Try swapping out traditional rice for quinoa in this easy quinoa fried “rice” recipe! It’s amazingly flavorful and delicious, and only takes about 15 minutes to make.
A year ago I shared my hands-down, all-time, better-than-the-restaurant, finally-perfected, FAVORITE fried rice recipe. Readers have made it hundreds of time since and love it. I have made it countless times ever since and love it. Let’s be real — the world loves some good fried rice.
But last week when a cold and stressful day hit and allI was craving a bowl of rice, a tiny problem popped up: no rice in the casa.
Argh. So I scavenged my pantry and decided to try subbing in the next closest thing: quinoa.
Quinoa Fried Rice Recipe | 1-Minute Video
I probably shouldn’t have been surprised by this one. I regularly sub in rice and farro for quinoa in recipes that call for rice, and know that it is usually a great swap. But this was fried rice that we’re talkin’ about here. The holy grail of rice dishes, in my book. Very, very rice-ish.
Still, it was rainy out and I didn’t want to traipse across the neighborhood to my Chinese restaurant. So quinoa it was.
I whipped up a batch of quinoa, made using veggie stock (my favorite). Then in order to speed up the chilling process (essential for making fried rice), I spread it out on a baking sheet and popped it in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, I chopped and sauteed my veggies and garlic, and got things rolling. Then finally added in the chilled quinoa and the remainder of the ingredients, sauteed in lots of butter over high heat (my secret to fried rice).
Well, honestly, the result was the best compliment I could pay to this dish:
It tasted just like fried rice!!!
Again, this probably should not have come as any sort of surprise. But after finally landing on my perfected recipe for fried rice, I was a little shocked that quinoa could swoop in so stealthily and carry the dish. But it did! And it was just as delicious and comforting and satisfying as the original, but made a bit healthier with the addition of protein-packed quinoa.
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 cooked quinoa, green onions, soy sauce and oyster sauce (if using), and stir until combined. Continue stirring for an additional 3 minutes to fry the quinoa. Then add in the eggs and stir to combine. Add the sesame oil, stir to combine, and remove from heat.
This is such a good recipe! I was in the middle of cooking when I realized I was out of soy sauce so I used Bragg’s amino acids and it was amazing!
Thanks Kimberly — we’re so glad you enjoyed it, and that’s good to know it worked well with Bragg’s amino acids!
I’m allergic to soy and will try this instead! Thanks Kimberly
Made this for dinner tonight at it was AMAZING! Exceeded all my expectations. I added chicken for a little bit extra, but would definitely make again :)
We’re so happy to hear that Claire! :D
This looks so yummy! What could I make to go with this dish?
Thanks Heidi — we hope you enjoy it! And we love it as a side to Asian salmon, steak, chicken, etc. or as a main (we’ll just add chicken to it and have it with some wok-sautéed veggies. We hope that helps!
Any substitutions for the butter? Can you use EVOO instead?
Hi Pam! We think butter works better in this recipe, and olive oil may clash with the sesame oil, so we would actually recommend a more neutral oil (such as vegetable/canola, grapeseed or safflower oil). We hope this helps!
Could you email me the nutritional information. Please.
Hi Donnakay! Unfortunately we are unsure of the nutrition facts/amount of calories in this recipe. We currently are not publishing nutrition facts on the site, as the nutrition calculators available are not 100% accurate, and we never want to publish anything that might be misleading. However, a lot of our readers love the My Fitness Pal nutrition calculator, so feel free to try that for an estimate. We hope that helps!
This is not gluten free soy sauce has gluten
You’re absolutely right, Olivia — thank you for catching that! These should not have been tagged “gluten-free.” Fixing now.
They have gluten free soy sauce now days!
What are the directions to use rice instead? Thanks!
Hi Diane! We actually have a fried rice recipe as well. :)
Thanks so much for this very scrumptious recipe. I added some capsicum (peppers), corn and mushrooms as well as chilli flakes and fish sauce. It was the best fried rice I ever made. I prefer this to regular fried rice and can’t wait to make it again.
You’re very welcome, Donna — we’re happy you enjoyed it!
I made this tonight and it was a HUGE hit.
I was curious if anyone knew the caloric value?
Definitely might be our new fav recipe!
