Easy Fried Rice

published Apr 16, 2024
Fried Rice Recipe

Perfect for when you want to go classic or as a great starting point to a version of your own.


Makesabout 5 cups

Prep10 minutes

Cook5 minutes to 10 minutes

Jump to Recipe
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A bowl of vegetable fried rice from overhead.
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling: James Park

Every family makes their own unique version of fried rice, a classic Chinese dish. When I was growing up, my parents always made fried rice the day after we had a big dinner. Leftovers like braised pork belly, shrimp stir-fry, and even steamed dumplings would get chopped up and transformed into the most amazing fried rice. That’s because the best thing about fried rice is that it’s so customizable! 

This recipe gives the bones for a delicious, classic fried rice, yet it’s also a great starting point to making a variation of your own. 

Why You’ll Love It

  • If you don’t have day-old cooked rice in the fridge, a little trick I use is to cook some rice, spread it really thin on a sheet pan or plate, and throw it in the fridge for an hour or so. It’ll not only cool down the rice, but also dry it out enough so that it’ll work wonders in your fried rice.
  • Everything cooks in the same pan. Yes, even the eggs! Those get scrambled right in the pan and cooked alongside the fried rice. 
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling: James Park

Key Ingredients in Fried Rice

  • Rice: Cold, leftover rice — preferably day-old cooked rice — is essential to a great fried rice. Freshly cooked rice is too fluffy and moist. You’ll want your rice to be as dry as possible, which ensures that the granules are separated to yield the right texture.
  • Eggs: A common addition to fried rice. These get scrambled into fluffy curds that are evenly distributed throughout. 

How to Make Fried Rice

  1. Cook your veg. Stir-fry garlic, scallion whites, peas, and carrots in a large wok or nonstick frying pan. 
  2. Add the rice. Make sure to break up any clumps, toss to combine, and add your seasonings. 
  3. Scramble the eggs. Push the fried rice to one side of the pan, then add your eggs to the other side. The eggs are scrambled in the pan while they’re getting slowly cooked, and then folded into the fried rice to finish. (This technique is used in a lot of stir-fries and dry noodle dishes, and it’s really fun to do too!)
  4. Finish the fried rice. Drizzle with sesame oil and garnish with scallion greens. 

Helpful Swaps

  • Chinese sausage is a common addition to fried rice; it’ll provide a nice saltiness and slight sweetness to the dish.
  • Shrimp is also a popular choice. You’ll just need to cook it real quick in the beginning, take it out of the pan, and then add it back at the very end to avoid overcooking.
  • Chili oil is always welcome! Other additions like oyster sauce and hoisin sauce will also add another level of umami to the dish.
  • This recipe calls for frozen peas and carrots, but fresh veggies work as well. Just make sure to cook them until they’re tender before adding the rice.

Storage Tips

Fried rice will last for up to four days in the fridge, and up to a month in the freezer. Feel free to reheat in the microwave, or heat over the stovetop in a pan until it’s ready. Another great thing about fried rice is that even after reheating it, it’ll taste just as good!

What to Serve with Fried Rice

More Fried Rice Recipes

Fried Rice Recipe

Perfect for when you want to go classic or as a great starting point to a version of your own.

Prep time 10 minutes

Cook time 5 minutes to 10 minutes

Makes about 5 cups

Serves 4

Nutritional Info


  • 3 cloves


  • 2

    medium scallions

  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon

    vegetable oil, divided

  • 1 cup

    frozen peas and carrots (do not thaw)

  • 4 cups

    cold cooked brown or white rice (see Recipe Notes), preferably medium grain

  • 2 tablespoons

    soy sauce or tamari

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons

    kosher salt, plus more as needed

  • 3/4 teaspoon

    ground white pepper, plus more as needed

  • 2

    large eggs

  • 3/4 teaspoon

    toasted sesame oil


  1. Mince 3 garlic cloves. Thinly slice 2 medium scallions crosswise on a slight diagonal, keeping the white parts separate from the light and dark green parts.

  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil in a large wok or nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the garlic, scallion whites, and 1 cup frozen peas and carrots. Stir-fry until the carrots and peas are thawed, about 2 minutes.

  3. Add 4 cups cold cooked rice, breaking up any clumps of rice with your fingers as you add it in. Toss to combine with the peas and carrots. Add 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, and 3/4 teaspoon ground white pepper. Stir to combine.

  4. Push the fried rice to one side of the pan. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon vegetable oil to the now-empty side of the pan, then crack 2 large eggs into the oil. Scramble into fluffy curds until almost set.

  5. Turn off the heat and stir the eggs into the fried rice, breaking up any large pieces of egg. Drizzle with 3/4 teaspoon toasted sesame oil and toss to combine. Taste and season with more kosher salt and white pepper as needed. Garnish with the reserved scallion greens.

Recipe Notes

Rice: Cook 1 1/3 cups raw white or brown rice to get 4 cups cooked rice.

Make ahead: Cook the rice up to 1 day ahead. Spread it out on a rimmed baking sheet in a thin layer, then refrigerate.

Storage: Fried rice can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days or frozen for up to 2 months.