Easy Fried Rice

↓ Jump to Recipe

Easy to make homemade fried rice, just like your favorite Chinese restaurant. A simple stir-fry transforms plain white rice into a flavorful dish seasoned with soy sauce and tossed with colorful vegetables.

Fried rice in a white bowl
Table of Contents
  1. Rice selection
  2. Fresh rice vs. leftover rice
  3. Wash the grains
  4. Cooking fresh rice
  5. Cool before using
  6. Frying the rice
  7. Stir-fry the vegetables
  8. Scramble the egg
  9. Seasonings
  10. Make this an entree
  11. Serve this with
  12. FAQ
  13. Fried Rice Recipe

In Asian cuisine, a serving or two of fried rice is always a must-have to complete your meal. It’s hard not to eat every light and fluffy morsel. The stir-frying technique that’s easy to tackle at home makes this dish so tasty. Once you get the base recipe down, it’s easy to customize with additional mix-ins or proteins.

Growing up in a big Chinese family not far from Oakland Chinatown, homemade fried rice at our house was a “clean-out-the-fridge” type dish, no recipe needed. My mom would use leftover rice from a previous meal and then add meat like diced chicken, shrimp, ham, spam (yes, I said it!), or char siu.

ingredients portioned out into little bowls

Rice selection

Long grain white rice is the best to use as it holds its shape and stays separate when stir-fried. Plus, it’s less sticky compared to short-grain rice. Jasmine is my top choice because it has a light floral aroma, is not too sticky when cooked, and is slightly dry in texture. This selection also makes it easy to maneuver in the pan.

You can use other types of rice, but just avoid short grains like Japanese sticky rice. My family often uses leftover medium-grain Calrose, nutty basmati, or brown rice for a high fiber option.

Recipe Resources

Fresh rice vs. leftover rice

Cold, leftover rice is ideal to use because the starches in the grains harden when refrigerated, making it easier to separate and cook in the wok. You’ll need about 3 cups. That doesn’t mean you can’t use a fresh pot of rice, especially when the craving hits. It only takes about an extra 20 minutes to prepare.

Wash the grains

To prevent the rice from becoming super sticky when stir-frying, wash it with cool water. Rinsing washes away the residual starches on the surface of the grain that could cause sticking. 

My grandma would scrub the rice with her hands to speed up the process and make sure it was clean. Washing is complete when the water changes from opaque white to transparent.

Fork fluffing white rice cooking in a saucepan

Cooking fresh rice

I use my easy stovetop method for making freshly cooked rice. However, you can also use the Instant Pot. One cup of Jasmine rice should yield about 3 cups of cooked rice. Once the water is absorbed, keep the pot covered off the heat for 10 minutes to finish cooking.

Cool before using

The key to preventing excessive clumping and sticking in the pan is to allow the rice to cool before using it. This process can quickly be done by spreading the rice on a sheet pan at room temperature or chilling it in the refrigerator for 5 to 10 minutes. 

Chilling is my preferred method. The rice should be cool to the touch before adding it to the pan.

Spoon mixing rice and carrots in a wok

Frying the rice

Grab a cast iron wok or a large nonstick skillet to fry the rice. The rounded shape heats the bottom and side of the pan for better browning and quicker cooking. Many people think fried rice gets all of its flavors from the sauce, but it starts with cooking in oil first before adding other ingredients. 

Allowing the rice to lightly brown in the hot wok adds flavor to the surface of the grains. This process takes about 5 minutes, stirring every 30-seconds.

Stir-fry the vegetables

It’s a delight to find colorful little pieces of diced carrots and sweet green peas in your rice. The carrots are briefly stir-fried with onions and minced garlic to infuse their intense flavors. I wait to add the peas in at the end because they are delicate. Frying them later keeps their spheres intact and prevents them from getting mushy.

Person pouring eggs into a wok filled with rice

Scramble the egg

The rice gets an extra boost of protein with scrambled egg. You’ll pour them into the center of the pan with sesame oil, then break them into smaller pieces once the curds form. I like to mix some of the liquid egg into the rice to cook and coat the grains for extra richness.

If you like big, fluffy curds, cook them entirely in the pan, transfer them to a plate, and then add them back later, so they don’t get broken down further.

