Chicken fried rice is one of those iconic dishes and something I crave almost all the time: in the morning, as an afternoon pick me up, for dinner, or a midnight snack. Chicken and rice just go together. They are one of the classic pairings in food. It’s no surprise because the very essence of chicken perfectly compliments rice.

Digging into a bowl of chicken fried rice is digging into a bowl of heaven. Juicy chicken, crispy rice, fluffy scrambled eggs, sautéed onions for a touch of sweetness, green peas to remind you of spring, and salty, bombastic flavors bursting with hints of ginger, garlic, and white pepper. SO FREAKING GOOD.

chicken fried rice | www.iamafoodblog.com

How to make chicken fried rice

  1. Prep. Make sure all your ingredients are ready to go. The chicken should be chopped up and seasoned, the onion should be diced, the rice should be ready, all your mix-ins should be good to go. Fried rice cooks fast and having everything prepped makes it a lot easier.
  2. Scramble the eggs. Scramble the eggs in a hot wok until they’re barely set, then remove them from the wok before they’re overcooked.
  3. Cook the chicken. Add the chicken to the hot wok, cook, then remove.
    Fry the rice. Add some onions to the wok, cook briefly, then add the rice, tossing occasionally and searing until it is heated through and slightly crispy.
  4. Mix and serve! Add the eggs and chicken back into the wok, along with some frozen peas and green onions. Toss everything until it’s piping hot, season with salt or soy sauce, and you’re done!

adding soy sauce to fried rice | www.iamafoodblog.com

The difference between good and great fried rice

All fried rice is good, but great fried rice is life changing. Each grain of rice should be fluffy and distinct and each spoonful should have a bit of everything in it for the perfect bite. It should be hot and have a little bit of crisp on the rice and all the ingredients should be perfectly cooked. Good fried rice can stand on its own and needs no accompaniments – it should be so satisfying that you’ll crave another bowl before you’ve finished the one in front of you.

This chicken fried rice pairs super succulent juicy pieces of chicken that are bursting with chicken flavor thanks to a quick soy sauce and shaoxing wine marinade. The chicken-y-ness compliments the fresh little green sweet pops provided by the peas, and the ginger and garlic add a hint of warmth. Finishing with scallions is a must, they add a mellow sharp bite that ties everything together.

chicken fried rice | www.iamafoodblog.com

Tips for the best fried rice

  • Prep – Ideally, cooking fried rice is super fast. Everything should be prepped before hand so that all you’re doing is adding prepared ingredients into your wok. Because everything’s prepared, the wok will stay hot.
  • Heat – You want high heat for fried rice and for that a wok is going to be the best cooking vessel – it has the ability to heat up quickly and reheats quickly.
  • Small batches – This fried rice recipe only serves 2 and the reason why is because household stoves don’t get hot enough to fry large batches of rice. If you want a truly authentic wok hei flavor, the way to get it is by cooking a small batch, which keeps the wok hot.
  • Moisture control – Try to keep all the ingredients on the drier side and don’t add any unnecessary moisture, which will make your fried rice soggy.

chicken fried rice | www.iamafoodblog.com

Do you need a wok to make fried rice?

I say yes. If you have a wok, use it! It heats up quickly, is naturally non-stick, and essential to a good fried rice. A wok, with its different heat zones, is made for frying and tossing. By using a wok, you’re going to get some wok hei: that essential smokey essence you get when you get when you use a wok over very high heat.

A good carbon steel wok is usually not too expensive and will last you a lifetime. If you have a gas stove, you’ll want a wok that is perfectly round on the bottom. If you are on electric or induction, you unfortunately need to get a flat-bottomed wok, which is not as good but still totally functional. In either case, it’s best to get a pre-seasoned one so you don’t need to remove the handle and season it yourself.

Chinese people are crazy about wok hei, which means “wok breath” and if you want that authentic fried rice flavor, a wok is how you’re going to get it. If you don’t have a wok, using a cast iron or non-stick pan is okay too, but make sure it it’s big enough and remember that with non-stick not to crank the heat up as much.

chicken fried rice | www.iamafoodblog.com

What if you don’t have a wok?

If you don’t have a wok, a cast iron pan or a large non-stick sauté pan is your best bet. Of the two, I recommend cast iron for obvious reasons. Non-stick is great if you’re nervous about the rice sticking. You can’t heat up non-stick as much, so you won’t get that essential wok hei flavor. But, if you’re trying to be health conscious, you can get away with using less oil, so there’s that. Of the multiple kinds of non-stick pans out there, a ceramic/non-teflon coating is probably your best bet.

green chile cheeseburger fried rice | www.iamafoodblog.com

That’s a green chile cheeseburger fried rice in the photo by the way.

Chicken Fried rice ingredients

Oil

Don’t be stingy, if you want restaurant quality fried rice, things are going to have to get a little oily. Hot oil helps everything not stick, distributes heat, and helps with distributing flavor. Any high heat neutral oil will work – we typically use grapeseed oil.

Eggs

One of the defining features of fried rice are the eggs. Doesn’t matter how you crack it, a fried rice with eggs is superior than eggless. This fried rice is a combo of both the scrambled and golden rice technique. More on this in the next section.

