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!
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.
- 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
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.
Press half of the mixture in the prepared pan and lightly press down on it so it’s an even layer.
Spread the chopped ham over the top and then sprinkle the shredded mozzarella and the rest of the Parmesan cheese over the top.
Top the mixture evenly with the breadcrumb topping and drizzle the olive oil over the top.
Bake the rice casserole for 20 minutes and then let it rest for five minutes at room temperature before serving.
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.
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.
Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge. It will keep for up to 2 days.
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!
More Rice Dishes
- Italian Four-Cheese Risotto
- Rice Stuffed Tomatoes
- Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls
- Meatballs with Parmesan Rice
- Italian Suppli
Easy Leftover Rice Casserole
- 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!