Takeout who? Takeout YOU! May I present: the best Shrimp Fried Rice recipe that anyone can make at home!
With a perfect shrimp-veg-rice ratio and a simple but flavorful sauce, this shrimp fried rice with egg recipe is healthy, versatile, and my-oh-my, far superior to fast food takeout chains.
I chose to make it with peas, carrots, and green onion, with brown rice, shrimp, and egg, coated in a sesame and soy sauce.
The recipe can be adapted for the veggies you have on hand (fresh or frozen).
Let the wok be a tool for your imagination!
Fried rice and my love story goes back to my high school days, when I grabbed fried rice at the nearby grocery store buffet during our I’m-so-cool off-campus lunches.
Now that I’m a bit more conscious about fueling my body for the long term, not just getting through the coming afternoon’s Calc test, I like to make it myself.
I have perfected several versions now:
- Homemade Fried Rice is the tried-and-true base fried rice recipe.
- Chicken Fried Rice and Pork Fried Rice are perfect options for when you want a different protein.
- Cauliflower Fried Rice for when you need or want a low-carb fried “rice” option, yet not skimp on a tasty, satisfying meal.
- Quinoa Fried Rice with Chicken and Vegetables is a fun and healthy fried rice riff, using quinoa rather than rice.
When I say homemade shrimp fried rice is better than takeout chains, I am not exaggerating one bit (or shall we say one grain).
- Healthier. This is the obvious benefit of cooking at home versus ordering out, but, really! When you make your own shrimp fried rice, you’re in control of the amount of fats, veggies, and carbohydrates (same with Kung Pao Shrimp).
- Cheaper. Of course, another great benefit of cooking your own shrimp fried rice is the cost savings.
- Nutritious. I find most restaurant fried rice is heavy-handed with the rice and skimps on the veggies. Finding a shrimp in that rice pile is a treasure hunt with chopsticks! This easy shrimp fried rice with egg is loaded with veggies and generous with the shrimp and egg, delivering more nutritional bang per bite.
- Faster. You can have this dish whipped up in less than 30 minutes, which is faster than it would take to peruse a menu and wait for it to be ready and delivered. We want shrimp fried rice NOW.
- Tastier. This shrimp fried rice recipe is incredibly fresh and flavorful.
How to Make Shrimp Fried Rice
Shrimp fried rice is fast to prepare and is whipped up all in one pot.
I bet you have most of the ingredients already!
This shrimp fried rice contains a generous amount of eggs and vegetables of your choosing (fresh or frozen!), crispy-yet-tender shrimp, and a sesame soy sauce.
You’re going to thank yourself after you eat this healthy, absolutely scrumptious meal that was hardly even an effort.
- Shrimp. Do not overlook this protein option! Shrimp cooks in a matter of minutes, perfect for fast, easy dinners like this one, Shrimp Tacos, Garlic Butter Shrimp, Honey Walnut Shrimp, and other healthy shrimp recipes. I actually prefer to use frozen, deveined shrimp as it’s faster to prep, less expensive than fresh, and most grocery store shrimp was frozen before it arrived “fresh” anyway. Leaving the tails on or taking them off prior to cooking is up to you.
How to Defrost Frozen Shrimp
- If using frozen shrimp, thaw the night before in the refrigerator, or if you forgot (guilty!), you can submerge a sealed bag of shrimp in bowl of cold water for 20 to 30 minutes until defrosted.
- Do not use hot or warm water! This is tempting to speed along the defrosting, but will mess up the shrimp as it will start to cook on the outside.
Shrimp cook FAST, especially as we’re working over medium-high heat for shrimp fried rice. You know shrimp are done cooking when they are pink, and the moment they are no longer translucent.
- Cornstarch. Tossing the shrimp in cornstarch prior to cooking is a trick to make them crispy.
- Oil. Choose a cooking oil that has a high smoke point (so NOT olive oil), as the key to making great fried rice is a HOT wok. I recommend canola oil, grapeseed oil, or peanut oil.
- Green Onion. We’ll use both the white and green parts of the onion to add color, subtle onion flavor, and a little bite.
- Butter. I know I told you it is a healthy recipe, and it is! The secret ingredient in Chinese fried rice is butter. You only need a little (2 tablespoons in the whole recipe).
- Eggs. The eggs add a nice texture to the shrimp fried rice, and this recipe calls for four eggs to add to the dish’s protein content. The egg is gently cooked before the rice is fried, and then stirred back in at the end.
Do not overcook the egg. Gently scramble them until they are just barely set.
- Rice. The #1 tip for making the best fried rice is to start with COLD, leftover rice. Do not use freshly cooked rice!
- Soy Sauce. A must-have in authentic Chinese shrimp fried rice. I recommend low-sodium soy sauce so that the rice doesn’t become too salty and you can better control its flavor.
