This restaurant-style Chinese Fried Rice Recipe is made with cold rice, scrambled eggs, peas, carrots, and simple seasonings like garlic and soy sauce. Quick and easy to make, enjoy this fragrant and super customizable rice recipe as a stand-alone weeknight dinner or as a delicious side with all your favorite Chinese takeout recipes.
I have always loved fried rice.
So, today we’re making classic Chinese fried rice with egg. Incredibly versatile and absolutely delicious, it’s the closest I’ve come to recreating restaurant-style fried rice at home to date!
What is Fried Rice?
Fried rice is believed to have originated in China, with the practice dating back to as early as the Sui Dynasty (589–618 CE). The dish was invented as a way to reuse leftover cooked rice, which is actually ideal for stir-frying as it is less likely to stick together than fresh rice.
The most well-known variation of fried rice, Yangzhou fried rice, comes from the city of Yangzhou in eastern Jiangsu province, China. This dish typically includes ingredients like cooked rice, cooked meat (such as shrimp, ham, or chicken), mushrooms, peas, eggs, and green onions.
However, the concept of frying rice or grains is not unique to China. Many other Asian cultures and regions developed their own variations of this dish, adapting it to local tastes and available ingredients. It is often eaten as a complete dish but can also serve as a side.
Indonesian fried rice, known as nasi goreng, is often cooked with shrimp, fish sauce, crispy shallots, and chili sauce. Japanese fried rice, known as chahan (チャーハン/炒飯) often contains a mix of chopped vegetables, mushrooms, tofu, meats, bonito, and nori. Thai fried rice, khao pad, is typically made with jasmine rice rather than regular rice, tomatoes, onion, garlic, and meat such as chicken or shrimp.
Ingredients in Fried Rice
- Vegetable oil
- Toasted sesame oil
- Fresh garlic
- Fresh ginger
- Leftover cooked white rice
- Frozen peas
- Shaoxing wine (Chinese rice wine)
What Type of Rice is Best for Fried Rice?
For the most authentic-tasting fried rice, you’ll want to use any type of long-grain white rice. This includes regular long-grain rice, jasmine rice, or even basmati rice. These types of rice have a lighter, fluffier texture and the ability to keep individual grains separate when cooked. Medium-grain white rice, like Calrose rice, will also work, but it will be stickier and may clump together.
However, the key to making the best fried rice is not just the type of rice but its state when you start cooking. Typically, day-old, refrigerated rice is best for making fried rice. The cooling process makes the rice grains drier because it allows for the moisture to evaporate. This prevents the rice from sticking together and getting mushy when stir-fried, which often happens with freshly cooked rice.
To quickly chill fresh rice, spread your rice over a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill for approximately 15 minutes or until it is cool to the touch.
How to Make Fried Rice
There’s not a lot of time in between steps, so I highly recommend having your ingredients chopped and ready to go before getting started to prevent anything from burning.
1. Heat one tablespoon of oil in a large skillet or wok over high heat. Your skillet can be non-stick or stainless steel, it really doesn’t matter. If you have a favorite, use that one. I used canola oil to make my fried rice, but feel free to use olive oil if that’s all you have on hand.
2. Sometimes, I cook my eggs in the beginning; other times, I’ll cook them after I’ve sauteed the onion and veggies. For larger, fluffier curds, cook the eggs first, then remove them to a clean plate to rest while the other ingredients are prepared.
3. Use a wooden spatula to scrape up any egg that may have stuck to your skillet and return the pan to high heat. Add one more tablespoon of oil, the diced onion, and diced carrot. Sauté, stirring often, until the onions start to soften and turn lightly golden – approximately 2 minutes.
4. Add one teaspoon of sesame oil, garlic, and ginger. Mix well to combine and cook, stirring continuously, for 30 seconds. Fresh garlic and ginger will burn if they’re left to cook unattended in a hot skillet.
5. Add in the cold rice and defrosted peas, mixing well to combine with the veggies and aromatics. Spread and gently press the rice into the pan and allow it to cook for approximately 30 seconds. Stir and repeat until rice is lightly golden (2-3 minutes total).
6. Return the eggs to the pan and add the Shaoxing wine, soy sauce, and white pepper. Stir to combine. Continue to cook for 1-2 minutes more.
7. Drizzle with additional soy sauce to taste, and garnish with green onions, if desired.
- Oyster sauce
- Chopped red bell pepper
- Chopped pineapple
- Red chili sauce
- Cooked chicken, beef, pork, or shrimp
What is Shaoxing wine?
