The Best 15 Minute Fried Rice
A quick and easy restaurant-style 15-minute fried rice recipe. It’s easy to customize if you want to add additional veggies or protein, and it’s SO GOOD!
Is there anyone who doesn’t love a good bowl of fried rice?
It’s quite possibly one of the most popular dishes when you place a take-out order for Chinese food from your favorite restaurant. But what I’m here to tell you today is that you can make 15 minute fried rice at home with the ingredients that you’ve got in your pantry, fridge, and freezer.
As a child, I was lucky enough to have a stay at home mom that made us almost anything we asked for from scratch. Don’t get me wrong, the list of food items really wasn’t that long. I certainly did not have a refined palate at age 5, so macaroni and cheese and fried rice were probably numbers 1 and 2 on my list, respectively. So I can tell you this much. I’ve watched my mom make homemade vegetable fried rice hundreds and hundreds of times.
Last week I made a batch of 15 minute fried rice over on Instagram, and though I did post the recipe right away, I received quite a few DMs asking for a full recipe post on the blog. So here we are!
Full disclosure: If you happen to see this recipe over on Instagram, you’ll find there is a tiny discrepancy between the recipe here and the one there.
That’s because I’ve been testing the recipe to get it to that perfect sweet spot, and I think it’s finally, finally there. I did use an additional egg (needed a bit more protein) in the version I’m sharing today, but I think my 15 minute fried rice recipe is exactly where I wanted it to be now.
What do you need to make 15 minute fried rice?
- Butter + cooking oil
- Chopped onions + carrots
- frozen peas
- Minced or pressed garlic
- Cooked rice
- Soy sauce (or tamari) + oyster sauce
- Toasted sesame oil
- white pepper + red pepper flakes (optional)
- Chopped green onions
Fresh rice or leftover rice for this easy fried rice recipe?
Day-old rice works best. Preparing the rice a day ahead of time and cooling it in the refrigerator allow it to dry out. It also helps to hold its shape a lot better when we fry it in a pan with the vegetables. But if you didn’t have a chance to plan ahead, here’s what you can do: cook the rice and spread it out on a large baking sheet in a flat layer and allow the rice to cool in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, uncovered. If you’re in no rush to make this, you could also let the rice sit out at room temperature for several hours. My mom did this all the time when I was growing up, so it is tried and true.
Do you think I could make this fried rice recipe with brown rice?
Yes, this recipe would work equally well with brown rice! I suggest preparing the brown rice ahead of time, the same way you would the white rice and then proceeding with the recipe.
How much uncooked rice would I need to make enough for this recipe?
It’s difficult to say precisely, but if you’re using a medium to long-grain white rice, typically, using 1 cup dry rice and preparing it with 2 cups of water makes 3 cups of rice. For this recipe, I prepared 1 ½ cups of long grain rice, which yielded 4 ½ cups.
How to make 15 minute fried rice:
- Scramble the eggs: Start by heating half of the butter and oil in a pan and allow for it to melt completely. Add the beaten eggs and scramble them quickly, breaking any larger pieces. Then, remove the eggs to a bowl and set them aside for later.
- Make the sauce: Grab a small bowl and stir together the soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil, red pepper flakes (if using), and the white pepper. We combine the ingredients in a bowl ahead of time because the oyster sauce is quite thick, if we were to add it directly, we wouldn’t be able to coat the ingredients evenly.
- Sauté the veggies: Add the remaining butter and oil to the skillet and allow the butter to melt completely. Add the onions, carrots, garlic and sauté them for 3-4 minutes or until the onions soften a bit, add the peas and continue to cook for one more minute.
- “Fry the rice”: Now add the rice over the veggies, add the scrambled egg back into the pan, and drizzle with the prepared sauce. Stir everything, so the rice is coated evenly, then thin it all out into a single layer, and allow the rice to sizzle for 30 seconds. Stir and then let sit for 30 seconds. Alternating gives the rice enough time to get in some heat before moving them around. You’ll notice the rice starts to sizzle and pop in the pan.
