My mom has been making this Fried Rice since I was a little girl, and it is absolutely delicious! It’s ready in less than 20 minutes, and is a great way to use up leftover white rice. Enjoy this recipe on its own or as a side for Chinese entrees like Orange Beef or Kung Pao Chicken!
Fried rice is one of the most nostalgic dishes from my childhood, and one of the first recipes I learned how to make from my mom. She was known for her fried rice, and after we shared it in a class cookbook, it became dubbed the Best Fried Rice Recipe in the World.
Making fried rice is easy, though there is some skill involved in getting the proportions right. You don’t want too many or too few mix-ins, and ideally they all sort of meld together to become one flavor in every bite.
You can make it as hearty as you want, adding different kinds of protein to make it good enough for dinner.
There are many renditions you can make, but this is what we’d consider the classic. It has big pieces of egg and little bits of shrimp for our proteins of choice, but you can certainly adjust it to your tastes or what you have on hand.
What Other Proteins Can You Substitute?
- Ground pork or ground chicken – Brown and break up the meat and cook completely after you cook the egg.
- Bacon – Cook completely and crumble (see How to Cook Bacon in the Oven), then stir into the rice after the vegetables are cooked.
- Ham – After I make a big spiral ham for holidays like Easter, I chop up the remaining ham and put it into the freezer. Then add the ham bits to the fried rice. You can even reheat it straight from frozen, cooking it with the vegetables.
Even though it’s fun to play with the flavors and ingredients, just make sure you don’t stray too far from the formula for fried rice. Just as I share in my Shrimp and Sausage Jambalaya that you need to make sure you always retain andouille sausage and Cajun holy trinity, here you need to make sure you keep the proportion of vegetables and rice balanced, don’t use anything that’s too big, and don’t remove any of the soy sauce.
What’s Great About This Recipe:
- So Quick – We’re talking just under 20 minutes to make.
- Versatile – There are so many different ingredient combinations you can use, both with vegetables and proteins. I share variations below.
- Delicious – Even with minimal ingredients, there is tons of flavor in every bite.
- Leftovers Keep Beautifully – Can be stored in the fridge for several days, or frozen for later.
- Perfectly balanced – The Best Fried Rice will have the right proportion of mix-ins to rice, and this hits that note. Plus, you can actually taste the pieces of egg here, since we cook it separately.
How to Make it Step by Step:
Cook the Egg First
Cooking the egg separately is SO much better than cracking an egg straight into the rice and stirring it around, because otherwise it gets lost, and you don’t really taste it.
I cook it thick like an Omelette, then chop it into big pieces:
That way, you can really taste the egg. It makes a big difference!
Now that the skillet is nice and hot, we can keep going.
Saute the Vegetables:
Take the same pan and saute some chopped carrots, peas, and scallions, until soft:
Add Cold Leftover Rice:
I like to add cold, leftover rice straight to the pan, stirring it around to break it all up.
Cold, leftover rice is ideal because it’s more dry, and less likely to stick together in the pan.
If you can choose the variety ahead of time, the best rice for fried rice is a long-grain white rice, which will be fluffy in texture but not sticky at all.
Don’t have leftover rice? I’ve used hot, freshly cooked rice in a pinch, and it actually works well. I try to put slightly less water in the rice cooker (affiliate) so it’s on the dry side.
Then add soy sauce, stirring everything around for a few minutes afterward to distribute the flavor:
I recommend using a quality soy sauce. I like San-J.
Add Your Shrimp and Eggs:
Stir in cooked baby shrimp and the pre-cooked egg.
What size shrimp should you use?
This is actually an occasion where you shouldn’t bother using big shrimp, because smaller shrimp will blend better into the rice, and that’s very important for the dish.
Tiny baby shrimp work best here. They blend in well, and usually come already cooked. Also, they’re very economical!
Add a little more soy sauce, and toss for another minute or two:
That’s it! It’s a very easy fried rice recipe. Enjoy!
Dishes that Pair Well:
Kimchi – Chop up into little bits and use in addition to OR instead of the carrots and peas.
Ham + Pineapple – If using the ham as specified above, add bits of pineapple to compliment the flavor.
Green Curry Fried Rice – This gives it more of a Thai feel, and the flavor is amazing!
Recipe FAQ and Tips:
Let it cool, then store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 2 months. I recommend letting it thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating/serving again.
The microwave is easiest, just make sure you have some sort of lid or plate on top of it to trap the moisture and steam the rice, otherwise you’ll get hard and dried out rice instead of fluffy rice. Microwave in 1 minute intervals until warm. Or, reheat in a skillet, stir frying it to rewarm, about 5 minutes on medium high heat.
Healthy means different things to different people, but I eat this during keto for my carb-ups. It’s gluten-free if you use tamari.
Shrimp Egg Fried Rice
- 3 large eggs
- 4 tbsp neutral oil or butter
- 1 cup chopped carrots
- 1 cup frozen peas thawed*
- 1/2 cup sliced scallions
- 4 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce or tamari
- 4 cups cooked leftover rice preferably a day old**
- 1 cup cooked baby shrimp thawed from frozen
- Whisk the eggs in a bowl with a tablespoon of water and a pinch of salt (or 1 tsp of soy sauce), until blended.
- Heat one tablespoon of oil in a large nonstick skillet set over medium heat, and add the beaten eggs. Let the eggs cook for a couple minutes, not moving the egg around the pan, but just letting it sit until it sets into an Omelette.
- Remove the egg to a cutting board, and chop into big pieces.
- Add two tablespoons of oil to the same skillet, set over medium high heat, and add the carrots, peas, and scallions.
- Add 1 tbsp of soy sauce, and cook for about 5 minutes, until the carrots soften slightly.
- Add the leftover rice, and toss around for 1 minute, trying to break up any clumps of rice.
- Add 2 tbsp of soy sauce and the remaining tablespoon of oil, frying and tossing the rice for 3-4 minutes.
- Add the shrimp, egg, and remaining tablespoon of soy sauce, and toss for 2 more minutes, until the rice looks evenly brown. Enjoy!
Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.
Post updated in August 2020. Originally published March 2012.