Simple Fried Rice Recipe

This Homemade Fried Rice is a craveable copycat that tastes better than your favorite restaurant on the table in less than 20 minutes! It’s easy to customize with ANY add-ins (tons of variations included!), because it’s all about the irresistible SAUCE.  This fried rice recipe uses the best streamlined cooking technique with tips and tricks for perfectly al dente rice every time!

Watch How to Make Fried Rice

easy fried rice recipe in a bowl garnished by green onions


 

Fried Rice Recipe – Easy and Delicious

  • PERFECT TEXTURE.  The rice is perfectly al dente with buttery, slightly crisp edges thanks to tips and tricks!
  • FULL FLAVORED.  Ingredients like oyster sauce, toasted sesame oil and white pepper elevates this fried rice recipe with rich, savory flavors.
  • EASY TO MAKE.  This speedy recipe is the ideal side, shortcuts included!
  • ADD ANYTHING! With the splendid sauce as your staple, use this recipe to add any of your favorite veggies, add-ins and add protein! Variation section included!
  • EASY TECHNIQUE: Instead of taking ingredients in and out of the pan, the streamlined process cooks the eggs at the end in the same skillet!
ingredient icon

Easy Fried Rice ingredients

The easy fried rice recipe ingredients may look lengthy, but most of them are whisked together in a sauce or added to the quick stir fry. Let’s take a closer look at what you’ll need (measurements in the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post):

  • Rice: You’ll need 4 cups cooked rice for this recipe. I make mine in my rice cooker for hand’s- off ease 1-2 days ahead of time, or keep it stashed in my freezer. You can also dry out fresh rice in the oven. To yield 4 cups cooked rice, start with 2 cups uncooked rice. More info to follow.
  • Eggs: 4 eggs are scrambled in the center of the pan for added protein and texture. Simply omit if you’re allergic or they’re not your thing.
  • Vegetables: Diced carrots and frozen peas are the quintessential veggies and my personal favs, but feel free to use any veggies you like. For the peas, please only use frozen petite peas (no need to thaw) as canned peas are mushy!
  • Aromatics: Use one white onion and 4-6 cloves garlic depending on your garlic love. Garlic powder and onion powder may be substituted in a pinch and added directly to the sauce.
  • Green onions: Both the white and green parts of the green onions are added to the recipe at different stages for maximum aromatic goodness.
  • Soy sauce: Use reduced sodium soy sauce so the rice isn’t too salty and there is wiggle room to salt to taste.
  • Oyster sauce:  This is a game changer and will elevate your fried rice and all of your Asian cooking! It adds a punch of sweet and salty, earthy flavor.  You can find oyster sauce in the Asian aisle of any supermarket for only a few dollars or on Amazon here.  Please use QUALITY oyster sauce such as Lee Kum Kee or Kikkoman.  You truly can taste the difference and will be sorely disappointed with less quality brands.
  • Toasted sesame oil: This is a must-have flavor boost for homemade fried rice. You can find it in the Asian section of the grocery store, or on Amazon. Take care to use toasted sesame oil for its strong nutty aroma and flavor. Please don’t use light/plain sesame oil which isn’t nearly as flavorful.
  • Rice wine:  Use Shaoxing cooking wine or I use “Kikkoman Aji-Mirin: Sweet Cooking Rice Seasoning” which is commonly found in the Asian section of most grocery stores or you can Amazon it. I suggest you google image before you head off to the grocery store so you know exactly what you are looking for. The best substitute for rice wine is pale dry sherry. Do NOT substitute with rice vinegar, they are NOT the same.  
  • Butter and oil: By using both butter an oil, you reap the indulgent, buttery taste while the oil ensures the butter doesn’t burn. Use a neutral tasting oil and unsalted butter. You may substitute the butter with oil, but you’ll be missing the signature hibachi fried rice flavor.
  • Five-spice powder: This adds complex warming nuances, made from star anise, cloves, Chinese cinnamon (cassia bark), Sichuan pepper and fennel seeds. You may skip it if you don’t have it stocked.
  • White pepper: It has a milder, earthier flavor compared to black pepper. You may substitute with black pepper, starting with ¼ teaspoon and adding more to taste.
up close of a spoonful of fried rice recipe easy showing how fluffy the rice is

homemade fried rice variations

You can make a different version of homemade fried rice every time using this recipe as the base! Here are a few ideas:

