This healthy Chicken Fried Rice combines brown rice, any vegetables you have around, and tender chicken in a simple, savory stir fry sauce. One pan. 30 minutes. You’ve got this!
Send me into your kitchen to make dinner with what you have on hand, and 9 times out of 10, I’ll emerge with some version of Homemade Fried Rice.
A never-lets-me-down meal you can whip up with whatever in your produce drawer is threatening to expire first, chicken fried rice is one of my life’s great comfort foods.
- My fried rice affair began in high school, when I spent my hard-earned minimum wage dollars on authentic Chinese take-out (that was definitely not as nutritious as this Healthy Fried Rice) on weekdays and Pork Fried Rice at the “fancy” sit-down Chinese restaurant on weekends.
- Homemade chicken fried rice helped me survive my 20s, because it was nutritious, cheap, and absolutely scrumptious.
- Today, this simple homemade fried rice is still one of the dinners I cook most.
5 Star Review
“Excellent tasting and healthy recipe!! We loved every bit of it.”— Susan —
Reasons to Love Chicken Fried Rice
Even if you don’t have a long-running, hot-and-heavy relationship with fried rice like I do, this recipe has something to offer you.
- It’s Healthy. Fried rice is not bad for you, especially if you load up on the vegetables, use brown rice instead of white, and limit the amount of added sugar and oil, which is exactly what this recipe does.
- It’s Versatile. I make fried rice at home with a bag of frozen peas and carrots, which we always keep on hand, then toss in whatever extra vegetables we have lurking around.
- It’s FAST. We are in 30-minute meal territory, my friends.
- ONE Skillet. If you haven’t noticed, I’m a big fan of One Pot Meals.
- The Leftovers Rock. Half the reason I cook fried rice is for the leftovers. They reheat like a dream. Also, if you are one of those people who likes to eat leftover Chinese food cold (ahem, Beef Lo Mein) out of the fridge (I see you and I salute you), fried rice hits the spot.
- It’s EPICALLY DELICIOUS. Everyone loves fried rice (and General Tso’s Tofu). And if someone tells you they don’t, it’s because they haven’t had homemade chicken fried rice from scratch yet!
How to Make Chicken Fried Rice at Home
This is an easy chicken fried rice recipe made with accessible ingredients I can readily find at any grocery store (versus 100% authentic chicken fried rice, which I would love to master one day).
- Chicken fried rice is not fried, in the sense that it is not submerged in oil.
- Rather, it is cooked over very high heat with an oil that has a high smoke point.
- Think of it as pan-fried rice, versus deep-fried rice.
Stir fry recipes move quickly. Be sure to have all of your ingredients prepped, measured, and near the stove before you begin.
- Leftover Rice. I use brown rice for the added fiber and nutrients it offers compared to white rice.
- Chicken. A lean source of protein and vitamins, boneless skinless chicken breasts makes an excellent healthy and filling addition to fried rice recipes like this one.
- Egg. Egg is an important ingredient in fried rice. It gives textural interest, absorbs the sauce’s flavor, and adds protein. You can cook the egg it in the same skillet or wok as the rest of the recipe.
- Vegetables. A blend of fresh and frozen vegetables is my go-to for bulking up the nutrition of homemade fried rice (and Vegetable Lo Mein). For fresh veggies, I love using a red pepper, broccoli, or mushrooms. For frozen, a bag of frozen peas and carrots is quick and convenient.
- Canola Oil. My go-to for high-temperature cooking.
- Soy Sauce. The umami king! Low sodium soy sauce is crucial for perfect chicken fried rice.
- Oyster Sauce. This is what gives GREAT fried rice its flavor. Oyster sauce is intensely savory, thick (in a good way) and does not taste like oysters. It’s a critical part of establishing umami.
Most major grocery stores carry oyster sauce in the Asian/international food aisle. Picking up a bottle is also a great reason to seek out and support local Asian-owned grocery stores.
- Red Pepper Flakes or Hot Sauce. I’ve listed this ingredient as optional, but if you are looking for spicy chicken fried rice, add red pepper flakes or your hot sauce of choice (my go-to hot sauce for recipes like this is sriracha).
- Stir the oyster sauce and part of the soy sauce together.
- Scramble the eggs, then remove to a bowl.
- Sauté the chicken with soy sauce. Add it to the bowl with the eggs.
- Sauté the vegetables. Add butter, peas, carrots, and minced garlic.
- Incorporate the cold cooked rice and oyster sauce mixture. Add everything back to the skillet and heat through. DIG IN!
- To Store. Refrigerate fried rice in an airtight storage container for up to 3 days.
- To Reheat. Rewarm leftovers in a skillet on the stovetop over medium-low heat or in the microwave.
- To Freeze. Freeze chicken fried rice in an airtight, freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
Meal Prep Tip
For an even faster weeknight dinner, stir in chicken that’s been cooked in advance, instead of the sautéed chicken directed in this recipe.
