Fried Rice Recipe From Leftovers

Leftovers night fried rice recipe

​The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

  • Total: 15 mins
  • Prep: 5 mins
  • Cook: 10 mins
  • Servings: 4 servings

This fried rice recipe is made from leftovers—you know, that surplus of rice that always seems to remain from the batch you made for dinner, or the extra carton that came with your Chinese takeout. It's a great recipe to have in your arsenal for just this purpose, and it reheats really well, too.

You could make fried rice from freshly cooked rice, but it's not likely going to have the right texture because it will be too moist. Leftover rice is ideal because it's drier and therefore, cooks great right in your skillet along with the other ingredients. Any moisture you need at all comes from the bit of oil and the veggies.


  • 1 tablespoon canola oil (or more as needed)
  • 1 (16-ounce) package frozen Asian stir-fry vegetables
  • 2 to 3 cups cooked rice (white or brown)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce (or to taste)
  • Garnish: fresh chopped cilantro, chopped scallions, chopped peanuts, and/or sesame seeds

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for leftovers fried rice
    ​The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii
  2. Heat canola oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, tilting the pan to coat completely.

    Heat canola oil
    ​The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii
  3. When the oil is hot, add the frozen vegetables and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, until they're crisp-tender.

    Add frozen vegetables
    ​The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii
  4. Add the rice and stir to combine, cooking for another 2 to 3 minutes. 

    Add rice
    ​The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii
  5. Push all of the vegetables and rice to the outside of the pan, leaving a clear space in the middle of the pan. If the pan seems dry, add a tiny drizzle of canola oil to prevent the eggs from sticking.

    Push rice and vegetables in pan
    ​The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii
  6. Break the two eggs into the center and immediately begin stirring them with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula until they start to solidify.

    Break eggs
    ​The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii
  7. Gradually stir the vegetables back into the middle of the pan, distributing the eggs throughout the vegetables and rice. The eggs should be in small shreds, evenly dispersed throughout the vegetables and rice.

    Gradually stir in vegetables
    ​The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii
  8. When the eggs are cooked and no runny bits remain, drizzle the mixture with soy sauce to taste.

    When eggs are cooked
    ​The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii
  9. Serve hot, sprinkled with garnishes of cilantro, scallions, peanuts or sesame seeds, if desired. Enjoy!

    Leftover fried rice
    ​The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

Is It Safe to Eat Leftover Rice—Fried or Otherwise?

Yes, provided it has been stored and reheated properly. Any leftover rice that you use for this recipe should be refrigerated within a couple of hours of cooking it. Additionally, as long as the fried rice is cooked at high heat on the skillet, there should be little concern.

The rice should be good for up to 5 days. If it looks moldy, smells off, or otherwise doesn't seem fresh, pitch it.


  • Keep a bag of frozen stir-fry vegetables in your freezer, and you'll be able to turn that leftover rice into a nourishing dinner in less than 15 minutes.

Recipe Variations

  • Plain, white, or brown rice works well, as does a mildly flavored pilaf or an Asian-style recipe such as edamame rice.
  • Get creative with the fresh or frozen vegetables you use, or include cubed tofu, leftover cooked chicken or steak, or sauté a handful of frozen shrimp.
  • This recipe also works well with leftover, already cooked vegetables, such as those that come with Chinese takeout.

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