Cheesy Leftover-Rice Muffins

by | Books, Bread Muffins & Crackers

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! 

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 about 25 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

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.

Arancini (Italian fried rice balls), is 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


Cheeeeeeesy. 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

I used an Asagio or Pecorino Romano shaved, because they are a hard cheese rather than a soft goopy cheese, hold well to the heat in baking and have a salty, nutty, almost tangy flavor, which this 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 do ‘carry out’!

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. 


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

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!

soup dunking delicious
Soup Dunking Delicious

Ingredients Needed

  • Cooked rice
  • Eggs
  • Grated cheese
  • Olive oil
  • 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
  • Muffin tins
  • Cupcake papers
  • Cutting board
  • Chopping knife
  • Ice cream scooper – 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

Recipe by Robin DaumitCourse: Bread Muffins u0026amp; Crackers, Muffin MadnessCuisine: Mediterranean



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! 


  • Cooked rice – 1 1/2 cups

  • Eggs – 3

  • Grated cheese – 1 cup, 2 tbsp extra for topping

  • Olive oil – 1/2 cup

  • Milk – 3/4 cup (any type)

  • Flour – 1 1/2 cup

  • Baking soda – 1/2 tsp

  • Baking powder – 1 1/2 tsp

  • Salt – 1/2 tsp (or to taste)

  • Fresh basil – 1/2 cup, loose

  • Pine nuts – 1 tbsp


  • 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

My Muffin Madness


In my family, I’ve always been known as the ‘Muffin Queen’. Out of necessity, I created muffins for breakfast, lunch, on the go snacks, sometimes dinner and a sweet yet healthyish treat for dessert!

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