Proteins

We’re using chicken, because this is a chicken fried rice, but you can swap this out for any type of protein you prefer as long as you cut it up so it’s nice and bite sized. To add an extra layer of flavor (the I am a Food Blog catch phrase) marinate the chicken in a bit of soy sauce and shaoxing wine.

Aromatics

This is what adds an extra layer of flavor to your fried rice. Things like garlic, ginger, onions, leeks, and shallots. In this case, we’re going with diced onions. Cook the onions briefly, being sure to move them around, concentrating on bringing out their flavor and not burning.

Rice

Use day old rice. Using freshly cooked rice is a rookie mistake and a guaranteed way to a sad pile of mush – there’s just too much water content in it. Instead, make some extra rice the night before and let it hang out in the fridge, which will dry it out. If you absolutely need to use fresh rice, spread it out, and pop it in the fridge for as long as possible. The dehydrating cold of the fridge will help draw out the water.

Vegetables

For fried rice to cook up fluffy and dry, without the rice sticking to the wok, it’s best to think about how much moisture there is in your ingredients. Leafy greens will release a lot of liquid, which will reduce the crispiness of your fried rice and make the rice stick to the pan. Sticking to vegetables will less water content will give you greater success. Try peas, corn, carrots, broccoli, or beans. Once you’re a fried rice pro, you can move on to any vegetable you like! We’re sticking to peas in this fried rice.

Seasoning

There’s soy sauce seasoned fried rice, salt seasoned fried rice, or both. This chicken fried rice is seasoned with salt, to taste. Seasoning is the last step: taste your fried rice and season accordingly.

chicken fried rice ingredients | www.iamafoodblog.com

How to cook eggs for fried rice

There are three distinct ways of incorporating eggs:

  • Sunny side up – where you fry up a sunny-side egg, put it on top and call it a day;
  • Scrambled – scrambled curds that are distinctly visible as delicious pieces of yellow fluff;
  • Golden Rice – and finally, there’s golden fried rice, where lightly beaten eggs (or just egg yolks) are tossed in with the rice before it’s fried so that each kernel of rice is coated in egg, which gives the rice an extra golden hue.

Which one you choose is up to you, but the eggs are a must (unless your diners are allergic). This fried rice is a combo of both the scrambled and golden rice technique.

wok fried egg | www.iamafoodblog.com

The best rice to use

The best kind of rice for fried rice is jasmine. It’s the kind of rice that’s served in Chinese restaurants and what they use to make fried rice. Jasmine rice is a medium grain rice that is fluffy and sturdy. It holds it shape and separates when you fry it. If you don’t have jasmine, a medium grain white rice is the next best bet.

rice mixed with egg for fried rice | www.iamafoodblog.com

What to eat with chicken fried rice

We often eat fried rice on its own as a main, but we also regularly eat it with proteins and sides too. Here are some of our favorite things with fried rice:

chicken fried rice | www.iamafoodblog.com

xoxo
Steph

 

 

chicken fried rice | www.iamafoodblog.com

Chicken Fried Rice

Digging into a bowl of chicken fried rice is digging into a bowl of heaven.
Serves 2
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Total Time 20 mins

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb chicken breast diced
  • 1 tsp Shaoxing wine
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 2 cups cooked rice jasmine preferred
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp white pepper optional
  • 2 tbsp neutral oil eg. grapeseed
  • 1/4 medium onion diced
  • 2 green onions thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas

Special Equipment

  • Wok

Instructions

  • In a small bowl, marinate the chicken with the shaoxing wine and soy sauce. Set aside. Then, in a separate bowl, mix together the cooked rice with 1 egg, the ginger powder, garlic, powder, white pepper, and 1 teaspoon of oil. Set aside.
    rice mixed with egg for fried rice | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Lightly beat the remaining egg and season with salt. In a large skillet or wok, heat up a bit of oil over high heat and scramble the eggs until mostly set, but still slightly runny. The eggs will cook a bit more when you fry everything together at the end. Remove and set aside in a bowl.
    wok fried egg | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Add some more oil to the pan and cook the chicken breast over medium high heat, until cooked through and lightly browned. Remove the chicken from the pan and add it to the bowl with the eggs.
    chicken breast for fried rice | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Sauté the onions, stirring occasionally, for 1-2 minutes, adding more oil if needed. Add the rice and cook, breaking up and stirring occasionally, until the rice is crispy and heated through.
    fried rice | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Add the eggs, chicken, peas, and green onions and toss everything together so that everything is evenly distributed. Season with salt or soy sauce and enjoy hot!
    chicken fried rice | www.iamafoodblog.com

Estimated Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Chicken Fried Rice
Amount Per Serving
Calories 491 Calories from Fat 196
% Daily Value*
Fat 21.8g34%
Saturated Fat 3.4g21%
Cholesterol 259mg86%
Sodium 316mg14%
Potassium 639mg18%
Carbohydrates 36.1g12%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 3.4g4%
Protein 35.4g71%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Comments

  1. lee says:

    after my EPIC fail with lo mein last night (noodle screw up (2nd time)! I love a quick dinner like your chicken fried rice. The egg reminds me of my childhood restaurant that we loved so much as kids! Ty for sharing

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