Got leftover sushi? Don’t let it go to waste! There are so many creative ways to breathe new life into those remnants of last night’s sushi feast. You can revive the rice, transform ingredients into new dishes, or properly store sushi so it stays fresh.
First, store sushi in a covered bowl in the fridge to keep it tasty for up to 24 hours. A damp towel helps retain moisture. Plastic wrap and cold temperatures prevent drying.
You can also reheat sushi to restore the rice’s just-made texture. Microwave rice alongside a cup of water for 30 seconds. This moist heat makes grains soft and fluffy again.
Or get inventive! Craft arancini balls, fried rice, or congee from extra grains. Whip up latkes from the crisped bits. Assemble new sushi rolls, hand rolls, rice balls, or bowls with remaining fixings.
With a few simple storage tricks and cooking techniques, no sushi needs to go to waste. Now keep reading for even more ideas to savor every last bite. Let’s maximize leftovers and create masterpieces from last night’s unfinished trays of sushi!
Store Sushi Properly for Freshness
First things first, you need to store sushi correctly to retain freshness and flavor. Here are some tips:
- Place sushi in a shallow, non-reactive metal or glass bowl. Cover with plastic wrap pressed directly onto the surface.
- Set the bowl of sushi in the coldest part of the fridge (bottom shelf). Refrigerate for up to 24 hours.
- Put a damp paper towel or cloth over the bowl before sealing with plastic. This provides moisture to prevent rice from drying out.
- For maximum freshness, enjoy leftover sushi within 12 hours. The rice may harden and nori can get soggy after a full day.
Proper storage buys you time to brainstorm ways to reuse those sushi leftovers!
Reheat Sushi to Restore Fresh Texture
If it’s been less than 24 hours, you can refresh sushi to nearly new by:
- Microwaving sushi rolls and nigiri for 30 seconds along with a cup of cold water. The moisture rehydrates the rice.
- Letting sushi sit at room temp for 10 minutes after microwaving to evenly distribute moisture.
- The rice will soften and regain its just-made tender-yet-chewy texture.
- Avoid overheating sushi or the rice could get gummy. Heat in 30 second bursts and check texture.
- Don’t microwave sashimi or loose fish fillets. Simply serve chilled.
Revived leftover sushi makes a quick, delicious meal or snack! But for new culinary adventures, read on.
Transform Leftover Rice into Fried Rice
Have an abundant surplus of sushi rice? Use it to make a batch of fried rice!
- Chill leftover rice thoroughly before frying. Cold rice grains separate easily without clumping.
- Cook rice in oil or butter over high heat, breaking up any chunks. Add soy sauce, garlic, eggs, veggies and/or meat.
- Sushi rice pairs deliciously with shrimp or crab fried rice. Substitute white rice in any fried rice recipe.
- Add a spoonful of rice vinegar for tangy flavor reminiscent of sushi. Toss in diced nori for a hit of briny seaweed.
Fried rice is a brilliant way to use every last grain of leftover sushi!
Craft New Sushi Rolls and Bowls
Leftover sushi fillings are prime for assembling new sushi creations. Here are some ideas:
- Roll new sushi burritos by wrapping fillings in sheets of nori. No need for a bamboo mat.
- Make temaki hand rolls by packing rice and fillings into a nori cone. Fun for kids!
- Build sushi sandwiches with fish or veggies between seasoned rice “buns.”
- Mix and match remaining ingredients to create custom sushi bowls.
- Chop fillings and mix with rice for sushi fried rice. Form into patties to make sushi fritters.
- Top rice balls or crackers with leftover fillings for quick sushi snacks.
Don’t limit yourself to rolls. Unleash your creativity to use every last bit of fish, veggies, or other toppings.
Whip Up Crispy Rice Pancakes
If you have leftover sushi rice, transform it into scrumptious crispy rice pancakes or latkes. Here’s how:
- Combine cold, firm sushi rice with beaten egg, flour, and seasoning. Form into patties.
- Coat patties in breadcrumbs or panko for added crunch.
- Pan fry in oil until browned and crispy on both sides.
- Top pancakes with sushi sauces, fillings, or condiments. Dip in soy sauce or creamy spicy mayo.
These crispy rice cakes make a perfect snack or appetizer. They also use up any lingering grains of rice.
Make Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls)
Onigiri, also called omusubi, are stuffed Japanese rice balls. They’re easily portable and perfect for leftover sushi rice.
- Form sushi rice into tight balls and fill centers with sushi fillings.
- Traditionally wrap in nori, but you can skip for on-the-go convenience.
- Fill with salmon, tuna, shrimp tempura, chicken teriyaki, or veggies.
- Customize with spices, sauces, or seeds mixed into the rice.
Make ahead a batch of onigiri for effortless lunches or snacks all week long.
Create Sushi Congee Porridge
Congee is a comforting rice porridge popular in many Asian cuisines. Use leftover sushi rice to make this soothing, savory treat.
- Simmer rice in broth (chicken, fish, or veggie) until it breaks down into a creamy porridge.
- Mix in sushi fillings like shrimp, egg, mushrooms, or green onions.
- Garnish with pickled ginger, nori, sesame seeds, and soy sauce or chili oil.
Congee makes old rice feel brand new again. It’s the perfect food remedy when you’re under the weather.
Bread and Deep Fry Arancini Rice Balls
Arancini are Italian rice balls that are breaded and fried for an irresistible, crispy exterior. They’re a ingenious way to repurpose leftover sushi rice.
- Form cold sushi rice into compact balls, filling centers with chopped sushi fillings.
- Coat arancini in breadcrumbs or panko, then deep fry at 350°F until golden brown.
- Try fillings like salmon, shrimp tempura, tuna tartare, or avocado.
- Serve warm with sushi dipping sauces for dunking these crispy, creamy treats.
Transforming sushi into arancini is an epic fusion cooking mash-up worth trying!
Save Extra Nori for Snacking and Seasoning
Leftover nori seaweed sheets make fantastic crispy snacks. Here are some tasty ways to use them up:
- Roast nori sheets in the oven or pan-fry in oil until crispy. Season with salt or chili powder.
- Crumble into furikake seasoning to sprinkle on rice, noodles, fish, or veggies.
- Use nori strips as edible garnish on soups, salads, or poke bowls.
- Grind into flaky salt, or tear into pieces to fold into rice or dip in sauces.
Upcycle nori sheets into irresistible crispy seaweed chips and versatile furikake seasoning.
Get Creative with Leftover Sushi Ingredients!
With proper storage and a bit of creativity, no sushi needs to end up in the trash. Whip up new dishes to savor every last grain of rice and piece of fish.
Revive and reheat day-old sushi for freshness. Then explore new culinary frontiers by transforming leftovers into fried rice, pancakes, porridge, rice balls, and more.
Leftover sushi has never tasted so good! So instead of ordering takeout next time the sushi craving strikes, intentionally make extra. You’ll look forward to the delicious leftover potential.