Homemade Fried Rice
Learning How to Make Fried Rice is dangerously easy and a valuable life skill. Once you learn, you’ll want to go ahead and double this recipe. It’s the trifecta of sweet, sticky, and savory, and it tastes even better reheated. Unlike the disappointing, lackluster, is there anything in here BUT rice? versions you’ve experienced in takeout containers of the past, this recipe is FULLY LOADED with the good stuff, and it’s healthy too!
I consider myself a fried rice aficionado, an expertise I honed during high school.
At least twice a week, I opted for fried rice takeout for lunch. It was inexpensive and quick to pick up during the short 30 minutes we were allowed to leave campus before afternoon classes began.
Then on Friday nights, my friends and I would head to the “fancy” Chinese restaurant (the one with the wooden instead of plastic tables), where we spent our hard-earned paychecks on (you guessed it) more fried rice.
You could say my dining choices lacked variety, but you know what? Fried rice is delicious. It was scrumptious then, and it certainly is now.
In addition to its prowess as a lick-your-plate yummy lunch or dinner, this recipe also hits the spot as an easy, clean-out-your-fridge kind of meal.
Today, I’m giving a long-loved childhood favorite a nutritious makeover using ingredients you can find at any grocery store.
Start-to-finish, this recipe is ready in 15 minutes, even fewer if you have your veggies prepped in advance. It also smells incredible while it cooks. Don’t be surprised when you catch yourself snitching hot forkfuls straight from the skillet.
Ditch the takeout menu. This recipe is all you need to make the best fried rice in the world at home!
What Type of Rice is Used for Fried Rice?
Fried rice can be made with a white or brown rice. For white rice, both Jasmine and Basmati rice are popular.
Because I wanted to make a healthy version, I used brown rice, which is whole grain, meaning it’s higher in protein, fiber, and nutrients than white rice. The flavor of the brown rice is ultra-subtle. You won’t notice the swap.
Whichever color of rice you choose, the best rice for fried rice is leftover, COLD rice. Cold rice works better because it helps dry the rice a little and keeps the fried rice from becoming soggy.
How to Make The Best Fried Rice at Home
The magic of this recipe’s tastiness and ease lies in its fusion of fresh ingredients with pantry and freezer staples.
- Leftover COLD Rice. I cannot stress the COLD part enough, so I’m stating it here again. You must cool rice to make the best fried rice. Cold rice is the secret to the sticky, not-too-soft, not-too-hard texture. Go ahead and put the rice on the stove now. You’ll want it at the ready when it’s time to cook dinner!
- You may be wondering, can you make fried rice with fresh rice? You can make fried rice with fresh rice, but let the rice chill completely in the refrigerator before starting the recipe. Day-old rice (or rice that’s been in the freezer and then thawed) is even better.
- Vegetables. My largest gripe with takeout and restaurant fried rice is that it’s usually 8.95 parts rice, .005 parts vegetables, and the rest is a mystery. Not this homemade vegetable fried rice! You’ll find a heap of colorful vegetables in every forkful. Use any mix of fresh OR FROZEN vegetables!
- For freshness and color, I used a red bell pepper. For speed and ease, I added a 10-ounce bag of frozen peas and carrots. GAME CHANGER. The carrots and peas tasted fantastic, and I spent exactly zero minutes chopping them.
- RECIPE TIP: Whichever vegetables you choose, to make this recipe move quickly and ensure the vegetables cook evenly, chop the vegetables small.
- Land O Lakes® Butter with Canola Oil. Another of my best-ever fried rice secrets! The flavor of Butter With Canola Oil is a pro tip that no restaurant will tell you but is oh-so-true. This convenient product has big-time butter flavor and is made of just three simple ingredients (sweet cream, canola oil, and salt). You can always find a container in my fridge, whether I’m spreading it on toast or using it to make my go-to Sautéed Zucchini.
- Oyster Sauce. Think of oyster sauce as a umami bomb of instant flavor. It’s thick, sticky, and its flavor is rich and complex. It coats every grain of rice with unmistakable flair. You can find oyster sauce in the Asian food aisle of any major grocery store.
