This Chinese-inspired fried rice recipe is my absolute fave. It’s quick and easy to make, customizable with any of your favorite mix-ins, and so irresistibly delicious.
Hey friends! I’m digging back into the blog archives today to share one of my all-time favorite recipes.
My favorite homemade fried rice. ♡
Growing up, our family had a tradition of eating lunch every Saturday at our neighborhood’s favorite local Chinese restaurant. And every single Saturday for lunch, I ordered the same thing — egg drop soup and fried rice, my absolute favorites. This restaurant set the bar high for me early when it comes to how amazing fried rice could be. Theirs was always perfectly al dente with slightly crispy edges, full of rich savory flavors, and loaded up with plenty of extra veggies, eggs, and whatever protein sounded good.
After our favorite restaurant sadly closed over a decade ago, I spent years tinkering around with dozens and dozens of batches of fried rice, attempting to recreate a fried recipe that tasted as good as theirs. And while nothing will ever match the original in my book, this fried rice recipe that I’ve landed on is as close as I’ve come and has been my favorite go-to ever since. It’s surprisingly speedy to make, easy to customize with your favorite add-ins, and SO flavorful and comforting. Thousands of our readers have also made and enjoyed it over the years since. So if you’re looking for a good recipe to try, I hope you’ll enjoy it too.
Let’s make some homemade fried rice!
Fried Rice Recipe | 1-Minute Video
Tips For Making The Best Fried Rice:
Ok, let’s get right to it. Here are the important things I have learned over the years about how to make the best fried rice.
1) Use cold rice: You’ve gotta plan ahead and use thoroughly-chilled cooked rice. A fresh batch of warm (or even lukewarm) rice will not fry well when it hits the hot pan, and will result in soggy and sticky clumps — no good. So leftover refrigerated rice is ideal! Or, if you are in a hurry (or have an impulse craving for fried rice, which I completely understand ?), just cook up a fresh batch of rice. Then spread it out on a baking sheet or another large flat pan, drape the rice with a layer of plastic wrap, then pop it in the fridge for 30 minutes (or in the freezer for 10-15 minutes) until it is thoroughly chilled (not frozen).
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 slab of butter when they’re making fried rice. It just tastes so much better, and also makes everything brown up perfectly. (Although by contrast to Japanese steak houses, we only use 3 tablespoons for a large batch of rice in this recipe.)
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. But feel free to modernize this recipe with some other delicious stir-fried veggies as well!
4) Use toasted sesame oil and oyster sauce: If you do not eat 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. So even if you’re not into oysters, don’t be scared of oyster sauce! Toasted sesame oil, on the other hand, is 100% non-negotiable. It is my favorite smelling ingredient in my kitchen, and tastes wonderful in fried rice. (Also note that sesame oil is meant as a finishing oil, not a cooking oil, so remove the pan from the heat and then stir it in.)
5) Use high heat: This will help fry and brown the rice and veggies well, and will also help prevent the rice from steaming in the pan instead of frying.
6) Let the rice brown a bit on the bottom: If you’re like me and love your rice to be a bit crispy, let it rest for a bit in between stirs so that it can brown a bit on the bottom. It also helps greatly to use a non-stick skillet so that the rice doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
7) Don’t be afraid to add in some extra soy sauce at the end: I know that everyone has different sensitivities to salt, and different brands of soy sauce also contain pretty dramatically different levels of sodium. So I went a little light on soy sauce in the recipe below. But please add more at the end if this tastes good to you. I almost always stir an extra drizzle into my portion and love it.
Homemade Fried Rice Ingredients:
Alright, so let’s talk ingredients. To make this fried rice recipe, you will need (affiliate links included):
Cooked, chilled rice: Any kind of white or brown rice will do. Just be sure that it is cooked (I always cook mine in this rice cooker, which works like a charm) and thoroughly chilled (in a sealed container in the refrigerator) before adding it to your hot skillet. Again, freshly-cooked rice will not work well in this recipe.
