Fried Rice

March 5, 2014 by Ali

Learn how to make fried rice with this fabulous classic fried rice recipe. Feel free to add in chicken, pork, shrimp, veggies, or any other proteins you like as well.

How To Make Fried Rice |

You guys.

Pretty sure I had a jump-up-and-down, shout-for-joy, high-five-my-dog, ballet-leap-across-the-floor, I-am-Fried-Rice-Maker-hear-me-ROAR moment in my kitchen yesterday when I tasted this recipe. After about 15 years of trying, I finally found a fried rice recipe that met my standards. And I am positively giddy.

Ok, but let me back up.

You all have heard me wax poetic about my obsession love of egg drop soup, and how I ordered it every single Saturday of my childhood at our family’s favorite neighborhood Chinese restaurant. Well, what does a picky eater order to go with her egg drop soup for said Saturdays upon Saturdays of childhood? Fried rice, of course. In later years, I became obsessed specifically with pork fried rice. But for those first 12 years of life, it was “a side of plain fried rice, please” for me.

So much fried rice!

I feel like it’s critical to note, though, that the fried rice of my childhood was not that lame, bland, so-not-worth-the-carbs, lame excuse for fried rice that seems to be all too prevalent in take out joints around the world. Quite the contrary. This was flavorful, fresh, chewy, perfectly-fried, not-too-greasy, enjoy-it-to-the-last-bite spectacular fried rice. And it set the bar for fried rice for the rest of my life.

Sadly, this sweet little family-owned restaurant was pushed out of business by a terrible mega-buffet that opened across the street. (A total tragedy.) So for the past decade or so, I have been working to try and recreate the delicious fried rice of my childhood. I started experimenting in college, and have come close enough a handful of times for the fried rice to be passable, but it was never quite “there”.

Until yesterday.

I have to admit. I was craving fried rice so badly that I finally sat down and did some old fashioned research on the new fashioned Internets. And many articles and three test batches later, I finally nailed it. And then jumped for joy and promptly ate way too much fried rice with serious joy.

In my world, this is a Big Deal. In yours? Eh, maybe? Either way, it’s a fabulous 15-minute meal and can be a base for any other kind of fried rice you might enjoy. So let me tell you what I learned…

How To Make Fried Rice |

Ok, let’s cut right to it. Here are the important things I have learned over the years (and yesterday!) about making excellent fried rice.

1) Use cold rice: The key to great fried rice is using cold (or even leftover) rice. There’s something about the cold rice hitting a hot pan that makes all the difference. So even if you make a batch of rice just for this recipe, spread it out on a baking sheet or some large surface and pop it in the fridge (or freezer) for about 10-15 minutes beforehand so that it is not warm. You don’t want it to be frozen, you want chilled. (I also prefer short-grain rice, but that’s a preference — I like mine a little chewy!)

2) Use butter: Yes, butter. I have made many a batch of fried rice using various oils, and I’m now convinced there’s a reason why Japanese steak houses use that big ol’ slab of butter when they’re making fried rice. It just tastes better, and makes everything brown up perfectly. (Although don’t be scared — we only use 3 tablespoons for a very large batch of rice!)

3) Use veggies: This is one of my big pet peeves with lame take-out fried rice — not enough veggies! In addition to adding some nice spots of color, veggies go a long way in adding some flavor and freshness to fried rice. Our local chinese restaurant always added both white and green onions, too, which I included in this recipe.

4)  Use sesame oil and oyster sauce: Ok, if you’re really squeamish about seafood, you can leave out the oyster sauce and your fried rice will still be great. But this ingredient makes such a difference in good fried rice, and a little goes a long way. Sesame oil, on the other hand, is 100% non-negotiable. It is my favorite smelling ingredient in my kitchen, and tastes even better. There as well, a little goes a long way. (And it is meant as a finishing oil, not a cooking oil, so remove the pan from the heat once you’ve added it.)

