White bowl full of an easy fried rice recipe on top of wooden table
Main Dishes, Side Dishes

Easy Fried Rice Recipe

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I LOVE fried rice. It is my favorite thing to order whenever I get Chinese or Japanese food. A lot of people prefer chow mein, but not me. I like the cheap Panda Express fried rice. I like the moderately priced Pei Wei fried rice and of course the more expensive stuff that you get at places like PF Chang’s. But in general, the best places to get it are at the hole in the wall mom and pop Chinese food restaurants. Or of course, you can always make it at home. You don’t need to own a hibachi-style grill or even a wok to make some pretty amazing homemade fried rice. This easy fried rice recipe is my go-to recipe when I am craving this kind of food. If I can do it, you can do it. Let’s get started!

Step 1: Gather the ingredients and tools

For this easy fried rice recipe, we need a handful of ingredients and tools that you should have already. You will need the following:

  • Oil – We need oil for frying. Pick an oil that has a high smoke point. Oils like soybean oil, sesame seed oil, peanut oil, and vegetable oil are good choices. Canola oil will work too.
  • Cooked White Rice – preferably chilled, this helps it to not stick and get soggy. If you use freshly made rice you won’t get that classic texture.
  • Carrots – Carrots are a classic ingredient for fried rice. They add texture, flavor, and makes it just a tad bit more healthy.
  • Peas – Peas are another classic vegetable found in fried rice. Like the carrots, they add texture and flavor and a few more nutrients. If you really want it to be easy use a bag of frozen peas and carrots.
  • Eggs – You can use a few eggs. Fried rice normally has a bit of egg in it.
  • Green Onion – The onion will act as a flavor enhancer.
  • Ham – Use your choice of meat. Already cooked ham is a popular choice, or use already cooked pork, chicken, etc.
  • Garlic – The garlic will add lots of flavor. And of course, keep the Vampires away.
  • Butter – Gotta love butter. The butter will add flavor. It is optional though. You can leave it out.
  • Soy Sauce – This is the classic sauce that is added to fried rice.
several glass bowl holding a variety of ingredients rice, ham, eggs, etc.

Tools

Step 2: How to make this easy fried rice recipe

First, cook and prepare your rice. I normally make it the night before. Generally, I will use white long grain rice and cook about a cup of it which yields about 2 cups of cooked rice. Or if I am having rice the nice before with another dish I will just cook more than I need so I can use the leftovers for fried rice. After you cook the rice spread it out in a thin layer on a sheet pan. Then cover it with plastic wrap and place in the fridge overnight or at least for a few hours. We definitely need to chill the cooked rice otherwise it will be too sticky and not give us that classic fried rice texture. The next day remove the cooked rice from the pan and place it in a bowl.

Sheet pan with cooked chilled rice being placed into a glass bowl

Step 3: Sauté the veggies

Place your skillet or wok on the stovetop and turn the heat to medium-high. Then add in your oil. It is very important to use an oil with a high smoke point. Woks and Cast iron skillets are nice because they heat up really hot and do a great job frying the rice. Non-stick skillets work as well, but just be careful because high heat over time will deteriorate your Teflon surface. Once your oil is nice and hot add in your carrots and peas. For convenience a lot of times I will use frozen peas and carrots since I have them in the freezer all the time. But you can certainly cut up fresh carrots and use fresh peas. Sauté them for a few minutes.

Step 4: Cooking the eggs

I really like a lot of cooked eggs in my fried rice so I always use 2 eggs. But if you don’t want that much just use one egg. Push the veggies to the side of the skillet and crack open those eggs and fried them up essentially making them scrambled eggs. No need to use a separate pan to cook the egg or eggs.

Step 5: Rest of the ingredients, onions, ham, and garlic

Next add in the green onion, garlic, cooked ham or other protein like cooked chicken or cooked pork. Mix them all together and cook for about 30 seconds.

Step 6: Add in the chilled cooked rice and butter

Now turn up the heat to high and add all of the rice at once. Mix well with the other ingredients constantly stirring with your wooden spoon or heat resistant spatula. Add in the butter and keep stirring or flipping if you know how to do it that way. Cook it about another minute longer.

large black skillet full or fried rice.

Step 7: Add the soy sauce to the fried rice

Finally, add in your soy sauce. Start with only a few tablespoons at first and taste it. It can quickly overpower the dish if you add in too much. You can also add in a bit of sesame seed oil to with is a common ingredient. Continue stirring and mixing for another minute after adding the soy sauce. Then it will be done. Transfer the fried rice over to another bowl and serve it warm. It is traditionally a side to go with the main dish but I regularly eat it as my main dish. Enjoy!

How long with fried rice last?

If you store your leftover fried rice in an airtight container in the fridge it will last 4 to 6 days. You can also freeze it if you like and it will last much longer.

Easy Fried Rice Recipe

Fried rice is my favorite thing to order at Chinese and Japanese restaurants. I just love it! I also enjoy making it at home and this recipe does not disappoint. It is a perfect thing to make with your leftover rice.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Appetizer, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: Chinese, Japanese
Keyword: easy, fast, quick
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 395kcal
Author: Matt Taylor

Equipment

  • skillet, wok, or cast iron pan
  • spatula or wooden spoon
  • baking sheet
  • Plastic wrap

Ingredients

  • 3 Tbsp. Oil Soybean, Vegetable, Peanut, Canola (45 ml approx.)
  • 2 cups of cooked rice (white long grained) chilled overnight in the fridge (400g approx.)
  • 1/2 cup diced carrots 60g approx.
  • 1/2 cup peas 75g approx.
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup green onion 115g approx.
  • 1 cup cooked diced ham cooked chicken, pork, or beef (150g approx.)
  • 4 cloves of Garlic minced
  • 2 – 3 Tbsp. of butter 30g approx. (you can add more if you like)
  • 2 – 3 Tbsp. of soy sauce 30ml to 40ml approx.

Instructions

  • Cook and chill the rice. I normally do this the evening before. The chilled rice fries up better and gives a better texture. Plus it is a great way to use leftover rice. Layout the rice on a sheet pan and cover it with plastic wrap. I usually use white long-grained rice.
  • Place your skillet or wok onto your stovetop and set the heat to medium-high. Add in your oil and allow the pan to heat up. Once the oil starts to shimmer it is ready to go. Next, add in your carrots and peas and cook them for about 2 minutes.
  • Now move the veggies aside in the pan and add the eggs. Fried the eggs until scrambled. Then mix with the carrots and peas. This will only take a few minutes.
  • Next, add your choice of meat, I like to use ham, green onion, and garlic. Cook everything together for a minute or 2. Next, turn the heat up to high and add the rice and butter. Keep stirring that rice so it doesn't burn. Once the butter is all melted, it will only take a minute or 2, add in the soy sauce and optional sesame seed oil. Cook it for another couple of minutes. Fried rice cooks pretty fast. Generally, a total of 8 to 10 minutes is all you need once the veggies hit the pan until the whole dish is ready. Transfer to a bowl and serve warm. Enjoy! 🙂

Video

Notes

*The cook time reflects using rice that you cooked the night before. 
fried rice nutritional facts

Do you like the recipe? Please give it a rating and comment down below, I really appreciate it. If you make it tag me on Instagram @inthekitchenwithmatt. Also, sign up for the newsletter so you won’t miss out on any of my new posts and recipes.

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