Seasonings

To elevate the savory taste of the dish, add soy sauce. Just enough to lightly season the grains, not overwhelm the palate. It’s easy to make the dish gluten-free with tamari or coconut aminos (this gives a sweeter flavor). Always taste, and add more salt to your liking. 

In Chinese cuisine, white pepper is used instead of black pepper. It has an exciting ginger-like flavor with a slightly numbing effect. I enjoy using it, plus it doesn’t leave tiny dark speckles on the food. A little goes a long way. Start with an ⅛ of a teaspoon, then add more. Before serving, sprinkle on green onions for a mild allium taste and freshness to the dish.

Green peas sitting on top of rice

Make this an entree

Serve this with

FAQ

What is the sauce for fried rice?

Add soy sauce to enhance the savory, umami taste, but use a small amount. It shouldn’t be overly salty. Too much will turn the rice dark brown.

What oil is used for Chinese fried rice?

Use a high smoke point oil that is neutral in flavor like vegetable oil or peanut oil. Sesame seed oil is added towards the end to add a toasted flavor.

Are there low-carb fried options?

Yes, instead of traditional rice grains you can use cauliflower rice or broccoli rice.

Wok spatula mixing fried rice in a pan

Why long-grain rice is less sticky

Stickiness is caused by the release of starch molecules amylose and amylopectin when cooking. Amylose causes more sticking, but there is less of it in long-grain varieties. To further keep those grains separated, always rinse before cooking to wash off any lingering starches on the surface, and let it cool down to harden the grains.

Pin this recipe to save for later

Pin This

Fried Rice

Chinese fried rice recipe made with fragrant jasmine rice, carrots, peas, and scrambled eggs. Put down the takeout menu and make your own!
Pin Print Review
4.47 from 138 votes
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time40 mins
Servings 4 servings
Course Side
Cuisine Chinese

Ingredients

  • 1 cup jasmine rice, uncooked, or long-grain white rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • ¼ cup minced white onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • ½ cup diced carrots, ¼-inch dice
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • ½ cup peas, frozen, defrosted
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • teaspoon white pepper
  • 2 tablespoons green onions, thinly sliced

Instructions 

Cook the Rice

  • Add uncooked rice to a fine-mesh strainer. Rinse and wash under running cool water until it runs clear, scrubbing the rice in between your hands several times, about 1 minute. Shake and lightly press to drain.
  • In a medium pot, add rice and 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring a few times. Cover and reduce to low heat and simmer. Cook until the rice absorbs the water and becomes tender, about 10 to 15 minutes, or according to the manufacturer’s directions. Turn off the heat and keep covered for 10 minutes.
  • Fluff the rice with a fork. Transfer to a small sheet pan and spread into a thin layer to cool to room temperature. Alternatively, place uncovered in the refrigerator for quicker cooling, about 5 to 10 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the other ingredients.

Make the Stir Fry

  • Heat a wok or large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. Once hot, add in cooled rice. Stir-fry to evenly coat with oil. Spread into an even layer, lightly pressing around the pan. Cook for 30-seconds, then stir. Repeat the spreading and moving process every 30-seconds for 5 minutes total to encourage light browning on the surface.
  • In the center of the wok, make a large well. Add in 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil. Add onion, garlic, and carrots, stir-fry in the center of the pan for 1 minute, then mix with the rice to combine.
  • Make another large well in the center, add in 1 teaspoon vegetable oil and 1 teaspoon sesame oil.
  • Pour in beaten eggs. Allow it to sit for about 30 seconds, then gradually stir to create small scrambled egg pieces, stir to combine with the rice.
  • Add in soy sauce, stir to combine. Add peas, stir and cook until warmed through, about 2 minutes.
  • Stir in the salt and white pepper. Taste and season as desired. Garnish with green onions and serve immediately.

Recipe Video

Notes

  • Recipe Yield: About 4 cups
  • Serving Size: About 1 cup
  • Using Other Types of Rice: Any long-grain variety makes less sticky grains. Medium-grain Calrose or brown rice can be used. Just make sure that it yields 3 cups, as each cooks up to different volumes.
  • Substituting Cooked Rice: Use 3 cups cooked rice for 1 cup of uncooked jasmine rice. It’s best to use it when cool or leftover. Skip the uncooked rice steps in the directions and go straight to stir-frying.
  • Bigger Pieces of Egg: Cook in the pan, breaking into the desired size. Transfer to a plate and reserve, then add back with the peas.
  • Make It Gluten-Free: Use gluten-free tamari or coconut aminos instead of soy sauce.

