This chicken fried rice tastes just as good as takeout and is even better reheated. Make it for a quick family dinner then eat the leftovers for lunch throughout the week.
Homemade chicken fried rice has been a staple meal in my house for as long as I can remember. Before I had kids, I’d make it as part of my weekend meal prep so I had a quick lunch to eat throughout the week. Now that I’m feeding a family, I double the recipe so I’m sure to have leftovers from dinner. It’s an easy meal for the kids to reheat after-school or for dinner on nights we are running from one activity to the next.
Ingredients In Chicken Fried Rice
Chicken fried rice is one of the easiest meals to make and it only requires a few ingredients. It’s also extremely customizable. Most of the ingredients have a substitute that can be used in its place.
Rice – I use instant white rice for this recipe but other varieties like brown, jasmine or wild rice work well, too. Rice that has been chilled or leftover rice works best, so ideally make it in advance. If the rice is still warm or hot, it will get mushy and sticky and doesn’t taste as good.
Chicken – I use boneless, skinless chicken breast, diced into small pieces.
Vegetables – Vegetables add flavor, color and nutrients, so my version of chicken fried rice includes a generous portion. Frozen peas and carrots are commonly used in chicken fried rice but I use a blend of peas, carrots, green beans and corn. I also include a diced onion in my recipe.
Eggs – Scrambled egg are a must have ingredient in chicken fried rice. I use two for this recipe but you can use a third if you prefer.
Oil – I use sesame oil, but you can also use a vegetable or canola oil.
Butter – Have you heard the saying, “butter makes everything better?” Well, that’s definitely true when it comes to chicken fried rice. Butter gives a unique taste and also helps to brown the rice. You can substitute vegetable, canola or sesame oil.
Soy Sauce – I use regular soy sauce but if you are watching your sodium intake, you can substitute reduced sodium soy sauce instead. You can also reduce the amount you use to flavor the rice. I’ve tried making this will only 3 tablespoons of regular soy sauce but I didn’t think it had enough flavor.
How To Make Easy Chicken Fried Rice
There are loads of ways to make easy chicken fried rice, but this recipe is definitely one of the quickest. All of the ingredients are common kitchen staples that can be found at any local supermarket. That’s the beauty of this recipe – it’s super easy to prepare, budget friendly and tastes absolutely delicious. The leftovers taste just as good, if not better.
STEP #1 – Make The Rice
To make this easy chicken fried rice, start by cooking the rice according to package instructions. When finished, transfer to a large, shallow bowl and allow to cool in the refrigerator.
I use white instant rice because all of my kids love it and the rice is ready in just a few minutes. That’s important, because the rice should be cold or else it will become sticky and mushy and won’t taste as good. If you remember, you can make it a day or two in advance. I’ve actually found that leftover rice works the best.
STEP #2 – Cook The Vegetables
While the rice is cooking, you can cook the vegetables. Any frozen vegetables will work, but the most common ones to include in chicken fried rice are peas and carrots. I used a bag of frozen mixed vegetables that include carrots, peas, corn and green beans. And, I like to add extra veggies.
The quickest way to make them is by steaming them in the microwave. Simply put the frozen vegetables in a microwave safe dish with ~2 tablespoons of water, then cover and microwave for ~10-12 minutes. When they are done, set them aside.
STEP #3 – Sauté The Chicken And Onions
In a large pan, warm 2 teaspoons sesame oil over medium heat. Add the diced onion and sauté until golden brown. Push onions to the side, and warm the other 2 more teaspoons of oil. Add the diced chicken and cook until both sides are opaque and it is no longer pink inside, ~10 minutes.
Once the chicken is done cooking, stir the chicken and onions together. Add the mixed vegetables and 1 tablespoon of soy sauce to the pan with the chicken and onions and stir well to combine ingredients. Next, it’s time to scramble the eggs.
STEP #4 – Scramble The Eggs
Push the chicken and veggie mixture to the sides of the pan, creating a hole in the middle. Crack both eggs in the center, allow to sit for a few seconds, then use a spoon to scramble the eggs. They should be in small to medium pieces, depending on your preference. Make sure not to overcook the eggs. You want them to have a fluffy texture. Stir everything together, remove from heat and set aside.
STEP #5 – Sauté The Rice
In a separate large sauté pan, melt 3 tablespoons of butter. Make sure the pan is large enough to fit all of the rice in a shallow layer. If needed, you can use two separate sauté pans and melt 1 ½ tablespoons of butter in each one. Make sure the butter covers the evenly bottom of the entire pan. You can use oil if you prefer, but the butter gives the rice a delicious flavor and a nice brown, crispy texture.