Shaoxing wine, or shàoxīng jiǔ (绍兴酒), is a type of Chinese rice wine made by fermenting rice, water, and a small amount of wheat to produce a fragrant, mildly sweet liquid that is dark amber in color.
The best substitute for Shaoxing wine is dry sherry, dry white wine, sake, or mirin. For non-alcoholic substitutes, I have read that apple juice or white grape juice work. However, I would decrease the total amount added to just two tablespoons and add an additional tablespoon of soy sauce.
Note– Shaoxing wine contains wheat and is therefore not gluten-free.
Let’s Talk Leftover Fried Rice
If you’ve ever ordered Chinese take-out, then you probably know that fried rice is ah-mazing leftover the next day (or even 4-5 days later). Simply allow your leftover rice to cool before transferring them to an air-tight container, then keep them stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days max.
You can also freeze leftover fried rice. For best results, transfer leftover fried rice to a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place the baking sheet in the refrigerator and allow the rice to freeze completely before transferring it to airtight containers or freezer-safe ziplock bags. Try not to smush your rice into a giant clump.
Transfer the rice to the refrigerator to thaw overnight or place the contents in a large bowl with 1-2 tablespoons of water. Cover with a damp paper towel and heat in the microwave until warm.
You can also reheat leftovers in a hot skillet set over medium-high heat. However, if you’re starting with frozen leftovers, thaw the rice first; otherwise, the rice is likely to stick to the skillet.
More Asian Rice Recipes,
- Congee Recipe (Chinese Rice Porridge)
- Cauliflower Fried Rice Recipe
- Easy Thai Fried Rice Recipe (Khao Phat Kaphrao)
- Thai Mango Sticky Rice Recipe (Khao Niaow Ma Muang)
- Kimchi Cauliflower Fried Rice
- Kheer Recipe (Indian Rice Pudding)
If you try this Easy Fried Rice Recipe, please leave me a comment and let me know! I always love to hear your thoughts.
Fried Rice Recipe
- 2 tablespoon canola oil - divided
- 3 large eggs - whisked
- 1 small white onion - diced (approx. 1 cup)
- 1 carrot - ¼-inch dice
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 4 cloves garlic - minced
- 2 teaspoon fresh ginger - minced
- 4 cups cooked white rice - preferably cold, day-old rice
- 1 cup frozen peas - defrosted
- ⅓ cup Shaoxing wine - (Chinese rice wine)
- 2 tablespoon soy sauce - plus more to taste
- white pepper - as needed to season
- Thinly sliced green onions - to garnish
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet or wok over high heat.
- Once very hot, add the well-beaten eggs plus a pinch of salt to your skillet. Cook, stirring to form soft, fully scrambled curds, until cooked through- approximately 30 seconds. Remove eggs to a clean plate and set aside.
- Return the skillet to high heat and add 1 more tablespoon of oil. Add the diced onion and diced carrot. Cook, stirring often, until the onions start to soften and turn lightly golden – approximately 2 minutes.
- Add 1 teaspoon of sesame oil, garlic, and ginger. Mix well to combine and cook, stirring continuously, for 30 seconds.
- Add the rice and defrosted peas, mixing well to combine with the veggies and aromatics. Spread and gently press the rice into the pan and allow it to cook for approximately 30 seconds. Stir and repeat until rice is lightly golden (2-3 minutes total).
- Return the eggs to the pan and add the Shaoxing wine, soy sauce, and white pepper. Stir to combine. Continue to cook for 1-2 minutes more.
- Season to taste and garnish with green onions, if desired.
- You may use frozen carrots instead of fresh ones – however, try to purchase carrots that are about the same size as peas so that they cook evenly.
- If you are using freshly steamed rice, it’s easy to cool your rice quickly. Simply spread the cooked rice on a large sheet pan and transfer it to the refrigerator until cold, approximately 10-15 minutes.
- Fried rice can be made using basmati rice, jasmine rice, long-grain white rice, brown rice, or even medium-grain Calrose rice.
- The secret to delicious fried rice is Shaoxing wine (Chinese rice wine). Available online and at local Asian supermarkets, I’m discovering that the more I cook Chinese recipes, the more important this ingredient is to achieving authentic flavor. If you can’t get your hands on any, the best substitute is dry sherry or a dry white wine. For non-alcoholic substitutes, I have read that apple juice or white grape juice work, however, in this case, I would decrease the total amount added to just two tablespoons and add an additional tablespoon of soy sauce. Also, note that Chinese rice wine is NOT the same as Chinese rice wine vinegar.
- Keep leftovers stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days.
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.)