We’re so happy you guys loved it, Ashley — we appreciate you giving it a try! :) As for the calories though, we’re sorry but we are aren’t sure. We currently are not publishing nutrition facts on the site, as the nutrition calculators available are not 100% accurate, and we never want to publish anything that might be misleading. However, a lot of our readers love the My Fitness Pal nutrition calculator, so feel free to try that for an estimate. We hope that helps!
Very nice to sub out the rice to quinoa! We’ll be doing this often — thanks for the yummy recipe!
You’re very welcome, Cindy, we’re glad you enjoy this!
Hi There! Just wondering if leftovers can never frozen? Thanks!
Hi there! You can definitely freeze this, but we’d leave the egg out if you plan on doing this (it won’t hold up well in the freezer, though you can always add fresh scrambled eggs to your reheated leftovers). Just let the cooked quinoa cool down completely, then transfer it to a an airtight, freezer-safe container, or a resealable plastic bag. If using the bag, press all the air out before sealing, then pat the quinoa into an even layer before freezing. We hope this helps!
Can you give me any idea what oyster sauce taste like?
Hi Samantha! Oyster sauce doesn’t taste fishy. It taste like a thick, savory brown sauce (similar to soy sauce). We hope this helps!
I’m just getting into cooking. What kind of pan do you suggest for this? Like how big, deep, and coating? I think my frying pan would be too small for this and the eggs would stick to the bottom. Thanks!
Hi Jill! It doesn’t need to be too deep, but it should be pretty big (we used a 12-inch skillet). It ccan be a nonstick but doesn’t have to be. We hope this helps!
I love this recipe. I added grilled chicken and cook my Quinoa in Chicken stock and add a bullion cube. I also add small dice celery. Preferred is all.
For a salad room temp dish it holds up and I add avocado.
There is so much you can work with. I have never worked with Quinoa before and wow did this dish completely change that. The entire family loves it. And as a Asian woman I know fried rice. I’m super impressed that this is better. Thanks so much for helping me kick up my cooking skills.
Thank you for sharing with us, Sophia, we’re so glad you enjoy it, and we love that you added some celery! :)
This is a staple in my house! I come back to this recipe time and time again. When I am in a pinch, I use frozen veggies. I also add shrimp! Such a flavorful and healthy dish!
Thank you, Liz, we’re so happy you’re a fan! :)
I haven’t even tried it but your description of it was so fabulous that I have no doubt that just about any recipe that calls for rice is going to turn out really really good. Great job on this – I got a chuckle out of it and some inspiration, so call that a two-fer. Thank you!
Thanks, Jim, we hope you enjoy!
Yum! Eating it now! I am positive that the recipe is perfect as is, but I made a couple of changes to work with what I had on hand. I subbed olive oil for the butter to make it dairy free. I used a frozen vegetable blend that included limas, corn and carrots with the peas. I also added some left over roasted, chopped french green beans. Lastly instead of adding the soy sauce, oyster sauce, toasted sesame oil and garlic, I used a stir-fry sauce that I keep on hand for quick meal prep https://www.tasteslovely.com/best-stir-fry-sauce ….It is excellent as well and makes stir-fry quick!
Thanks for sharing, Kim! We’re glad you were able to make some adaptations to this, and that you enjoyed it! :)
This is THE BEST thing ever. I made the fried rice recipe after a few times making it with quinoa and honestly, I like the quinoa better! There are also few things I love more than onions sautéed in butter so I added more onions than probably necessary but ugh, was it good. Thank you again for another simply amazing recipe that is so quick and simple to make. The number one reason I love this blog is I can always count on it for a simple and more importantly quick meal that always tastes great!
Vegan-ised this for tonight’s teriyaki tofu! I had some for lunch; it’s so amazing and i cant believe I’ve never thought of using quinoa like this before!
Awesome, so glad you enjoyed it!
This recipe knocked our socks off. Thank you!
Yay!! So glad to hear it!
Just made this, it really good! I’ll add more soy sauce next time because salt is good lol
Super easy! My family loves it! I often add some chicken or shrimp!
Excellent, very tasty!
I really like this recipe, it was the original one I tried to replicate. Have you tried adding the eggs into the pan directly and scrambling as you go? I found that bit was what really cemeted this as a staple in our household!
