There’s no need to order out! This Better Than Takeout Fried Rice recipe is ready to go in just 20 minutes!
We’ve been on a huge Chinese food kick lately. I’ve been craving fried rice and orange chicken like crazy!
So, I decided to whip up a batch of our favorite homemade fried rice- it’s so easy to make and tastes way better than any takeout you could order. Plus it’s ready to go in just 20 minutes… you can’t beat that!
The Key to Making Fried Rice at Home
The key to making crisp and flavorful fried rice at home is chilling the rice before using it. I’m talking overnight people. The longer it chills and dries out, the better the result!
I like to cook my rice the night before, spread it out on a baking sheet and leave it uncovered in the refrigerator until the next evening when I’m ready to fry it up. Then all you have to do is chop up some vegetables, whisk a few eggs and you’re ready to go!
Our family loves this fried rice and I think yours will too! It’s crisp, flavorful and loaded with veggies and eggs just the way it should be!
Once you try this dish, you’ll never want to order takeout again!
How to Make Fried Rice
This fried rice is so easy to make. Here is how to do it.
Heat a large (the biggest you have) skillet over medium-high heat.
Add some butter and scramble the eggs.
Transfer the eggs to a dish and add the remaining butter to your pan.
Cook the carrots and onion until they’re nice and soft.
Add the garlic and cook until fragrant.
Next comes the most important part.
Turn your heat up (I do almost full heat).
Add your COLD rice along with the peas. It will sizzle and brown a bit on the bottom as long as you leave it for a minute or two. I suggest tossing it about 3 times, that way the rice has a chance to get crispy.
Add back in the eggs along with some green onion, soy sauce, sesame oil and oyster sauce.
Season with salt and pepper and serve piping hot!
Here are some expert tips to perfect your fried rice recipe:
Rice Selection: Using a long-grain rice like jasmine rice or basmati rice helps prevent clumping as they remain separate when cooked. Short grain rice tends to stick together more.
Day-Old Rice: As highlighted above, using cold, day-old rice is the secret to perfect fried rice. Freshly cooked rice is often too moist and can lead to mushy fried rice. If you’re in a pinch, spread freshly cooked rice on a baking sheet and freeze for about 20-30 minutes to quickly reduce its moisture content.
High Heat: Fried rice needs a high heat to get that slightly crisp, caramelized effect. Don’t be afraid to turn up the heat, but make sure you’re stirring frequently to avoid burning.
Avoid Overcrowding: Cook in batches if necessary. Overcrowding the pan can cause the rice to steam rather than fry.
Seasoning: Adjust the seasoning as per your liking. The soy sauce, sesame oil, and oyster sauce provide the basic seasoning, but you can add other sauces or spices to suit your preference.
Fresh Ingredients: Use fresh vegetables, when possible, for the best flavor and texture.
Sequence: The order in which you add the ingredients is crucial. Start with the ingredients that take longer to cook (like onions, carrots), then proceed to those that require less time (like peas).
Egg Cooking: Cook the egg first, set it aside, and then add it back at the end. This prevents it from overcooking and ensures the pieces remain distinct.
Fried Rice Variations
Diversify your culinary journey with these exciting variations of the classic fried rice, each offering a unique flavor profile and added ingredients to cater to a wide range of taste preferences and transform this side into a main dish.
Chicken Fried Rice: Add diced chicken breast into the mix. Sauté the chicken pieces until cooked through before adding the cold rice. It adds a delightful protein boost.
Shrimp Fried Rice: Transform your dish into a delightful seafood feast with this variation. Begin by sautéing succulent, well-seasoned shrimp until they turn pink and are cooked through. Remove the shrimp, then proceed with the original fried rice recipe, adding the shrimp back in with the rice. The addition of shrimp not only provides a delicious contrast in texture but also infuses the rice with a subtle sea-sweetness, giving you a wholesome and flavorful meal reminiscent of a coastal feast.
Seafood Fried Rice: Enhance your dish with a selection of one or more of the following seafood: shrimp, crab meat, and squid. You can also opt for the addition of flying fish roe. Start by cooking your chosen seafood, making sure it’s cooked properly, and set it aside. Then incorporate the seafood with the rice. Add the fish roe just before the final stir to preserve its delicate texture. The seafood gives a maritime twist to the fried rice, each bite bursting with the taste of the sea, and the fish roe adds a delightful pop of flavor and a luxurious touch to your home-cooked meal.
Beef Fried Rice: Add strips of marinated beef to your fried rice. The beef should be sautéed before the rice is added, making for a hearty main dish.
Pork Fried Rice: Stir-fry diced pork until it’s cooked through, then proceed with the original recipe. This version is a common option in many Chinese restaurants.
