Learn how to make the best homemade chicken fried rice in a wok. Quick and easy stir fry dinner recipe that's so much better than takeout! They'll all be back for seconds.
My family loves Asian food, especially Chinese food and Thai food. Though I'm not sure it's truly authentic, chicken fried rice (and the lower carb version, cauliflower chicken fried rice) is one of my favorite things to eat when we're craving take-out from a Chinese restaurant.
It's taken us awhile to really learn how to make a good chicken fried rice recipe in ou own kitchen. Dan purchased a really nice wok awhile back, and ever since, he's really made some delicious dishes!
Wok chicken fried rice is one of those dishes he likes to make, and man, he's so good at it. This is HIS recipe, through and through.
Sometimes we'll make a double batch, just so we can make up a batch of chicken fried rice spring rolls to go with it for a complete dinner.
What Is Chicken Fried Rice?
This chicken fried rice wok recipe is a stir fry dish cooked on high heat in a wok. You can also use a large skillet, but a wok works best.
Chinese chicken fried rice is made with ingredients like tender chicken breast, rice, eggs, onions, peas, carrots, other vegetables, sesame oil, and soy sauce.
Chicken Fried Rice Ingredients and Substitutions Notes
Let's talk ingredients…
- Sesame Oil – Sesame oil is a must; ordinary vegetable oil and olive oil will not do it for this recipe.
- Peas and Carrots – I'll usually buy a combo bag in the freezer section at the grocery store; but you can slice up carrots and add frozen peas instead. While we don't parboil our vegetables beforehand, you may prefer to parboil the peas and carrots, so they're not as crisp, and Food Fanatic has great tutorials for how to parboil. Personally, I love the hint of crispness the vegetables give with the rice.
- Yellow Onion – You can use sweet onion, but yellow onion gives a bit of spicy kick to the finished dish.
- Garlic – Use already minced garlic you can get at the grocery store, or mince up fresh garlic cloves.
- Large Eggs
- Cooked Chicken Breast, Shredded or Chopped into Bite-Sized Pieces – The best chicken to use is boneless skinless chicken breast. I don't really recommend chicken thighs, because thighs will likely add more grease than necessary. We like to cook the chicken ahead of time, so it's ready to go. In fact, most of the time, we're using leftover chicken.
- Jasmine Rice, Already Cooked – For the best rice, I recommend using day-old long grain white rice, since short grain rice will be softer and most definitely clump together when cooked. We use Jasmine rice to make this recipe, and it works really well. Leftover rice is best because it's had time to chill and dry out after cooking, which leads me to another great tip for getting rice to literally fall right off the fork (or the spatula/spoon while frying)… Cook the rice ahead of time and chill it. We usually cook ours in the Instant Pot or rice cooker, and then we'll spread it all out on a cookie sheet, cover it, and stick it in the fridge for about 30 minutes to chill. If we haven't made it up ahead of time, we've even been known to stick it in the freezer for a shorter amount of time. Cold rice fries without as much moisture and all the clumpy, goopy mess that rice can sometimes become. Also… You can use brown rice, but just know it will change the texture of the finished dish.
- Soy Sauce – If you need to make gluten-free chicken fried rice, use a good gluten-free soy sauce substitute.
How to Make Chicken Fried Rice in a Wok
Make sure all of your ingredients are ready to go before you begin to heat the sesame oil. It will be a super quick cook time, so it's important to have everything ready to go beforehand.
Step 1: Heat the Sesame Oil
Heat the sesame oil in a large wok over medium high heat. It's important to heat the sesame oil in the wok first before adding anything in. You're going to cook fried rice over a medium-high heat (depending on your stove), and it's going to be a super quick process.
Step 2: Add the Vegetables to the Wok
Add the veggies, chopped onion, and minced garlic to the hot wok, and cook 'til somewhat tender but still slightly crisp, maybe 3 to 5 minutes.
Step 3: Scramble the Eggs
Make a well in the middle of the veggies, and scramble the eggs right in with the veggies.
Step 4: Stir in the Chicken
Stir the cooked, shredded chicken into the vegetable and egg mixture.
Step 5: Add the Rice
Stir the cooked rice into the mixture, mixing everything together really well to combine.
Step 6: Add the Soy Sauce
Add the soy sauce, and stir fry everything together 'til everything's been heated thoroughly.
That's it, super quick and easy; and it tastes so much better than takeout. Chicken fried rice makes the best side dish for my favorite garlic parmesan chicken skewers!
Expert Tips and Recipe FAQ's
Usually about 1 cup dry rice equals about 3 cups cooked rice.
Since the rice needs to already be cooked to make chicken fried rice in a wok, leftover rice is best, because it's had time to chill and dry out after cooking. Cook the rice ahead of time in an Instant Pot or rice cooker (you can also boil it on the stove); then spread the rice out on a cookie sheet, cover it, and stick it in the fridge to chill 'til you're ready to make fried rice with it. Chilling the rice really helps get it to fry without all the clumpy, goopy mess that rice can sometimes become.
Yes, you can. In fact, other vegetables that make really good fried rice include broccoli, sugarsnap peas, water chestnuts, corn, etc. Just know, depending on the vegetables you choose, it may increase cook time to make sure they're cooked well.
Store it in an airtight container in the fridge. You can re-heat it in the microwave for 1-2 minutes, stirring every 30-45 seconds; or on the stovetop in a skillet over low-medium heat.
Yes, you can. Just be sure to freeze it in an airtight container to help prevent freezer burn. It should keep for about 6 months. This makes it easy to meal prep ahead of time, freeze, and re-heat for dinner on busy weeknights.
Alternative Ways to Make Fried Rice
There are so many ways you can switch up this recipe and make it different every single time. The easiest way to switch it up is to use different meats or vegetables.
- Beef – Use leftover beef roast, stew meat, or steak.
- Pork – Use leftover pork chops or pork roast.
- Fish – Make fried rice with grilled fish fillets, maybe trout or maybe even grilled salmon. Or for an easier route, try canned tuna or salmon.
- Sausage or Sliced Sausage Links – like in Instant Pot sausage and rice.
- Roasted Turkey – would work just as well as chicken.
- Stir in or sprinkle in a generous helping of chopped green onions.
- Use a pack of stir fry veggies from the freezer section. Think sugarsnap peas, broccoli, carrots, water chestnuts, etc.
- Add diced or sliced bell peppers in for even more delicious flavors.
- Add in spinach, corn, green beans, water chestnuts, etc.
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Chicken Fried Rice in a Wok
- Heat the sesame oil in a large wok over medium-high heat.
- Add the veggies, onion, and garlic to the wok, and cook 'til somewhat tender but still slightly crisp, maybe 3 to 5 minutes.
- Make a well in the middle of the veggies, and scramble the eggs into the veggies.
- Stir the shredded chicken into the mixture.
- Then stir the rice into the mixture, mixing everything together really well.
- Add the soy sauce and stir fry everything together.
- When everything has been heated thoroughly, it's ready to serve.