Want to save this recipe?

Create an account easily save your favorite content, so you never forget a recipe again.

Register now

Nutrition Facts
Fried Rice
Amount Per Serving
Calories 241 Calories from Fat 27
% Daily Value*
Fat 3g5%
Saturated Fat 1g5%
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 93mg31%
Sodium 454mg19%
Potassium 224mg6%
Carbohydrates 43g14%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 8g16%
Vitamin A 2977IU60%
Vitamin C 10mg12%
Calcium 50mg5%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Tried this recipe?

Tag @jessica_gavin on Instagram. I'd love to see how it turns out!

Tag @jessica_gavin

Filed under:

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

Jessica's Secrets: Cooking Made Easy!
Get my essential cooking techniques that I learned in culinary school.
Jessica Gavin standing in the kitchen

You May Also Like

Reader Interactions

75 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Ronald F. Seto says

    Hi Jessica, I enjoy your recipes. I love food and do most of the cooking at home. I cook various cuisines, but mostly Chinese. I have a recipe that I have never seen anywhere in cookbooks. The recipe goes : hamburger meat steamed with lop chon and peas. I do this often as it is a favorite in my family. I’ve seen this recipe using pork or chicken, but never hamburger. For seasoning, I use such items as oyster sauce, or hoisin sauce, soy, garlic, ginger, cilantro.

  2. Mark Boehlen says

    This is the recipe that brought me to your site. It was both delicious and quick. I’m eager to explore your recipes and LOVE the layout of your site. You have taken all the guesswork out of Asian cooking and give very clear directions and videos. Finally, the photography is stupendous!

  3. Mr.Rice(alias) says

    The easy fried rice recipe is great! Everybody in my family loved it. Also, do you have a vegetarian chow mein recipe? It would be helpful is you could post one.

  4. Molly Nickell says

    I was looking for a fried rice recipe that was easy and I came upon yours. I had all the ingredients and just made it. Yours was the only one that said I could make the rice and use it right away- all the others say you should use day old rice (kept in refrigerator over night at least) my problem is once I put it in the large skillet it immediately stuck to the bottom of the skillet. It became mushy. I made sure my oil was hot – I do not have a wok but used a large stainless skillet. It became stuck to the skillet and was really mushy, i continued to add all the ingredients and followed the recipe. Other than the fact the bottom was glued to the skillet, the rest was delicious and I just skimmed the top off, I am soaking the skillet now. It never did brown the rice but as for the taste, it was great. I did not burn the rice it just immediately stuck to the skillet.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Thanks for your feedback Molly! Sometimes if there are starches on the rinse still, that causes it to be more stick when cooked. I rinse the raw rice until the water runs clear. You can also try spreading the rice on a sheet pan and refrigerating until its cool to the touch before using. Do you happen to have a nonstick pan you could use?

  5. Molly Nickell says

    Update from my previous comment! I did your recipe a second time and this time I cooled the rice like you advised. I spread it out and let it cool in the refrigerator! This time it did not stick to the skillet and it came out perfect – I loved it so much that I will make it every time I want fried rice. Its the best recipe I have found yet! The rice has to be cool for it to turn out best if you start with fresh rice. Thanks for the recipe!

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Thank you for the follow-up! Happy to hear that the cooling of the rice really helped with the stickiness. You rock!

  6. Pat Pierce says

    Hi Jessica, thanks for great the recipe I used it last night and my wife and I enjoyed the meal. I am a little confused on the amount of vegetable oil to use however. In the recipe it says 2 TBSP divided. Then in the steps it says:8) 1 TBSP, 11) 2 TBSP, and 3) 1 1/2 TBSP for a total of 5 1/2 total. Help,

    Thanks again Pat Pierce

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Pat! I’ve updated the recipe, it is actually 8) 1 Tablespoon, 11) 2 Teaspoon, and 3) 1 teaspoon. Thanks!

