This Classic Thai Chicken Fried Rice Is Simple Yet Tasty

Thai chicken fried rice

The Spruce

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Total: 30 mins
Servings: 4 servings

This simple yet tasty recipe for chicken fried rice will please everyone at your table with its vibrant flavors. It is easy to make at home and rivals the fried rice you would get at your favorite Asian restaurant. If you happen to have leftover rice, making this fried rice recipe is the perfect way to use it up; but even freshly made rice works well when fried up in the right way and with the right sauces.

This recipe will teach you how to do just that, so your fried rice tastes as light and flavorful as it possibly can. The dish also includes mushrooms and peas and is topped off with spring onions, giving it a fresh and bright appearance. Some traditionalist Thai food fans claim that fried rice, including soy sauce, is not authentically Thai but more like a Chinese stir-fry, while other Thai cooks—including cookbook authors—include the ingredient without apology. Whether to use it or not is up to you. Serve with Thai chile sauce on the side for those who like it extra spicy.

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Ingredients

  • 4 to 5 cups cooked rice (preferably several days old)
  • 1 boneless chicken breast or 2 thighs (chopped into small bits)
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons chicken stock
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce (or more to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice (or more to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon white pepper (or a pinch of black pepper)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 spring onions (sliced, white parts separate from greens)
  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 red or green chile (thinly sliced or a sprinkling of chile flakes)
  • 5 to 7 fresh shiitake mushrooms (chopped into small pieces)
  • 1 stalk celery (sliced)
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1 egg
  • Optional: Thai chile sauce (for serving)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Thai chicken fried rice recipe ingredients
     The Spruce
  2. If using leftover cold rice, drizzle a teaspoon or two of oil on your fingers and work through the rice, separating clumps back into grains.

    Leftover rice on a plate
    The Spruce 
  3. Place the chopped chicken in a bowl and add 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce. Stir well and set aside.

    Chicken and soy sauce in a bowl
     The Spruce
  4. Combine the chicken stock, fish sauce, remaining 2 tablespoons soy sauce, lime juice, sugar, and white pepper. Set aside.

    Sauce for Thai chicken fried rice
     The Spruce
  5. Heat a wok or large frying pan over high or medium-high heat. Drizzle in 2 tablespoons of oil and swirl around, then add the white parts of the spring onions plus the garlic and chile.

    Stir-fried spring onion, garlic, and chile
     The Spruce
  6. Stir-fry 1 minute, then add the chicken. Stir-fry 2 to 3 minutes, or until chicken turns evenly opaque.

    Stir-frying chicken in a pan
     The Spruce
  7. Add the mushrooms and celery and stir-fry 2 to 3 minutes, until everything is cooked through (celery should stay a little crunchy). If your wok or pan becomes too dry, add a little more oil.

    Chicken and veggies stir-frying in a pan
     The Spruce
  8. Keeping the heat high, add the rice. Stir-fry using a spatula or other flat utensil to gently lift and turn the rice.

    Thai chicken fried rice in the pan
     The Spruce
  9. Gradually begin adding the stir-fry sauce, 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time. Continue stir-frying 6 to 10 minutes, or until all the sauce has been added.

    Adding sauce to Thai chicken fried rice in a pan
     The Spruce
  10. Add frozen peas and stir to incorporate. Then push everything aside to reveal the center of the pan.

    Peas added to Thai chicken fried rice
     The Spruce
  11. Crack in the egg and quickly stir-fry to scramble.

    Scrambling eggs in Thai chicken fried rice
     The Spruce
  12. Continue stir-frying everything together over high heat 2 more minutes or until the rice is light and falls easily into separate grains.

  13. Remove from heat and taste test, adding a little more fish sauce until the desired flavor is achieved. If too salty, add a squeeze of lime juice. Top with reserved green onion parts. For those who like it extra spicy, serve with Thai chile sauce on the side.

    Thai chicken fried rice in the pan
    The Spruce 

Tips

  • Although stir-frying looks simple, there are a few tips to keep in mind so you don't end up with a burnt or unevenly cooked dish. A nonstick pan makes frying easier, as there is more moisture kept in the pan; if you don't have nonstick, it can get too dry, especially after frying the egg. Adding a little oil can help—just push the ingredients aside and drizzle some into the bottom of the pan, then continue stir-frying. Also, this will give your fried rice a restaurant-looking "shine" when served.
  • Avoid adding too much extra stock or other liquids when frying the rice, or your rice will become too heavy and lumpy.

What Is the Difference Between Thai Fried Rice and Chinese Fried Rice?

Thai and Chinese fried rice are very similar since they are both typically made with rice, egg, protein, and/or vegetables. And while the exact recipe can vary greatly in both cuisines, the major difference is that Thai fried rice includes fish sauce and sometimes lime juice, giving it a Southeast Asian flavor.