Best Fried Rice Recipe

Chinese Fried Rice (restaurant style) is an essential recipe for any home cook. Although it is very simple in theory, many folks have trouble getting the restaurant style rice they crave.

bowl of fried rice with text overlay for facebook


 

Are you ready for perfect Homemade Fried Rice?

There are a few tricks to getting the perfect fried rice every time and I am going to share them with you. That is why you are here, right? To figure out who to get your favorite restaurant fried rice at home?

The first, and what I think is the most critical to getting perfect fried rice: COLD RICE!

Many say it needs to be day-old rice, but I find that making it the same day and chilling it works just the same. If you have leftover rice, you can use that.

A medium-grain rice tends to work best. I prefer to use Jasmine rice (sticky rice), but this batch was actually made with instant white rice and turned out just as delightful. I paired it with my Honey Ginger Short Ribs– so tasty!

So why cold rice? J. Kenji from The Food Lab sums it up best, “First, there’s evaporation: the rice gets dryer.

Second, we’ve got starch retrogradation: gelatinized starches that have swollen up and softened during cooking will recrystallize as they cool, turning the rice firm and less sticky.”

These rice grains will be their own, perfect little pellet and not turn to mush. The dehydration will allow some of the other flavors to absorb.

chop sticks in bowl of fried rice

Tricks for same day Chinese Fried Rice (Restaurant Style)

So what is my trick if I am making fried rice the same day? I cook the rice according to the package and then I spread it out in a thin layer on a large rimmed baking sheet.

I place this is the refrigerator, or even sometimes the freezer, to speed the process up. Give yourself at least an hour to get a good chill. It still requires some thinking ahead, but not nearly as much as a day!

Soy Sauce

Next is the soy sauce. Not all soy sauce is created equal. This became really apparent to me after a recent trip to Japan when none of the soy sauces were recognizable. 

They were less salty and thick, nearly syrupy. But the flavor, oh my goodness. It’s hard to go back to the regular American brands. 

While I still love traditional American soy sauces (reduced sodium, of course) for marinades and general uses, my new favorite is Mushroom Flavored Dark Soy Sauce.

Flavorful, it is perfect for adding acid to soups, sauces, salad dressing and of course, Easy Fried Rice!

Whichever soy sauce you use, make sure to taste it first and adjust the amount based on saltiness and flavor. Start small knowing you can always add more, but you can never take away.

fried rice in pan with wooden spoon

Vegetables

Easy Fried Rice is not only a great recipe for using up leftover rice, but also to use up odds and ends of vegetables. One veggie I always use in my fried rice recipe is onion. 

However, the type depends on what I have on hand and it commonly a mixture of several, adding even more sophisticated flavor. Red, leek, scallion, shallots, white, yellow, chives, they will all work!

Similarly, use whatever other vegetables you have on hand. Bell peppers, carrots, peas, green beans, broccoli, zucchini, corn, really just about anything! If you are using diced and raw, add it with the onions and sauté to soften.

I also use frozen vegetables, because I always have those in my freezer. A six ounce bag of mixed veggies does the trick for me!

Many claim you need a wok to distribute the heat evenly. Nope, you don’t. In fact, depending on what type of stove you have, using a wok could prevent the heat from distributing! I actually prefer my handy cast iron skillet.

And lastly, if you want to add a protein to make Easy Fried Rice into your entree, be my guest! Cook it ahead of time and add it at the very end.

Seafood, especially shrimp, beef, pork and chicken seem to be the most popular types of fried rice. If you want the restaurant style red pork, look for Chinese Sausage in the meat case.

Top it off with scallions (green onions) for the ultimate side dish.

bowl of fried rice

Vegetable Fried Rice ingredients

  • Rice – I like to use white rice, but you can certainly use brown rice if you prefer. Using cold rice works best for fried rice. To do it quick, lay it in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  • Vegetable oil – This helps to coat the hot pan and prevent the fried rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan or side of the pan.
  • Onion – The type depends on what I have on hand and it commonly a mixture of several, adding even more sophisticated flavor. Red, leek, scallion, shallots, white, yellow, chives, they will all work!
  • Vegetables – You can either use fresh veggies or frozen veggies. Use whatever other vegetables you have on hand. Bell peppers, carrots, peas, green beans, broccoli, zucchini, corn, really just about anything! If you are using diced and raw, add it with the onions and sauté to soften.
  • Sesame oil – We make this homemade fried rice quite often, so I always have a bottle of this on hand. However, you can use vegetable oil instead if you don’t have it.
  • Soy sauce – I love traditional American soy sauces (low sodium soy sauce, of course) for marinades and general uses, but my new favorite is Mushroom Flavored Dark Soy Sauce.
  • White pepper – I like to use white pepper here because it has a milder flavor. However, you can use black pepper if you’d prefer to.
  • Eggs – Cooked egg mixed into fresh rice is a great way to make the best fried rice recipe. It’s a simple ingredient that makes a big difference.
fried rice ingredients

Vegetable Fried Rice Recipe variations

One of the best things about this fried rice recipe is that it’s totally customizable. Here are a few suggestions, but feel free to get creative and make it your own.

  • Vegetables – I use a simple blend of frozen veggies, but you can really add any that you like. Bell peppers, zucchini, broccoli, green beans or anything that you desire would be a great addition.
  • Flavor – A lot of fried rice recipes use oyster sauce, coconut aminos, hoisin sauce or fish sauce for additional flavor. Play around with what you prefer.
  • Oil – I use both vegetable and sesame oil fir this recipe; you could theoretically use any oil such as peanut oil, olive oil or toasted sesame oil if those are what you have.
  • Protein – This part is optional, but I like adding either cooked chicken, crispy bacon, shrimp or Chinese sausage to my easy fried rice recipe. It takes it from a side dish to a main dish with one ingredient. You can also throw in any leftover meat you have from other dinners.