- Finish it all off: Stir in the scallions during the last few seconds. Taste and adjust with additional soy sauce if desired.
Can I add protein to this 15 minute fried rice recipe?
Yes, this homemade fried rice recipe is totally customizable. You could add other chopped veggies to make this a more filling vegetable fried rice recipe. And if you decide to add any type of protein, you can actually prepare it in the same pan!
I would start by marinating, shrimp, chicken, beef, or even small bite-sized pieces of firm tofu in a little soy sauce, sesame oil, and garlic powder. Sauté your protein of choice in a bit of oil until it cooks through and remove it to a bowl. Then, pick up the recipe where we start by scrambling the eggs.
Tips for making the best fried rice recipe:
- Use a pan that has more surface area. Using a large skillet, wok, or a cast-iron casserole pan that has more surface area allows everything to actually ‘fry.’
- Keep the heat setting high. Cooking the fried rice on high heat in a wok or pan that can retain its heat better allows the ingredients to fry rather than steam in the pan.
- Use a high heat oil: We’re using a combination of butter and oil to allow for the flavor of butter and the high temperature of the oil.
- Don’t add it all at once. One common mistake people make when making fried rice is adding ingredients in the wrong order or adding everything in all at once. My process is simple. Fry the eggs and remove them, so they don’t overcook into a rubber band. Sauté the veggies so that they’re perfectly cooked, add the peas right before you add the rice. Also, season the rice at the end, so everything absorbs a bit of that flavor.
- Don’t skimp on the soy sauce: One thing I’ve always found is that store-bought fried rice is always missing that perfect amount of seasoning if you eat it on its own. But keep in mind, that if you’re serving fried rice with a stir fry, you may not want to season the rice so aggressively. For this reason, I suggest using four tablespoons of low sodium soy sauce.
What can I serve with this fried rice recipe?
- Garlic lovers pepper steak stir fry
- Black Pepper Tofu Stir Fry
- General Tso’s Chicken Meatballs
- Easy Thai Cashew Chicken
- Lighter Orange Chicken
- Spicy Peanut Tofu Stir Fry
- Mongolian Beef Meatballs
- Mushroom Broccoli Beef Ramen
- Black Pepper Chicken Stir Fry
- Garlic Lovers Thai Basil Chicken
- 10 Minute Ginger Shrimp Stir Fry
- Best Easy Broccoli Beef Stir Fry
- Sesame Ginger Tofu Stir Fry
- 2 tablespoons EACH: butter AND oil
- 3 eggs, whisked
- 1 cup EACH: chopped onions, chopped carrots, AND defrosted peas
- 5 cloves garlic, minced (or pressed)
- 4 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- ¼ teaspoon white pepper
- Pinch of red pepper flakes, optional
- 4 ½ cups of cooked rice*
- ¼ cup chopped scallions
- SCRAMBLE: Heat a large skillet, wok or large dutch oven over medium heat. Add a tablespoon of butter and olive oil to the skillet. When the butter melts, add the beaten eggs and scramble them in the pan quickly, breaking up any large pieces. Remove the eggs to a bowl and set aside for later.
- SAUCE: In a small bowl, stir together the soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil, red pepper flakes (if using) and the white pepper; set aside for later.
- SAUTE: Kick the heat up to medium-high. Add the remaining butter and oil to the skillet. When the butter melts, add the onions, carrots, and garlic and saute them for 3-4 minutes, stirring often to make sure nothing sticks or burns. Then, add the peas and continue to cook for one more minute.
- FRY: Now add the rice over the veggies, add the scrambled eggs back into the pan and drizzle with the prepared sauce. Stir everything so the rice is evenly coated. Flatten the rice out into a think layer and allow the rice to sizzle for 30 seconds untouched. Stir and then let sit again for 30 seconds. Alternating gives the rice time to heat though. You’ll notice the rice starts to sizzle and pop in the pan. When the sauce is absorbed and the rice is popping, it’s done! Add the scallions during the last few seconds. Taste, adjust with additional soy sauce if desired. Serve warm.