Add the rice in an even, shallow layer and allow it to cook in the butter. Once the bottom layer begins to brown and forms a crispy coating on the edges, use a spatula to flip it over. That will allow both sides to brown. When finished, slowly and evenly add the remaining soy sauce. Gently stir it together so that all of the rice is covered but not mushy. Add the chicken and vegetables mixture to the large pan with the rice and toss everything together until well combined.
Serve immediately or transfer to an air-tight container and store in the refrigerator.
Calories And Nutrition Facts For Chicken Fried Rice
I’m a dietitian, so you’ll find that the recipes on my blog typically have a healthy spin. Even when it’s not obvious, I am mindful to use only enough added fat, salt and sugar to make it taste good. You can use more butter, oil and soy sauce to season it, but doing so will also increase the calories, fat and sodium content.
A two cups serving of this easy chicken fried rice contains 480 calories, 63 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 25 grams of protein, 13 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 140 milligrams of cholesterol and 870 milligrams of sodium. It also provides 6% of the daily value for potassium, 4% of the daily value for calcium, 15% of the daily value for iron.
How To Modify This Recipe To Meet Your Nutritional Needs
One of my favorite things about chicken fried rice is that it’s easy to customize it to your unique needs. Athletes can increase the amount rice to increase the carbohydrate content; vegetarians can substitute a plant-based protein for the chicken; and if you are watching your sodium intake, you can reduce the amount of soy sauce or use a reduced sodium version. Below are more ways to customize this recipe to your unique food likes and nutritional needs.
- To reduce the saturated fat intake, use canola or sesame oil in place of the butter.
- To reduce the sodium content, use a reduced sodium version or cut the amount of regular soy sauce to 2 or 3 tablespoons instead or 4.
- To increase the fiber, use brown or whole grain rice in place of white rice and add more fibrous veggies
- To add more whole grains, use whole grain rice or substitute quinoa
- For athletes with higher carbohydrate needs, add an additional cup of rice.
- To make this dish vegetarian, use tofu or beans in place of chicken
The options are endless. Make this recipe your own!
Easy Chicken Fried Rice
- 3.5 cups white rice, instant (measurd dry)
- 16 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast, diced
- 3 cups mixed vegetables, frozen
- 2 eggs
- 1 onion, diced
- 3 tbsp butter
- 4 tsp sesame oil
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- Cook rice according to package instructions. When finished, transfer to a large, shallow bowl and allow to cool in the refrigerator. Cold or leftover rice works best for this recipe.
- Put frozen vegetables in a microwave safe dish with ~2 tablespoons of water. Cover and microwave for ~10-12 minutes.
- In a large pan, warm 2 teaspoons sesame oil over medium heat. Add diced onion and sauté until golden brown. Push onions to the side, and warm the other 2 more teaspoons of oil. Add the diced chicken and cook until both sides are opaque and it is no longer pink inside, ~10 minutes.
- Add the mixed vegetables, ground pepper and 1 tablespoon of soy sauce to pan with the chicken and onions. Stir well to combine ingredients, then push the everything to the sides, creating a hole in the middle of the pan. Crack both eggs in the center, allow to sit for a few seconds, then use a spoon to scramble the eggs. They should be in small pieces. Stir everything together, remove from heat and set aside.
- In a separate large sauté pan, melt the 3 tablespoons of butter. Make sure the butter covers the evenly bottom of the entire pan. Add the rice in an even layer and allow to cook in the butter. Once the bottom layer begins to get crispy, use a spatula to flip so both sides get browned. Once browned, add 3 tablespoons of soy sauce and stir well. Add rice to the pan with chicken and vegetables and toss everything together. Serve immediately or store in an air-tight container for a quick meal during the week.
- Recipe Makes: 12 cups
- Serving Size: 2 cups
- Servings Per Recipes: 6
- Nutrition Facts (per serving): 480 calories, 63 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 25 g protein, 13 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 140 mg cholesterol, 870 mg sodium, 6% DV for potassium, 4% DV for calcium, 15% DV for iron.
- Meal Planning Servings: 4 CHO + 3.5 PRO + 3 FATS
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE? Tag @heathermangieri on Instagram and hashtag it #HeatherMangieriNutrition to all recipes. Or, Pin it on Pinterest for later!