Basic Recipe for Fried Rice

Basic fried rice with egg and green onions in a bowl with fork

The Spruce

  • Total: 15 mins
  • Prep: 5 mins
  • Cook: 10 mins
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Fried rice is a takeout favorite, but it's also quick and easy to make at home. It's a great way to use up leftover rice—in fact, cooked, cold rice makes the best fried rice—and transform boring leftovers into an entirely new dish. The next time you're making rice, just make extra and stash it away. Then you'll have a delicious, quick fried rice dinner in no time.

This is a basic recipe for fried rice that you can add to as desired. Medium- or long-grained white rice works best, but other types of rice can be used as well. Serve it as a side with leftover vegetables mixed in or serve it as a main dish with barbecued pork, chicken, or shrimp. Once you have this basic recipe mastered, you can feel free to adjust it to suit your needs and taste.

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Ingredients

  • 1 to 2 green onions (chopped)
  • 2 large eggs
  • Freshly ground pepper (to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons oil (divided)
  • 4 cups rice (cooked and cold)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons light soy sauce (or oyster sauce)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for plain fried rice
    The Spruce 
  2. Wash and finely slice the green onions. Lightly beat the eggs with the pepper and salt.

  3. Heat a wok or frying pan over medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoons of the oil. When the oil is hot, add the eggs. Cook, stirring, until they are lightly scrambled but not too dry. Remove the eggs and clean out the pan.

    Scrambled eggs in a skillet
    The Spruce
  4. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the cooked and cooled leftover rice. Stir-fry for a few minutes, using chopsticks or a wooden spoon to break it apart. Stir in the soy sauce or oyster sauce as desired.

    Cooked rice in a skillet
    The Spruce
  5. When the rice is heated through, add the scrambled egg back into the pan. Mix thoroughly. Stir in the green onions. Serve hot.

    Basic fried rice with egg and green onions in a skillet with spatula
    The Spruce

Tip

  • If you add more ingredients to bulk up this dish, be sure to increase the number of eggs from 2 to 3. This will keep the ratio of eggs to rice well balanced.

Recipe Variations

  • Traditionally, the Chinese do not add soy sauce to the rice. If you like, you can serve the dish plain without the soy or oyster sauce.
  • Another option is to add a small amount (1/2 to 1 teaspoon) of XO sauce or thick soy sauce, or use 2 to 3 teaspoons of dark soy sauce—these will give the rice a darker color.
  • Add 1 to 2 cups total of diced, cooked veggies like carrots and peas and/or meat like cooked dark-meat chicken, pork, beef, or shrimp.
  • For a tasty Thai version, try classic Thai chicken fried rice.

Can You Freeze and Reheat Fried Rice?

Leftover fried rice can be kept in the fridge for a few days and reheated in a pan or microwave. If you made a big batch and would like to keep it for longer, then fried rice can be frozen. Let cool completely and transfer to a zip-top freezer bag. Press out the air, seal, and freeze for up to three months. When ready to eat, add the frozen fried rice to a pan and gently heat until defrosted and hot.

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