Fried Rice

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) cooked 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 toasted 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.  Toasted 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 sautéing 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!!!

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Fried Rice

Learn how to make fried rice with this classic fried rice recipe. It tastes even better than the restaurant version!


  • 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 tablespoons soy sauce, or more to taste
  • 2 teaspoons oyster sauce (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil


Heat 1/2 tablespoon of butter in a large saute pan 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.  Or refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 3 days.

All images and text ©

If you make this recipe, be sure to snap a photo and hashtag it #gimmesomeoven. I'd love to see what you cook!

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How To Make Fried Rice |

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675 comments on “Fried Rice”

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

  2. 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!

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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 :)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  15. 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,

  16. 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!

  17. 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!!

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

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

  22. 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. ;)

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

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

  25. 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!

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

  27. Such great comfort food!

  28. 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!

  29. 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!

  30. 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!

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


  31. 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!!

  32. 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.

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  34. 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

  35. 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.

  36. 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!

  37. 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!

  38. 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.

  39. 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.

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

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

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

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