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If you’re looking for the a takeout fake-out chicken fried rice that is fail-proof and REALLY easy to make (in just 30 minutes), you are in the right spot!
Why is this Chicken Fried Rice Recipe so reliable?
Made with brown rice and a host of other really delicious, flavor-boosting ingredients, Cassy’s version of fried rice is easy and fail-proof. Here’s why:
- It calls for cold, day-old rice – one of the KEYS to really well-textured fried rice every single time is using rice that’s been chilling in the refrigerator. Allowing the rice to sit in the fridge (uncovered, if possible), really helps to dry it out, making the frying process more thorough. For more on batch cooking brown rice, find our article HERE.
- We actually fry the rice – when it comes to fried rice, the goal is to get a really nicely textured (read: not mushy) end product. In order to do that, you’ll need to add OIL to the skillet when your rice goes in. Then, you’ll need to toss the rice in that oil to really coat it on all sides. The sesame oil also adds a lot of really delicious flavor.
What makes this chicken fried rice so delicious?
In my opinion, it’s the sesame oil. Frying your rice in sesame oil does two things: adds flavor and texture. The fat allows the rice to fry on all sides, and the flavor is huge. The rest of the ingredients here add a ton of flavor too, though, so be sure to include them all!
Chicken Fried Rice Ingredients
Here’s what you’ll need to bring this chicken fried rice dish to life:
- Olive Oil – to start, you’ll need 1 tablespoon of olive oil to sear your chicken thighs in. If you’re using leftover, already-cooked chicken thighs (yes, that’s an option!), skip this ingredient altogether.
- Chicken Thighs – the protein in this dish comes from 1 pound of boneless, skinless chicken thighs. You’ll pan sear these before getting started on the fried rice itself, but if you already have cooked chicken thighs on hand, feel free to use those instead!
- Garlic – 3 cloves of minced garlic sauteed until fragrant adds a lot of really delicious flavor here.
- Ginger – a 1-inch piece of fresh ginger will get grated (using a microplane!) and thrown in with the garlic too.
- Brown Rice – you’ll need about 2 ½ cups of cooked brown rice here. When it comes to fried rice, leftover cooked and chilled brown rice works much better than freshly made brown rice, so we highly recommend going that route here.
- Sesame Oil – when you add the brown rice to the skillet, you’ll also add 2 tablespoons of sesame oil. An additional teaspoon of sesame oil will be used when you fry the egg.
- Soy Sauce – 2 tablespoons of soy sauce (or tamari if you’re gluten-free) adds a nice salty, fried rice flavor to the dish.
- Oyster Sauce – 1 tablespoon of oyster sauce adds some depth and umami to the dish.
- Fish Sauce – along with the oyster sauce, a 1/2 teaspoon of fish sauce adds umami to the fried rice.
- Peas and Carrots – 1 cup of frozen peas and carrots get tossed into the rice for a nice veggie add.
- Egg – you’ll fry 1 egg, chop it up, and throw it in also.
- Lime Juice – though maybe slightly unconventional, the juice from ½ of a lime (about 1 tablespoon) helps to really brighten everything up when you add it in at the very end.
How to make Chicken Fried Rice
The process is really easy — here’s how you’ll do it:
- Heat the olive oil – in a large skillet (the same one you plan to cook the fried rice in), heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat.
- Pan sear the chicken thighs – once hot, add the chicken thighs to the skillet to pan sear for about 4 minutes per side. Once cooked through, transfer the thighs to a cutting board and let cool.
- Saute the garlic and ginger – once the chicken thighs are out of the pan, add the garlic and ginger in and saute over medium heat until both are fragrant and the garlic is slightly browned.
- Add the rice and sesame oil – add the cooked rice and 2 tablespoons of sesame oil and stir together. Then, let the rice fry in the skillet for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Chop the chicken thighs – while the rice is frying, chop the chicken thighs into ¼-inch cubes.
- Add the soy sauce, fish sauce, oyster sauce, peas, carrots, and thighs – add the soy sauce (or tamari), oyster sauce, and fish sauce to the skillet and stir everything together. Then, add the peas and carrots and cubed chicken thighs and toss to combine. Let cook for 5-10 minutes.
