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Friday, June 14, 2024

Egg Fried Rice | Pickled Plum

Get your egg fried rice just right in minutes. Making tender, savory, smoky and eggy Chinese wok-fried rice at home is actually deceptively easy. But there are a few simple rules to follow. Let’s talk about why you should use leftover rice, exactly when to add the eggs to the pan – plus flavor tips and recipe variations.

What is Egg Fried Rice

Egg fried rice is tender, chewy and partially crispy stir-fried rice mixed with puffy eggs and aromatic chopped scallions. It’s flavored with a simple dash of soy sauce, salt and pepper – and I personally like to add a bit of sesame oil. While it only takes 5 minutes to cook, the result is smoky, savory Chinese comfort food perfection.

Egg Fried Rice Ingredients

  • Cooking Oil: Any neutral cooking oil will work here. Common choices are grapeseed oil, vegetable oil, canola oil or even peanut oil. Keep in mind, olive oil – with it’s low smoke point and assertive natural flavor – is not a good choice for this recipe.
  • Eggs: I’m using 3 large eggs. Try to track down eggs that are certified humane. Here’s how to decode all that confusing language on the egg carton.
  • Day-old Rice: This is important. When making egg fried rice, always use leftover rice. Freshly-cooked rice is plump with moisture. Day old rice (or longer) has had a chance to dry out a bit in the refrigerator. Rice grains that have dried out can soak up a bit of cooking oil and liquid seasoning without becoming waterlogged and mushy. I like to use Japanese short grain rice but you can use leftover long/medium grain jasmine rice, or brown rice as well.
  • Scallions: 3 finely chopped green onions bring a fragrant garden freshness and crunchy texture to the party.
  • Soy Sauce: This adds savory umami to your egg fried rice. Drizzle the soy sauce around the edge of your hot pan or wok (instead of adding it directly on top of the rice) for even seasoning and wok hei – or ‘wok breath’ – that deep smokiness you get from stir fried dishes at Chinese restaurants.
  • Sesame Oil: Add a tsp just before turning the heat off. The nutty, toasted flavor adds a ton of depth to this otherwise simple fried rice with egg.
  • Salt and Pepper: Season to your individual taste.

What if I Don’t Have Day Old Rice?

Cook fresh rice – and then spread it out on a baking sheet. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours uncovered (a bit longer if you have time). This will dry it out quickly.

If you’re new to making rice at home, here are step-by-step instructions on how to make rice from scratch on both the stovetop and in a rice cooker.

How to Make Egg Fried Rice

  1. Get a flat bottom wok or deep frying pan going over medium-high heat. Once it’s ripping hot, add your cooking oil and swirl around until the entire cooking surface is covered.
  2. Add the egg to the pan first, before the rice. Cook the beaten eggs until they are almost set.
  3. Add your leftover rice on top of the egg. Use a spatula to break up the rice and fold in the egg. As the grains of rice cook, they meld with the eggy mixture – and the egg gets thoroughly incorporated into the rice grains.
  4. Next, add the sesame oil and green onions – and drizzle the soy sauce around the outer edge of the hot pan. Toss to evenly combine.
  5. Finally turn the heat off and season with salt and pepper to taste. Give your egg fried rice a final stir. Plate and serve while hot.

Fried Rice Tips and Variations

This Chinese egg fried rice recipe is intentionally simple, and delicious as-is. But fried rice is one of those recipes you can shape-shift either to fit your personal tastes – or as a clearinghouse for ingredients you need to get out of the refrigerator and on to plates before they pass their expiration date.

  • Add a protein. Chicken, shrimp and smoked tofu are great contenders. And, in keeping with the ‘leftover repository’ nature of fried rice, you could even add a bit of that beef and broccoli sitting in the forgotten takeout container in the back of the fridge. My mom used to make ham fried rice in the days following Christmas (and it was divine).
  • Use veggies. Diced carrots and peas are delicious in fried rice. In fact, we keep a bag of frozen peas in the freezer just to indulge our (frequent) late night fried rice cravings.
  • Make it gluten-free. If you’re following a wheat free diet, just use tamari or liquid aminos instead of the soy sauce.
  • Spice it up. For a bit of tingly heat, experiment with Japanese sansho pepper or ground Sichuan peppercorns. Chili sauces like sambal oelek will change the flavor profile entirely, but can be a delicious addition. If you like to breathe actual fire, chopped Thai chilis can scratch that particular itch.
  • Go super savory. Sauces like oyster sauce and Maggi seasoning can ratchet up the savory notes pretty quickly. The key when using additional sauce in fried rice is to not add so much that it overwhelms the palate – or ends up introducing too much additional moisture. A great solution for getting flavor into your fried rice (without making it soggy in the process) is adding a pinch or two of MSG powder.


Save the leftover fried rice in a storage container and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

To reheat fried rice:

  • Reheat leftovers in the microwave in a vented food storage container on high for 1 or 2 minutes.
  • Or, for best results, reheat in a hot wok with a little oil and a drizzle of soy sauce.

What to Serve With Fried Rice

Japanese Fried Rice (Yakimeshi) Video

If you like this recipe, you might be interested to try this Japanese fried rice!

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Did you like this easy egg fried rice recipe? Are there changes you made that you would like to share? Share your tips and recommendations in the comments section below!


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Egg Fried Rice

Egg Fried Rice

  • Author:
    Caroline Phelps

  • Prep Time:
    10 minutes

  • Cook Time:
    5 minutes

  • Total Time:
    15 minutes

  • Yield:
    serves 4

  • Category:

  • Method:
    Stir fry

  • Cuisine:

  • Diet:


A simple egg fried rice recipe with fluffy eggs, crunchy scallions and savory, smoky rice.





  1. Place a wok or deep skillet over medium high heat. When it’s hot, add the vegetable oil and swirl the oil around to cover its surface.
  2. Add the eggs and scramble them for 1 minute, until they are almost set.
  3. Add the rice and break it up using a spatula. Stir fry the eggs and rice for 2 minutes, until the rice has warmed up and softened a little.
  4. Add the green onions and sesame oil. Pour the soy sauce around the outer edge of the skillet and toss immediately to combine.
  5. Turn the heat off, taste the rice, and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Transfer to a serving bowl and enjoy while it’s hot.


Save the leftover fried rice in a storage container and refrigerate for up to 3 days. 


  • Serving Size: 1 serving
  • Calories: 278
  • Sugar: 0.5g
  • Sodium: 126.2mg
  • Fat: 8.4g
  • Saturated Fat: 4.2g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 1.3g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 40.8g
  • Fiber: 0.1g
  • Protein: 8.3g
  • Cholesterol: 139.5mg
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