  • Use Brown Rice or Quinoa: Follow the same directions, making sure it’s chilled, day old rice/quinoa.
  • Mix up the Veggies: Use any of your favorite stir-fry friendly vegetables such as bell peppers, celery, mushrooms, zucchini, corn, edamame, etc. Spinach would also be tasted added at the end.
  • Use All Frozen Vegetables: Add a package of frozen vegetables in Step 5 when the frozen peas are added. No need to thaw first.
  • Ground Turkey, Beef or Pork Fried Rice: Cook one pound ground meat and season with ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Add it back to the rice at the end with the green onions.
  • Chicken Fried Rice: Use shortcut rotisserie chicken, shredded chicken, or ground chicken. For cubed chicken, follow my hibachi chicken recipe and marinate 1 pound of chopped chicken in 1 tablespoon EACH oyster sauce, soy sauce and cornstarch, 1 teaspoon EACH toasted sesame oil, rice wine and baking soda and ½ teaspoon sriracha.
  • Pork Fried Rice: Cube 1 pound pork tenderloin into 3/4-inch cubes and toss with ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Cook in a large skillet over medium-high heat until cooked through, about 5 minutes.
  • Beef Fried Rice: Cook 1 pound cubed sirloin steak. Marinate the steak in 1 tablespoon EACH soy sauce, oyster sauce and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Cook in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Shrimp Fried Rice: Season 1 pound uncooked shrimp (26-30 count, peeled and deveined) with ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Cook over medium-high heat in 2 tablespoons oil in a single layer until opaque, about 1-2 minutes per side. Add cooked shrimp back to the fried rice at the end with the green onions.
  • Ham (and Pineapple) Fried Rice:  Pick up some 1/4-inch sliced ham at the deli counter and slice it the other way to make 1/4-inch pieces, or use leftover holiday ham. Chop up your leftover ham and portion into sandwich bags to use now or freeze for later like in this recipe. Ham is particularly tasty paired with chopped pineapple!
  • Bacon Fried Rice: Cook and crumble bacon, then stir it into the rice at the end of cooking.
  • Pineapple Fried Rice: Melt 1 tablespoon butter with 1 tablespoon neutral oil. Increase to medium high and add pineapple. Stir fry for 3 to 5 minutes or until the edges of the pineapple are caramelized. Remove from the pan and add back to the rice at the end.
showing how to eat easy fried rice in a bowl with chopsticks

How to Make Fried Rice

Let’s take a closer look at how to cook fried rice with step-by-step photos (full recipe in the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post):

  • Step 1: Make Sauce. Whisk the sauce ingredients together; set aside
  • Step 2: Sauté Onion. Melt butter with oil over medium high heat in large nonstick sauté pan. Add the chopped onions and stir fry for 2 minutes.
showing how to cook fried rice by melting butter, then adding onions and cooking until softened
  • Step 3: Stir Fry Carrots. Add the carrots and white parts of the green onions and stir fry until the white onions are softened, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and sauté 30 seconds.
a collage showing how to cook fried rice by adding carrots and white parts of green onions and stir frying
  • Step 4: Stir Fry Rice. Add the rice, and stir fry one minute. 
a collage showing how to cook fried rice by adding rice and stir frying for one minute
  • Step 5: Add Peas and Sauce. Add the frozen peas, and sauce and cook for 3-4 minutes, until the rice is warmed through and the sauce is absorbed (let the rice rest for a bit between stirs so that it can crisp up on the bottom).
 a collage showing how to cook fried rice by adding rice and stir frying to combine
  • Step 6: Scramble Egg. Push the rice to the outside perimeter of the pan to make a large hole/well in the center.  Add 1 teaspoon oil to the cleared space, and spread it around to cover.  Pour eggs into the well, then scramble thoroughly in the cleared space (don’t “soft scramble” or the eggs will get lost).
a collage showing how to cook fried rice by adding eggs to the center of the pan, then scrambling until set
  • Step 7: Combine. Add the green onions, then stir everything together. Remove from heat.
showing how to cook fried rice by stirring green onions into the cooked rice
  • Step 8: Season to taste. Season to taste with salt and pepper (I like more salt), and even chili sauce. Dig in!
top view of homemade fried rice being cooked in a nonstick skillet showing which pan to use

TIPS for making fried rice

Follow these tips and tricks for the best fried rice every time!

