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Easy Leftover Rice Casserole

This is an easy rice casserole recipe made with leftover rice, cheese, vegetables, and diced ham. It’s topped with breadcrumbs and baked until golden and crispy on top and hot and cheesy in the middle. It’s a great recipe for using up leftovers!

Rice casserole in a black pan with a silver spoon.


There are certain times of the year when it seems like there are more leftovers – it’s usually around the holidays like Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Easter, so I like to come up with ways to use up those leftovers. I hate to see things wasted.

One dish I love to make is rice casserole. It’s so simple and can be easily adjusted based on what you have on hand. It’s a great way to use up leftover rice, but sometimes I cook the rice specifically to make this dish and then use up odds and ends in the refrigerator for the filling.

It’s a casserole-style recipe that’s cheesy, comforting, and hearty. Everything is layered in a baking pan or dish, topped with bread crumbs, and then baked. If you already have cooked rice, the prep is fast and easy. 

Rice Casserole on a black plate with a silver spoon.


  • Freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • Bread crumbs
  • Cooked rice
  • Large eggs
  • Chopped carrot
  • Finely chopped fresh parsley
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Shredded firm mozzarella cheese 
  • Chopped cooked ham
  • Olive oil

Recipe Steps

Pre-heat oven to 400°F (200°C). Lightly grease and flour a 6 or 7″ round pan or baking dish.

Stir 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese with the breadcrumbs in a small bowl. Set this aside while you prepare the filling.

In a large bowl, combine the cooked rice, eggs, half of the remaining Parmesan, carrots, parsley, salt, and pepper.

Mixing the rice mixture in a silver bowl.

Press half of the mixture in the prepared pan and lightly press down on it so it’s an even layer.

Placing half the mixture in a black pan.

Spread the chopped ham over the top and then sprinkle the shredded mozzarella and the rest of the Parmesan cheese over the top.

Topping the mixture with ham & shredded cheese.

Top the mixture evenly with the breadcrumb topping and drizzle the olive oil over the top.

Topping with the remaining rice mixture and bread crumbs, drizzling with olive oil.

Bake the rice casserole for 20 minutes and then let it rest for five minutes at room temperature before serving.

Rice casserole baked.

Recipe Variations

What I love best about this recipe is that you can switch out the ingredients for what you have on hand. Here are some ideas you might like to try:

Rice: Any cooked rice will work for this recipe. I’ve made it with arborio rice, brown rice, and long-grain white rice. Just remember it needs to be cooked before you add it to the filling.

Meat: Instead of ham, try using leftover roast turkey, chicken, or you could even use cooked ground beef or ground turkey.

Cheese: Firm mozzarella works great, but I’ve also used shredded Gruyere cheese and Fontina cheese in this recipe. Other types like cheddar or Swiss cheese would work well, too. Or try doing a mix of cheese. You could also stir some ricotta cheese into the rice mixture.

Vegetables: Instead of carrots try using cooked or frozen peas or even chopped mushrooms. You can also add some finely chopped onions and garlic.

Rice casserole with a spoonful.


How to store the leftover rice casserole

Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge. It will keep for up to 2 days.

How to freeze it

Freeze in a freezer safe container. It will keep for up to a month in the freezer. Thaw overnight in the fridge.

This is the type of recipe I love to make with holiday leftovers. It makes a great lunch or dinner and it’s so easy it hardly feels like work. I hope you give it a try – Enjoy!

Rice casserole on a white plate with a fork.

More Rice Dishes

Rice casserole with a spoonful.

Easy Leftover Rice Casserole

Rosemary Molloy
Rice pie is an easy casserole made with leftover rice, cheese, vegetables, and ham. It's topped with breadcrumbs and a great way to use up leftovers!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4 servings
Calories 497 kcal


  • ¾ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese (divided)
  • 3 tablespoons bread crumbs
  • 3 cups cooked rice
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 small carrot (chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
  • ¼-½ teaspoon salt
  • 1-2 dashes black pepper
  • 1 cup firm mozzarella/gruyere or fontina shredded
  • 4 ounces chopped cooked ham
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil


  • Pre-heat oven to 400F (200C). Lightly grease and flour a 6 or 7 inch (15-18 cm) round cake pan or baking dish.
  • In a small bowl mix together 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese and the breadcrumbs. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl mix together the rice, eggs, ¼ cup parmesan, carrot, parsley, salt and pepper. Place half the mixture in the prepared pan and gently flatten and even out.
  • Sprinkle with the chopped ham, top with shredded cheese and ¼ cup of the grated parmesan cheese. Evenly place the remaining rice on top and top with the parmesan & breadcrumb mixture. Drizzle with the olive oil. Bake for 20 minutes. Let sit 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!


Instead of chopped carrots you can substitute with 1/2 cup peas (pre-boiled) or even chopped mushrooms.


Calories: 497kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 157mg | Sodium: 1027mg | Potassium: 184mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 2768IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 602mg | Iron: 2mg
Did You Make This Recipe?Please leave a comment below or pin it to your Pinterest account!


  1. I am confused on the amount of parmesan cheese. Ingredients list states 3/4 cup, but then you take 1/4 cup and add that to the breadcrumbs. Next step has you using half of the parmesan (which would be 1/4 cup), so this leaves 1/4 cup of the original 3/4 cup. But then the step states to use 1/2 cup of parmesan. All of these amounts don’t add up. Please clarify exactly how much parmesan is needed for each step.

    1. Hi Donna, I think what I meant was 1/2 of the remaining parmesan which would be 1/4 cup, but yes it was confusing, I have updated it now. Thanks. 🙂

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