40 Rice Cake Topping Ideas

By Marla Walters on 24 November 2013 12 comments

Let's be honest, here. By themselves, unflavored rice cakes aren't terribly exciting. However, they have some sterling qualities:

  • They are gluten-free.
  • They are vegan.
  • You can buy them non-GMO, organic-certified.
  • There are only 60 calories in a rice cake (some brands have fewer).
  • The plain varieties contain no saturated or trans fats.

I like them because they are versatile, fairly inexpensive, and crunchy.

As a person who struggles with portion control, I'd like to remind you that it doesn't matter if you are eating a very healthy, 45-60-calorie gluten-free snack if you use too much of the topping. I noticed during one testing session that my cottage cheese layer was as thick as the rice cake. If I am making a meal out of one of these, I'd give myself a little leeway. However, if it's supposed to be a snack, I have to be careful about how much topping I am using. End of lecture. (See also: How to Lose Weight With Portion Control)

Back to their versatility, though. Below are forty suggestions for topping rice cakes.

Brown-Bagging It

I eat a lot of rice cakes at work, because I hate it when my sandwich bread gets mushy. Simply pack the toppings separately from the rice cakes, and assemble at lunchtime.

1. Egg Salad

Don't have an egg salad recipe? Now you have 12.

2. Tofu-Eggless Salad

I like tofu-eggless recipe. (See also: Frugal Organic Vegan Grocery Items)

3. Chicken Salad

When Mikey was coming up with his list of 25 Non-Sandwich lunches, he shared this chicken salad recipe from Neiman Marcus' cafe

4. Tuna Salad

Often made with mayonnaise, Max's favorite secret ingredient.

5. Ham and Swiss

I usually add a squirt of Dijon mustard.

6. Devilled Ham

I like mine with Dijon mustard and green onions, as in this devilled ham recipe (just use green onions instead of yellow).

7. Turkey and Muenster Cheese

With sprouts and some of that delicious spicy horseradish mustard … so good.

8. Holiday Turkey Sandwich

My new favorite "holiday sandwich" is this one: Turkey breast, cream cheese, red onion, sprouts, and cranberry relish. Instead of bread, rice cake! (See also: Creative Recipes for Leftover Turkey)

9. Quick Pizza

For a more Italian flavor, try salami or pepperoni with mozzarella , olives, and a tomato slice. I like to microwave that one briefly, just to melt the cheese. Emergency pizza!

10. Peanut or Almond Butter

There's nothing wrong with the basics.

11. Peanut or Almond Butter…

and honey, or jelly. An even better basic.

Appetizers Using Rice Cakes

When I get home from work, I usually have a snack. By keeping rice cakes handy, I can conjure up something delicious. Here are some of my favorites.

12. Tapenade

I could just eat tapenade with a spoon and be happy. A rice cake holds more tapenade than a spoon, so that makes me happier.

13. Salmon Spread

I'm still not tired of salmon, even after this post. Salmon spread is great on a rice cake!

14. Smoked Salmon

Smoked salmon with capers (drain them) is also delicious, albeit expensive.

15. Cream Cheese and Chives

I love cream cheese, but I use the low-fat version on rice cakes (and spread thinly). Sprinkle some chopped chives and just a little salt. (See also: Quick and Easy Cream Cheese Appetizers)

16. Pesto

Camilla has 21 uses for pesto, and I'd like to add #22, which is to spoon it over a rice cake.

17. DIY Veggie Spread

Veggie spreads? Mark Bittman of the New York Times has developed several variations. I particularly like the broccoli with parmesan, pine nuts, and olive oil. Swoon.

18. White Bean Dip

White bean dip is a super-healthy, vegan option. I really like this recipe's combination of beans with lemon, garlic, parsley, and black pepper. (See also: 25+ Cheap and Delicious Bean Recipes)

19. Canned Bean Dip

I also like the bean dip that comes in a can, at the grocery store, by the tortilla chips section, on a rice cake. That works.

20. Hummus

While we're on legumes, don't forget about hummus. My daughter thinks the one with roasted red peppers is the best. If your store doesn't carry it, here's my favorite hummus recipe.

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40 Rice Cake Topping Ideas

21. Pimento Cheese

Again, thin layer, folks: Pimento cheese. Yum!

22. Canned Cheese

If you just want instant gratification in a pimento-cheese like fashion, heck, you can get that cheese that squirts out of the can. Don't judge me.

23. Artichoke Dip

Turns out that rice cakes are an excellent vehicle for hot artichoke dip. They are sturdier than dumb ol' crackers. This stuff is dangerously good. I like to add a can of mild chiles for a little more zip.

24. Pears, Spinach, and Bleu Cheese

Slice up some pears, thinly, add to your rice cake along with some baby spinach, and sprinkle with bleu cheese.

25. Avocado, Salsa, and Cilantro

Let's try Mexican flavors: To a rice cake add sliced avocados, salsa, and cilantro.

26. Cottage Cheese

When I am starving, I just plop a tablespoon of low-fat cottage cheese onto a rice cake and call it good, because it is.