- Soy Sauce. More umami. I recommend low-sodium soy sauce so that the rice doesn’t become too salty and you can better control its flavor.
- Edamame. A quick and easy way to add protein to vegetable fried rice. Look for shelled edamame in the freezer section of the grocery store.
- Green Onions + Garlic. For freshness, bite, and zing.
- Eggs. A classic in fried rice, plus more protein. Be sure to follow the cooking tips below for how to cook fried rice with egg.
- Grab a small bowl and mix together the oyster sauce and soy sauce. That good umami flavor.
- Heat your skillet and add the Butter with Canola Oil, coating the bottom of the pan. Get ready for the good smells!
- Now, you’re ready to add the eggs. Do not stir the eggs until they’ve started to set. Use a rubber spatula to break the eggs into little, bite-sized pieces. Once they’re cooked through, move them to a separate bowl. Be careful not to overcook them.
- Turn the heat to high, and let your skillet get hot (this is VERY important). Add the oil, and toss in the bell pepper along with any other fresh vegetables you are using. Let it cook until tender.
- Add the rest of the Butter with Canola Oil, carrots and peas, and edamame. Stir consistently for 30 seconds, and add the garlic.
- Finally, toss in the brown rice and oyster sauce mixture. Stir constantly until all the rice is heated through and coated with saucy goodness. Add the eggs and green onions you set aside and cook for about 1 minute more. Your kitchen will smell fantastic.
- Serve yourself a heaping bowl and ENJOY!
Tips to Make The World’s Best Fried Rice
- Don’t Overdo the Soy Sauce. If you’re anything like I was as a kid, you loaded on the soy sauce until it was swimming in a pool. While it may be tempting to keep adding more soy sauce while cooking, stick to the 1 tablespoon (I promise it will have plenty of flavor). You can always add a drizzle on your portion later.
- Use a Large Pan or Wok. Make sure your pan is big enough to cook all the ingredients evenly and stir easily without spills. Nothing worse than losing some of this precious dish off the side of the pan!
- Keep Your Pan HOT. A hot pan is critical for achieving that crispy, toasty deliciousness that comes from perfect fried rice. If your pan isn’t hot enough, you may end up steaming everything instead of frying it.
- Load on the Veggies. Unlike the takeout version, this homemade fried rice can be hearty enough to stand on its own without a separate main dish. Toss in whatever veggies you and your family love, and this dish will become colorful, flavorful, and filling!
- USE COLD RICE. If it feels like I’m obsessing over this point, it’s because I am.
Fried Rice Variations
The recipe I’ve listed here is for simple, plain fried rice. Don’t let the “plain” throw you off. This rice is anything but bland! You’ll be impressed with yourself after you make it, I promise.
If you’d like to vary the recipe further, here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Chicken Fried Rice. Cook your eggs as directed. Once you’ve transferred your eggs to a plate, add another 1/2 tablespoon Butter with Canola Oil and add small-diced boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs. Let the chicken pieces cook over medium-high heat for 4 to 5 minutes or until cooked through. Then, remove the chicken and finish the recipe as directed. Add your chicken pieces back to the homemade fried rice with your reserved eggs and green onions.
- Shrimp Fried Rice. Before cooking your eggs, add 1/2 tablespoon Butter with Canola Oil and 8 ounces peeled, deveined raw shrimp to the pan. Let the shrimp cook on each side over high heat for about 30 seconds, until opaque and fully cooked through. Then, remove the shrimp from the pan and begin following recipe instructions. Add your shrimp to the homemade fried rice when adding your reserved eggs and green onions.
- Pineapple Fried Rice. When you add your chopped red bell pepper to the pan, also add about 2 cups chopped fresh or drained canned pineapple. YUM!
- Low Carb Fried Rice. You can also swap out the brown rice entirely! This Quinoa Fried “Rice” and this Healthy Fried Rice (which uses cauliflower rice) are two delicious spins.
How to Store, Reheat, and Freeze
- I love this dish leftover just as much as I do when it’s fresh. The flavors marry, and it becomes extra irresistible. I’ve been known to eat it cold right out of the container (sometimes at breakfast).
