Today, I’m sharing my top tips to make healthy Homemade Fried Rice at home that tastes BETTER than what you can get at a restaurant. It’s true!
Learning how to make homemade healthy fried rice is an easy and valuable life skill.
- Mastering this simple technique not only yields tasty results but adds an easy, flavorful meal to your recipe arsenal that can be ready in 15 minutes flat.
- The ingredients to make fried rice couldn’t be easier. This simple recipe requires any vegetables you have on hand (even frozen), egg (plus any protein you like), rice (leftover rice is best), and a homemade sauce that’s just two ingredients!
- Homemade fried rice is good for you! Because you can control the sugar and oil, you can use what you need and skip what you don’t.
Yes, I’d say learning how to make an easy fried rice recipe from scratch is a serious life improvement move.
So ditch the takeout menu and grab your wok (or skillet). It’s time to learn how to make the best fried rice recipe!
5 Star Review
Absolutely DELICIOUS. This is such a flexible dish too, you can literally mold it to whatever flavor profile you want.— Stephen —
Erin’s recipes are seriously OUT OF THIS WORLD. I wish I could give this more than 5 stars.
Unlike the disappointing, lackluster versions of fried rice you’ve experienced in the past, this recipe is FULLY LOADED with the good stuff.
Once you learn how to make it, 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.
I consider myself a fried rice aficionado, an expertise I honed during high school.
Today, I’m giving a long-loved childhood favorite a nutritious makeover using ingredients you can find at any grocery store.
Don’t be surprised when you catch yourself sneaking hot forkfuls straight from the skillet.
The Best Rice for Fried Rice
If you take one thing away from this post, let it be this: the best rice to use when making homemade fried rice is leftover, COLD rice.
- Cold rice works best for fried rice because it is drier, which keeps the fried rice from becoming soggy.
As far as which type of rice to use, that’s up to you! You can choose brown or white rice.
- For white rice, both Jasmine rice and Basmati rice are popular.
- My personal preference is brown rice. I usually use long grain because that’s what we have at home most often.
How to Make Fried Rice from Scratch
The magic of this recipe’s tastiness and ease lies in its fusion of fresh ingredients with pantry and freezer staples.
The ingredients for fried rice are simple, but they come together to create something truly addictive.
- 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 great fried rice. You do cook rice before frying it, so go ahead and put the rice on the stove now. You’ll want it at the ready when it’s time to cook dinner!
- Vegetables. Unlike the takeout version, you’ll find a heap of colorful vegetables in every forkful of this fried rice recipe. For freshness and color, I used red bell pepper. For speed and ease, I added a 10-ounce bag of frozen peas and carrots. The carrots and peas tasted fantastic, and I spent exactly zero minutes chopping them.
- Butter. Another of my best-ever fried rice secrets! Adding butter to fried rice is a pro tip that no restaurant will tell you but is oh-so-true.
- Oyster Sauce. Think of oyster sauce as an 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. Fried rice with egg is classic, plus it adds more protein. Be sure to follow the cooking tips below for how to cook fried rice with egg.
- Mix the oyster sauce and soy sauce. That good umami flavor.
- Scramble the eggs in butter.
Do not stir the eggs until they’ve started to set. Use a rubber spatula to break the eggs into little, bite-sized pieces. Take care not to overcook!
- Sauté fresh veggies until crisp-tender.
- Add the frozen vegetables and edamame. Stir constantly for 30 seconds, then add the garlic.
- Add the brown rice and fried rice sauce. Stir until the rice is heated through and coated with saucy goodness. Fold in the eggs and scallions, and serve. ENJOY!
Fried Rice Variations
The recipe I’ve listed here is for a simple homemade fried rice recipe. Don’t think that makes this a plain fried rice recipe. It’s 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. For a fried rice recipe with chicken, try my delicious Chicken Fried Rice.
- Pork Fried Rice. Pork is another lean protein option you could add to vary it up from chicken. Pork tenderloin is my preferred lean cut in this Pork Fried Rice recipe.
- Shrimp Fried Rice. Before cooking your eggs, add 1/2 tablespoon of butter and 8 ounces of 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 the 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 of chopped fresh or drained canned pineapple. YUM!
- Low Carb Fried Rice. You can also swap out the brown rice entirely! This Quinoa Fried Rice with Chicken and Vegetables and this Cauliflower Fried Rice are two delicious spins.
- To Store. Let your cooked homemade fried rice cool to room temperature, then place it in the fridge 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.
Fried Rice Serving Ideas
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 homemade fried rice! Try serving it with Crispy Asian Chicken Tenders or Slow Cooker Honey Garlic 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 fried rice recipe 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.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Wok. If you love making stir fry recipes, adding a wok to your kitchen cookware collection is well worth the investment.
- Chopsticks. Adding a pair of fun and fancy chopsticks takes takeout-style meals at home to the next level (I also love these are dishwasher safe).
- Glass Measuring Cup. For whisking together that yummy, simple fried rice sauce.
I often lovingly refer to this sort of Asian-inspired recipe as “takeout, fake out” but the nickname doesn’t feel appropriate this time.
Honestly, this homemade version is so delicious, actual takeout Chinese fried rice or hibachi fried rice will never do it for you again!
Frequently Asked Questions
You can make fried rice with fresh rice, but let the rice chill completely in the refrigerator before starting the recipe. This is CRUCIAL for the recipe to turn out properly. For best results, stick to day-old rice (or rice that’s been in the freezer and then thawed).
Takeout fried rice is typically loaded with unhealthy fats and sodium and sugar-heavy sauces. While these DO taste divine, they’re not the healthiest option to eat on the regular. I think this healthy fried rice gives you the best of both worlds.
Truth be told, I love this dish leftover just as much as I do when it’s fresh. The flavors marry, and it becomes extra irresistible. And, yes, I’ve been known to eat it cold right out of the container (sometimes at breakfast with cold Beef Lo Mein).
Homemade Fried Rice
- 1/4 cup oyster sauce*
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce (I use low-sodium) plus additional to taste
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter divided, or butter with canola oil spread
- 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 bag frozen peas and carrots thawed (12 ounces)
- 1 cup frozen shelled edamame thawed (optional, but great for extra protein)
- 2 cloves garlic 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 a 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, 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, 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 1/2 tablespoons butter, 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.
- *INGREDIENT NOTE: 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 of sesame oil to add flavor.
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