5) Take time to actually FRY the rice: A.k.a. — take time to let it actually cook for awhile and brown a bit in the pan. So many fried rice recipes have you just stir in the rice and (voila!) you’re done. But I’ve found that actually sauteing the rice for a little while with the veggies helps to get that classic “fried” flavor and pulls all of the ingredients together.

How To Make Fried Rice |

None of these points are rocket science. But man, do they make a difference when it comes to restaurant-style (or better than restaurant-style!) fried rice.

Alright, here’s the official how-to:

How To Make Fried Rice |

Ok, I forgot to take a photo of the first step: the eggs. Scramble/fry the eggs in a bit of butter.

Then saute some onions, carrots, peas and garlic in a little more butter. (Don’t freak out, we’re only up to 1.5 tablespoons at this point.)

How To Make Fried Rice |

Once your veggies are nice and cooked, add the rice, soy sauce, and oyster sauce (if using). Again, chilled rice is key here. Stir it in with the veggies until it is combined. Then continue to saute it over high heat for an additional 3 minutes or so until you notice the rice starting to brown just a tiny bit.

How To Make Fried Rice |

Once the rice has been fried, stir in your green onions and sesame oil, along with the scrambled eggs. And then give it a taste, and add any additional pepper or soy sauce if needed.

How To Make Fried Rice |

Again, if you are a chicken fried rice fan…or pork fried rice…or shrimp fried rice…feel totally free to saute up your protein in advance and add it back in at this point. But I will tell you that — hi-ho-the-dairy-o — this plain rice can definitely stand alone too.

Oh yeah, and did I mention it only takes 15 minutes to make? Take out, shmake out. This recipe will be ready to go in no time. Enjoy!!!

How To Make Fried Rice |

Fried Rice

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Yield: About 4 servings


  • 3 Tbsp. butter, divided
  • 2 eggs, whisked
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 cups cooked and chilled rice (I prefer short-grain white rice)
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 3-4 Tbsp. soy sauce, or more to taste
  • 2 tsp. oyster sauce (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp. toasted sesame oil


Heat 1/2 tablespoon of butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat until melted. Add egg, and cook until scrambled, stirring occasionally. Remove egg, and transfer to a separate plate.

Add an additional 1 tablespoon butter to the pan and heat until melted. Add carrots, onion, peas and garlic, and season with a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Saute for about 5 minutes or until the onion and carrots are soft. Increase heat to high, add in the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter, and stir until melted. Immediately add the rice, green onions, soy sauce and oyster sauce (if using), and stir until combined. Continue stirring for an additional 3 minutes to fry the rice. Then add in the eggs and stir to combine. Add the sesame oil, stir to combine, and remove from heat.

Serve warm.

How To Make Fried Rice |

These recipes would also go great with fried rice!

Skinny Orange Chicken |

Skinny Orange Chicken

Pepper Steak Recipe |

Easy Pepper Steak

Healthier Sesame Chicken Recipe |

Healthier Sesame Chicken

filed in Entrees, Vegetarian

About Ali

Ali Ebright is a freelance recipe developer and food writer/photographer, and blogs at Gimme Some Oven and Gimme Some Life. She also loves all things music, traveling near and far, actually making things from Pinterest, cozying up with a good book and her sweet pup, Henry, and spending time with a wonderful group of friends. Come say hello and follow Ali on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ & Instagram.

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74 thoughts on “Fried Rice

  1. I made this last night and my family absolutely LOVED it. Better than most restaurant fried rice. I used Jasmine rice and I added cubed ham.I didn’t add onion because we are a family of onion haters. I used the dehydrated onions instead. I used a bag of frozen peas and carrots because it is what I had on hand and it worked well. I made this with Crispy Baked Asian Chicken Wings and my stepdaughter actually said “you should cook more often”! (My husband does most of the cooking) Here is the recipe for the wings:
    Thank you for sharing this recipe! it will be on our regular rotation for sure.

