Quick and Easy Sesame Fried Rice

Fried rice on a table
Quynh Anh Nguyen / Getty Images
Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 35 mins
Total: 50 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
305 Calories
12g Fat
46g Carbs
6g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 305
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 12g 15%
Saturated Fat 2g 8%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 109mg 5%
Total Carbohydrate 46g 17%
Dietary Fiber 6g 23%
Total Sugars 6g
Protein 6g
Vitamin C 61mg 304%
Calcium 110mg 8%
Iron 1mg 7%
Potassium 497mg 11%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Fried rice is a popular dish at Chinese and Thai restaurants, but many cuisines have their own delicious version, such as the Hispanic, Spanish, and Japanese equivalents of this tasty and easy-to-make dish. Our take on a vegan and vegetarian-friendly fried rice uses aromatic sesame oil to perfume and flavor brown rice. A few tasty vegetables and optional peas complement the rice and make a wholesome and nutritious meal that you can use as a side dish or as the base of a main meal. (Adding baked tofu or fried tempeh to keep it vegan is an excellent choice, as is cracking a few eggs in it for a vegetarian main.) Besides rice and sesame oil, the dish includes onions, cabbage, carrots, and soy sauce. This is a quick meal to prepare and makes delicious leftovers. For our recipe, we chose brown rice because of its texture and earthy flavor, but whatever you have at hand will work.

Sesame oil comes from sesame seeds and is a nutty oil commonly used in many cuisines for its rich flavor. There are two varieties of this type of oil, toasted and cold-pressed. Toasted oil comes from seeds that have been subjected to heat and has a bolder flavor. It's also darker in color and is usually used to season food before serving rather than to cook the food in. Cold-pressed is the oil obtained from raw seeds. It has a very mild taste and is commonly used for cooking, though it smokes at 350 F so it's not suitable for frying. For our rice, we recommend toasted sesame oil because it will add the intended flavor—because you're not using a lot of it you need something that's really flavorful.

When choosing your brown rice, read the manufacturer's cooking instructions as not all rices require the same amount of water. The ratio ranges from 1:2 (double the water than the amount of rice) to 1 3/4 of a cup of water per cup of rice, or less liquid if the brown rice is parboiled. This dish can be adjusted to your dietary needs and preferences. Use tamari if in need of a gluten-free substitute for soy sauce, add more veggies for volume and nutrition, or swap our suggested veggies for others like broccoli, cauliflower, kale, peppers, bean sprouts, or mushrooms. If you happen to have leftover rice, you can make this recipe by stir-frying the rice in the sesame oil and then proceeding with the recipe as instructed in the method.


  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil

  • 3 cups brown rice

  • 5 to 6 cups water, depending on the type of rice

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 medium onion, diced

  • 1/2 head cabbage, sliced

  • 1 medium carrot, diced

  • 1/2 cup green peas, optional

  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a large skillet, toast the rice in the sesame oil for a minute or two, until lightly browned. Add water and cook the brown rice until done, about 20 to 25 minutes.

  3. In a separate pan, sauté the onion, cabbage, carrots, and peas in the olive oil until veggies are almost soft, about 5 minutes.

  4. Add the cooked rice and stir well until combined and heated through. Add soy sauce and combine well, adding more if desired.