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Fried Rice: A simple, cost-effective, no-waste recipe

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Fried rice is an ancient, simple recipe that is traced back as far as the Sui Dynasty in China, around 589 – 618 A.D. Even today in China, fried rice dishes are a staple across many businesses, restaurants, and families. It’s not only delicious by itself, but pairs great with a variety of dishes while freeing up your fridge of that old rice and leftovers you had no idea what to do with!

Cooking Egg Fried Rice: What to Know

The rice:

Fried rice is unique due to the use of already-cooked rice in its recipe. Using older rice (at least 2 or 3 days old) is ideal due to its dryness, therefore decreasing your likelihood of the rice coming out wet and soggy. If you don’t have older rice on hand, you can substitute it by preparing and spreading a batch of freshly cooked rice onto a baking sheet, then freezing it for 20 to 30 minutes. While it won’t be the same as 2- or 3-day-old rice, it’s a close substitute personally recommended by professional chefs worldwide.

The egg:

There are two ways to properly cook an egg to ensure a delicious egg-fried rice recipe for you and your family. Either way is acceptable, and no difference in taste or texture. Simply choose which one works best for you.

1. Crack and beat the eggs in a small dish. Transfer the egg mixture to a frying pan to cook. Once done, pull the eggs out carefully onto a plate. Cut the cooked eggs into strips to use as a garnish, introducing it to your rice once fully flavored and done.


2. Crack and beat the eggs in a small dish. Transfer to a frying pan to scramble. Once scrambled, mix them directly into your cooked rice in the final stages of cooking to maintain the maximum taste of both items.

For a basic egg-fried rice recipe, follow the steps below:

What you need:

  • (at least) 4 cups of cooked rice, cooled
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1-2 green onions, chopped
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 3 tablespoons of oil
  • 1-2 tablespoons of light soy sauce (or thick soy for added dark color) or oyster sauce

How to:

1. Crack both eggs into a bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste.

2. Lightly beat the eggs.

3. On the low setting on your stovetop, heat a frying pan or wok. Add a tablespoon of oil.

cooking fried rice
Photo by Dane Deaner on Unsplash

4. Once the oil is hot, add the beaten eggs, salt, and pepper mixture.

5. Cook the eggs, stirring them until they are lightly scrambled.

6. Remove the eggs from the pan, placing them into a container for later addition. Clean out the pan if needed.

7. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil into your pan or wok with the already cooked and cooled rice. Let the rice fry for a few minutes, stirring to ensure there are no clumps. If desired for additional flavor, stir in the soy sauce or oyster sauce.

8. Once the rice is heated thoroughly, add the scrambled eggs you set aside earlier to your chosen pan. Mix the scrambled eggs into the rice carefully.

9. Stir in the green onions for garnish and extra flavor.

10. Serve while hot!

Pro tip: Add 1-2 cups of diced, cooked vegetables (carrots, peas, etc.) and/or meat (chicken, pork, beef, shrimp) to spice up your recipe.

To add your choice of vegetables or meat, follow these steps to your egg fried rice recipe:

Once you’ve removed the cooked eggs from the pan (between steps 6 and 7), add your choice of meat to the pan until mostly cooked. Remove and set aside. Then add your choice of veggies to the pan, cooking until tender (likely around 3-4 minutes). Once tender, stir in additional garlic for flavor and let sit for 1-2 minutes. Then resume Step 7.

Pro tip: Always thoroughly cook the meat and vegetables separately, then remove each ingredient from the pan, keeping all ingredients separate from all others (meat, veggies, eggs, etc.). This separation is part of what makes egg fried rice so delicious- each ingredient maintains its unique flavor until one final combination of all in the final stages of cooking. If needed, reheat your dish in a frying pan or microwave with a small amount of chicken broth to ensure your rice will not overcook and harden.

If you’re not feeling up to cooking or need something for a quick lunch, be sure to try Minute’s Ready to Serve microwave egg-fried rice bowl! Ready in only 3 minutes. You only need two eggs and a microwave to make it! If available, you can also add peas, coleslaw mix, soy, or sriracha sauce for a more intense flavor.

There are many recipes for fried rice on the internet, even some vegan and vegetarian options.  You can’t go wrong with a quick and nutritious dinner out of your leftover rice and veggies. For additional ideas and ways to spruce up your basic egg fried rice recipes, try these!

Chicken fried rice
Photo by alleksana : Pexels
  • Chicken Fried Rice: With a total time of 30 minutes to prep and cook, this fast and easy recipe incorporates various flavors, including ginger, garlic, and a Chinese 5-spice powder, to a diced and delicious rotisserie-cooked chicken for a blast of flavor. Try a chicken and rice dinner.
  • Island-Style Fried Rice: Looking for a vacation vibe with minimal ingredients and a quick cook time? Then look no further! This egg-fried rice recipe uses fresh or canned pineapple chunks, your choice of sugar snap or green pears, soy sauce, cilantro, ham, and sesame seeds for a salty and sweet, fast recipe that will leave your guests wondering just how you did it.
  • Veggie Fried Rice: a great vegetarian option, using a blend of vegetables, bean sprouts, and water chestnuts, make a unique and simple date night side dish for you and your loved one.

Use this article and egg fried rice recipe as main or side dishes, with or without your choice of meat, for a straightforward, flavorful dish to bring to your next office party or family gathering.

Are you hungry now for egg-fried rice with plenty of meat and veggies? Enjoy!

Featured Image by 41330 from Pixabay