Cheesy Leftover Rice Muffins (with video)

Leftover rice, baked into Cheesy Leftover Rice Muffins with olive oil, fresh basil and pine nuts, will make you think you’re eating arancini, only healthier!

Pesto cheesy rice muffins
Pesto Cheesy Rice Muffins

Leftover Rice

Leftover Rice? Come on, you know we all have some from time to time.

That small half cup of rice we put into the rice cooker never seems like it will be enough, so we double it? 

Or we order carry out and come home with buckets of white, flavorless rice, eat all the good stuff and now we’re stuck with half buckets of white rice. What do we do with that rice? 

Leftover rice
Leftover Rice

If we’re lucky, we have a pot of soup planned for the next day and can add it. Maybe, make a quick stir-fry with it?

Guess what? I’ve got a scrumptious better idea. Muffins!


Welcome to Muffin Madness! In my family, I have always been known as the muffin queen, simply because over the years I have created so many different muffin recipes, and still creating!

As a single mom of 4, during those insanely disjointed, hectic years of age 6 to 16, with school, hobbies, work and hormones, I needed a friend!

Muffin Madness
Muffin Madness

Muffins became my antidote to madness. My friend. How? I needed a quick, healthy and affordable breakfast, a to-go snack and I needed the kids to be able to help make them. 

And so, as I share my beloved muffin recipes with YOU, one by one, each and every week for your busy weekday or weekend treats, I hope you will let me know which ones have been your favorite! Yep! Muffin Madness 52!!

cheesy rice muffin batter to bake
Cheesy Rice Muffin Batter To Bake

Cheesy Leftover Rice Muffins

Maybe you found yourself here, in hopes of a recipe made with rice flour?

Come on, we both know rice flour is sandy and gritty, much like corn flour, unless we soften it with other flours. 

Rice muffins, made with cooked ‘leftover’ rice is creamy, dense and likened more to a Yorkshire pudding or a Popover. It’s eggy, savory, and layered in Italian flavors.

Mediterranean Leftover Rice

Are you familiar with arancini (Italian fried rice balls)? They are often the Mediterranean go-to for leftover rice.

And while I stole what I love about arancini, for this recipe, and married it with a fresh pesto flavor, also stolen from my winter greenhouse, this Rice Muffin is healthiest because it’s not fried!

My greenhouse basil
My Greenhouse Basil


Just the sound of that makes you forget every dietary restriction, for a moment, and long to indulge in the luxury of anything cheesy! You know I’m right!

These muffins are cheesy only in an Italian kind of way; that is, in flavor and not 10-inch long strings of melted mozzarella cheese, cheesy. 

cheesy basil deliciousness
Cheesy Basil Deliciousness

What Type Of Cheese Is Good For Rice Muffins?

Although we all have our favorite cheeses we liked to cook with, say… on top of our pizza, or in our Mac & Cheese, I used an Asiago or Pecorino Romano cheese, shaved.

Because these cheeses are a hard cheese, rather than a soft gooey cheese, they hold up well to the heat in baked goods.

Not to mention that they have a salty, nutty, almost tangy flavor, which bland white rice needs. 

Let’s Make Cheesy, Soup Dunking Muffins With Leftover Rice!

The first thing we need to do, is get ahold of some leftover rice, or make a quick batch of it; as I did for this recipe since (I’m sorry to say), I don’t usually get ‘carry out’!

Then, in a mixing bowl, or food processor, simply place the cooked rice, eggs, cheese, olive oil and milk, mix and let stand for 5-minutes to allow the rice to absorb more moisture, making it creamier. 

Mix The Cheesy Rice Ingredients Together
Mix The Cheesy Rice Ingredients Together

Add the dry ingredients, divide into muffin tins, sprinkle a bit more cheese, top with pine nuts and bake. 

cheese and pine nuts on top
Cheese and Pine Nuts On Top

What Does Cheesy Leftover Rice Muffins Taste Like?

If you were to close your eyes and take a bite, you would taste both a delicate textured Yorkshire pudding and a bright and talkative Italian Pesto!

Perfect for dunking into your winter soups and stews, or a lovely side dish to a summer salad!

Additionally, I think you will find these cheesy rice muffins the perfect meal to put in your children’s lunches, yours, or ideal for on-the-go, like airplane travels!

soup dunking delicious
Soup Dunking Delicious

Ingredients Needed

  • Cooked rice
  • Eggs
  • Grated cheese
  • Olive oil – while you certainly have olive oil already in your pantry, a fabulous gift, for any gift giving occasion, is My Muffin Madness cookbook in a gift bag with this incredible collection of flavor infused cold-pressed olive oil set! For that person who has everything except these!
  • Milk
  • Flour
  • Baking soda
  • Baking powder
  • Salt
  • Fresh basil
  • Pine nuts
cheesy rice muffin ingredients
Cheesy Rice Muffin Ingredients

Equipment Needed

  • Mixing bowl or Food processor
  • Wire whisk
  • Measuring cup
  • Measuring spoons
  • Cheese grater – my absolute favorite cheese grater!
  • Muffin tins – silicone muffin pans are non-stick and don’t need cupcake papers.
  • Cupcake papers – only if using metal muffin pans.
  • Cutting board
  • Chopping knife
  • Dough scoop – to fill tins.
  • Oven

My Muffin Madness Cookbook

Now that I’ve got you thinking outside the box about muffins, are you ready to try other creative and delicious muffin recipes you won’t find anywhere else?

Hot off the press this year: My Muffin Madness Cookbook!

My Muffin Madness Cookbook
My Muffin Madness Cookbook
Cheesy Leftover Rice Muffins

Cheesy Leftover Rice Muffins

Leftover rice, baked into a muffin with cheese, olive oil, fresh basil and topped with pine nuts will make you think you’re eating an arancini (Italian fried rice balls), with fresh pesto, only healthier! 
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Muffins
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keyword: Cheesy Leftover Rice Muffins
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 8 servings


  • Muffin tin


  • 1 1/2 cups Cooked rice
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 cup Grated cheese extra for topping
  • 1/2 cup Olive oil
  • 3/4 cup Milk any type
  • 1 1/2 cup All purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp Baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp Baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp Salt or to taste
  • 1/2 cup Fresh basil chopped
  • 1 tbsp Pine nuts


  • Preheat oven to 350.
    Prepare muffin tins with baking paper cups.
  • In a mixing bowl or food processor place the cooked rice, eggs, cheese, oil and milk, whisk lightly and allow to sit for 5-minutes.
  • Add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and chopped basil leaves. Mix until the batter is smooth but don’t over mix.
  • Divide into prepared muffin tins, sprinkle remaining cheese on top and finish with a few pine nuts on each.
  • Bake until golden and tester comes out clean, about 25 minutes.



  • Great to dunk in soups and stews or simply more olive oil and pepper with a glass of wine.
Cheesy Leftover Rice Muffins
Cheesy Leftover Rice Muffins
5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)
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