Chicken Fried Rice

Fried rice is best made with leftover rice that's at least a day old. Otherwise it becomes gummy in the skillet.

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.

Rice sticks to the pan very easily, so make sure to use a wok or pan that doesn’t have a sticky surface. I usually cook stir-fries in my seasoned carbon steel wok, but cast iron or nonstick pans work well, too. You might need to add a little more oil if things aren’t releasing easily.

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients

  • 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

Special equipment:

  • Wok, or large skillet

Method

1 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).

2 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.

3 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.

4 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.

5 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.

6 Serve immediately while hot.

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Comments

  • Wendy

    You can also use a teaspoon of fish sauce to your soy sauce. Nice addition!

  • Yolanda

    Great recipe! My kids don’t like peas in their rice, so I omitted those and added in bean sprouts. I also made the rice early in the morning, popped it in the fridge (as I always do), and it was amazing. The best fried rice recipe we have tried so far…and we have tried quite a few!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Kerry

    Looks great! How would you adjust the recipe if adding chicken breasts instead of thighs?

  • Elizabeth Diamond

    This was awesome. The 5 spice powder had a unique flavor. (I loved it, my mom didn’t, so that’s just personal differences.) I had an issue with the rice – I did not have any old rice, so I made fresh rice, then spread it out on a baking sheet on top of parchment paper and put it in the oven to dry out. I put the oven up to 450°F, then turned it off and put the tray on the top shelf. It was almost perfect when the oven had cooled down to about 180, so i turned it back on at 250° for about ten minutes. What started out as sticky rice, was now dry and not sticky. I used 3 cups of cooked rice, not 4. I did everything else exactly as the directions said – I did not adjust the amount of anything else. I ate two servings! I’ve never made fried rice before. I will definitely be making this again.

    xxxxxyyyyy

    • Rice

      Let the freshly cooked rice cool on its own and then put it uncovered in Tupperware in the fridge or freezer for a while.

  • Karen

    My husband was so happy I made this. It was very delicious. I made the rice & let it sit out on a cookie sheet for about 2 hours & it worked perfectly. It will become a go to recipe.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Jill

    Super good! I also use liguid amimos and left over rice and chiicken. My husband said to was better than a lot of restaurant he’s eaten at!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Joe

    Excellent. Have made it 4 times. Gets better every time. The key is Lisa Lin’s advice on the rice. Make the rice dry to begin with, and use it a day or two later. Also, unless you are a pro the prep time takes 30 minutes, not 10 minutes.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Heidi

    I finally made it as written after many other times using what I had in my fridge. Seriously extremely close to the fried rice I remember from Chinese restaurants before I was gluten-free. I use Bragg’s liquid aminos in place of the soy sauce, doubled up on the ginger and garlic, and used leftover chicken. My husband is still gushing about this meal. It’s going to be in heavy rotation this summer, I’m sure.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Astrid

    I am wanting to try this recipe this week and want to find out for the hubby, who isn’t too much of a chicken fan, if I could use beef instead and still keep all the other ingredients the same?

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Astrid! Emma here, managing editor for Simply Recipes. Yes, you can absolutely substitute beef in this recipe! I’d cut it into thin strips rather than cubes, and then in Step 3, just cook to your preferred level of doneness. You could also use ground beef or any thing else you like.

  • Dr Martin Huang

    To be honest, sometimes cooking a plate of a really nice fried rice is not that easy!
    The heat and the rice plays a very big part in the process of making this meal a really delicious meal.

    The video helps lots! thanks!

  • Jean K

    Great recipe. I’d always winged the sesame oil/soy/spice proportions but it was hit or miss. This is just right.

    The key is the day old rice and agree drying on a cookie sheet works but in a time pinch, fluff the rice on a tray and put it in a 150 degree oven while you do the rest. It will be perfect when you are ready for it.

    I incorporate whatever veggies I have and then sprinkle some chopped hot peppers on just my portion since no one else likes the extra heat. Its a fav with my teenage boys.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Marta Rivera

    I’ll always add Chinese 5 Spice to my fried rice from now on.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Antonio

    Perhaps the Best Deal on an authentic CARBON Steel Wok out there… This model is HEAVIER Gauge than the Joyce Chen 4 piece set and what not… It is a keeper
    Joyce Chen Pro Chef Flat Bottomed Wok on Amazon

    • Elise Bauer

      Looks like a great wok Antonio, thanks for telling us about it!

  • Lecia

    Good recipe! We tried it tonight for supper, and the whole family enjoyed it and wants a repeat! Thank you!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Steve Michaels

    I have a question. Are five minutes enough for the chicken to cook? Usually from what I know, chicken should be cooked for a longer period of time.

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Steve Michaels! Since the chicken is cut into such small pieces, yes, it will cook through just fine in 5 minutes. If you cut larger pieces or if you’re unsure, just cut one piece open to check and continue cooking if it doesn’t look quite cooked through. Enjoy!

    • Antonio

      Hi Steve – yes, what Emma Christensen said… plus when I Am using my Wok on my “Flame Thrower” Propane Burner 100,000BTU Stock Pot cooker Deep Fry Turkey Cooker … My Wok – a true Thick at the bottom thinner up the sides Real Carbon Steel WOK – : ) Is Screeching PULSING Hot and cooks through stuff F A S T …

      Enjoy. ~La Cucina di Antonio

  • M ES

    Very nice recipe. One thing I have learned to do is to use two spatulas. One for cooking the raw meat, then switching to a new spatula to finish off the recipe.

  • 1ne-2wo-3hree

    I’ve just made and devoured this 5 x * dish. Packed with flavour and texture. My home-spun five spice definitely added an extra touch. Many thanks R

  • Elizabeth

    This was delicious! In a family with 3 sometimes picky children, this was off the charts. Thanks for such an easy, weeknight meal!

  • Marta Rivera

    I made this rice last week and kicked myself for not adding Chinese 5 Spice to my fried rice before. I mean, being Puerto Rican and Black, I should’ve known it would amp up the flavors beautifully, right?

  • Foodiewife

    Wow, wow, wow! I made this, last night, to use up some leftover pork tenderloin. The Chinese 5-Spice really kicked up the flavor of the rice, and I never though to add ginger. Absolutely loved this recipe, and I look forward to making different variations of it. Oh, the video was super helpful, too!

  • Alida @My Little Italian Kitchen

    Nice and simple this recipe and it looks just so delicious..easy to eat too! I love jasmine rice and I have it quite often. Thank you for the recipe!

  • Charles Thornton

    Thank you for this.
    I made this today (with leftover vegetables and a couple random sized pieces of chicken, and a cast iron pan) and my son wanted to know why I ordered out when he was not home.
    This rocks.