Every pantry needs rice. Alt-grains like quinoa and freekeh have their place, but rice is a global staple for a reason. And sometimes, we all need a reminder that rice dishes go far above and beyond your coworkers' sad Tupperware desk lunches of chicken and broccoli. Rice can be so much more than that. Rice can be crispy (fried!), creamy (risotto!), soupy (congee!), and even sweet (pudding!). Basically, rice is magic and it’s cheap, reliable, and easy to find. For a food that’s used in nearly every culture the world over, there’s no shortage of inspiration for how to incorporate it into your weekly meal plan in ways that don't leave you bored. We rounded up a whole bunch of our favorite rice recipes from the MUNCHIES archives, and we’re hoping it will inspire you to grain greatness for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even dessert.
Thinly sliced steamed rice cakes made from glutinous rice flour take the place of grain rice or noodles in this Chinese stir-fry.
Two never-fail hangover foods—fried rice and cheeseburgers—combine into one super recovery food in this concoction from our host of The Hangover Show, Cara Nicoletti.
The “eight treasures” are the fruits, nuts and seeds used to garnish this dish. Traditionally, the pudding is made with lard, but this version from Chinese-cuisine cookbook author Fuschia Dunlop uses coconut oil, so its safe for vegetarians and vegans.
Korean-American chef Deuki Hong recommends making this dish with cooked rice that’s at least a day old, so it’s perfect for those leftover pints of white rice from this weekend’s takeout.
For a quick and easy one-pan brunch, bake leftover rice with spices, Linguiça, and eggs, so you can spend more time sipping mimosas.
Risamalande is a Danish dessert that’s really popular at Christmas time, but it’s served cold, so it makes for a creamy, sweet end to a meal even in the warmer months.
Prunes get a bad rap—so redeem them in this sweet and simple rice pudding. Top it with fresh fruit and remember that a prune is actually just a dried plum, after all.
The effort it takes to make this Azerbaijani dish makes it fit for your dinner guests of honor. Shakh plov, or “crown pilaf,” is a bit labor intensive, but worth the time.
Chef Sohui Kim from Brooklyn’s Korean BBQ hot spot INSA cooked these rice cakes in a spicy sauce up as a liquor mop for her crew when we spent the night following them around New York on Chef’s Night Out. Watch her episode here.
When a three-Michelin-starred chef tells you how he makes fried rice, you can be damn sure it’s a winner. Watch sushi legend Masa Takayama make his fish fried rice over on VICE Video.
With fava beans, English peas, and a pesto of tender dandelion greens, this wild rice is like spring on a plate. (But you could use frozen veggies any time of year, too.)
What’s the most logical ingredient to pair with Rice-a-Roni and Spam? Edible gold leaf, of course. Who knows how to pull of just the right combo of high-brow/low-brow than the Fat Prince himself, Andy Milonakis.
What makes this rice so “special” is that before frying, you’ll dry it out ever so carefully by laying it out in an even layer in front of a fan so that the end product is just the right amount of crunchy. (Don’t overdo it, or you’ll chip a tooth.)
Trust LA’s Kris Yenbamroong, chef of Night + Market, to make a dish called “strip club fried rice” so utterly delicious. Be sure to use a pork hot dog for the “wiener blossoms”—Chef Kris says beef dogs just don’t work here.
This super flavorful and aromatic basmati rice—with shiitake mushrooms, lemongrass and a complex Middle Eastern spice blend called baharat—makes for the base for whatever veggies you happen to have on hand for an easy vegetarian weeknight dinner.
Congee’s not just for winter time, although its stick-to-your-ribs quality does make it an ultimate comfort food. This is a dish for any time you’re feeling like eating your feelings, no matter the weather.
Chef Michael Solomonov of the award-winning Zahav in Philly says rice pilaf is “is the perfect thing to make when you have absolutely nothing to eat in your kitchen.” And with some finely chopped kale mixed in here, its an easy and tasty way to get your greens in.
This congee with blue crab and Old Bay is the perfect Maryland-meets-Asia comfort food for a dreary rainy day. Especially while blue crabs are at their peak during summer.
Deep-fried onigiri-style rice balls, like a Japanese version of a croquette—perfectly crunchy on the outside, soft and flavorful on the inside, and topped with all the flavors of a California roll.
Makloubeh literally translates to “upside down” in Arabic, and the layer of deliciously crispy rice from the bottom of the pot that ends up being right on top of the dish when it’s turned out is something everyone at the table will fight for a piece of.
What would a collection of rice recipes be without a classic paella? This one, from Boston chef Jamie Bissonnette, has got shellfish, chicken and chorizo, and you can watch him make it over on our How-To series.
Did you forget that horchata was made with rice milk? We highly suggest throwing in a splash of rum for a truly tasty cocktail.
A cousin to the Italian arancini with the flavors of chop suey, by way of Canadian chef Evelyn Wu, these croquettes would make for a perfect party appetizer.
You by no means have to make this recipe with psychedelic mushrooms, but it would certainly make for a pretty interesting dinner party, wouldn’t it?
If the standard risotto feels a little too creamy for your taste, try this riff with chunks of salt cod and artichoke for texture.
Be sure not to skimp on the fat—the oil at the bottom of the pan is supposed to be an aphrodisiac. In Uzbekistan, the quality of this dish can make or break your marriage.
Everyone loves a grain bowl nowadays, but what’s a good grain bowl without extra delicious condiments? Seventeen ingredients might seem like a lot, but this high-grade sauce takes a basic brown rice and quinoa grain bowl from boring to delicious.
As Nonna Marijuana suggests, if you don’t care for the saffron, be sure that the broth you’re using is strong enough to give the risotto a flavorful taste. You can watch more of her cannabis-infused Italian specialties in her full episode of Bong Appetit.
The crunchy, cheesy fried rice ball that your frozen mozzarella sticks told you not to worry about.
This classic jambalaya comes from New Orleans-based meat master Isaac Toups. The secret to that crazy rich flavor? A dark, toasty roux.