    - Coco

  2. I am allergic to shellfish, so I am assuming that I can’t use the oyster sauce?? Does it taste as good without it?

    - Aileen

  3. Oh. My. Gosh. That was perfection. My husband and I moved across the country 6 weeks ago, and part of my vow for starting fresh in a new kitchen was “no buying ingredients I’ll only use once.” I decided in an attempt to not waste food (and to save precious cabinet space), I would no longer be attempting any asian-inspired recipes. I had made too many stir-fry’s, noodle dishes, and fried rices that just didn’t turn out right. And I didn’t want bottles of sauces sitting in a cabinet for years. But then, in a search for dinner ideas, I found your recipe. Your description and experience was convincing. I went to bed thinking about fried rice. I woke up thinking about fried rice. By 10:30am I knew that my previously planned dinner was not going to happen, because I had to try making your fried rice (the pregnancy hormones weren’t helping). I found myself at the store buying soy sauce, oyster sauce, and sesame oil- three things I had vowed I wouldn’t buy this time around. This fried rice was everything I hope to have in fried rice. Delicious, not mushy, not watery, flavorful, satisfying, Mmmmm. I threw in a handful of cashews towards the end to add some extra flair. This rice is going to be a go-to from now on! And I don’t even feel bad about buying all those sauces because now I know they WILL get used. Thank you for you doing your rice research, and sharing this perfect recipe!

    - Alicia

  4. Just made this tonight and my family LOVED it! It was so easy, I added chicken to mine and everyone came back for seconds. Thanks for the recipe!

    - Marti S.

  5. Going to try this recipe tonight . . . one question/issue with your site: when I print the recipe, I get your ad right in the middle of the Method section (“Hey, I’m Ali . . . etc” Pinterest ad). Ugh!

    - rachel

  6. This is seriously so good. Finally picked up the oyster sauce at the store last week, woah!!! We make this about every other week, so good and the kids eat the veggies!!!

    - Kristin white

  7. When you say sesame oil do you mean toasted sesame oil or regular sesame oil?

    - Lisa

  8. Using cold rice is the key. I always make my rice the day before. If you use the rice while it is still hot it will keep cooking and get mushy when you fry it. I had a friend’s mom tell me about cooking the rice the day before. So I tried it and it makes the perfect fried rice every time. The only thing I can’t find in stores is the sesame oil. So I just use olive oil.

    - Coby

    • Oh and one other thing don’t scramble the eggs all the way. I cook the eggs and leave them about half way runny and set them aside. Then stir fry the veggies for a few minutes. Then add the rice and stir fry veggies and rice together. Then make a spot in the middle for the eggs and cook them the rest of the way. Then add the soy sauce and stir fry it all for another few minutes. This is how I learned to make it, but I’m sure there are other ways also.

      - Coby

  9. I absolutely love fried rice and never make it at home because it seems like it never tastes as good, but your tips may be the missing elements, Ali. Thanks!

    - Becca from ItsYummi!

  10. This is a really good recipe. My husband and I both enjoyed it. It’s so versatile and a great way to use leftovers. I added diced leftover roast beef. It heated up well the second time around; I had it for lunch a couple of days later. Next time, I’m going to make a shrimp version.

    - Leah

  11. Really nice page. I love the way you explained things prior to the recipe. The recipe itself is well written and easy to read. Many other bloggers could learn something from you :)

    - Sheri

  12. LOVE LOVE LOVE!! Thanks so much for posting this!! Everyone I have made it for wants your recipe.

    - Tara

  13. Yeah..this recipe looks yummy!..I wanna try it soon

    - leeAnn

  14. Do you ever put a calorie count with your recipes? They look so good but not really low cal.

    - Kristin

  15. Hi just wondering if you ever put a calorie count with your recipes…they look so good but maybe not low cal.

    - Kristin

  16. Joyce Stein • just now

    I made this recipe for dinner today and it was scrumptious! I changed (added) only two things: 1) added a packet of Trader Joe’s Savory Broth Chicken Flavor in the water when I boiled the rice and 2) added one cup of diced up spicy chicken breast. Definitely a keeper recipe.

