You would be hard-pressed to find a Chinese household that doesn’t enjoy a good bowl of fried rice. Growing up, whenever I saw a large bowl of cooked rice in the kitchen, I would cross my fingers and wait with eager anticipation to see if it was fried rice night. The flavor of rice mixed with eggs, vegetables, and a thin layer of soy sauce was something that brought comfort to my belly.
It probably comes as no surprise that I cook fried rice very frequently. Not only do I find this dish comforting, but it is also darn easy to make. All you really need is rice, eggs, vegetables, and soy sauce. Once you get into the rhythm of this basic egg fried rice recipe, play around with it! Substitute rice for quinoa, add other vegetables or protein—do whatever suits your taste.
COOKING NOTES FOR EGG FRIED RICE
USING DAY-OLD RICE
Fried rice is usually a dish that you make to repurpose the leftover cooked rice from the day before. You want to avoid freshly cooked rice because it is still moist and steamy, which may yield fried rice with a mushy texture. (Notice in the photo below how you can see the individual grains of rice instead of a mushy mass of rice.) However, if you forget about cooking rice the day before, here is a little trick that I use. Spread a layer of freshly cooked rice onto large baking sheets and let the rice air out for 1 to 2 hours—the longer the better. The grains of rice will dry out during this process.
USING PACKAGED RICE
For this recipe, I experimented with using packaged pre-cooked rice, which is what you see in the photos. These packages usually contain 2 cups of cooked rice, so you’ll need 2 packages for the recipe. The packaged rice is fine, especially if you are too busy during the week to cook rice. However, it is definitely more expensive than buying rice and cooking it yourself (I sound like a mother here). I also found a slight smell when I opened the packages (probably from whatever preservatives the manufacturer used), though not enough to make me throw the rice straight to the trash. Ultimately, I recommend cooking the rice yourself, but hey, I understand if you don’t have time for that.
HOW TO COOK PERFECT JASMINE RICE
I have a complete guide on how to cook jasmine rice three ways: stovetop, slow cooker & Instant Pot.
LOOKING FOR MORE FRIED RICE RECIPES?
- Pineapple Fried Rice
- Kimchi Fried Rice
- Yellow Curry Fried Rice with Potatoes
- 30-Minute Shrimp & Egg Fried Rice
WHAT TO SERVE WITH EGG FRIED RICE
- Chinese Garlic Cucumber Salad
- Sambal Potatoes
- Honey Chili Garlic Shrimp
- 10-Minute Chilled Tofu & Garlic Appetizer
The Easiest Egg Fried Rice
- 4 large eggs
- 3 tablespoons peanut, vegetable, or olive oil, divided (see note 1)
- 1 cup diced onion, about 1 small onion (see note 2)
- 1 1/2 to 2 cups diced mixed vegetables, such as bell pepper, carrots, zucchini, etc. (see note 3)
- 1/2 cup sliced scallions, white and green parts divided (see note 4)
- pinch of salt
- 4 cups cooked overnight jasmine rice, see note 5
- 2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce, use tamari if gluten free
- 1/2 teaspoon five-spice powder
- dash of ground white pepper, optional
- 1 to 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- Crack the eggs into a small bowl and beat them together.
- Heat a skillet with 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, add the beaten eggs and scramble them for about a minute. Transfer the eggs to a dish and turn off the heat.
- Drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil into a wok over high heat. Add the onions and cook them for about 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the mixed vegetables and white parts of the scallions and cook for 2 minutes. Season the vegetables with a pinch of salt.
- Add the cooked rice into the pan or wok and cook for several minutes, until the rice is heated through. If there are large clumps of rice, break them apart with the back of your spatula.
- Add the soy sauce, five-spice powder, dash of white pepper (if using) and sesame oil and stir to distribute the seasonings. (See note 6) Add the scrambled eggs and stir to mix again. Garnish with remaining sliced scallions. Serve immediately.
- Peanut oil will give the fried rice a nice light fragrance. I know that olive oil is not traditionally used in Chinese cooking, but you can’t really detect the flavor of the olive oil in this recipe.
- It doesn’t matter what color onion you use. White, yellow, sweet, or red onions work. If you don’t have onions, you can use shallots.
- You can use whatever vegetables you want for this recipe. Corn, bell peppers, carrots, green beans, zucchini, and peas are all great options for this fried rice. The exact amount of vegetables you use is up to you. Keep in mind that the more vegetables you use, the more moisture you’ll likely introduce to the wok as you cook the fried rice. This can lead to soggy fried rice, especially if there is a lot of crowding in the wok (or sauté pan). I have found 2 cups of diced vegetables to be sufficient.
- I like to reserve some of the dark green parts of the scallions for garnish.
- If you are looking for a basic recipe for cooking jasmine rice, refer to my guide on how to cook jasmine rice. You can also use a fork to loosen the rice before you add it to the wok. This will make it easier for you to break apart any large clumps of rice.
- If you want to add more flavor to the fried rice, mix it 1 tablespoon of my teriyaki sauce or store-bought hoisin sauce.
- I have updated this recipe as of August 17, 2020 to add more vegetables and slightly more seasoning to the fried rice.