Easy Fried Rice

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This Easy Fried Rice is the perfect way to use leftover rice and vegetables! It takes about 15 minutes to make, you can customize it to whatever add-ins you would like, and it’s a great side dish or stand alone meal!

Overhead view of fried rice in a bowl garnished with green onion.

Fried rice is probably one of the quickest and easiest meals you can make! I love making it to go with Cashew Chicken or Chinese Lemon Chicken or just as a meal on its own. Plus, it makes great leftovers to take to work the next day!

Easy Fried Rice Details:

  • Better than take-out and healthier
  • Takes only 15 minutes to make
  • Use whatever vegetables you like
  • Add a protein to make this rice dish even heartier
  • Serve it with any of your favorite Chinese dishes
Rice, peas, carrots, garlic, butter, soy sauce, onion, egg, sesame oil are used to make fried rice.

Ingredients

RICE: In order for this recipe to work you really do need to use leftover rice. Freshly cooked rice is too wet and will clump together and be mushy. Day old rice has dried out a bit and is the perfect texture to make fried rice with. The type of rice doesn’t matter just that it’s day old rice.

VEGETABLES: I always use garlic, onion, carrots, and peas for the basic fried rice. But I have also used leftover broccoli, corn, bell peppers, zucchini, and spinach. Just be sure to chop your veggies into small pieces (like the size of peas).

EGGS: While you can leave the eggs out if you need to but they add some protein, flavor, and texture.

SOY SAUCE, SESAME OIL, AND MIRIN: These 3 ingredients add so much flavor to fried rice. If you don’t have mirin on hand you can leave it out but you can’t leave out the soy sauce or sesame oil!

Five pictures showing how to make this easy rice dish.

How To Make Easy Fried Rice:

VEGETABLES: Start by sauteing the onion, carrot, garlic, and ginger in butter until the onion is softened.
ADD RICE AND SAUCE: Stir in the cold rice, soy sauce, sesame oil, and mirin (if using). Let it sit for a little bit before stirring if you like some crispy bits in the fried rice.

FINISH: Stir in the peas then scoot everything to one side of the pan. Add a small amount of butter and add the eggs to scramble. Then stir everything together and garnish with green onion.

Overhead of rice freshly made in a skillet. Red napkin off to the side.

Tips and Suggestions:

RICE: Now I know I said you need to use day old rice but what if you REALLY want fried rice but don’t have any leftover rice?? Cook your rice and spread it out on a baking sheet then place it in the freezer for 10ish minutes to cool it down and dry it out a bit.

Feel free to use whatever type of rice you want. Typically a long grain white rice is used in America but every Asian country uses a different type of rice. The most important part is that the rice is not freshly cooked.

Add a protein such as diced chicken, pork, or beef. You can also use shrimp which is my family’s favorite version! If you are adding already cooked protein add it when you add the rice. If you need to cook the protein add it with the veggies. Just be sure not to add too much or there might be a lot of liquid which will make the rice mushy. You can also cook the protein in a separate skillet and add in with the rice instead.

Close up of fried rice with a fork in the rice.

FAQs

WHAT IS THE SECRET TO GOOD FRIED RICE?

Use day old rice and do not use too many wet ingredients. Freshly cooked rice is too wet which will result in mushy fried rice. Using too many wet ingredients or overcrowding the pan will also make the rice too wet and mushy.

HOW TO STORE LEFTOVER FRIED RICE?

Store completely cooled rice in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.

HOW TO REHEAT LEFTOVER FRIED RICE?

Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop in a skillet.

CAN I FREEZE FRIED RICE?

Yes! Place completely cooled rice in a freezer safe container and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight.

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5 from 1 vote
Close up of fried rice with a fork in the rice.
Fried Rice
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
15 mins
 

This Easy Fried Rice is the perfect way to use leftover rice and vegetables! It takes about 15 minutes to make, you can customize it to whatever add-ins you would like, and it's a great side dish or stand alone meal!

Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: best fried rice recipe, fried rice recipe
Servings: 3
Calories: 283 kcal
Author: Malinda Linnebur
Ingredients
  • tablespoons butter or oil; divided
  • ½ small onion, chopped
  • ½ cup chopped carrot (about 1 carrot)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons grated ginger
  • 2 cups cooked cold day old rice
  • tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon sesame oil
  • ½ tablespoon mirin; optional
  • cup frozen peas
  • 2-3 large eggs; whisked
  • chopped green onion for garnish
Instructions
  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of butter or oil in a large skillet over medium to medium high heat. Cook onion, carrot, garlic, and ginger until onion is soft.

  2. Add rice, soy sauce, sesame oil, and mirin. Cook stirring occasionally until the rice is heated through. If you like crispy bits in your rice don't stir as often. Stir in peas.

  3. Move everything to one side of the pan. Add remaining ½ tablespoon of butter to melt. Add eggs and cook stirring until egg is cooked through then combine with remaining ingredients in the pan. Garnish with green onion if desired.

Recipe Notes
  1. Use day old rice and do not use too many wet ingredients. Freshly cooked rice is too wet which will result in mushy fried rice. Using too many wet ingredients or overcrowding the pan will also make the rice too wet and mushy.
  2. FREEZER FRIENDLY: Freeze completely cooled leftovers in a freezer safe container for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator. 
Nutrition Facts
Fried Rice
Amount Per Serving
Calories 283 Calories from Fat 90
% Daily Value*
Fat 10g15%
Saturated Fat 5g31%
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 3g
Cholesterol 139mg46%
Sodium 420mg18%
Potassium 261mg7%
Carbohydrates 39g13%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 4g4%
Protein 9g18%
Vitamin A 4043IU81%
Vitamin C 10mg12%
Calcium 52mg5%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the information shown is just an estimate.

2 thoughts on “Easy Fried Rice”

  1. 5 stars
    Made this tonight to go with grilled salmon. Everyone loved it! I did add a little extra soy sauce and sesame oil and a pinch of salt. Will definitely make again! Thank you, Melinda!!!

    Reply

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