Easy Chicken Fried Rice

Curious how to make chicken fried rice in the easiest way? Use our recipe for savory fried rice in less than 30 minutes with simple, pantry ingredients. Don’t forget our secret ingredient.

You’re planning your weeknight menu and have a night that is going to be rushed. A more-than-usual kind of busy. When those nights roll around and you have 30 minutes to make a dinner and you don’t want to get takeout, what do you turn to?

I turn to Chicken Fried Rice. The family loves it, I can plan ahead for it and keep the prep and cook time well under 30 minutes. It’s a good for you, fill you up kind of comforting dinner. Let me show you how easy it is to make it. Quicker than take out.

an overhead view of fried rice in a bowl with chopsticks

Why you’ll love this fried rice recipe:

  • Use leftover rice or cold cooked rice from a previous dinner.
  • This is a great recipe also for leftover chicken.
  • Uses just one skillet for cooking, which makes an easy cleanup.
  • Completely customizable to what your family loves.

Ingredients

What are the ingredients in fried rice? The list is not as long as you would think.

  • Sesame oil. You can use vegetable oil if you’d like, but sesame oil has a high smoke point (410ºF) and will give a more authentic flavor.
  • Onions. White or yellow onions are best.
  • Carrots. Dice fresh carrots or use a bag of frozen carrots that you’ve thawed out.
  • Peas. Use frozen peas in fried rice. Don’t use canned! They are too mushy. Use frozen carrots. You don’t even have to thaw them.
  • Eggs. Two large eggs.
  • White rice. Long grain rice or medium grain rice work well. Jasmine rice does great in fried rice.
  • Chicken. Cooked chicken breasts, boneless skinless chicken thighs or shredded chicken work well.
  • Soy sauce. If you’re concerned about salt intake, you can use a low sodium soy sauce. You can also use coconut aminos as a soy substitute.
  • Butter. Our secret ingredient for the ultimate fried rice. At the end of cooking, melt in two tablespoons of salted butter. This gives richness and adds flavor. It’s not 100% necessary, but I highly recommend trying it. It makes the best fried rice.
  • Salt & pepper. For flavoring to your enjoyment.

Do you have to use cold rice for fried rice?

It’s best to use day old, cold rice for fried rice. Rice dries out as it sits, which will help prevent your fried rice from being mushy.

However, if you need to cook rice right before you make fried rice, you can do that too. Simply cook the rice, then spread it out on a large pan and allow the steam to evaporate as it cools. This will help the moisture to escape the outside of the rice and dry it out slightly.

collage on how to make fried rice

How to Make Easy Chicken Fried Rice

  • Heat a large skillet or wok with sesame oil over medium high heat.
  • Add the onions, and carrots; sauté until the carrots and onions are starting to become tender.
  • Add the peas to the pan and stir well.
  • In a small bowl, beat the eggs with a fork. Push the vegetable mixture to one side of the pan, then pour the eggs onto the other side of the pan. Use a spatula to scramble the eggs.
  • Once the eggs are fully cooked, stir into the vegetables.
  • Add the rice and chicken; mix well.
  • Add the soy sauce then stir into the fried rice.
  • Add the butter and stir the rice until the butter is melted.
chicken fried rice in a bowl with chopsticks

Recipe Variations

  • Switch up the protein. Shrimp fried rice is hugely popular, so free free to add cooked shrimp when you add the chicken. Pork is delicious too.
  • Add ½ teaspoon to 1 teaspoon of minced garlic for flavor (about 1 garlic clove). Add this when you are sautéing the veggies.
  • Use brown rice instead of white rice.
  • Switch up the veggies. Add chopped broccoli or bell peppers.
  • Cauliflower rice works perfectly in this recipe too. I’ve even fooled the family by using half white rice and half cauli rice.
  • Add a tablespoon of oyster sauce if you want that flavor added in.
a plate of chicken fried rice with chopsticks
a plate of chicken fried rice with chopsticks

Easy Chicken Fried Rice

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Curious how to make chicken fried rice the easiest way? Use our recipe for savory fried rice in less than 30 minutes with simple, pantry ingredients.
Servings 6
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes

Ingredients
 

  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil or vegetable oil
  • ½ cup onion diced
  • 1 ½ teaspoons minced garlic
  • ½ cup carrots diced
  • ½ cup frozen peas no need to thaw
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 cups cooked cold white rice
  • 2 cups cooked chicken diced*
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • Heat a large frying pan or wok over medium heat. Add the sesame oil, onions minced garlic and carrots; sauté until the carrots and onions are starting to become tender.
  • Add the peas to the pan and stir well.
  • In a small bowl, beat the eggs with a fork. Push the vegetable mixture to one side of the pan, then pour the eggs onto the other side of the pan. Use a spatula to scramble the eggs. Once the eggs are fully cooked, stir into the vegetables.
  • Add the cold rice and chicken; mix well.
  • Add the soy sauce then stir into the fried rice.
  • Add the butter and stir the rice until the butter is melted.
  • Season the fried rice with salt and pepper if desired.
  • Serve immediately and store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Notes

*If using fresh chicken: Take one pound of fresh chicken and cut it into bite size pieces. Pour a tablespoon or two of sesame oil in a skillet and set on medium high heat. Once the skillet is hot, add the chicken. Saute the chicken until cooked through. The exact time will depend on the size of the chicken pieces. Once the chicken is cooked, remove from the heat and set aside.
*For the rice, cook one day in advance and allow it to cool, then refrigerate until using in the fried rice. OR, you can cook the rice, spread it out on a pan to cool completely, then add it to the skillet. Allowing the rice to steam while cooling will dry the outside of the rice and help the fried rice not be mushy.
*I’ve used half cauliflower rice.
The calories shown are based on the recipe serving 6, with 1 serving being ⅙ of the recipe. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the calories shown are just an estimate. **We are not dietitians and recommend you seek a nutritionist for exact nutritional information. The information in the nutrition box are calculated through a program and there is room for error. If you need an accurate count, I recommend running the ingredients through your favorite nutrition calculator.**

Nutrition

Calories: 287kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 148mg | Sodium: 1293mg | Potassium: 396mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 2100IU | Vitamin C: 20mg | Calcium: 32mg | Iron: 2mg
Course Main Dish
Cuisine asian
Calories 287
Keyword 30 minute dinner, easy dinner idea

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About Julie Clark

I'm Julie Clark, CEO and recipe developer of Tastes of Lizzy T. With my B.A. in Education and over 30 years of cooking and baking, I want to teach YOU the best of our family recipes.

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