumin, paprika, oregano, a pinch of salt and pepper into the pot. Make sure to coat everything evenly. 
  5. Next, add in the broth and tomatoes. This will become the base of the soup. 
  6. Throw in the black beans and bay leaf, then stir well.
  7. Bring the mixture to a boil. 
  8. Let it simmer for 15 minutes on low heat.
  9. Stir in the Spanish rice while allowing the soup to simmer for another 10 minutes.
  10. Finish by adding the lime juice. 

Stuffing It All In a Bell

Four Spanish rice stuffed bell peppers.

There’s nowhere to hide, not in the fridge, and most definitely not in the trash can!

But wait, I think I might have another place in mind.

Why not, stuff it all in bell pepper? 


  • 2 cups of Spanish rice
  • 4 bell peppers (already seeded and with the top off)
  • ½ cup salsa
  • ½ shredded cheese (your choice)
  • 2 sliced green onions
  • 1 clove of minced garlic
  • 1 tsp of chili powder
  • Salt and pepper (the ancestors thing again, but if you didn’t get it, it’s about going with your guts and instincts)

Cooking Utensils

  • Baking dish
  • Aluminum foil
  • Bowl


  1. Start by preheating the oven to 190°C.
  2. Combine the Spanish rice, salsa, cheese, onion, garlic, chili powder and salt and pepper in a bowl. Make sure to mix them well together.
  3. Stuff the mixture into the bell pepper. Be generous.
  4. Put the stuffed bell peppers in a baking dish and add a small amount of water to the bottom to prevent it from burning. 
  5. Use the aluminum foil to cover the dish while being baked for 30 minutes.
  6. Remove the foil and bake for another 10-15 minutes just until they’re tender and slightly brown. 

Special Mentions

I’m thinking of a lot more recipes for you to try, but we don’t have much time on our hands. 

We can’t stay here all day just talking about what to do with leftover Spanish rice, right? 

I mean, I could, but that’ll leave you bored right out of your mind. 

Let me just tell you real quick the other dishes you can come up with using your leftovers:


Spanish rice salad on a plate with a fork.

Just add some avocado, black beans, corn, and diced tomatoes to your rice. Drizzle it with olive oil and lime juice, and you got yourself a healthy appetizer. 


Stir-fried Spanish rice on a skillet.

Simple. Easy. Some soy sauce, meat of your choice, veggies, nuts, and we’re in business. Stir-fry it all together with your Spanish rice.


Spanish rice burritos on a chopping board.

Take a tortilla and wrap your Spanish rice with some scrambled eggs, and cheese. A simple fiesta. 

Where are the Leftovers?

In your stomach, with you happy, full and satisfied! 

And with me proud because you didn’t waste any of that Spanish rice. 

Let me know how it goes, yeah? 

Spanish rice on a bowl.

Hope this article on what to do with leftover Spanish rice helped you out. 

Hasta luego 😉

Patricia Barre Avatar


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