    - Joyce

  17. So good!! I couldn’t add the sesame oil due to allergies, but I did add a handful of the slow-cooker chicken from your site. Wow, it’s yummy!! Nice big batch will be awesome to take for lunches this week. Thank you! Any suggestions for sesame substitute? Maybe peanut oil? Thanks for any tips.

    - Charla

  18. I just made this for my husband, who is half Japanese, and he loves it! Thank you for all the great tips on how to make perfect fried rice; you have mastered it!

    - Jocelyn

  19. Oyster, sesame and hoisin are certainly the big three sauces in many asian dishes. Consider varying the proportions in your fried rice and other dishes, to easily change the flavor. Also consider creating your own personal go to stir fry sauce,by incorporating chiles and chile sauces, if you’re a heat lover, and certain appropriate spices. You can create the sauce to complement the ingredients you’re using, which is especially useful when switching out your proteins. Btw, I think your tip about using cold rice is the most useful for newer fried rice devotees. That’s the biggest mistake I see when people ask for tips. Great column!

    - chilewheel

  20. This was great! I love a good fake-out take-out and this fits the bill! We had this tonight with your Egg Drop Soup and the whole meal was easy and delicious. Plus, we had everything on hand so we didn’t even need to go to the store! Thanks for the great recipe. We will make this and the soup again and again.

    - Katie

  21. This is very close to the way I make fried rice, except I never thought of using butter. Definitely better. I think my family is having Chinese tonight ! Thanks for the tips

    - Kari

  22. so i’ve never posted here before and just have to say how much my family enjoyed this dish. it was so easy and fast. I even forgot to put in the sesame oil and my kids still gobbled it up.

    - randi

  23. Thanks so much for sharing this! Can’t wait to try this! I LOVE fried rice, but it’s hard to find GOOD fried rice take out! YAY! Printing out recipe!!

    - Lynn

  24. This rice sounds incredible. But is it really 3 tablespoons of minced garlic. I use the chopped garlic in the jar, so it. Sounds like a lot!

    - Kathee

    • Oh my goodness gracious — I meant CLOVES! Major typo. Just edited it. That would have been some really garlicky rice. Thank you! :)


      - Ali

  25. Delish! we just made this for dinner tonight! Can’t wait to eat the leftovers! I was a bit scared to use the oyster sauce so I only added a good half tsp! This is so going to be in our list of make it often dinners!

    - Jodi A

  26. Hmmm . . . I always used peanut or rice bran oil and love my fried rice but I will definitely try butter next time.

    Also, I think it is important to point out that you really wanted TOASTED Sesame Oil not just plain sesame. It makes a HUGE difference!

    - Karen

  27. Such great comfort food!

    - Meredith

  28. My roommate is deathly allergic to seasame seeds… is there any other substituion I can use when making this?

    - Nancy

  29. I’m so glad you perfected your favorite fried rice recipe. I’m the same way when it comes to enchiladas. Anyway, I can’t wait to try this!

    - Tess @ Tips on Healthy Living

  30. Smart lady! Lose these photos. I’ll have to give this a try! We love fried rice!

    - dana

  31. Cold rice is a must, but BUTTER!! Oh I am so excited to try that out!! This looks amazing!

    - Tieghan

  32. We make fried rice around here quite often and now you have me craving it again! Cold rice is KEY but I never thought to use Oyster sauce!!! Mind = Blown. Also, I am very particular with my rice and prefer chewier too although if I’m being honest we do medium grain sushi grade brown rice. Maybe I’ll sneak in some butter next time. ;)

    - Liz @ The Lemon Bowl

  33. I am not a fan of Chinese food, but I do love fried rice and can eat it by the bowl full. Your recipe definitely kicks it up a notch as being heavy fried rice. Love this recipe, and thank you for making it for us all.

    - Denise

  34. Yum. I just made this a few nights ago! It is the bomb and SO easy. As usual I made a gigantic panful and as usual there was not a drop left. We just keep eating it and can’t stop till it’s gone. My recipe is very similar to yours except I use canola oil instead of butter and wasn’t using oyster sauce. Gonna try your ideas now! Oh — another delicious protein option is BBQ pork from the grocery store.