27. Chopped Avocado Salad

Combine chopped avocados, cilantro, cherry tomatoes, a little olive oil and garlic salt and try that on top. Delicious!

28. Sliced Avocados or Guacamole

We have an avocado tree. It's one of my favorite things in the whole world. My husband started it from a seed. They are delicious, so sometimes I just eat sliced avocados (or guacamole) on a rice cake.

Make a Meal of Rice Cakes

Why not? It's a low-calorie starch to round out any meal.

29. Rice Cakes and Chili

Cornbread with chili is great, but so are rice cakes, particularly if you get the cheesy ones. If your chili is really thick, just spoon it on top. I used a little low-fat sour cream on top of that combo.

30. Croutons

Gluten-free croutons! Just break a rice cake into pieces and float it on split-pea, tomato, or any creamy soup.

31. BLT

Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato . . rice cakes? Sure, why not.

32. Peanut Sauce

Thai-inspired! Top a rice cake with a layer of peanut sauce. Add cooked, cleaned shrimp and chopped cilantro. (See also: Scrumptious Shrimp Recipes)

33. Ahi Poke

I live on the Island of Hawaii, and so I took some of my favorites and rice cake'd them: Spicy Ahi Poke with Cilantro.

34. Loco-Moco!

Caramelize sliced Spam in medium-heat frying pan with shoyu (soy sauce). While you are heating the Spam, fry an egg. Assemble in layers of rice cake, Spam, and fried egg. If I were really making it correctly, I'd add gravy on top.

35. California Roll

I had fun making this one. Mix crab (fresh or canned, drained and flaked) with mayonnaise. I added a few drops of Sriracha sauce to mine, but it's spicy, so be warned. Place crab mixture on rice cake and add some chopped avocado, a little grated carrot, a drizzle of sesame oil, and sprinkle with chopped nori (sushi wrapper).

For the Sweet Tooth

For a sweet snack or a light dessert, try these delicious toppings. (See also: 15 Super Quick Homemade Desserts)

36. Sliced Bananas and Peanut Butter

This really hits the spot. My daughter likes a drizzle of honey on that one, too.

37. Cinnamon Toast Cakes

My husband suggested we try "cinnamon toast" flavors — yum! Spread a thin layer of butter, and add a sprinkling of cinnamon and sugar. I couldn't remember the last time I had had cinnamon toast.

38. Nutella

You were waiting for this one, I know. NUTELLA. That's all I have to write about that suggestion.

39. S'more Cakes

While we're on chocolate, you can make a S'more rice cake from the aforementioned Nutella. Add some mini-marshmallows. Devour.

40. Strawberries and Cream Cheese

Again with the light cream cheese — but this time, slice some strawberries and put those on top.

What do you like to top your rice cakes with?

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Meg Favreau's picture

When I was living in Philadelphia, I used to take the bus up to New York once a week for classes, and I'd always bring two rice cakes topped with almond butter and raisins to snack on. I love the crunch rice cakes provide without being too dense. Sometimes I'll eat them with chili or crumble them on top of a stir-fry.

Guest's picture
Jessica Phillips

on my brown rice cake, i spread raw peanut butter on top, with half of a banana sliced on top of that. i add a lil bit of powdered cinnamon, and microwave either straw, rasp, blue, black or cranberries and pour that on top. it's super delicious, and real healthy.

Guest's picture

peanut butter! hello!

Guest's picture

Brilliant article on rice cake sandwiches, I've just given up bread, so this is just what I was looking for. Plus now I'm inspired to make Baba Ghanoush. Do you know, is it posible to BBQ the eggplant for BG? Thanks for a great blog.

Guest's picture

No cream cheese and peanut butter, or did I somehow miss that? That's been my favorite combo since I was a kid.

Guest's picture

Why even bother eating rice cakes if you're going to slather it in peanut butter, nutella, or canned cheese?

Guest's picture

Just found your blog after I tried using plain rice cakes out of desperation as a bread substitute for my favorite snack - I (carefully and watchfully) crisped one up in my toaster oven, and topped with chopped orange bell pepper, a slice of low sodium american cheese and a sprinkle of garlic powder. White pizza, of a sort :) Been my fav snack for decades on very thin bread but celiac left me sadly missing it.

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Morning Breeze

I like almond butter and put 4 prunes on top

Guest's picture

Hummus is v.yummy. And my all time favourite, apple sauce out the jar spread thinly on!

Guest's picture

I like eating them plain as a study snack :P I never thought of putting stuff on it since I like the rice flavour so much! Now I can have a bit of jam when I'm pushing out that essay~ Thanks for the post!

Guest's picture

Toast it and spread on honey and peanut butter, put on banana slices, and top with some cinnamon --so satisfying.

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Peanut butter, jelly, black beans and a few drops of hot sauce.

Guest's picture

I like to do a bit of cream cheese and some salted cucumbers for breakfast, or even just a snack. If you have time try adding sliced tomatoes and arugula on top as well. Delicious.