You Shouldn't Throw Away Overcooked Rice. Here's Why

We've all been there. You set out to make rice with the best of intentions, but the kids need something, or the text thread you're on blows up, or you just can't pull yourself away from the final minutes of The Bachelor. Rice is a little too easy to mess up, but fear not, intrepid rice maker! Whether you've overcooked your grains to a mushy mess or burnt a layer of rice into the bottom of your favorite pan, you've still got options beyond the bin.

Your first step is to triage — let's save as much of your rice as we can, without ruining what's left. According to Kitchn, if the bottom layer of rice is completely burnt, you should run the outside of your pan under cool water straight away. This will stop the burnt rice from cooking, and keep that charred smell from spreading to the rest of your grains. Scoop out the good rice and leave the rest; and don't forget to soak your pan to make cleaning up a bit easier.

Overcooked rice can make for perfectly cooked pudding

Maybe what's left when the smoke clears looks more like mush than a meal. Don't throw it out! Bon Appetit suggests making a savory Chinese porridge called Congee out of all that overcooked rice: add your mush, a couple of spoonfuls at a time, to a few inches of boiling water, until it reaches a polenta-like consistency. Then you can add in soy, salt, ginger and scallions. Get creative with veggies or a protein and you've got a fancy new dinner.

If the overdone rice is sticky enough, try this recipe for rice cakes from Food52. A little like arancini that's been flattened, these rice patties can be spiced up with a bit of garlic powder and parmesan, and then deep-fried for a crunchy, cheesy treat. If you want something more sweet than savory, add some milk, sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon to your overcooked rice, and turn it into a pudding (via Bon Appetit). Dinner isn't ruined — it just turned into dessert!