Eggs: Which add great flavor, texture and protein.
Carrots, onions, green onions and peas: This is the base mix of veggies that I always use for fried rice, but feel free to add in other stir-fry veggies you love (see ideas below).
Soy sauce: I created this recipe using low-sodium soy sauce. So add less if you’re using traditional soy sauce.
Oyster sauce: This is a major flavor booster in fried rice and (don’t worry) doesn’t taste like oysters. You can find it in the Asian section of grocery stores, or order it on Amazon.
Toasted sesame oil: The finishing touch in this recipe, which is a must. You can also find it in the Asian section of grocery stores, or order it on Amazon.
Butter: My favorite way to stir fry rice.
How To Make Fried Rice:
To make this homemade fried rice recipe, simply:
Scramble eggs: Using a small pat of butter, scramble some eggs in a large sauté pan, breaking them into small pieces as you go. Then transfer the eggs to a separate plate, and set aside.
Sauté veggies and garlic: Return your sauté pan to the heat, and sauté the onions, carrots, peas and garlic until soft and cooked through.
Stir fry rice: Then turn the burner to high heat. Scooch the veggies over to one side of the pan, melt the remaining butter in the other half, and add the chilled rice, soy sauce, and oyster sauce (if using). Then stir to combine with the veggies and continue sautéing the rice, stirring every 15-20 seconds or so for 3 minutes, or until you notice the rice and veggies starting to brown slightly.
Remove pan from heat. And stir in your green onions, sesame oil, and scrambled eggs.
Taste and season. Give the rice a taste, and season with salt and pepper, plus any extra soy sauce or sesame oil if needed.
Serve! Then dish it up and serve nice and warm!
Easy Fried Rice Variations:
The sky’s the limit when it comes to homemade fried rice variations, so feel free to get creative and use up other leftover ingredients you may happen to have on hand. That said, here are some classic add-ins:
Chicken Fried Rice: You can either sauté some chicken in a separate sauté pan while making your fried rice. Then shred or dice and add to your fried rice. Or for a shortcut, I like to shred a rotisserie chicken. Or even better, shred leftovers from my favorite baked chicken breasts recipe.
Pork Fried Rice: Sauté a boneless pork chop in a separate sauté pan while making your fried rice. Then dice and add to your rice.
Beef Fried Rice: Sauté steak or brown ground beef in a separate sauté pan while making your fried rice. Then crumble or dice and add to your rice.
Shrimp Fried Rice: Sauté half a pound of peeled, raw shrimp in separate sauté pan while making your fried rice. Then add the shrimp to your rice.
Vegetable Fried Rice: Any stir-fry friendly veggies would be great in fried rice! Just sauté at the same time that you cook the onions, carrots, peas and garlic. Then stir to combine with the fried rice.
Kimchi Fried Rice: Fresh kimchi adds a major flavor boost to fried rice. Just chop and stir it in to make kimchi fried rice.
Pineapple Fried Rice: Fresh pineapple can be traditional in Chinese or Thai fried rice. Just chop and stir it in to combine.
Also, in lieu of using traditional white rice in this recipe, feel free to make:
Fried Brown Rice: For a healthier twist, feel free to use cooked brown rice in this recipe instead of white rice.
Heat 1/2 tablespoon of butter in a large sauté 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. Sauté 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 sautéing for an additional 3 minutes to fry the rice, stirring occasionally. (I like to let the rice rest for a bit between stirs so that it can crisp up on the bottom.) Then add in the eggs and stir to combine. Remove from heat, and stir in the sesame oil until combined. Taste and season with extra soy sauce, if needed.
*Sauté pan: If you happen to own a nonstick or cast-iron pan, I would recommend it for this recipe. But that said, any pan that you have can work — you may just have to be a bit more vigilant with stirring so that the rice and eggs don’t stick.