The best of the best, most classically authentic Chinese dish of all, egg fried rice, is a pure delight. Forget what you know about how to make it... I'm going to show you the authentic way, using all the traditional techniques that have been passed on through the generations!
When you've got all the tricks up your sleeve, you'll be able to make traditional egg fried rice with ease in five minutes flat. So, get your work ready, take out those chopsticks, and don the apron... it's time for authentic egg fried rice!
Why you'll love this egg fried rice recipe
- Cooking fried rice is easy following the step-by-step instructions and top tips below.
- This is lightning-fast cooking. You only need five minutes and an appetite!
- All ingredients are easy to source, with easy substitutes if you don't have some.
- Perfect as a delicious main dish, it can also be used as a side dish.
There are a few important kitchen items that you'll need before making fried rice:
- Large chopping knife – forget those tiny paring knives! You need a large sharp knife when it comes to chopping up vegetables
- Wok – accept no substitutes! Well, unless you can't get one, in which case use a large skillet. Believe me though, a wok is by far the best way to cook up a spectacular egg fried rice dish
- Chopsticks – if you want to eat this egg fried rice recipe the right way, you're going to need chopsticks. You can also use them to whisk up your egg mixture for a really authentic way to cook egg fried rice!
How to make this egg fried rice recipe
Fry the spring onions in a wok with a bit of vegetable oil at a high heat.
Pour in the whisked egg and garlic, and scramble until the eggs are almost cooked.
Tip in the rice and stir fry for a few minutes.
Drizzle over the soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil, and white pepper. Mix well. Serve immediately. Enjoy!
This recipe is terrific for reusing leftover rice from your Chinese takeaway or from last night's meal.
What to serve with egg fried rice
- Bok Choy stir fry – this bok choy stir fry is another lighting quick dish that tastes wonderful and goes perfectly well with egg fried rice
- Edamame salad – vibrant, fresh and delicious, this healthy side dish makes the ideal accompaniment to this Asian classic
- Salt and pepper tofu – full of fabulous flavors and very easy to make, this is another classic side dish that works wonderful when paired with egg fried rice
- Broccoli, red pepper and asparagus – a simple yet delicious side dish
A dry, light, crisply acidic white wine would be ideal. Go for a Pinot Gris, a Riesling or a Chardonnay, all of which would work wonderfully well with egg fried rice.
Variations to this recipe
- Add cooked chicken, pork, shrimp, or tofu for extra protein.
- For a seafood twist, mix in cooked prawns or crabmeat.
- Mix in diced carrots, bell peppers, peas, corn, or bean sprouts for added nutrition and crunch.
- Add chopped chili or a spoonful of chili sauce for a spicy kick.
- Top with additional herbs like cilantro or Thai basil for a fresh flavor.
- Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds or crushed peanuts for extra texture.
- Incorporate a small amount of curry powder or five-spice powder for a different flavor profile.
- Add a splash of fish sauce or a teaspoon of sriracha for depth and heat.
- Add a teaspoon of MSG for some extra rich umami flavor
For a fusion twist, add ingredients like kimchi, teriyaki sauce, or even Italian herbs for an exciting blend of flavors.
- Substitute long-grain white rice with brown, jasmine, or basmati rice for different flavors and textures.
- For a low-carb version, make cauliflower fried rice.
For a vegan option, omit eggs and use crumbled tofu or a vegan egg substitute.
- It can be substituted with canola oil or sunflower oil, or for a more traditional flavor, use peanut oil.
- Want to make this egg-fried rice taste extra special? Get your wok smoking hot and add goose fat instead of vegetable oil.
Light Soy Sauce
Use tamari or coconut aminos as gluten-free alternatives.
Vegetarian oyster sauce (made from mushrooms) or hoisin sauce can be used for a vegetarian version.
It can be omitted if unavailable, though it adds a unique flavor.
Black pepper can be used, but white pepper offers a more authentic taste.
You can use finely chopped shallots and chives.
