How to make fried rice

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Have you ever wondered how to make fried rice just like they do at your favorite hibachi restaurants? There are a few secrets to making amazing fried rice, but once you know them, you’ll be able to wow the entire family with your cooking skills when you serve this easy fried rice recipe.

Once you know how to make fried rice, it's so easy! A big plate full of homemade fried rice, with a copper pot of fried rice in the background.

Are you ready to master the art of cooking fried rice at home? 

It’s not hard, and you don’t need any fancy ingredients. The best part about this recipe is that anyone can make it!

This recipe is for basic fried rice, but you can jazz it up any number of ways. See my suggestions below for how you can vary the recipe.

What you’ll love about homemade fried rice:


  • NO WASTE. This recipe is a great way to use up leftover rice.
  • ONE PAN MEAL. Gotta love that easy clean up!
  • VERSATILE. Delicious as is, or add your favorite protein or vegetables. to put your own spin on things.
  • FULL OF FLAVOR. Sesame oil, ginger, and garlic give this easy fried rice so much flavor!
An overhead view of the ingredients you'll need to this tutorial on how to make fried rice, including day-old rice, vegetables, garlic, ginger, and oil

Why use Leftover Rice for Fried Rice?

The first thing you need to do to make Chinese fried rice is to cook some rice. You can use your favorite rice, but keep it simple. Basmati and jasmine rice will work, but you want to add loads of flavor to the dish and not compete with the flavor of the rice itself. I prefer using long-grain white rice.

Got your rice cooked? Good, now pop it in the fridge and leave it for a day or so. You CAN make fried rice with rice you’ve just cooked, but the big secret to making the BEST fried rice is to use day (or two) old rice. 

The big reason is that leftover (chilled) rice has a slightly different texture and will take on moisture (aka flavor) without getting mushy. The rice dries out in the fridge, so it gets those delicious crispy edges when you fry it.

Leftover rice is firmer in texture and will stay light and fluffy through a second cooking process. If you used hot, fresh rice, you risk over-cooking it and turning it into a mashed-up mess. 

Ingredients to Make This Fried Rice Recipe

  • Leftover rice. Use day old rice for the best results. You can use white rice or brown rice for this recipe.
  • Oil. Your favorite neutral oil will work in this recipe; I used olive oil but any vegetable oil will also work well.
  • Garlic. Minced garlic (fresh garlic) adds so much flavor.
  • Ginger. Go for fresh ginger and grate it on a microplane grater, or chop it up very finely.
  • Peas. Frozen peas add a pop of color and freshness.
  • Red bell pepper. Cut into small dice.|
  • Carrots. Also cut into small dice for even (and quick) cooking. I like the texture of fresh carrots, but frozen carrots are a decent shortcut.
  • Green onions. Slice the white and white green parts thinly.
  • Soy sauce. Light or dark, regular or low sodium soy sauce – it’s up to you. You can also use tamari or coconut aminos to make this recipe gluten-free.
  • Toasted sesame oil. A little goes a long way and adds tons of toasty, nutty flavor!
  • Beaten Eggs. Lightly beat the eggs ahead of time. If you want, you can season them with a little bit of white pepper.

How To Make This Easy Stir Fried Rice Recipe

Heat the oil in a large skillet and cook the garlic and ginger for 30 seconds or until it is fragrant.

Add the peas, bell pepper, and carrots.

Cook for about 5 minutes or until the carrots are tender.

Turn the heat up and add the rice, green onions, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until the rice is toasted and warmed through.


Make a well in the center of the rice mixture and add the beaten egg. Cook for 1-2 minutes or until it has started to set, then stir it into the rice.

Serve with extra soy sauce on the side and add as needed.

Handy tip: Prepare Ahead!

The next time you make rice as a side dish, make a big batch and pop the leftovers in the fridge (in an airtight container) to make this easy fried rice recipe later in the week. Or, freeze it! Yes, you can freeze rice! Put it into a zipper-top freezer bag and squish out as much of the air as you can. Freeze the rice for up to 3 months. This way, you have rice on hand to make Chinese fried rice whenever you’re in the mood for it!

I also love saving the extra rice that we get when we order take out for an easy meal later in the week.

