This Easy Chicken Fried Rice tastes better than takeout, is ready in just 20 minutes, and is a meal or side dish you can feel good about feeding your family.
It's no secret we love Chinese food around here and this Chicken Fried Rice has been a family favorite when the craving strikes. It's super easy to make, filling enough to be a meal, and makes great leftovers. It's a favorite in our house along with this Healthy Fried Rice and Healthy Chicken Lo Mein.
If you want to learn how to make fried rice, this recipe is for you. It's seriously one of the easiest things to make and your family will be beyond excited that fried rice is for dinner. Plus it's packed with veggies, protein, and whole grains so it's a meal you can feel food about.
It's also one of the best ways to use up leftovers. Grab some leftover cooked rice, cooked or rotisserie chicken, a couple of eggs, and some frozen veggies, and have a complete meal. It's affordable and I promise that it tastes even better than the takeout version. My family requests it regularly.
How to make Chicken Fried Rice
It's incredibly easy to make chicken fried rice, but there are a few things that are essential if you want crispy, delicious rice. First and most importantly, you want to make sure you are starting with previously cooked rice. Ideally, it will have been cooked a few days before. Freshly cooked rice has more moisture and won't brown in the same way. Once you have the rice, the rest is easy.
- Cook the chicken: Heat a combination of sesame oil and olive oil over medium-high heat in a skillet. Add the chicken and cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring a couple of times, until the chicken is just cooked through. Remove and set aside.
- Cook the egg: Add the whisked egg to the hot pan. Once it begins to cook, lightly scramble it. Remove from the pan and set aside.
- Add the veggies: Add the vegetables along with some garlic, ginger, and onion. Stir frequently and cook until just cooked through, about 4-5 minutes.
- Add the rice: Add the cooked rice and push it down into the pan. Cook the rice for 3-4 minutes, letting the rice brown and crisp up. Do not stir it. Once it has browned, give it a good stir and let it cook for another 3-4 minutes so more of the rice can get browned.
- Add soy: Fold back in the chicken and egg. Then add the soy sauce. Start slow since you can always add more.
- These basic instructions will work for making any kind of fried rice you like.
What goes well with Chicken Fried Rice?
Although this can easily serve as a meal on its own, you may want to add some extra dishes on the side. Here are some ideas for side dishes for fried rice
- Edamame: Sneak in even more veggies by serving a bowl of edamame on the side. Serve them traditionally with a sprinkling of salt or try this Sesame Soy option.
- Soup: There are tons of great Chinese soup options that are great to serve with fried rice. Try a Hot and Sour Soup, Egg Drop Soup, or Wonton Soup.
- Salad: Even though it's not traditional, serving a green salad on the side with a Chinese inspired dressing is a great way to add more veggies with a light and easy side.
- Fruit: Believe it or not, my family's favorite side dish for fried rice is pineapple. We eat it in the side and my kids usually like it tossed right in the rice.
What rice is best for Chinese Fried Rice?
This question raises a lot of debate when it comes to making fried rice. Most traditionalists will tell you that want to use either jasmine or basmati rice, since they tend not to be as sticky as some other rice varieties. In fried rice, you want the individual grains of rice to get crispy so it's important not to use rice that will stick together.
However more important than the type of rice, is that the rice is previously cooked. When rice is freshly cooked, it has a lot more moisture than rice that was cooked a few days before. There are three workarounds if you don't have previously cooked rice:
- Cook the rice and then lay it out on a baking sheet or a few large plates. Let the rice rest on the counter for 1-2 hours so it can begin to dry out. Some people even point a fan at the rice to help the moisture evaporate.
- Another shortcut is to use frozen rice. Since it is previously cooked, this rice actually works great in fried rice. Cook it according to the package directions and then spread it on a plate to dry for about 10 minutes works great in fried rice.
- If you must use freshly cooked rice, spread it on in a very thin layer on a baking sheet and let it rest for 5-10 minutes. Even this short time period, will help the moisture it evaporate. This helps the rice to brown and prevents it from sticking together.
Lastly, most recipes call for white rice, but we like to use brown rice to sneak in some extra nutrients and fiber. Either will work.
Tips for Making Chicken Fried Rice
- Cook rice in advance: If at all possible, make sure to use previously cooked rice. It leads to the crispiest, most delicious fried rice. Twenty four hours or more in the fridge is ideal. Make sure to break up any clumps before adding them.
- Rotisserie chicken: For a shortcut, use rotisserie chicken for the fried rice.
- Add oyster sauce: For an extra punch of flavor, you can add 1-2 tablespoons of oyster sauce to your fried rice. This adds some savory and sweet notes.
- Chinese five-spice powder: Another way to kick up the flavor is with Chinese 5 spice powder. Consider adding some to the vegetables while they cook.
- Let the rice brown: Make sure to really give the rice time to get browned and crispy. Press it down into the pan and don't mess it with for at least 3-4 minutes.
- Use the right pan: Since rice sticks easily, make this in a nonstick pan or cast iron pan that the rice will not stick to.
I always like to share some ways to customize the recipe and make it your own. Here are some ways you can switch up this chicken fried rice recipe.
- Make it low carb: Swap in cauliflower rice for the brown rice.
- Add different veggies: Consider this recipe a blank slate when it comes to veggies. Add anything you like from cabbage to snap peas to broccoli or cauliflower.
- Change out the protein: Needless to say, you could make this with shrimp, pork, tofu, beef, ground turkey, or really anything you like.
- Make it spicy: Add some Sriracha or sambal olek for a spicy fried rice.
- Add pineapple: For a sweet note, consider folding in some chopped fresh pineapple.
- Quinoa: For a different spin, you can amke this with quinoa instead of rice.
Easy Chicken Fried Rice
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- 1/2 tbsp sesame oil
- 1/2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast, chopped
- 2 eggs, whisked
- 1/2 onion, diced (or green onions)
- 1 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tsp fresh ginger, minced
- 1.5 cups frozen mixed vegetables
- 2 cups cooked brown rice
- 3 tbsp soy sauce (more to taste, GF if needed)
Season the chicken with black pepper and a little salt. The soy sauce is salty, so you don't want to use too much on the chicken. Add to the hot pan in a single layer. Let cook for 3-4 minutes until it begins to brown. Stir and cook for 2-3 more minutes until just cooked through. Remove from the pan and set aside.
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.
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