  7. Jim says

    Hello! I wanted to ask you about using long grain rice in a rice cooker and cooking it the night before and then putting it in the fridge? I would assume this would work as long as the rice is fluffed \ separated before the stir fry process?

    I usually just add the rice and the water to the rice cooker but maybe you suggest adding something else as well??

    Thank you so much and I can’t wait to try making this!

    Jim…

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Jim- Yes, you can cook the rice in the rice cooker the night before, allow it to cool on a sheet tray before placing in the refrigerator. You can refrigerate the sheet tray covered, or put it in a smaller container. Then separate as you are stir-frying the rice.

      • Paul says

        Hello Jessica, this recipe looks awesome! On the topic of a rice cooker, I want to use a rice cooker for this recipe. If instead of storing it in the fridge overnight, I cook the rice immediately for this dish, does that change the recipe in any way, other than the rice preparation you delineated above?

        • Jessica Gavin says

          The rice might be a little sticker, so spread it out on a sheet pan to cool down, refrigerating if needed to prevent it from clumping together as much if using fresh rice.

  8. Judy Simob says

    Hi – found your fried rice recipe and love it! I am diabetic so need to watch carb intake. I substituted riced cauliflower for rice, it is delicious!

    • Mona says

      Thanks Judy for your comment. I would never have thought of using riced cauliflower for fried rice. That will certainly help my waistline.

  9. Eva says

    This recipe has become a weekly staple for us. I’ve made it with jasmine rice and brown rice, both are delicious! I also add 1/2 tablespoon of oyster sauce to the soy sauce mix. I just had it again tonight! We’ve definitely cut down on what we spend on take out since I started making my own fried rice.

  10. Yogi says

    Hello. I am trying to understand how this rice is prepared. So you are making boiled white rice a day before? Then putting it in the fridge overnight and then taking it out and frying it the next day?

    • J says

      Yes, you’re boiling the white rice to cook it like you normally would. Then taking that rice and frying it. You aren’t frying the rice from raw.

      You can cook the white rice the day before and then refrigerate it, and it turns out best that way – just fluff the rice up with a spoon/spatula/whatever works best for you, so the grains are a little more separated, and then throw it into the wok/frying pan to fry. Otherwise, if you make it with same-day cooked rice, just let it dry as Jessica explained in the recipe. The point is that the rice will fry best if it’s not sticky, and not as moist (otherwise it will become mushy). That is why people dry the rice out first.

      If you make it same day and need to dry it but your fridge is full, you can also set your oven to the lowest it’ll go, and then spread the rice out on a baking sheet and pop it in there for 15 minutes before you put it in the wok/frying pan to cook it.

  11. Colleen says

    Loved this simple recipe! I needed to clean out the fridge at the end of my dog sitting gig and I had a real mixture of everything. My base was leftover take out chicken & broccoli with rice. I also had zoodles, corn on the cob, and hotdogs 🙂 turned out very tasty!!!

  12. Amber says

    The best fried rice we’ve ever had! Works great with leftover basmati and brown basmati, too. We tried it with fresh but found we definitely got better results with rice that had been in the fridge at least overnight.

    A few alterations we make:
    1. The first time I made this I used two cups of COOKED rice and as a result screwed up and accidentally doubled the veggies and quadrupled the eggs and garlic. It worked out well enough that we’ve done it ever since.
    2. I like to add a shake of dried grated ginger to this as well.

    Black pepper works fine if you don’t have white, too.

    Thanks so much!

  13. Monica says

    You are absolutely correct in saying… this is Better Than Take Out stir fried rice! We loved your recipe and will continue to make it just as your recipe shows. Thank You for Sharing!

  14. Ben says

    I am not a good cook, but this recipe has become a staple in the house, and one of the few things I can make (to us) perfectly. Thank you so much for sharing! It’s incredibly appreciated.

  15. Michael says

    Hi Jessica, I was looking to know how to conveniently fry rice, and your recipe popped up first. I’m glad it did. Having taught summer English in Taiwan and China for several years, I’ve collected a few recipes, but never fried rice…go figure. I just finished cooking a batch inspired by your site, but I made these changes for my wife’s love of seafood (unlike myself): instead of water, I used leftover bottled clam juice (it was double your recommended amount, but I didn’t want to waste it) and stirred in about fifteen frozen leftover whole clams with frozen vegs. She loves it. However, for my own taste buds, I followed your recipe and simply added real bacon chunks…and it’s yummilicious! Thanks for your post. I’ve subscribed for future fun fixin’s.

