When I was a kid, I always looked forward to days when my mother made fried rice for dinner. Like most Asian families, we ate regular plain rice almost every day with dinner, so any time my mother felt inspired to change up our dinner routine felt like a treat to me!
Video: How to Make Chicken Fried Rice
Chicken Fried Rice
The Best Rice for Fried Rice
Fried rice is a dish that is meant to repurpose leftover rice from a day or two before. The first time I tried cooking fried rice on my own, I made the mistake of using freshly cooked rice.
Because it was still so moist and soft, resulting dish was far too gummy -- nothing like what my mother cooked. I don’t even remember if I ate much of that batch of fried rice, but I certainly learned a big lesson!
If you don’t have any leftover rice from the night before, cook a batch of rice and spread it on a large baking sheet or several large plates. Let the rice dry out for about 1 to 2 hours before using it for fried rice.
Here is some more info on cooking rice:
- How to Cook Rice on the Stovetop
- Guide to Rice Cookers
- How to Freeze and Reheat Rice
- The Best Rice Cookers
The Ingredients for Chicken Fried Rice
Now, I make fried rice at home often, and this version with chicken is one of my favorites. I add onions, carrots and peas to my rice, but you can throw in whatever vegetables you have. Diced bell peppers, zucchini or sliced cabbage work well, too.
I also add a bit of Chinese five-spice powder to flavor the rice, a habit I picked up from my mother who always used it in her cooking. This is a blend of star anise, peppercorns, cloves, fennel seed, and cinnamon, and it gives the dish a warm spiciness. Feel free to leave it out if you like.
The Steps for Making Fried Rice
This recipe is for chicken fried rice, but you could really use the technique for making fried rice with almost any protein, like shrimp, pork, or tofu.
- Prep the ingredients: Making fried rice is fast, so have all of your ingredients ready and by the stove. Dice your chicken into small cubes and salt it, whisk the egg, make sure all the veggies are diced and ready to go.
- Scramble the egg, then remove it from the pan. You want to cook the egg first so that it doesn't end up overcooking and so that the egg stays in larger pieces.
- Stir fry the chicken, then it remove it from the pan, too. Make sure it's cooked all the way through.
- Cook the vegetables, but leave them IN the pan!
- Add the rice, season it, then add the egg and chicken back to the pan.
- Serve hot!
Storing and Reheating Leftover Fried Rice
Fried rice is really best eaten the day it's made, but the leftovers aren't bad either! Store it in the fridge for up to three days.
You can reheat fried rice either in the microwave or the stovetop. Sprinkle a tablespoon or two of water over top to help it stay moist, and cover the dish or pan to trap the moisture and prevent the rice from drying out.
Love Fried Rice? Try These Recipes!
- Easy Pork Fried Rice with Frozen Vegetables
- Easy Vegetable Fried Rice
- Shrimp Fried Rice
- Ginger Pineapple Fried Rice
- Salmon Fried Rice
Chicken Fried Rice
- 3/4 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 1 teaspoon salt, divided
- 3 tablespoons canola oil (or any high heat oil), divided
- 3 large eggs, whisked
- 2/3 cup yellow onions, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons minced ginger
- 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
- 2/3 cup frozen peas, rinsed under warm tap water for a few seconds thaw
- 4 cups cooked jasmine rice (preferably leftover from at least a day before, see Recipe Note)
- 2 scallions, sliced (separate the white and light green parts from the dark green part)
- 1/2 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder (optional)
- 2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
Prepare the chicken:
Chop the chicken into small 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch cubes. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of salt over the chicken and mix to combine. Set the chicken aside for about 10 minutes (I usually use this time to chop all the vegetables).
Scramble the egg:
Heat a wok or large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Swirl in a tablespoon of oil and add the whisked eggs. Use a spatula to quickly scramble the eggs, breaking the curds into smaller pieces as they come together. Transfer the eggs to a plate.
Cook the chicken:
Add another tablespoon of oil in the wok or pan. Add the chicken and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn off the heat and transfer the cooked chicken to a plate.
Using your spatula, scrape off any chicken bits that are still stuck to the wok so they don't burn during the next step. You can also use paper towels to wipe down your wok or pan.
Cook the vegetables:
Swirl 1 tablespoon of oil into the wok over medium-high heat. Add the diced onions and cook them for 1 minute, until they start to soften. Mix in the minced garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the diced carrots and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and the peas, and stir to incorporate.
Cook the rice:
Add the rice to the wok or pan on top of the vegetables and stir to combine. Using the back of your spatula, smash any large chunks of rice to break them apart. Add the white and green parts of the sliced scallions (save the dark green parts) and five-spice powder. Stir to incorporate. If the rice starts to stick to the pan, stir in a little more oil.
Drizzle the soy sauce and sesame oil over the rice and stir to incorporate. Stir in the cooked chicken, scrambled eggs, and the dark parts of the scallions. Stir briefly to bring it together, and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes. Taste, and add more soy sauce if necessary.
Serve immediately while hot