Fried rice is one of the most popular takeout dishes, but it’s surprisingly easy to make at home. This complete guide will teach you how to make restaurant-quality fried rice with simple ingredients and a few basic techniques. Read on for a foolproof fried rice recipe along with serving ideas, substitutions, FAQs, and more for making the best fried rice of your life.
Fried Rice Recipe
Fried rice is a dish of cooked rice stir-fried in a wok or pan and mixed with other ingredients like vegetables, proteins, and sauce. The rice gets coated in tasty oil and seasonings, while retaining a pleasant chewiness from the separate grains. The dish likely originated in China but is now enjoyed all over Asia and the world. Here’s a quick look at how to make classic fried rice at home.
- 3 cups cold, cooked white rice
- 1 medium carrot, diced
- 1/2 cup frozen peas
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 lb shrimp, chicken or pork, cooked and chopped
- 3 green onions, sliced
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Heat a wok over high heat. Add oil and scrambled eggs, cook 1 minute. Remove eggs.
- Add veggies and protein and stir fry 2 minutes. Remove and set aside.
- Add rice and stir constantly 3-4 minutes until heated through.
- Push rice to sides. Add garlic and stir fry 30 seconds.
- Add soy sauce and sesame oil and mix well.
- Return veggies, protein and eggs to wok. Toss together 1-2 minutes until combined.
- Add green onions and tosseverything together.
- Serve immediately, season with salt and pepper.
- Use day old, chilled rice. Fresh rice will be gummy.
- Cook rice in batches for best texture.
- Continuously toss and stir the rice as it fries.
- Add soy sauce at the end to avoid making rice mushy.
How to Choose the Best Rice
The variety of rice you use makes a big difference in fried rice texture…
Long Grain White Rice
Jasmine and basmati rice work well. Their dry, fluffy grains fry up nicely separate. Rinse well before using.
Short Grain Asian Rice
The high starch in rice like sushi rice gives great texture after frying. Be sure to rinse thoroughly.
Brown Rice and Wild Rice
Use half white and half brown or wild rice. The brown rice adds nutty flavor and chewy texture.
Pro Tip: Go Stale!
Day old, chilled rice works best. The starch crystallizes, preventing sogginess when fried.
Fried Rice Ingredients to Include
Beyond rice, the mix ins are key. Try these tasty fried rice ingredients:
Chicken, pork, shrimp, tofu or eggs. Scramble the egg before adding.
Onions, carrots, peas, bean sprouts, broccoli, mushrooms, etc.
Cilantro, basil, mint, scallions for fresh flavor.
Nuts, sesame seeds, crispy wontons or rice crackers.
Soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil, fish sauce, chili sauce.
Cooking Tools for Fried Rice
Having the right kitchen tools helps make stellar fried rice:
- Wok or Large Non-Stick Skillet – Provides quick, even heating.
- Spatula and Stirring Utensil – For tossing rice without sticking.
- Rice Paddle or Fork – To break up clumps after cooking.
- Measuring Cups and Spoons – For precise seasoning.
- Cutting Board and Sharp Knife – For prepping veggies, proteins, etc.
Fried Rice Cooking Tips
Follow these tips for making the best restaurant-quality fried rice:
Use Very High Heat
This helps create the coveted wok hei (breath of the wok) flavor.
Cook in Smaller Batches
1-2 cups rice at a time allows for even searing and tossing.
Keep Rice Moving
Continuously stir, toss, and turn the rice while cooking to separate grains.
Sear, Don’t Steam
Avoid steaming rice by not overcrowding pan and keeping heat high.
Season at Every Step
Salt and pepper rice, aromatics, protein and veggies as they cook.
How to Store and Reheat Leftover Fried Rice
Made too much fried rice? Here’s how to store and reheat it:
- Allow fried rice to cool completely before storing.
- Place in airtight container and refrigerate 3-5 days.
- To reheat, place in oiled skillet over medium high heat.
- Stir frequently until heated through, adding a splash of water to liven up if needed.
- Avoid microwaving, which makes the texture mushy.
Creative Fried Rice Flavor Ideas
Once you’ve mastered basic fried rice, get creative with global flavors!
Thai – Basil, lime, peanuts, chili sauce
Mexican – Salsa, avocado, black beans, corn
Japanese – Ginger, sesame, soy sauce, shrimp
Indian – Curry powder, raisins, cashews
Italian – Parmesan, olives, herbs, lemon zest
Southern – Bacon, cheese, hot sauce
Mix and match flavors to create your own signature fried rice!
Fried Rice Variations from Around the World
Fried rice has gone global. Try these cultural twists:
Chinese Yeung Chow Fried Rice
Spicy fried rice with Chinese sausage and greens.
Indonesian Nasi Goreng
Fried rice with shrimp paste, sweet soy sauce and crunchy noodles.
Korean Kimchi Bokkeumbap
Fiery fried rice made with fermented kimchi.
Thai Khao Pad
Thai fried rice infused with savory fish sauce flavor.
Japanese fried rice with ginger, sake, and sesame oil.
Common Fried Rice FAQs
Got fried rice questions? Here are some answers:
What rice is best for fried rice?
Day old, cold cooked long grain rice like jasmine or basmati. The starch crystallizes for the best texture.
Does fried rice need to be made with white rice?
No, you can use brown rice, wild rice, rice blends, etc. Just adjust any liquid and cook times.
What oil should I use for fried rice?
A neutral oil like vegetable, canola or peanut oil. Olive oil can become bitter when stirred over high heat.
My fried rice is mushy and soggy – how can I fix it?
Use dried out, chilled rice and make sure to stir constantly over high heat to sear vs steam. Cook smaller batches.
What protein goes well in fried rice?
Eggs, shrimp, chicken, pork and beef are common. Firm tofu also works well. Scramble eggs before adding.
How long does fried rice last in the fridge?
3-5 days when stored in an airtight container. Reheat thoroughly before serving.
Tips for Adding More Veggies to Fried Rice
An easy way to eat more vegetables is to load up your fried rice! Here are tips:
- Stir fry veggies first before adding rice to build flavor.
- Go beyond just peas and carrots. Try broccoli, mushrooms, spinach, etc.
- Mix lighter veggies like bean sprouts with denser ones like snap peas.
- Toss in fresh herbs like basil, mint and cilantro at the end.
- Consider less traditional veggies like zucchini, radish or artichoke hearts.
- Roast veggies first for deeper flavor before stir frying.
With fluffy texture and balanced flavor profiles, fried rice is worth mastering at home. Use medium or long grain white rice, cook in small batches, and toss continuously for best results. Once comfortable with the technique, put your own creative spin through ingredient additions and global flavor fusions. Fried rice is endlessly adaptable, so have fun with it!