There are countless quick-and-easy recipes predicated on leftover rice. Kimchi Bacon Fried Rice, Thai Rice Soup (Khao Tom), or Thai Fried Rice, to name a few. But who has the time to cook rice and chill it for hours before a weeknight meal? Freshly-cooked rice needs about two hours to chill adequately, and unfortunately, warm rice won’t work for recipes that call for frying or adding it as a garnish; it will clump, stick to the pan and turn gummy. The solution?

Freeze it ahead of time.

When you have an extra moment, cook an extra batch or two of rice, cool, and stick it in a zipper-lock bag in the freezer. Or simply save leftover rice from your dinner and collect it. With a quick defrost on the countertop or in the microwave, it’ll be ready to make fried rice (we love Thai-style with fish sauce, shallots, chiles and lime), a quick rice soup with good broth, greens and a bit of meat, or to bulk up a quick quesadilla.

Or, you could follow Milk Street Food Editor Matthew Card’s lead and repurpose Arroz Verde (Green Rice) into pork-fried rice or burritos, ideas he offers up in his series, The Sunday Cook, where batch cooking on the weekend translates to quick and flavorful meals all week. The possibilities are endless, and this tip works for jasmine, long-grain white, basmati–you name it. See here for a basic recipe for perfect white rice, and get ready to break out the freezer bags.

More of our favorite rice recipes:
Indian Tomato Rice
Coconut Ginger Rice
Persian Jeweled Rice
Cilantro Rice