- To Store. Let your cooked homemade fried rice cool to room temperature, then place it in the refrigerator in an airtight storage container for up to 5 days.
- To Reheat. Gently rewarm leftovers in a large skillet over medium-low heat until hot. You can also place leftovers on a microwave-safe plate or in a bowl and microwave for 1 minute or until warmed through.
- To Freeze. Once your homemade fried rice has cooled, place it in an airtight freezer-safe storage container or zip-top bag, removing as much air as possible. Freeze for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then reheat as directed.
Dishes That Go Well With Fried Rice
Thanks to the heap of vegetables, edamame, egg, and whole grains, this recipe is substantial and well-rounded enough to be relatively good for you as a main dish too. We usually enjoy it first as a fast weeknight dinner, then I eat the leftovers for lunch later in the week.
If you’d like to serve this dish as a side, here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Chicken. Chicken is the perfect complement to a side of fried rice! Try serving it with Instant Pot Teriyaki Chicken, Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Chicken, Pineapple Chicken, Crockpot Orange Chicken, Teriyaki Chicken Stir Fry, Crock Pot Cashew Chicken, Crispy Asian Chicken Tenders, or Crock Pot Teriyaki Chicken
- Salmon. Elevate your homemade fried rice by pairing it with Soy Ginger Salmon.
- Beef. Tasty Crockpot Beef and Broccoli would be a wonderful main dish to serve with your homemade fried rice.
- Tofu. For a delicious option, serve your homemade fried rice with Tofu Stir Fry, General Tso’s Tofu, or Crispy Tofu.
- Lettuce Wraps. For a light main dish, serve this homemade fried rice with Asian Lettuce Wraps or Vegetarian Lettuce Wraps. Or wrap the rice right inside of a bibb lettuce leave and use it as a filling.
I often lovingly refer to this sort of Asian-inspired recipe as “take out, fake out” but the nickname doesn’t feel appropriate this time. Honestly, this homemade version is so delicious, actual takeout fried rice will never do it for you again!
Homemade Fried Rice
- ¼ cup oyster sauce*
- 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce - plus additional to taste
- 2 tablespoons Land O'Lakes® Butter with Canola Oil - divided
- 3 large eggs - lightly beaten
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 large red, yellow, or orange bell pepper - cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 1 1/4 cups)
- 1 (12-ounce) bag of frozen peas and carrots - thawed
- 1 cup frozen shelled edamame - thawed (optional, but great for extra protein)
- 2 garlic cloves - minced
- 2 1/2 cups COLD cooked brown rice - break up large clumps with your fingers
- 1/2 cup chopped green onions - about 3 medium
- Red pepper flakes - Sriracha, or hot sauce of choice (optional)
- In a small bowl, stir together the oyster sauce and soy sauce. Set aside. Grab a small bowl and a large, flexible rubber spatula and keep both handy.
- Heat 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot, about 2 minutes. Add ½ tablespoon Land O'Lakes® Butter with Canola Oil, and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Add the eggs, and cook without stirring until they barely start 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 small bowl and set aside.
- 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 the canola oil, and swirl to coat. Add the diced bell pepper, and cook until it is crisp-tender, about 4 minutes.
- Add the remaining 1 ½ tablespoons Land O’Lakes Butter with Canola Oil, peas and carrots, and edamame. 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 3 minutes. Add reserved eggs 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.
- TO STORE: Let your cooked homemade fried rice come to room temperature and place it in the refrigerator in an airtight storage container for up to 5 days.
- TO REHEAT: Place your fried rice on a microwave-safe plate or in a bowl and microwave for 1 minute or until warmed through.
- TO FREEZE: Once your homemade fried rice has cooled, place it in a freezer-safe container or ziptop bag, removing as much air as possible. Freeze for up to 3 months.
- *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.
This post is sponsored by Land O’Lakes. All opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands and companies that make it possible for me to continue creating quality content for you!
This post contains some affiliate links, which means that I make a small commission off items you purchase at no additional cost to you.