- Fry the egg – in a separate skillet over medium heat, add the teaspoon of sesame oil. Beat the egg in a bowl, pour it into the skillet, and fry it. Once cooked, chop it up and add to the fried rice.
- Serve and enjoy!
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Chicken Fried Rice Frequently Asked Questions
The key to fried rice that isn’t mushy or sticky is to use already-cooked rice that’s been hanging out in the refrigerator for at least a day or two. Storing this rice UNcovered in the fridge can help dry it out also (which is exactly what we want for fried rice!). Another key here is to use enough fat to allow the rice to actually fry in the pan — you’ll want to add this at the same time as you add the rice (not after) so that the rice can be well-coated in the oil before it starts to fry.
To start, know that this is Cassy’s version of fried rice (an Americanized version, for sure) and not an authentic version. From my research, the biggest difference between Japanese-style fried rice and Chinese fried rice, though, is the type of rice used. Japanese fried rice is made with shorter grained rice (like sushi rice) that provides a chewier texture, and Chinese fried rice is typically made with a longer grain rice (like basmati or jasmine rice) that provides a drier texture. Cassy used a sprouted brown basmati here, so hers is technically more of a Chinese-style fried rice.
Because the brown rice is already cooked, the cooking time is cut significantly. From start to finish, this dish will take you about 35 minutes.
Your fried rice may be mushy for a few reasons:
- You’re using a short grain rice – if you’re using a short grain rice, your fried rice will likely come out mushier than if you’re using a long grain rice.
- You aren’t using enough fat – be sure to add a good amount of oil to the pan when the rice goes in, and then, toss the rice really well in said oil. This will help to coat all sides of each grain of rice, allowing it to really fry in the pan.
- Your rice is too fresh – I know it sounds weird, but the older the rice (to an extent), the better. If you can, store your rice in the fridge uncovered to let it dry out a bit too. All of this will really help to ensure the best-textured fried rice possible.
While I wouldn’t necessarily say that fried rice is “crunchy,” you do want to fry it so that it has some texture. The rice shouldn’t be clumping together, and, as a whole, it’ll have more texture to it than, say, a side of just-made brown rice.
Because of the inclusion of chicken here, this is another really great complete meal! If you’re looking for something to serve alongside this fried rice dish, though, a simple green veggie side would be a good pick and certainly add a great nutritional punch.
Cassy said that she also serves it up at home with a side of steamed vegetables (broccoli is a family favorite), sautéed baby bok choy (like the one in this recipe), and even wilted greens (like this kale).
Store your chicken fried rice in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Stored properly (in an airtight container in the fridge), your rice will last for 4-5 days.
You bet! You can freeze your chicken fried rice flat in large Ziplock bags (I find that this is useful for efficient storage and helps to simplify the reheat process). To thaw, simply pour the contents of the bag in a microwave safe dish and heat until warmed through. Know that the texture of your rice will be slightly different (possibly a little stickier/mushier) due to the freeze and reheat process.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1- inch piece of ginger grated
- About 2 1/2 cups cooked brown rice
- 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon sesame oil, divided
- 2 tablespoons of soy sauce – use tamari for GF
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon fish sauce
- 1 cup frozen peas and carrots
- 1 egg
- Juice of 1/2 a lime
- In a large skillet (the same one you plan to cook the fried rice in), heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat.
- Once hot, add the chicken thighs to the skillet and pan sear for about 4 minutes per side. Once cooked through, transfer the thighs to a cutting board and let cool.
- Add the garlic and ginger to the same pan that the chicken was seared in and saute over medium heat until both are fragrant and the garlic is slightly browned.
- Add the cooked rice and 2 tablespoons of sesame oil and stir together. Let the rice fry for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- While the rice is frying, chop the chicken thighs into 1/4-inch cubes.
- Add the soy sauce (or tamari), oyster sauce, and fish sauce to the skillet and stir everything together. Then, add the peas and carrots and cubed chicken thighs, and toss to combine. Let cook for 5-10 minutes.
- In a separate skillet over medium heat, add the teaspoon of sesame oil. Beat the egg in a bowl, pour it into the skillet, and fry it. Once cooked, chop it up and add to the fried rice, along with the lime juice. Stir everything together.
- Serve and enjoy!