  • Chop vegetables small: Don’t chop vegetables much larger than the size of a pea to create the most cohesive bites and to ensure everything cooks evenly.
  • Rinse rice thoroughly before cooking: Run cold water over the rice in a sieve until the water runs clear. This removes extra starch from the rice and prevents it from clumping or becoming mushy when cooked.
  • Use cold rice: You must use chilled, cooked rice, otherwise, your fried rice will be mushy and clump together. Two-day-old rice is ideal because it’s not only chilled but slightly dried out. Refrigerate the rice uncovered for up to 2 days. Cover and refrigerate if storing longer.
  • To dry out rice in a hurry: If you don’t have time to chill your rice, spread freshly made rice on a baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and freeze for 10-15 minutes until thoroughly chilled (but not frozen).
  • Let the rice brown a bit on the bottom: If you like your rice a bit crispy, let it rest for a bit in between stirs so that it can brown a bit on the bottom.
  • Cook eggs thoroughly. Don’t “soft scramble” the eggs like you typically would. Instead, make sure they are thoroughly cooked so they don’t get lost and disintegrate when stirred into the rice.
  • Use butter: You can technically use oil, or less better, but for hibachi-style fried rice that tastes like your favorite Japanese steak house, use butter. The rice tastes 10X better and helps everything brown more beautifully.
  • Use toasted sesame oil. This brings the authentic flavor with its distinct nutty aroma and flavor and will sorely be missed if you skip it.
  • Season to taste: This means adding additional soy sauce salt, pepper, five spice or even chili sauce (to the pan or individual servings)! Everyone’s palates are different so make the rice perfect for you, that’s the beauty of homemade fried rice!
stirring simple fried rice recipe showing all the vegetables

How to serve this Easy Fried Rice Recipe

This fried rice is delicious with any dish! Here are some of our favorite pairings:

Simple Fried Rice Recipe FAQs

What is the secret to good fried rice?

The secret to good fried rice is using cold, pre-cooked rice to ensure that each grain remains separate and firm during frying instead of clumping together and becoming mushy. Cook the fried rice in a hot skillet to prevent it from becoming soggy with plenty of butter for restaurant style flavor.

Do you boil rice before making fried rice?

Yes, rice needs to be boiled or cooked in a rice cooker before making fried rice. Cooking rice beforehand is essential for the correct texture, otherwise the rice will still be hard and not cook in the quick stir fry.

What is the secret ingredient in fried rice?

Toasted sesame oil boasts a rich, nutty flavor and and deep, complex, savory notes that elevate the fried rice recipe! Beyond flavor, sesame oil enhances the sensory experience, imparting a delightful aroma that entices the palate.

Is fried rice healthy?

While fried rice isn’t a health food, cooking it at home is much healthier than buying from a restaurant because it generally uses much les butter and oil. To make healthier fried rice, use brown rice instead of white rice and oil instead of butter.

What gives fried rice its flavor?

Fried rice is flavored by aromatic onions and garlic, soy sauce, oyster sauce and toasted sesame oil. The toasted sesame oil adds nutty authentic flavor and shouldn’t be skipped. Other ingredients like five spice, white pepper and ginger also season the rice without overpowering it.

up close of fried rice in a bowl showing the distinct texture of the rice

WANT TO TRY THIS Fried Rice RECIPE?

PIN IT to your recipe BOARD TO SAVE FOR LATER!

FIND ME ON PINTEREST FOR MORE GREAT RECIPES!  I AM ALWAYS PINNING :)!