  16. Rob says

    I enjoyed your dish as you posted it. I tried it a second time with a 1/3 cup of buttered toasted sliced almonds. I liked it even more, Thank you for giving me the perfect fried rice to experiment with!

  17. Maurice says

    Hi Jessica. I cook rice a often and use leftovers for fried rice. I like your simplicity shown. When cokking rice and pasta I always add some coconut oil to the just cooked rice and let it melt through. This brings a better finish to the rice when being served and when using it the next day for fried rice means it never is sticky.

  18. Stephanie says

    This was sooooo good! I made the rice the same night and it turned out perfect. Adding this to my weeknight staples!

  19. Barbara Aaron-Kohn says

    Hi Jessica, I was looking for a fried rice recipe and clicked on your Easy Fried Rice recipe. I made this last night for dinner. It was outstanding! I like that you explain in detail why you do something when cooking. My husband is on a low sodium diet and the nutritional information at the end of the recipe is so helpful.
    I am ordering your cookbook.

  20. Maria Terry says

    Made this tonight in my new wok. Added shrimp. It was delicious. The carbon steel wok makes a HUGE difference. It imparts flavor. Happy I bought it.

  21. Sheri says

    I’m hooked on your Mexican Rice (made it twice this week) and want to branch out. I’d like to add fresh mushrooms to this dish. I’m thinking that due to the long cooking time of mushrooms and the way this recipe works (ie, veggies added in the middle of cooking) I’d be better off either cooking them separately or before I make the rice. Any suggestions?

    • Jessica Gavin says

      I would thinly slice the mushrooms and stir fry it in some oil first, then set it aside and cook the rice. Add the mushrooms back in when you add in the other vegetables.

  22. Melissa says

    I’ve made this recipe multiple times and it’s become one of my favorite meals to make. It’s so simple and delicious!

  23. Aimee says

    5 Stars! I made this as a side dish to some Asian style crock pot chicken. This rice got rave reviews from my picky kids (12 and 8 yrs). The chicken was “meh”. Even my husband ate it and he usually won’t eat fried rice. I’ll certainly make this again as it was pretty easy to put together.

  24. Amisha says

    This is a really good recipe and I’ve been using it for a while now, but her prep and cook times and very low compared to how long it actually takes. The rice can also be cooked in a pressure cooker. Use 1 cup of rice, 1 1/2 cups on water and cook for 20 mins. Also, this tastes best with a tofu and broccoli dish.

  25. Dave says

    My family loves this. Now we are wondering, how do we incorporate cooked shrimp into the recipe? I,m 65 years old so it has to be simple.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      I would saute the shrimp in some oil at the beginning, then transfer to a plate once cooked. Add it back at the end just to toss in with the other ingredients and warm it back up.

  26. Lorena says

    This recipe is great! It has been my go-to for a while. The process is easy to follow & always makes a great batch of fried rice. It’s also easy to modify with what you have on hand… for example, using edamame instead of peas, or adding bacon/another meat or tofu . Thanks for a great recipe, Jessica 🙂

  27. Sabelle Ingram says

    Very simple and easy to follow recipe! It was my first attempt at “Chinese takeout” fried rice and it came out a success. I would suggest adding oyster sauce for an added savory flavor. I’ll be on the lookout for more of your recipes!

  28. Dave says

    I tried this recipe for the first time today. The only change I made was that I used basmati rice, which is similar to jasmine rice. It turned out great and I’m sure I will make it again.

  29. June says

    Fried rice is my fiancee’s favorite dish especially from our Japanese place done on grill. They use butter to stir fry theirs, is it best to use oil? Your recipe looks good and easy so giving it a try for dinner with friends next week. Serving with grilled shrimp skewers. Can’t wait.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      I use oil for the fried rice because it has a higher smoke point. Butter would be tasty, but has milk solids so it will brown quickly in the hot pan. Perhaps add some at the very end for flavor to prevent burning.

Leave A Reply

Recipe Rating