When I’m feeling lazy, this Chicken Fried Rice is my absolute favorite go-to dinner! Not only is it flavorful and filling, but it’s also packed with healthy vegetables and proteins!
Fried rice originated in China during the Sui dynasty—that’s over 2,000 years ago. The fried rice we know and love is thought to originate in Southern China, where rice is a staple crop.
This ancient and versatile dish has become a featured meal in so many different world cuisines. For example, there’s spicy kimchi fried rice in South Korea, and egg and spam fried rice in Hawaii.
The main ingredients of this dish are rice, soy sauce, vegetables, and meat, but the rest is up to you! This makes fried rice a great easy recipe for using up leftover food in the refrigerator.
Need a fast meal for the weeknights? This amazing fried rice will satisfy your hunger with mouth-watering flavor in every bite!
All About The Chicken Fried Rice Ingredients
The best chicken for making fried rice is boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts. Thighs have more flavor, but breasts have more meat.
Chicken thighs come from the top part of the chicken leg. These cuts of meat are tender and juicy, with firmer meat that needs a longer cooking time.
Chicken breasts are one of the most popular cuts of meat. The meat from this cut is very lean, which makes it easy to overcook and dry out.
Any type of leftover cooked chicken meat you have will work in this recipe, even if it’s not thighs or breasts. You can even use a rotisserie chicken to save time, just shred the meat off the bone with a fork.
The type of rice you use will make all the difference in this dish. Long-grain rice makes the best fried rice because it has a fluffy light texture and retains its shape.
For a more aromatic rice, you can use jasmine rice. It smells a little like popcorn and will give your dish a nutty and slightly sweet flavor.
Basmati rice is another type of long-grain rice that works well in fried rice since it’s not sticky. Any rice you have on hand will work, but try to avoid short-grain rice.
Short-grain rice includes varieties like arborio and sushi rice. These rices contain more starch, which makes them sticky and difficult to fry.
Soy sauce is the main flavor in this fried rice that ties all the ingredients together.
This extremely popular condiment comes from China. It’s mainly made from fermented soybean paste and brine, which gives it a bold umami and salty flavor.
You can buy dark or light soy sauce, as well as low-sodium soy sauce. Traditional fried rice uses light soy sauce.
You can’t make fried rice without oil! Certain oils will impart more flavor to this dish than others.
Toasted sesame oil for instance has a strong nutty, umami flavor that makes it a popular choice. If you find sesame too strong of a flavor, you can use a neutral oil like vegetable oil.
My secret ingredient in any homemade fried rice is to add a tablespoon of butter. It gives the dish more richness and depth of flavor.
Easy Tips for the Best Chicken Fried Rice
- Chop up your vegetables and chicken before you begin cooking. Fried rice comes together quickly, so prepping everything before will help you avoid burnt food.
- Use leftover cold rice, or let your cooked rice cool sufficiently before frying it. Freshly cooked rice tends to get mushy when you fry it, while chilled rice grains stay separated.
- Cook your fried rice on high heat to get a flavorful sear. Use plenty of oil to keep the rice from burning and sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- Feel free to use other traditional Chinese ingredients like oyster sauce or fish sauce. They’ll give your stir fry rice even more authentic flavor.
Chicken Fried Rice Recipe
- Prep Time10 min
- Cook Time25 min
- Total Time35 min
- Prepare Chicken
Cut the chicken thighs into bite-sized ½-inch pieces. Set aside.
- Saute Onion
Place the skillet on medium-high heat. Add the sesame oil, followed by the diced onions.
Cook the onions until they are soft and translucent.
- Add Ginger and Garlic
Add the minced garlic and ginger to the skillet. Cook for 1 minute, or until the garlic is fragrant.
- Add Frozen Vegetables
Pour the frozen peas and carrots into the skillet. Cook them for 2-3 minutes until they’re soft.
- Cook the Chicken
Add the chicken thigh meat to the skillet. Fry the chicken until it is opaque and fully cooked.
- Add Rice and Soy Sauce
Mix the rice and soy sauce with the other ingredients in the skillet. Make sure everything is coated in soy sauce, but do not over-mix.
- Scramble the Eggs
Push the fried rice off to the side of the skillet. Add the whisked eggs to the pan and scramble until fully cooked.
- Mix Everything Together
Mix the scrambled eggs with the rest of the fried rice. Garnish the rice with chopped green onions and serve hot.
Delicious Ways to Adapt This Recipe
This recipe keeps things simple by using frozen peas and carrots. But there are so many other vegetables that will taste amazing in fried rice.
- Some of my favorite veggies to fry up are green beans, shallots, and cabbage. If you want a more hearty fried rice, you can add filling vegetables like broccoli and peppers.
- Spicy food lovers can add sriracha hot sauce or a tablespoon of chili oil for extra flavor.
- It may seem unconventional, but a hint of sweetness can make your fried rice something special! Chopped pineapple chunks are popular in Thai fried rice and go great with spicy seasonings.
- It’s easy to change the flavor by swapping out the chicken for other proteins like beef or pork. Seafood fried rice with shrimp is a popular variation and one of my favorites!
- It’s easy to turn this into vegetarian fried rice by simply eliminating the chicken. You can either add more eggs for protein or use meat alternatives like tofu.
- For a healthier option with more fiber and protein, you can use brown rice instead of white rice. Quinoa and cauliflower rice also work well in place of white rice!
What to Serve with Chicken Fried Rice
Fried rice is a complete dish on its own, but that doesn’t mean you can’t add a side or two!
Other popular Chinese dishes like ginger beef and sweet and sour pork are made to eat with fried rice! For a lighter option, serve fried rice with a steaming bowl of Chinese hot and sour soup.
To boost the veggie content of this dish, you can add a side of sautéed garlicky greens. Seared bok choy and Chinese broccoli have tons of flavor and are full of nutrients.
Other fried sides like egg rolls and spring rolls are also a fun addition to this meal. Don’t forget the plum sauce for dipping!
Leftover rice is one of my favorite work lunches! It heats up quickly in the microwave and tastes even better the next day.
You should store any leftovers from this recipe in an airtight container. Fried rice can last like this in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.
If you want to save leftover fried rice for another meal, it’s best to store it in the freezer. Use a heavy-duty freezer bag or airtight containers, and freeze for up to 6 months.
Fried rice can be frozen indefinitely, but it will begin to lose flavor over time.
If you want to reheat frozen fried rice, let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Thawed fried rice is safe in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
But once you cook thawed rice, it should be eaten right away. Leftovers that have been reheated should not be frozen or refrigerated again.
- 15g Fat
- 32.4g Carbs