Variations

There are so many ways to make the best fried rice. How about shrimp fried rice? Pork fried rice? Pineapple ried rice? Here are some of my favorite variations:

  • Shrimp fried rice. Before adding the egg, add 8 ounces of small shrimp, let them cook through, and finish the dish with the egg as indicated in the recipe.
  • Pork fried rice. Leftover roast pork, pulled pork, smoked pork, leftover pork chops – add it to your fried rice during the last few minutes of cooking!
  • Egg fried rice. Add another egg (or two) to make egg fried rice.
  • Pineapple fried rice. Finely diced pineapple added at the end of the cooking time adds a lovely sweetness to the dish. Stir in some cashews and a little curry powder for a spin on this Thai favorite!
  • Chicken fried rice. Leftover chicken is perfect in your fried rice.
  • Hibachi fried rice. Have a Blackstone griddle or large indoor stove-top griddle? Make your rice hibachi style and add garlic butter to the skillet when adding the rice.
  • Vegetable fried rice. Add more fresh veggies! Diced zucchini, baby spinach, cabbage, cauliflower, bean sprouts, bok choy, snow peas, and more can all be added to your rice. Or just grab a bag of frozen stir fry vegetables.
  • Beef fried rice. Add some leftover steak to make a perfect fried rice recipe.

Frequently Asked Questions About Making Fried Rice

Can you make fried rice from leftovers?

Yes! Absolutely! Leftover rice works best for fried rice. Then, add any leftover pork, seafood, chicken, or beef. Toss it all in there and enjoy! 

How to make fried rice not sticky? 

Skip the freshly cooked rice! If your rice is sticky, chances are it didn’t set up in the fridge long enough before you used it. Rice has starch in it that will release and create a sticky mess unless you let it get super cold. Also, start with the right kind of rice; long-grain white rice works the best for this easy fried rice recipe.

Can you make fried rice without eggs?

Sure! Stir-frying rice with egg is traditional, but if you don’t want egg, don’t add the egg! The egg adds a bit of flavor, protein, and color, but it will still be delicious without it.

hibachi rice vs. Chinese fried rice

Hibachi rice and takeout-style Chinese fried rice are very similar. Hibachi rice typically uses medum grain (calrose) rice, white Chinese fried rice uses a longer grain rice. Fried rice is traditionally cooked in a wok white hibachi rice is made on a flat griddle, but you can make either in a large flat-bottomed saute pan.

More Rice Recipes

Looking for more rice and rice-inspired recipes? Try:

A pan of homemade fried rice, ready to serve for a quick and easy dinner.
How to make fried rice 5

How to make fried rice

This easy fried rice recipe, just like the ones from my favorite Chinese restaurant, is one of my favorite ways to use up leftover vegetables and rice.
5
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: cooking basics, fried rice, hibachi rice
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 302kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • ½ teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • ½ cup frozen peas
  • 1 red bell pepper diced
  • 2 carrots diced
  • 3 cups cooked rice preferably day-old leftovers
  • 2 green onions sliced thinly
  • 3 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 large eggs lightly beaten

Instructions

  • In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and ginger; cook for 30 seconds until fragrant.
  • Stir in the peas, bell pepper, and carrots. Cook for 5 minutes, until the carrot is tender.
  • Increase the heat to high. Add the rice, green onions, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Cook for 3-4 minutes, until the rice is toasted and warmed through.
  • Push the rice to the sides of the pan, creating a well in the center of the rice mixture. Add the beaten eggs. Cook for 1-2 minutes, until the eggs begin to set, then stir into the rice.
  • Season with additional soy sauce, to taste.
Nutrition Facts
How to make fried rice
Amount Per Serving
Calories 302 Calories from Fat 90
% Daily Value*
Fat 10g15%
Saturated Fat 2g13%
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 6g
Cholesterol 82mg27%
Sodium 811mg35%
Potassium 331mg9%
Carbohydrates 43g14%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 4g4%
Protein 9g18%
Vitamin A 6344IU127%
Vitamin C 49mg59%
Calcium 52mg5%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tried this recipe?Mention @HealthyDelish or tag #HealthyDelish!

lauren

Hi, I'm Lauren!

I'm a certified plant-based cook and enthusiastic omnivore who loves looking for creative ways to make weeknight meals more nutritious. I'm the author of Heathy Eating One Pot Cookbook and Healthy Meal Prep Slow Cooker Cookbook. I also blog at The Busy Foodie. Read more...

 

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