Fried Rice

Finished fried rice displayed in a cast iron pan.

This is a basic fried rice recipe that can be used as a base for many different options. You may for example add chicken, shrimp and scallops, sugar snap peas, spinach, bell pepper, carrots, celery, chilies, etc. The big caveat about this recipe is that you want to cook the rice in advance and allow it to dry out and become slightly hard.

Drying the rice may be done by air-drying in an open container for 24 hours or more tossing occasionally, putting it in an open container in the refrigerator overnight, or even spreading it on a baking pan and placing in an oven on low (200°F / 93°C) oven for a half hour or so. Whichever method you choose you also want to chill the rice in the refrigerator before cooking, or in a pinch in the freezer. Once cooking starts it comes together quickly and over high heat, so have all ingredients ready and in arm’s reach. I use a cast iron skillet for this, but other things may be used as well. When using something like stainless steel I would add equal parts of another flavor-neutral oil with a high smoke point with the sesame oil.


These times do not take into account the cooking and drying out of the rice.

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 25 minutes


  • 2T sesame oil, divided
  • 2 eggs
  • 1T water
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Filling of choice in appropriate relation to the amount of rice. This could be something like chicken breast cut into bite-sized pieces, diced or thinly sliced vegetables, or even larger things such as sugar snap peas or broccoli. The filling used in the picture are: chicken, one green onion, a small amount of diced ginger, and four baby carrots.
  • 1 clove garlic, sliced or diced
  • 1t diced ginger
  • 2C stale and chilled rice
  • 1t Chinese five-spice powder
  • 1/4C frozen peas placed in a bowl of cold water to thaw slightly
  • 2T soy sauce or to taste


  • Whisk the eggs and water until bubbles form on top. Add salt and pepper and whisk to combine.
  • Pour 1T of the sesame oil into a cast-iron skillet or other type of pan large enough to comfortably hold the rice and fillings you have chosen. Heat over high until the oil starts to smoke.
  • Add the eggs and whisk continuously for about 30 seconds until they start to form large, firm curds. Empty them onto a plate for later use.
  • Add the rest of the sesame oil and heat until it starts to smoke. This should not take long.
  • Add your filling ingredients and sauté until cooked through and tender stirring and flipping frequently. If using green onions or something like fresh parsley, wait to add the green parts of the onion or the chopped parsley until right after the pan is taken off the stove.
  • Add the garlic and ginger, and cook for another minute.
  • Drain the peas and add along with the rice, Chinese five spice, and cooked eggs. Add the soy sauce and cook for another minute or two stirring frequently.
  • Remove from heat, taste and adjust seasoning, and add any final items such as the green part of a green onion.


  • If using chicken or pork you may want to marinade it first. I will usually put enough corn starch to coat all the pieces, (about 1T), into a seal-able plastic bag, add the chicken or pork, then sprinkle with salt (about 1/2t), and soy sauce (about 2t). Seal and shake the bag until everything is distributed well, then remove air, seal again, and roll up and let sit in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.


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