- Shredded Chicken Fried Rice. Prepare chicken breast using your cooking method of choice: Instant Pot Chicken, Crock Pot Shredded Chicken, or this easy stovetop method for How to Cook Shredded Chicken. Shred and stir into the fried rice as directed.
- Roasted Chicken Fried Rice. Prepare Baked Chicken Breast, Baked Bone In Chicken Breast, or Air Fryer Chicken Breast. Dice, then stir into the recipe as directed.
- You also can use shredded rotisserie chicken picked up from your local grocery store.
Recommended Tools to Make Chicken Fried Rice
- Non-stick Skillet. Perfect for making chicken fried rice.
- Spatula. Easy to use and useful for so many recipes.
- Measuring Spoons. These are double-sided, which means fewer dishes to wash.
Let’s face it, chicken fried rice saved dinnertime in my teens, twenties, and will likely keep saving my dinners until I’m old and grey.
Frequently Asked Questions
It can be. If you want to make a gluten free chicken fried rice, make sure to double-check your ingredients when shopping. While most rice is naturally gluten free, cross-contamination during manufacturing is possible. Additionally, Asian condiments, like soy sauce, are not gluten free (use tamari instead). You should also verify that your oyster sauce is gluten free too.
Not usually. Most fried rice recipes and those purchased from takeout restaurants are loaded with fat and sodium (a recipe for high blood pressure and heart disease). However, this recipe makes healthy swaps, like brown rice and minimal cooking oil, to make healthy chicken fried rice possible.
Fried rice is a dish found throughout all parts of Asia in one form or another. However, the earliest version of this popular dish is typically credited to the Sui dynasty in China that ruled from 589 to 618 AD.
Can you use cauliflower rice or a long grain rice like jasmine rice or basmati rice? Yes to the long grain white rice, although I like to use brown rice because it’s a healthy swap. While I haven’t tried using cauliflower rice, I searched around and yes, you can. It shouldn’t change your cook time any. (You could also try my Cauliflower Fried Rice recipe.)
Chicken Fried Rice
- 1/3 cup oyster sauce (see notes)
- 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce divided, plus additional to taste (swap for tamari if you need gluten-free)
- 2 tablespoons canola oil or grapeseed oil, or peanut oil, divided
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast cut into bite-sized 1 inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 large eggs lightly beaten
- 3 cups chopped fresh vegetables of choice (I use 1 red bell pepper plus a small head of broccoli or 8 ounces mushrooms)
- 12 ounces frozen peas and carrots thawed
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 2 1/2 cups COLD cooked brown rice break up large clumps with your fingers
- 2/3 cup green onions chopped (about 4 medium)
- Red pepper flakes or Sriracha, or hot sauce of choice (optional)
- In a small bowl, stir together the oyster sauce and 2 tablespoons soy sauce. Set aside. Keep a large bowl or plate and a large, flexible rubber spatula near the stove.
- Heat 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot, about 2 minutes. Add 1/2 tablespoon butter and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Add the eggs. Cook without stirring until they barely begin to set, about 20 seconds. With your spatula, scramble and break the eggs into little, bite-sized pieces. Continue to cook, stirring constantly now, until eggs are just cooked through but not yet browned, about 1 additional minute. Transfer eggs to the bowl and set aside. With a paper towel, carefully wipe the skillet clean.
- Return the skillet to the heat, and increase the heat to high. Let the skillet warm until it is nice and hot, about 1 minute. Add 1 tablespoon of the canola oil, and swirl to coat. Add the chicken and the remaining 1 tablespoon soy sauce. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is fully cooked through, about 4 minutes. Remove to the bowl with the eggs.
- Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the skillet. Add the fresh vegetables and cook until they are crisp-tender, about 4 to 5 minutes.
- Add the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons butter and peas and carrots. Cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds.
- Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds (do not let the garlic burn!).
- Add the brown rice and the oyster sauce mixture. Continue cooking, stirring constantly and breaking up any remaining rice clumps, until the mixture is heated through, about 2 minutes. Add the reserved eggs/chicken and green onions. Cook and stir until the mixture is completely heated through, about 1 minute more. Enjoy immediately with a sprinkle of red pepper flakes or dash of hot sauce and additional soy sauce as desired.
Adapted from my Homemade Fried Rice.
- ABOUT OYSTER SAUCE: Oyster sauce is readily available in the Asian or international food aisle of most major grocery stores. It has a unique flavor and texture, and if you substitute something else for it, your fried rice won’t taste the same. If you’d like to experiment with making the recipe without oyster sauce, you can simply omit it or swap in 1 tablespoon sesame oil to add flavor.
- TO STORE: Refrigerate fried rice in an airtight storage container for up to 3 days.
- TO REHEAT: Rewarm leftovers in a skillet on the stovetop over medium-low heat or in the microwave.
- TO FREEZE: Freeze chicken fried rice in an airtight, freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
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