How to make Fried Rice at home

  1. Combine seasonings. In a small bowl, whisk together sesame oil, soy sauce of choice and white pepper. Set aside.
  2. Sauté onions. In a large skillet, cast iron pan or large wok, heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté until opaque and soft.
  3. Add veggies. After onion has cooked, add frozen vegetables. Stir until defrosted.
  4. Add rice. Add cold rice, using a spatula to toss the rice with other ingredients. Do NOT stir, instead toss or flip to prevent the starch from making the rice too soggy.
  5. Add eggs. Add lightly beaten eggs, continuing to flip until eggs are nearly cooked. 
  6. Pour sesame oil. Pour sesame oil mixture over top of rice, continuing to flip and toss until all grains are uniformly colored. If you do not use a dark soy sauce, yours might not be as dark as mine.
fried rice in bowl

How to Season Fried Rice

Fried rice can be seasoned with many different flavors, but the most popular are onion, garlic, soy sauce, wasabi, sesame and teriyaki.

How to store and reheat Vegetable Fried Rice

Storage: You can store any leftover cooked rice in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days.

Freezing: I do not recommend freezing this fried rice. Rice can get a gummy and hard texture when thawed. 

How to Reheat Fried Rice

Reheating: You can reheat it in a saucepan with a little extra water so it does dry out or in the microwave. 

collage of fried rice for pinterest

Best Fried Rice FAQs

What goes good with fried rice?

Fried rice can be served alone as a main entree or alongside many Asian inspired dishes. Orange chickenKorean beefKung pao chickensweet and sour chickenhibachi shrimp and more!

Does authentic fried rice have vegetables?

Yes, traditionally it is made with vegetables and pork.

What gives Chinese fried rice its flavor?

Soy sauce, sesame and other seasonings give each batch of fried rice it’s own unique flavor.

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bowl of fried rice with text overlay for pinterest
chop sticks in bowl of fried rice

Chinese Fried Rice (Restaurant Style)

4.29 from 114 votes
Easy Fried Rice is the best restaurant style fried rice you’ll ever make! Just 15 minutes and a great way to clean out the vegetable drawer.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 3 cups cooked white rice , cold
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup onion , chopped
  • 6 ounces frozen vegetable mix , or fresh vegetables
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1-2 tablespoons soy sauce*
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 2 eggs , lightly beaten
  • 1 cup cooked chicken, shrimp or Chinese sausage , optional

Instructions

  • In a small bowl, whisk together sesame oil, soy sauce of choice and white pepper. Set aside.
  • In a large skillet, cast iron pan or wok, heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and saute until opaque and soft. If you are adding raw vegetables or a cooked protien, add them at this step as well.
  • After onion has cooked, add frozen vegetables. Stir until defrosted, approximately 3-4 minutes.
  • Add cold rice, using a spatula to toss the rice with other ingredients. Do NOT stir, instead toss or flip to prevent the starch from making the rice too soggy.
  • Add lightly beaten eggs, continuing to flip until eggs are nearly cooked. 
  • Pour sesame oil mixture over top of rice, continuing to flip and toss until all grains are uniformly colored. If you do not use a dark soy sauce, yours might not be as dark as mine.
  • If you’ve tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was! 

Video

Notes

  • I prefer Mushroom flavored dark soy sauce 

Nutrition

Calories: 302 kcal, Carbohydrates: 41 g, Protein: 8 g, Fat: 11 g, Saturated Fat: 6 g, Cholesterol: 81 mg, Sodium: 304 mg, Potassium: 200 mg, Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 1 g, Vitamin A: 2280 IU, Vitamin C: 5.9 mg, Calcium: 39 mg, Iron: 1.1 mg
Author: Jessica Formicola
Calories: 302
Course: Main Course, Main Dish, Side Dish
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: fried rice recipe
Did you make this recipe?I’d love to see your recipes – snap a picture and mention @savoryexperiments or tag #savoryexperiments!
Jessica Formicola in her ktichen

About the Author

Jessica Formicola

Jessica the mom, wife and chef behind Savory Experiments. You might see her on the Emmy- nominated TV show Plate It! or on bookshelves as a cookbook author. Jessica is a Le Cordon Bleu certified recipe developer and regularly contributed to Parade, Better Homes & Gardens, The Daily Meal and more!

Read More About Jessica

4.29 from 114 votes (87 ratings without comment)

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Questions and Reviews

  1. I’m confused. Steps 4,5 and 6 all include directions to toss or flip but in step 4 it says do NOT toss or flip with emphasis on NOT. So do I flip and toss or not?

    1. Hi Amy, I’m sorry, I will change the grammar there, I see where that got confusing. It means do NOT stir, but instead toss or flip. Stirring makes the rice gummy and gooey, while flipping will keep the gluten intact and give you a nice, al dente piece of rice.

  2. 5 stars
    I’ve tried for years to figure out how to make fried rice, this recipe is key!
    I used cooked vigo yellow rice, half a jalapeño and a few slices of fresh ginger.
    A-mazing!!

  3. 5 stars
    These tips are absolutely amazing. So thorough. Thank you! We never eat out Chinese anymore because it’s so greasy (I have a medical issue with fats) and this Chinese Fried Rice is exactly what I need to get what I crave ALL THE TIME at home! Thank you again 🙂

  4. 5 stars
    Very easy and good recipe. I love cooking the rice the morning of and being done with it until 10-15 minutes before meal time. Thanks for the recipe!