25+ Affordable Rice Recipes That Don’t Taste Cheap

(Last Updated On: April 23, 2018)

Love buying rice because it’s such a cheap staple? We do too! But, the same rice recipes can get boring! You don’t have to eat plain white or sticky rice over and over again just because you’re broke. We found some ways you can spice up your rice recipes!

What’s your favorite out of these rice recipes? Or do you have rice recipes of your own that you just love? Let us know in the comments below!

Adding one ingredient to your rice recipe can make a big difference!

Let’s start simple: cheesy rice! This simple meal only requires you have some rice and just a little shredded cheese (kids love shredded Colby jack). Throw a little salt and pepper in with your rice while it’s cooking. Add a handful of cheese when it’s done and stir it up to melt it. Is it the most nutritionally dense meal? Nope, but the rice gives you a “stick to ya” starch while the dairy cheese breaks it all up.

Switch it up. If you’ve read about our ramen recipes, you know we love to sub the flavor packet for other fun things in our ramen. But, what do we do with the flavor packets? Mix them in our rice, of course! Try different flavor packets and combine them to create interesting flavors. Try mixing a Picante chicken pack with a tortilla chicken pack for a delicious Spanish rice.

Do you have a can of cream of chicken soup? How about Cream of mushroom? Cream of celery? You probably get the point. Cream of anything can add flavor and another dimension to your rice. The celery, chicken, mushrooms or whatever break up the plain rice and the creamy sauce it’s in packs a lot of flavor.

The Scramble suggests cooking your rice in half water and half salsa or vegetable juice for added flavor. Try cooking your rice in tomato juice and then topping with a little salsa for a flavor explosion.

Add an egg to your rice! Once you’re done cooking your rice, throw it in a pan with a little oil or butter. Let it start cooking. Once you hear the crackling sound, crack an egg into it. The hot rice will cook the egg and add exceptional flavor. Fried rice, anyone?

Spice up your rice with meat!

Mexican skillet rice recipes

by I Wash, You Dry

You can make a great meal in just one pan. The One Skillet Mexican Beef and Rice from I Wash, You Dry is great for busy nights a few days before payday. Beans, rice and a little meat make this recipe so filling. You can add anything to it to make it suit your tastes. It would be great with a little salsa on top!

Kevin & Amanda’s Cajun Chicken and Rice not only gives you a lot of flavors, it also gives you a healthy option that you can use for an entire meal. Cook your chicken in Cajun seasoning for flavor and add all the rest of the ingredients. The recipe calls for frozen peppers and onions, but if you’ve got peppers that have started to get a little soft, this is the perfect recipe for it since they’ll lose their crunch anyway!

Spam: the wonder meat. A can of Spam is so cheap but also so versatile. Chop your Spam up and add it to your rice. Bonus points for adding a bit of crushed pineapple. You’ll feel like you’re hanging out in a Hawaiian paradise.

If you have some ground beef and cheese, you can make a hearty casserole with your rice. The Cheesy Ground Beef and Rice Casserole from Oh Sweet Basil is affordable and easy. Oh, Sweet Basil gives you ideas for making the recipe quick and easy, semi-homemade and totally homemade.

Rice for breakfast?!

Adding sausage, cheese, green peppers and eggs to your rice can make it perfect for breakfast. Riceland’s Rice and Sausage Breakfast Casserole is hearty, quick and easy. This recipe makes enough for about 8 servings, so you can feed the whole family at breakfast!

breakfast rice recipes

by Our Best Bites

If you want to try something really different for your rice and your breakfast, give Hawaiian breakfast fried rice a try. The recipe uses pineapple in addition to bacon, orange peppers and green onions. Don’t want to spring for an orange pepper? Green works just as well!

Did you know rice makes a great alternative to oatmeal? It’s warm, filling and sweet in this Genius Kitchen recipe. Mom’s Sweet Rice Cereal combines minute rice with sugar and cinnamon to give you a sweet breakfast treat. Swap regular sugar for brown if you’ve got it!

Add some peas, carrots and bacon to a traditional breakfast egg scramble to give it some color and flavor. A little garlic powder can go a long way for this Breakfast Fried Rice.A great cheap alternative to regular bacon? Bacon bits!

Fancify your rice recipes

Years ago, a neighbor with the last name Miller made this rice and brought it to our house. Since then, it’s been dubbed “Miller’s Rice” and is a kid (and adult favorite). Mix about 3 cups of cooked rice, a stick of butter and 1 can of french onion soup in a baking dish. Bake covered at 350 for about 1 hour. The recipe is perfect for potlucks and get-togethers, too!

Your friends will think you’re the next Julia Child, but you’ll only have spent a couple bucks with fancy French baked rice. The recipe calls for Swiss cheese and white pepper as the superstar ingredients.

Party rice is great for anyone who needs a cheap side dish or a vegan recipe. The recipe has so many variations but the basic idea is to cook the rice in broth. Add garlic and a variety of vegetables then bake to get all the flavors mixed together.

Simply adding the word “pilaf” to any rice dish will have you thinking you’re eating something much fancier than you are. With some onions, olives and tomatoes, you can have a fancy rice pilaf. The recipe from Just a Pinch is quick and makes enough to serve a crowd.

Got leftover rice? Give this a try!

Struggle Meals gives you tons of ideas on how to use food that’s cheap and easy including a lot of rice recipes. They also break down how much each ingredient might cost you. Check out this video on how to make easy fried rice from your leftover container.

quiche rice recipes

by Food52

Make a quiche with a rice crust. Quiche is a filling meal appropriate for any time of day. The rice crust adds another layer of flavor to the traditional pie-like dish.

Take a creole cue and add rice to your soups. If you have a can of vegetable soup, add a cup of leftover rice to it before heating it up. It’ll almost double the volume of your soup and make it even more filling. Adding rice to other soups like chicken noodle and tomato make them complete meals too.

Stuffed peppers are great because you can add anything you want to them. If you just have rice and peppers, add a little taco seasoning to change the flavor. If you’ve got meat, add that to make a complete stuffed pepper meal. The options are endless with rice and peppers together.

Rice for dessert?!

We can’t do rice recipes without including rice pudding. As a crowd favorite and simple recipe, rice pudding is great if you’re looking for something sweet. Kraft’s take on it couldn’t get easier and only takes about 15 minutes!

Rice and Oreos come together to make the best dessert you’ve never heard of: Oreo Rice If you have a few Oreo cookies, give this recipe a try. It’s simple to do as a one-serving dessert or in a big batch to share … but you won’t want to.

Mario Batali shows us how to ball up the rice, coat it in batter and deep fry it. Think corn fritters but without the inside crunch you get. Rice fritters are versatile and you can add different flavors to change the way they taste. You can also eliminate the sugar and make them a savory dish!

Even though you might not have coconut milk and mango hanging out in your pantry, they’re both really affordable and easy to find. Cook your rice in coconut milk, add some sugar and mango and you’ve got a perfect Indian dessert!

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