This quick and easy fried rice recipe is better than take-out. It comes together in just 15 minutes and makes a perfect meal on its own or a great side dish. If you're craving authentic fried rice this recipe will hit the spot!
Fried rice is made with leftover rice, crisp-tender vegetables, and scrambled eggs. Not only is making fried rice at home incredibly easy, but it also allows you to customize it to the way you like!
Pro-Tips for the Best Fried Rice
Use COLD Rice. Seriously, if you want to get the crispy bits on the rice, cold rice is a MUST. Rice will get stuck together and get really mushy if you try to fry it if it is hot or warm. This is why this recipe is so great to make when you have leftover rice on hand. If you don't have leftover rice, prepare fresh rice and then spread the cooked rice onto a sheet pan and pop in the freezer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the rice is fully chilled.
Season and season again...but don't use SALT. Fried rice is seasoned heavily with soy sauce. And it needs to be added in layers to truly season the fried rice. But because soy sauce is really high in sodium, even the low-sodium brands, do not make the mistake of adding kosher or table salt to your rice or veggies, or you will end up with an overly salty dish.
Work Fast. The beauty of this recipe is that it comes together super, super quickly. But that also means it should not be left unattended, as it can burn very quickly.
Fried Rice Ingredients
- Cold Cooked Rice: It is really important you use cold rice as this helps the rice fry up properly and become a starchy, gooey mess. If I am in a hurry, I will make rice and then spread on a baking sheet in a thin layer and pop in the freezer for 15 minutes. And either white or brown rice work for this recipe. Even frozen cauliflower rice works.
- Vegetables: Traditionally, fried rice is made with white and green onions, carrots, and peas. But do no be afraid to load up on the veggies based on what you have on hand. Some ideas would be shredded cabbage, sugar snap peas, or edamame.
- Soy Sauce: Soy sauce is critical to really flavor the fried rice--and you need more than you may think. For that reason, be sure to purchase low-sodium soy sauce.
- Eggs: Scrambled eggs are traditional in take-out fried rice. However, if you are egg-free or vegan--simply omit the eggs.
- Garlic: Because garlic flavor makes everything taste so much better!
- Oil/Butter: The eggs have the best flavor when scrambled in butter. But the rice and vegetables need to cook longer and at a higher temperature, therefore it is crucial to use an oil that has a high smoking point, such as peanut, avocado, or canola oil.
- Rice Wine Vinegar: This may seem like a surprising ingredient--but it really helps to wake up the flavor of the fried rice.
- Sesame Oil: To replicate classic fried rice, add a bit of toasted sesame oil at the end. This is optional and it is better to use less than more of this oil, as it has a very strong flavor.
How to Make Easy Fried Rice
You don't need a wok, a fancy flat cook-top, or any special pan to make homemade fried rice, a large non-stick or stainless steel skillet works perfectly.
The first step is to prepare the scrambled eggs if you intend to add them to the fried rice. Simply cook the whisked eggs over medium heat until just set and then remove the eggs from the skillet until the rest of the dish is complete. This prevents the eggs from getting overcooked and rubbery in texture.
The next step is to saute the onions and carrots. It is okay if the carrots still retain a crisp texture, but the onions should soften. Once the onions are just beginning to soften, add in the garlic and saute for just 30 seconds or so--you do not want to burn the garlic!
Move the vegetables to one side of the skillet. Increase the heat to high and add in a bit more oil. Add in the cold rice, peas, sliced green onions, 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce, and rice wine vinegar. Stir everything together to evenly distribute ingredients. Continue to stir constantly, until the rice has begun to brown and get crispy and is warmed through. This will take 3-5 minutes, depending on the size of your skillet.
Right before serving, add in the sesame oil, cooked eggs, and a bit more soy sauce and mix to incorporate everything.
Modifications for Fried Rice
- Chicken Fried Rice: Saute small chunks of cubed boneless, skinless chicken breast along with the onions and carrots, until the chicken is fully cooked through. Then proceed with the rest of the recipe.
- Shrimp Fried Rice: Have shrimp on hand? Heat a large skillet over high heat. Add in ½ tablespoon of oil and then saute 8 ounces small, peeled, deveined shrimp that have their tails removed for 30 seconds per side. Remove from skillet and then saute eggs and then shrimp. Add cooked shrimp to fried rice right before serving.
Fried rice can be stored in the fridge for 3 days. However, leftover rice is not safe to consume more than 4 days, so if you started this recipe with rice that was older than 24 hours, only store the leftover fried rice for 24-48 hours.
The best way to reheat fried rice is to heat up a skillet you made your fried rice recipe in and then saute the leftover fried rice quickly on high heat for 2-3 minutes until heated through.
Fried rice is delicious served with additional sliced green onions, hot sauce, and additional soy sauce on the side.
While perfect served alone, I love to pair this easy fried rice with Easy Baked Egg Rolls or Vegetable Potstickers for a fun take-out fake-out meal. It also makes a great side dish for Stir-Fried Chicken and Bok Choy or Instant Pot Mongolian Beef.
On the busiest of nights, this 15-minute Fried Rice is a perfect solution to dinner! I hope that you and your family enjoy it!
- 1 /2 tablespoon butter
- 2 eggs whisked
- 1 tablespoon canola oil divided
- ¼ cup yellow onion minced
- 3 green onions finely sliced, plus more for topping
- ½ cup carrots diced or shredded
- 1 cup frozen peas defrosted
- ½ teaspoon minced garlic optional
- 3 cups leftover COLD rice
- 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce divided
- ½ tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- ½ teaspoon sesame oil optional
- Heat large non-stick or stainless steel skillet over medium heat and add in butter. Heat just until butter is melted.
- Whisk together eggs and add to melted butter. Cook the eggs, stirring often, to form scrambled eggs. Once eggs are just set, after about 1-2 minutes, remove from skillet and place onto a plate.
- Add in the oil to the skillet, then add in the minced onion and carrots. Saute, stirring frequently for 3 minutes, or until the onion just begins to soften.
- Add in the garlic and just saute until fragrant--about 15-30 seconds. DO NOT BURN THE GARLIC.
- Move the vegetables to one side of the skillet. Increase the heat to high and add in the remaining ½ tablespoon canola oil. Heat for 10-15 seconds and then add in the cold rice, peas, sliced green onions, 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce, and rice wine vinegar. Stir everything together to evenly distribute ingredients. Continue to stir constantly, until the rice has begun to brown and get crispy and is warmed through. This will take 3-5 minutes, depending on the size of your skillet.
- Turn off heat and add in remaining 1 tablespoon soy sauce, cooked eggs, and sesame oil, if using, and mix to combine.
- Top with additional sliced green onions. Serve with additional soy sauce and Sriracha on the side.
- Be sure to use cold rice--leftover rice works best.
- If you don't have canola, peanut, or avocado oil, vegetable oil will work.
- If you need this to be dairy-free, simply saute the eggs in canola oil OR nonstick-cooking spray.
- Omit the garlic if you don't care for it.
- Omit the eggs and butter for a Vegan-Friendly Dish.
- Feel free to add any vegetables you like. I often add in shredded cabbage, sugar snap peas, and edamame.
- Fried rice can be stored in the fridge for 3 days. The best way to reheat fried rice is to heat up a skillet you made your fried rice recipe in and then saute the leftover fried rice quickly on high heat for 2-3 minutes until heated through. Note: If the rice that you started this recipe with was older than 24 hours, only store the leftover fried rice for 24-48 hours.