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Fried Rice

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Effortlessly whip up the most deliciously satisfying fried rice with this simple recipe. Not only is it leagues ahead of takeout in both flavor and freshness, but it’s also wonderfully versatile—customize it with any of your favorite add-ins!

cooked fried rice in white bowl

Fried rice is one of those beloved dishes that seems simple at first glance, but there’s a real art to making it well. The key starts with choosing the right kind of rice—preferably day-old jasmine rice, known for its wonderful fragrance and ability to cook up into tender, distinct grains. But with the right recipe and a few pointers, you’ll soon be on your way to stir-frying up the most deliciously satisfying fried rice.

This recipe is adapted from A Very Chinese Cookbook by Kevin Pang and Jeffrey Pang (America’s Test Kitchen). It’s a wallet-friendly, healthy dish that makes an ideal vegetarian main course or side dish—and I think you’ll agree, homemade is leaps and bounds ahead of takeout in both flavor and freshness. Feel free to mix up the add-ins. You can add a pop of color and nutrition with vegetables like broccoli, mushrooms, and sugar snap peas. For protein, consider Chinese char siu (or char siu chicken), diced smoked ham, chicken, or shrimp. It’s a wonderful opportunity to get creative in the kitchen or use up leftovers!

“We all loved the recipe and the leftovers are as good if not better than the freshly made dish!”

Lynn

What You’ll Need To Make Fried Rice

fried rice ingredients.
  • Eggs: Beaten and scrambled, eggs add a rich, savory flavor and a fluffy texture to the fried rice. They are a key protein component in this dish.
  • Scallions and Garlic: Scallions provide a mild, onion-like flavor with a hint of freshness. Garlic adds an aromatic quality essential for the depth of flavor in the rice.
  • Carrots and Frozen Peas: These vegetables add color, texture, and sweetness.
  • Cooked Jasmine Rice: Jasmine rice, with its fragrant, slightly sweet aroma, is ideal for making fried rice. Day-old rice is best as it’s drier, ensuring the fried rice doesn’t stick together. Pre-cooked microwave rice straight from the package is a great alternative if you don’t have time to prepare and cool rice in advance; you can also use fresh-cooked rice (see the FAQs below for detailed instructions).
  • Soy Sauce: Soy sauce is the primary seasoning, imparting a salty, umami flavor that is quintessential in fried rice. It also adds a bit of color to the dish.
  • Asian Sesame Oil: Used for its nutty and rich flavor, sesame oil is added towards the end of cooking. Remember, this oil is strongly flavored, so a little goes a long way!
  • Jump to the printable recipe for precise measurements

Step-by-Step Instructions

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil for easy cleanup. With moistened hands, spread the rice out onto the prepared baking sheet, breaking apart any clumps, and let dry out and come to room temperature for at least 30 minutes or up to an hour.

foil-lined baking sheet with cooked rice spread on it.

In a small bowl, beat the eggs and ⅛ teaspoon of the salt until well combined.

whisking eggs in a bowl.

Heat 2 teaspoons of the vegetable oil in a flat-bottomed wok or large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until the oil is hot and shimmering. Add the eggs and cook, stirring frequently, until just scrambled, 30 to 60 seconds.

scrambled eggs in nonstick skillet.

Transfer to large plate.

cooked scrambled eggs on plate.

Add 2 teaspoons more vegetable oil to the now-empty skillet and reduce the heat to medium. Add the carrot and ⅛ teaspoon of the salt.

vegetable oil, diced carrots, and 1/8 teaspoon salt in skillet.

Cook, stirring frequently, until softened and lightly browned, 4 to 5 minutes (be sure they are cooked through).

cooked carrots in skillet.

Transfer to plate with the eggs.

scrambled eggs and cooked carrots side by side on a plate.

Add the light green scallions and 1 tablespoon more vegetable oil to the now-empty skillet. Cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the garlic and cook 30 seconds more. Do not brown.

light green scallions in non-stick skillet.

Add the rice and stir until combined, then spread into an even layer in the skillet. Sprinkle the pepper and remaining ½ teaspoon salt evenly over the rice. Continue to cook, stirring frequently and pressing on rice with spatula to break up clumps, until grains are separate and heated through, 3 to 5 minutes longer.

pepper and ½ teaspoon salt spread evenly over the rice in skillet.