My Partner and I loved it, easy and quick to make and does well as left overs!
Love easy, healthy recipes.
I added bean sprouts and cooked (large) shrimp, just because…
I have made this three times already in the past month. It’s my new favorite recipe! I use chicken bone broth to cook the quinoa, I add celery and mung bean sprouts and it really is better than fried rice. No more takeout for me!
This was great! I used a combination of veggies (added zucchini) and a can of low sodium chickpeas. I cut down on the soy sauce since my husband is watching his sodium intake, but it was still flavorful and delicious. I’d make this again.
Had guests for dinner and they said it was “Bomb”. We loved it too!
Such an easy delicious recipe!!! One of my go to favs.
You’re awesome! I honestly didn’t think this would be all that great, but the kids asked for fried rice and I didn’t feel like rice, so I comprimised with this. Not a compromise! This was so delicious! I veganized it (crumbled tofu for egg and earth balance for butter) and changed the veg a bit, for what I needed to use. Best fried rice I’ve made. I make many of your recipes, and I’ve never had one fail. Thank you :)
Great recipe! Easy, quick, healthy dinner!!
I just this week discovered a new way to enjoy quinoa. (Your recipe makes “New Way Number Two” and is definitely on my to-try list. Thanks!)
I make up a week’s worth of quinoa at a time and reheat as needed. I’m a big fan of roasted vegetables: cherry tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, zukes, etc.) I got my roasted veggies ready to put in my toaster oven at 400 and then prepared to reheat my quinoa in the microsave. Instead, on a whim I tossed the veggies with the cooked quinoa and roasted everything for 20 minutes. The quinoa comes out brown, crunchy and delicious. I’m seriously counting calories these days so instead of tossing with oil or butter I sprayed the roasting pan with vegetable spray, added the quinoa and vegetables in a single layer, then sprayed again. I think that helped amp up the crunch factor.
I’m thinking that toasted quinoa all by itself would be a nice addition to other dishes, especially salads.
I’ve made this recipe many times and it’s perfect every time! Absolutely love it.
I’ve made this countless times. I recently began adding riced cauliflower for another dimension. Delicious.
This was a hit for my currently very picky 8 year old and 2 year old! We added a bit of leftover grilled chicken and it was incredibly tastey. We were all arguing to see who would get the eat the leftovers for lunch the next day!
I made this because my husband and I are trying to eat an anti-inflammatory diet. This was YUM. It’s going on our permanent menu. I made it even easier and threw in a frozen vegetable mix which tasted great. I didn’t have oyster sauce. I can only imagine the flavor if I had. Will get some for next time. Thanks!
This is the first time I was successful making fried quinoa. This recipe was simple and easy to follow.
I love it and will be making it again.
I’ve been making this for 2 years, and I love it! So many people ask for the recipe- it’s amazing :)
I made this dish for my mother-in-law. She loved it. I used a mixture of butter and sesame oil. Taste was heavenly. Thank you for this quick fix. Easy to make.
I just finished making this, and it was awesome! I added some grilled chicken left over from last night to make it a meal. I’ll be making this again!
Made this & love it!!
Reading the Full blog helps lol.. it was great! Better than any other fried rice I’ve made since I let it cool and made sure there was enough butter
In Step 2 you write, “Continue stirring for an additional 3 minutes to fry the rice.” You might want to edit that.
I am making this tonight, the only difference is I do not like Peas so I am using shelled edamame. Everything else I am doing the same. Making Salmon Patties on the side. I will let you know how it turns out.
Great recipe and so simple. Swapped out the quinoa for 1 cup uncooked rice. Added a chicken breast, sliced thin. Did not have oyster sauce but it was all good. Thank you!
This was AMAZING! My husband and I have been trying to eat healthier and looking for many recipes. It was our first time trying quinoa and I decided to start with this recipe since we love fried rice. This was so so so good we both loved it so much. I could hardly believe that I wasn’t eating rice.
I was craving fried rice so much yesterday but just thought of making with quinoa for a healthier version and came across this recipe. I just can’t tell you enough Ali how much my Husband and I enjoyed this! I added broccoli and chicken as well and it was ready in minutes. Thanks so much for this bookmarked and probably weekly (or may more than once a week dinner recipe) :)