- Use leftover white rice cooked in chicken stock with garlic and ginger for extra flavor.
- Use a wok for an authentic Chinese taste. The key to good fried rice is to cook it fast and hot. This achieves that wonderful smokiness known as 'wok hei.'
- Preparation is key. You can get all your ingredients chopped, measured, and ready to go before you get the heat on. Once you start cooking, the process is swift, so there won't be any time to chop or measure in between steps.
- To prevent them from overcooking, scrambled eggs can be cooked first and then added to the rice later. Check out this Fluffy Scrambled Eggs recipe.
- Don’t crowd the pan; otherwise, you'll steam the rice and make it soggy.
- Stir fry ingredients separately to make sure each component is cooked correctly.
- Be subtle with soy sauce and other sauces, and taste as you go.
- Give the rice some time to sit and fry in the pan for a bit before stirring. This helps in getting some crispy bits and prevents the rice from breaking down.
- If you notice the pan smoking excessively or the ingredients starting to burn, reduce the heat.
Who invented egg fried rice?
Egg-fried rice originated in the Sui Dynasty in China around 610AD. It became the favorite dish of Emperor Yang Di, otherwise known as Yang Guang, and soon became a staple dish for peasants throughout the country. This tasty dish could use leftover vegetables.
Egg-fried rice became hugely popular in America in the 20th century, with the rising influence of Chinese immigrants in large American cities.
Do you add egg or rice first in egg fried rice?
The best way to cook egg-fried rice is to add the egg first, then chill the leftover rice. You only need to cook the egg for 10 to 15 seconds before adding the rice.
What gives Chinese fried rice its flavor?
The main umami flavor in Chinese fried rice comes from soy sauce. You also get a lot of flavor from garlic, spring onion, and white pepper, which are staple ingredients in this classic dish.
What's the best rice to use for egg fried rice?
Leftover rice is best. It should be cold rice, ideally a day old but no more than three days old. This helps to prevent the rice from sticking together when it's fried.
How do you store egg fried rice leftovers?
Cooling: Allow the egg-fried rice to cool to room temperature. Please do not leave it out for more than 2 hours to prevent bacterial growth.
Container: Transfer the cooled rice to an airtight container.
Refrigeration: Store it in the refrigerator. It will stay good for up to 3-4 days.
Can you freeze egg fried rice?
Cooling: Cool the rice as mentioned above.
Freezer-Safe Container or Bag: Place the rice in a freezer-safe container or a ziplock freezer bag. If using a bag, flatten it out to make it easier to thaw and reheat later.
Freezing: It can be frozen for up to 2 months. Label the container with the date to keep track.
How do you reheat egg fried rice?
Refrigerated Rice: Reheat easy fried rice in the microwave, stirring every minute until hot throughout. Alternatively, reheat in a skillet on the stove with water or additional oil to prevent drying out.
Frozen Rice: Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating. Use the microwave’s defrost setting for a quick thaw, then heat as usual.
Food safety tips
- Always ensure the rice is reheated to a temperature of at least 165°F (74°C) to kill any potential bacteria.
- Avoid reheating the rice more than once as this increases the risk of food-borne illness.
- If the rice has an off smell or appearance, discard it.
Egg fried rice is best enjoyed fresh, as the texture and flavor can change after refrigeration and reheating. But proper storage can still yield a tasty and safe meal.
More delicious Chinese recipes
If you love fried rice you'll love these recipes too!
- Beef chow mein – a stir fry classic, mastering this authentic Chinese dish is a must
- Orange peel chicken – a quick easy meal that packs in a lot of flavor
- Salt and pepper chips – Crispy fries with onions, chili, and peppers sprinkled with the oh-so-delicious salt and pepper seasoning. This Chinese classic is a firm family favorite!
- Tofu in black bean sauce – authentic, healthy and full of flavour
- Crispy chilli beef – this Chinese takeaway favourite is melt-in-your-mouth fantastic and very easy to make at home
- Salt and pepper spring rolls – easy to prepare and makes for a great starter