Combination Fried Rice: This deluxe version of fried rice brings together the best of land and sea, creating a full-flavored, satisfying meal. Start by sautéing diced chicken, thin slices of beef, and shelled shrimp separately, ensuring each is cooked through and set aside. Proceed with the original fried rice recipe, adding these three meats back in when you introduce the rice. The chicken adds a tender bite, the beef lends a robust flavor, and the shrimp provides a delightful sea-sweetness. The trio of chicken, shrimp, and beef enhances the traditional fried rice, making it a hearty dish that’s brimming with a medley of flavors and textures.
Hawaiian Fried Rice: For a tropical twist, omit the carrots and peas. Add diced ham, chopped red bell pepper, sliced green onions, and pineapple chunks. The sweetness of pineapple gives a lovely contrast to the savory components.
Vegan Fried Rice: For a vegan option, replace the eggs and butter with tofu and a plant-based butter substitute. Add in more vegetables like bell peppers, corn, broccoli, sprouts and green beans for extra nutrition and taste.
Kimchi Fried Rice: This Korean-inspired variation involves stirring in chopped kimchi for a tangy, spicy kick. You can also add gochujang (Korean chili paste) for an extra flavor boost.
Thai Basil Fried Rice: Stir in Thai basil leaves and a splash of fish sauce for an aromatic and savory Thai version. Optionally, you can also add some sliced chilies for heat.
Japanese Fried Rice (Yakimeshi): Add some Japanese flavor by mixing in cooked shrimp or chicken, diced bell peppers, and a sprinkle of sake (Japanese rice wine). Finish with a little bit of dashi stock powder for umami flavor.
Spicy Fried Rice
If you prefer a spicier dish, then you can spice up the fried rice recipe in several ways:
Chili Sauce/Sriracha: Add a few teaspoons of your favorite hot sauce or sriracha. The quantity can be adjusted based on your tolerance for heat.
Fresh Chilies: Chop fresh hot chilies such as jalapenos, bird’s eye chilies (very spicy), or serranos and sauté them with the vegetables.
Red Pepper Flakes: Sprinkle some red pepper flakes into the rice for an added kick.
Spicy Sesame Oil: Use spicy sesame oil instead of regular sesame oil to infuse a hint of heat.
Chili Garlic Sauce: This flavorful sauce can be added with the soy sauce and oyster sauce for an extra spicy, garlicky touch.
Remember to add these spicy ingredients gradually, tasting as you go. You can always add more heat, but it’s difficult to remove it if you’ve added too much. Enjoy your spicy fried rice!
How long can fried rice keep in the refrigerator?
Fried rice is good for 5-7 days in the refrigerator. Keep it in zip top bags or in an air tight container in the fridge.
Can you freeze fried rice?
Yes, you can freeze fried rice. Fried rice is a great meal to freeze and reheat.
How to Freeze Fried Rice?
To freeze fried rice, just let it cool first. Then, portion into zip top freezer bags and remove as much air as possible from the freezer bags. Label the bags with the date and freeze for up to 6 months.
How to Reheat Fried Rice?
You can reheat fried rice in the microwave or on the stovetop.
To reheat in the microwave, you don’t need to thaw first. I like to add a little water (1-2 Tablespoons) and cover the microwave safe bowl to steam up the rice so that it doesn’t dry out.
To reheat on the stove top, then thaw the rice first, heat a little oil in your skillet or pan, add the thawed rice and stir occasionally for about 5 minutes until it is warmed throughout.
MORE TAKE OUT INSPIRED CLASSICS:
- Beef And Broccoli
- Better Than Takeout Sesame Chicken
- Sweet And Sour Chicken
- Instant Pot Teriyaki Chicken
- Better Than Takeout Cashew Chicken
Better Than Takeout Fried Rice Recipe
- 3 Tbsp butter - divided
- 3 eggs - lightly beaten
- 1 large carrot - peeled and cubed
- 1 small white onion - chopped
- 3 cloves garlic - minced
- 4-5 cups rice - preferably long-grain rice (jasmine or basmati) cooked and chilled
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 4 green onions - thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup soy sauce * - plus more to taste
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 3 tsp oyster sauce
- salt and pepper
- Preheat a large skillet or wok to medium heat (I've used both a nonstick and a regular skillet, I kind of prefer a nonstick for this rice). Add 1 tbsp. of the butter into the pan. Once the butter has melted, add the lightly beaten eggs. Let them cook for about 30-40 seconds or until set, then scramble. Once the eggs are fully cooked, remove them and set them aside.
- Add the remaining butter to the pan- when it's hot, add the carrot and onion and cook until tender, then add the garlic and cook until fragrant, taking care not to brown. Turn the heat up slightly and add the cold rice and peas. Cook the the mixture for about 3-4 minutes (it will sizzle and should brown a bit), then add the eggs, green onion, soy sauce, sesame oil and oyster sauce. Cook for a few more minutes or until the mixture is hot. Season with salt and pepper, serve immediately.
Recipe source: Life Made Simple