    - NancySJ

  35. This sounds great! In the Chinese restaurants of my youth they always beat the eggs lightly in a little bowl and added it to the wok at the end of cooking. It doesn’t actually coat the other ingredients, instead, cooking throughout the dish and becomes an integral part of the dish. I still make it that way instead of cooking the eggs separately. Try it and see if it doesn’t taste more like you remember the restaurant fried rice tasting. Just more authentic somehow.

    - Maralyn Woods

  36. This looks delicious! We love fried rice around here. Can’t wait to make this.

    - Norma | Allspice and Nutmeg

  37. Oh this looks SO GOOD! I used to have a Chinese roommate that made such delicious Fried Rice…I need to find a Soy sauce Substitute…Off to Whole foods I go!! Thank you for this recipe, I can’t wait to make it!!

    - Sandy Vichery

  38. There is nothing like really, really good fried rice. I am seriously excited to try this. We were just at a Japanese steakhouse this weekend and for the first time I noticed the butter on the fried rice! I’ve always used toasted sesame oil (which I love!), but I imagine the butter helps it get extra brown and toasty. LOVE!

    - Courtney @ Neighborfood

  39. Fried rice is a regular in my household! I agree that a lot of restaurants don’t put enough veggies and most of the time the rice is greasy. I also “fry” the rice, I don’t just throw all the ingredients together. I use less ingredients than this recipe, because of budget reasons, but it still is preferred over restaurant fried rice and it’s a favorite dinner in my house!

    Peace & Sunshine,

    - Sammi

  40. This looks AMAZING. I just ate lunch and I’m already hungry for this.

    - Stephanie @ Girl Versus Dough

  41. This looks really good Ali, I have the same complaint about take-out not enough veggies. Will be making this soon. Pinned.

    - cheri

  42. This post just made my day… guess what’s up in my kitchen after work today?? Thanks for sharing!

    - Jennifer

  43. Now this is the perfect fried rice! Looks delicious!

    - Ashley | Spoonful of Flavor

  44. Vegetable fried rice is a most when ordering Chinese. Your version does look better than take-out! Yum!

    - Layla @ Brunch Time Baker

  45. When do we add in the egg that was removed on a separate plate?

    - Jayson

  46. I am crazy about fried rice! I love all the veggies in this rice–so pretty! pinned.

    - Sarah@WholeAndHeavenlyOven

  47. I love fried rice, but haven’t had it in ages! Definitely time to make this asap!

    - Kelli @ The Corner Kitchen

  48. Oh how we love fried rice!! Fun to have a recipe to make it at home!!

    - Jenny Flake

  49. I, too, still get cravings for Lotus Gardens fried rice. Anxious to try this to see if it measures up!

    - Ali's Mom

  50. I’ve made fried rice a few times from recipes claiming to be great, but I’m always disappointed. It always turns out blah and not at all tasting like the fried rice you get from Asian restaurants. Your recipe is definitely a little different though and you sound like you know what you’re talking about! I’ll have to give it a try! Thanks for sharing :)

    - Stephanie @ The Good Stuff

  51. You are taking me back to my childhood: the BEST shrimp fried rice at a local Chinese joint. I too have been struggling to recreate it. Thanks for the tips! Can’t wait to put ‘em in action.

    - Erin | The Law Student's Wife

  52. I was just searching you website yesterday for a fried rice recipe and lo and behold here it is this morning. I can’t wait to try this out.

    - Sarah

  53. That looks amazing. I have created my own fried rice recipe, but it’s nothing like they serve in a restaurant. I am definitely going to have to give yours a try!

    - Caitlyn

  54. Love this post! Fried rice is one of my favorite comfort foods. This looks so good!!

    - Marie @ Little Kitchie

  55. I just realized that I thawed the veggies beforehand, would that have made the difference?

    - Ashley Sargent