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.
The Best Fried Rice Recipe
I have always loved fried rice. From classic chicken fried rice to shrimp fried rice to mixing random leftover ingredients with rice and frying it all together, well, this is how I survived my college years well-fed and without going broke.
In all seriousness, though, I will never forget the day that my dear husband (then boyfriend) stir-fried leftover chopped-up quesadilla and burrito with leftover rice and scrambled eggs. It was then that I knew we’d never go hungry.
Anyway, today I have 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!
Ingredients in Fried Rice
- Vegetable oil
- 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. Medium-grain white rice, like Calrose rice, will also work, but it will be stickier and tends to clump together.
What’s better – fresh rice or leftover rice?
While freshly cooked rice will work to make fried rice, I’ve found that the overall texture is better when the rice is either a day old or chilled before adding. When the rice is cold, the grains are separate and are less likely to stick together.
To quickly chill fresh rice, spread your rice over to a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill for approximately 15 minutes, or until cool to the touch.
What is Shaoxing wine? And do I really need it?
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.
- Note- Shaoxing wine contains wheat and is therefore not gluten-free.
Shaoxing wine is a must-have ingredient for anyone who loves to cook Chinese recipes at home. If you’re ever wondering why your Chinese stir-frys or sauces taste different from your favorite Chinese restaurant, it’s likely due to this one ingredient, or lack thereof.
If you can’t get your hands on any or you doubt you’ll ever cook Chinese food from home ever again, 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 2 tablespoons and add an additional tablespoon of soy sauce. Also, note that Chinese rice-wine is NOT the same as Chinese rice wine vinegar.
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 1 tablespoon 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 first, other times I cook them after I’ve sauteed the onion and veggies. For larger, fluffier curds, cook your eggs first then remove 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 to high heat. Add 1 more tablespoon of oil, the diced onion, and diced carrot. Cook, stirring often until the onions start to soften and turn lightly golden – approximately 2 minutes.
4. Add 1 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, on 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
Let’s Talk Leftovers
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 leftovers to cool at room temperature before transferring to an air-tight container. Keep stored in the refrigerator until you’re ready to enjoy it again.
You can also freeze leftovers. For best results, transfer your leftover fried rice to a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place the baking sheet in the refrigerator and allow the rice to cool completely before transferring to airtight containers or freezer-safe ziplock bags. Try not to smush your rice into a giant clump.
To thaw, 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 until warm.
You can also reheat on the stovetop, however, if you’re starting with frozen rice, I recommend first thawing before adding to a hot skillet.
More Fried Rice Recipes,
Cauliflower Fried Rice Recipe (low carb)
If you try this Easy Fried Rice Recipe, please leave me a comment and let me know! I always love to hear your thoughts.
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Fried Rice Recipe
- 2 tbsp canola oil (divided)
- 3 large eggs (whisked)
- 1 small white onion (diced (approx. 1 cup))
- 1 carrot (¼-inch dice)
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 4 cloves garlic (minced)
- 2 tsp fresh ginger (minced)
- 4 cups cooked white rice (preferable cold)
- 1 cup frozen peas (defrosted)
- 1/3 cup Shaoxing wine ((Chinese rice wine))
- 2 tbsp 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, the 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 in place of fresh- be sure to dice into small pieces otherwise they may not cook fast enough.
- 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 2 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 days.
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.)