Add the peas, egg and carrot mixture, dark green scallions, soy sauce, and sesame oil to the skillet.

peas, egg and carrot mixture, dark green scallions, soy sauce, and sesame oil added to rice in skillet.

Cook, stirring frequently and using the edge of the spatula to break eggs into small pieces.

Spatula stirring peas, egg and carrot mixture, dark green scallions, soy sauce, and sesame oil into rice mixture.

Continue cooking until peas are warmed through, about 2 minutes.

Peas, egg and carrot mixture, dark green scallions, soy sauce, and sesame oil fully combined with rice mixture.

Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary, and serve.

Frequently Asked Questions

I don’t have any leftover rice. Can I use fresh?

You can use fresh-cooked rice; just be sure to let it dry out thoroughly in the first step before proceeding with the recipe. Alternatively—and I do this often—you can use pre-cooked microwave rice. I highly recommend the Veetee brand; instead of microwaving it per the package instructions, just treat it as you would day-old rice.

Can fried rice be made ahead and/or frozen?

Yes! Fried rice can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days; reheat it in a skillet or microwave, adding a little water or oil to refresh the texture. It can also be frozen for up to 2 months. When ready to eat, reheat the frozen fried rice directly in a skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until heated through, adding a bit of water or oil if necessary.

What is the best pan for making fried rice?

A flat-bottomed wok is ideal for achieving that elusive “wok hei,” or the slightly smoky flavor that’s so characteristic of great fried rice, but a large nonstick skillet like I’ve used here can also give you fantastic results.

How would I go about adding protein to this recipe?

To add protein to your fried rice recipe, the approach depends on whether your protein is already cooked or raw. For cooked protein, gently warm it in the microwave or a skillet before combining it with the cooked fried rice when you mix in the other add-ins. If your protein is raw, start by cooking it in the skillet with a bit of oil until it’s fully cooked. Then set it aside on a plate. Continue with your fried rice recipe and mix in the cooked protein along with the other add-ins.

fried rice in skillet with small bowls of soy sauce and scallions

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Fried Rice

Effortlessly whip up the most deliciously satisfying fried rice with this simple recipe. Not only is it leagues ahead of takeout in both flavor and freshness, but it’s also wonderfully versatile—customize it with any of your favorite add-ins!

Servings: 4
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 15 Minutes
Total Time: 30 Minutes, plus at least 30 minutes to let the rice dry out and come to room temperature

Ingredients

  • 4 cups cooked jasmine rice (see note)
  • 3 large eggs
  • ¾ teaspoon salt, divided
  • Vegetable oil, for cooking
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and diced into ¼ pieces
  • 5 scallions, light and dark green parts separated and sliced (you’ll have about ½ cup each)
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 1½ tablespoons soy sauce
  • ¾ teaspoon sesame oil

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, beat the eggs and ⅛ teaspoon of the salt until well combined.
  2. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil for easy cleanup. With moistened hands, spread the rice out onto the prepared baking sheet, breaking apart any clumps, and let dry out and come to room temperature for at least 30 minutes or up to an hour.
  3. Heat 2 teaspoons of the vegetable oil in a flat-bottomed wok or large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until the oil is hot and shimmering. Add the eggs and cook, stirring frequently, until just scrambled, 30 to 60 seconds. Transfer to large plate.
  4. Add 2 teaspoons more vegetable oil to the now-empty skillet and reduce the heat to medium. Add the carrot and ⅛ teaspoon of the salt and cook, stirring frequently, until softened and lightly browned, 4 to 5 minutes (be sure they are cooked through). Transfer to plate with the eggs.
  5. Add the light green scallions and 1 tablespoon more vegetable oil to the now-empty skillet. Cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the garlic and cook 30 seconds more. Do not brown. Add the rice and stir until combined. Spread into an even layer in the skillet.
  6. Sprinkle the pepper and remaining ½ teaspoon salt evenly over the rice. Continue to cook, stirring frequently and pressing on rice with spatula to break up clumps, until grains are separate and heated through, 3 to 5 minutes longer. Add the peas, egg and carrot mixture, dark green scallions, soy sauce, and sesame oil, and cook, stirring frequently and using the edge of the spatula to break eggs into small pieces, until peas are warmed through, about 2 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary, and serve.
  7. Note: Day old rice works best for fried rice. But if you don't have leftover rice ready to go, don't fret! You can easily use store-bought pre-cooked microwave rice packages. I recommend the Veetee brand of jasmine rice, which you can find in the rice section of the supermarket—it works beautifully here. Instead of microwaving it per the package instructions, just treat it as you would day-old rice. You can also use fresh-cooked rice; just be sure to let it dry out thoroughly in the first step before proceeding with the recipe.
  8. Make-Ahead/Freezing Instructions: Fried rice can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days; reheat it in a skillet or microwave, adding a little water or oil to refresh the texture. It can also be frozen for up to 2 months. When ready to eat, reheat the frozen fried rice directly in a skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until heated through, adding a bit of water or oil if necessary.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (4 servings)
  • Calories: 413
  • Fat: 15 g
  • Saturated fat: 2 g
  • Carbohydrates: 58 g
  • Sugar: 3 g
  • Fiber: 5 g
  • Protein: 12 g
  • Sodium: 716 mg
  • Cholesterol: 140 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