- Sesame Oil. This is one of those power-house ingredients, and a little goes a long way. Sesame oil adds a warmth and complexity to the soy sauce.
- Vegetables. A great hack to making shrimp fried rice a fast weeknight meal is to use frozen mixed vegetables, which don’t even need to be thawed prior to cooking! I used a mix of carrots and peas, but you can use whatever mix of fresh and/or frozen you like.
- Toss shrimp in cornstarch, salt, and pepper.
- Cook shrimp in hot oil in a single layer.
- Turn shrimp and finish cooking. Transfer to plate.
- Gently scramble eggs in butter. Remove to the plate with the shrimp.
- Cook onions in oil, then add the cooked rice and let sizzle until lightly crisp on the bottom.
- Stir, return to a single layer, and let sizzle 1 minute more. Drizzle over the soy sauce and sesame oil and stir to combine.
- Add the vegetables and remaining butter.
- Stir everything together. ENJOY!
- To Store. Let shrimp fried rice cool to room temperature, then store in refrigerator in 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 shrimp 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.
Meal Prep Tip
- Making shrimp fried rice with cold, leftover rice is the key to great, restaurant-style fried rice, so you’ll need to be sure to prep some cooked rice in advance.
- I like to make a large batch of rice and then divide it into 3-cup servings and store in freezer zip-top bags. You can use rice that’s been frozen and then thawed in the refrigerator.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Wok. No you do not have to have a wok to make stir fry and fried rice, but it’s nice to have! It cooks the dish efficiently and evenly, and it’s easier to flip the rice without spilling it over the edge of the pan.
- Wooden Spoon. For stirring and turning the vegetables and rice.
- Chopsticks. A fun kitchen addition for enjoying all your Asian meals and upping the Chinese takeout-style factor.
See you later, ho-hum takeout. There’s a better shrimp fried rice in town (in your kitchen, to be precise).
Frequently Asked Questions
Takeout fried rice tastes so good because it’s often loaded with sodium, unhealthy fats, and sugary sauces. This shrimp fried rice has flavor-a-plenty, with more veggies and less fat, cholesterol, and calories.
Be sure to monitor your pan’s heat level when cooking shrimp fried rice. Keeping the pan hot is critical, otherwise you may end up steaming everything instead of frying it.
If your pan is too small, or if you increased the called-for recipe amounts, the ingredients will be too crowded in the pan. The fried rice needs to cook in a single, thin layer so as much surface area as possible is touching the heat surface and crisp. Also, be sure your pan is hot.
For great fried rice, you must use COLD, leftover rice! As far as what type of rice, that is up to you. I recommend long-grain brown rice to up the protein and fiber content, but white rice such as Jasmine and Basmati are popular choices.
Shrimp Fried Rice
- 1 pound medium shrimp peeled and deveined, tails on or off, thawed if frozen
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons canola oil grapeseed oil, or peanut oil, divided
- 3 green onions thinly sliced, about 1/2 cup, white and green parts divided
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter divided
- 4 large eggs beaten
- 3 cups COLD leftover brown rice
- 3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce plus additional for serving
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil toasted or untoasted
- 1 12-ounce bag frozen peas and carrots about 1 1/2 cups, no need to thaw
- Pat the shrimp dry. Place in a bowl and top with the cornstarch, salt, and pepper. Toss to coat.
- In a wide, deep skillet or wok, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium high. Once the oil is hot and shimmering, add the shrimp in a single layer. Let cook on the first side for 1 to 2 minutes, then turn and continue cooking on the other side until the shrimp are pink and no longer translucent, about 30 seconds more. Do not overcook! Transfer the shrimp to a large plate or bowl and set aside.
- Add 1 tablespoon of the butter to the skillet. Let melt, swirling to coat the pan. Pour in the the beaten eggs. With a spatula, immediately begin to move the eggs around, cooking until they are scrambled and barely set. This will only take a minute or two. Remove to the plate with the shrimp.
- Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and the white part of the green onions. Let cook, stirring constantly, for 15 seconds. Add the cooked rice and spread into a single layer. Let sizzle undisturbed until lightly crisp on the bottom, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir, return to a single layer, and let sizzle 1 minute more.
- Drizzle the soy sauce and sesame oil over the top . Stir to combine.
- Stir in the peas and carrots and remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Let cook 1 to 2 minutes to warm the veggies through and melt the butter. Stir in the shrimp, eggs, and the green parts of the green onions, using a spatula to break up the eggs into small pieces. Let heat 1 minute more. Enjoy hot with additional soy sauce to taste.
- TO STORE: Let shrimp fried rice cool to room temperature, then store in refrigerator in 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 shrimp 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.
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