©Carlsbad Cravings by CarlsbadCravings.com

showing how to eat easy fried rice in a bowl with chopsticks

Homemade Fried Rice

This Homemade Fried Rice is a craveable copycat that tastes better than your favorite restaurant on the table in less than 20 minutes! It's easy to customize with ANY add-ins (tons of variations included!), because it’s all about the irresistible SAUCE.  This fried rice recipe uses the best streamlined cooking technique with tips and tricks for perfectly al dente rice every time!
Servings: 6 servings

Save This Recipe To Your Recipe Box

You can now create an account on our site and save your favorite recipes all in one place!

Ingredients

FRIED RICE SAUCE

FRIED RICE

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 2 teaspoons high smoking point neutral oil, divided (avocado, peanut, canola, sunflower, or vegetable)
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped, whites and greens separated (about ½ cup greens, ¼ cup whites)
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups packed cooked, 1-2 day-old long grain Jasmine rice (see notes for fresh)
  • 4 eggs, whisked
  • 1 1/4 cups frozen peas (not thawed)

Instructions

  • Make Sauce: Whisk the sauce ingredients together; set aside.
  • Sauté Onion: Melt 2 tablespoons butter with 1 teaspoon oil over medium-high heat in large nonstick sauté pan. Add the chopped white onion and stir fry for 2 minutes.
  • Stir Fry Carrots: Add the carrots and white parts of the green onions and stir fry until onions are softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté 30 seconds.
  • Stir Fry Rice: Add an additional 1 tablespoon butter to the pan and melt. Add the rice, and stir fry one minute.
  • Add Peas and Sauce: Add the frozen peas and sauce; cook for 3-4 minutes, until the rice is warmed through and the sauce is absorbed (let the rice rest for a bit between stirs so that it can crisp up on the bottom).
  • Scramble Egg: Push the rice to the outside perimeter of the pan to make a large hole/well in the center. Add 1 teaspoon oil to the cleared space, and spread it around to cover. Pour eggs into the well, then scramble thoroughly in the cleared space (don’t "soft scramble" or the eggs will get lost).
  • Combine: Add the green onions, then stir everything together. Remove from heat. Season to taste with salt, pepper (I like more salt), additional soy sauce and/or chili sauce if desired.

Video

Notes

  • Rice:  Cook 2 cups dry rice to yield 4 cups cooked rice. Before cooking, run cold water over the rice in a sieve until the water runs clear. This removes extra starch from the rice and prevents it from clumping or becoming mushy when cooked. Two-day-old rice is ideal because it’s not only chilled but slightly dried out. Refrigerate the rice uncovered for up to 2 days. Cover and refrigerate if storing longer.
  • To dry out rice in a hurry: Spread freshly made rice on a baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and freeze for 10-15 minutes until thoroughly chilled (but not frozen).
  • Shortcuts:  Swap the fresh onion and garlic for 1 teaspoon each onion and garlic powder stirred directly into the sauce.  Use a bag of frozen carrots/peas and add in step 5. 
  • Variations:  See post for TONS of variations!
  • Vegetarian:  If you’re allergic to shellfish/vegetarian, use LEE KUM KEE Vegetarian Stir-Fry Sauce instead of oyster sauce.
  • Storage: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.  To freeze, Let the rice cool completely, then store it in an airtight container or a freezer size bag (works great to lay flat in the freezer). Store for up to 2 months. Let the rice thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating.
  • Meal Prep: Cook the rice and store it uncovered in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Chop the onions and carrots and store for up to 3 days. Whisk the stir fry sauce together and store for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.

Did You Make This Recipe?

Tag @CarlsbadCravings and Use #CarlsbadCravngs

Leave a Review, I Always Love Hearing From You!

Reader Interactions

leave a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

2 Comments

  1. Lani says

    I can’t do any seafood. Would I be able to just add extra soy sauce in place of the oyster sauce? Also, I love your recipes! Thanks so much for all your work!

    • Jen says

      Thanks for making them! Yes, you can sub soy sauce in its place – it won’t be quite as umami rich but still tasty!