Gluten-Free Adaptable Note

To the best of my knowledge, all of the ingredients used in this recipe are gluten-free or widely available in gluten-free versions. There is hidden gluten in many foods; if you're following a gluten-free diet or cooking for someone with gluten allergies, always read the labels of your ingredients to verify that they are gluten-free.

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Comments

  • I love this recipe. It’s easy, light, and delicious. Sometimes I like to add chicken in it for a quick weekday meal. Thank you!

    • — Karly Anderson on February 25, 2024
    • Reply
  • This was delicious! My husband and daughter devoured everything, so that was a good sign they liked it 🙂 Thanks for another fantastic and fail-proof recipe, Jenn!

    • — Jen W on February 5, 2024
    • Reply
  • I made this recipe following your instructions almost to a “T, with the exception being that I added firm Tofu at the last. We all loved the recipe and the leftovers are as good if not better than the freshly made dish! I love your site and your cookbooks – Thank you!

    • — Lynn Quinlan on February 4, 2024
    • Reply
  • Can I use regular rice here instead of jasmine?

    • — Zach on February 1, 2024
    • Reply
    • Sure Zach, that’s fine – enjoy!

      • — Jenn on February 1, 2024
      • Reply
  • I made this last night and it was fantastic! Having grown up on Chinese takeout, I had no idea that it would turn out as good as it did! I added a pound of shrimp (which may have been a little too much, but hey) and the fresh ingredients really make a big difference. I don’t think that I’ll ever order fried rice from takeout again! Thanks so much!

    • — Christopher Shew on February 1, 2024
    • Reply
  • This was awesome, thank you for all the details. This was a big hit and I have already shared this recipe with my sister.

    • — Robin on January 27, 2024
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn, how did you know that I was looking for a homemade fried rice recipe 😀. Just wanted to know how would I go about adding a protein to this recipe. Thanks in advance.

    • — Arlene A Nelson on January 25, 2024
    • Reply
    • Hi Arlene, Glad I can deliver! To add protein, the approach depends on whether your protein is already cooked or raw. For cooked protein, gently warm it in the microwave or a skillet before combining it with the cooked fried rice when you mix in the other add-ins. If your protein is raw, start by cooking it in the skillet with a bit of oil until it’s fully cooked. Then set it aside on a plate. Continue with your fried rice recipe and mix in the cooked protein along with the other add-ins. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on January 25, 2024
      • Reply
  • hey, when would you add the protein?
    Great site, we love your approach. I am not a pro but i have been taking your philosophy to the stove for a long time–simple recipes that one can enhance to make them “better than the usual fare–with flair!”
    Clay

    • — earl clayton hipp on January 25, 2024
    • Reply
    • Glad you like the site! To add protein, the approach depends on whether your protein is already cooked or raw. For cooked protein, gently warm it in the microwave or a skillet before combining it with the cooked fried rice when you mix in the other add-ins. If your protein is raw, start by cooking it in the skillet with a bit of oil until it’s fully cooked. Then set it aside on a plate. Continue with your fried rice recipe and mix in the cooked protein along with the other add-ins. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on January 26, 2024
      • Reply
  • I wish you had a new 30 minute cookbook.

    • — Georgia Gardner on January 25, 2024
    • Reply
    • Hi Georgia, I’m not sure that I’ll write another cookbook (but never say never)!
      And if I were to write one, one focused on 30-minute meals is a great idea. 😊

      • — Jenn on January 26, 2024
      • Reply

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