This Easy Takeaway Style Fried Rice is ready in 15 minutes and makes the perfect weeknight meal. With my recipe, you can have Takeout Style Cantonese Fried Rice at home.
Fried Rice is a staple part of every Chinese takeout. There is just something about that perfectly flavored rice with its fried rice grains that all stay separate. But have you made it at home and been sadly disappointed? Either the rice is stuck together, or the flavor is not there. With this recipe, you can master fried rice at home!
This is better than takeout fried rice! It is the BEST fried rice you can make! Plus, it is customizable; you can mix and match ingredients to suit your family (and what you have in your refrigerator).
Cantonese Fried Rice
This Fried Rice recipe is a classic side for all your favorite Chinese dishes! A super quick recipe that the whole family is going to love!
It is a classic, serve it on its own or add it to one of my stir-fries for a great Chinese meal at home.
You can adapt this by adding protein, extra veg, switching out the veg for what you have available. And you can use bags of frozen veg. It is a one-pot rice dish that will be in your meal rotation every month!
The three key factors for making the BEST fried rice
To get the taste and texture of your favorite takeaway fried rice, you need to have:
- Spring onion/green onions/scallions
- Chinese Rice Wine (Shaoxing Cooking Wine)
- Dry, cold day-old cooked rice
These three ingredients will transform your fried rice! Each is explained below.
Spring onion/green onions/scallions.
Spring onions/scallions add that flavor to your rice that just tastes of the Chinese takeaway. This fried rice starts by heating the oil until almost smoking, the pan is removed from the heat, and the spring onions/green onions are added.
The smell is fantastic, and you'll feel like you just unwrapped your takeout!
This oil is then used for frying the rice, and it adds that special something to the rice.
Chinese Rice Wine.
Chinese Rice Wine is the other ingredient that adds that unique takeout taste! It is also known as Chinese Cooking Wine, Shaohsing Rice Cooking Wine, Shaoxing wine, or Shaoxing Cooking Wine. You can find this in the Asian section of most larger grocery stores. Or it is readily available on Amazon.
Please don't get it confused with rice wine vinegar; that won't taste great!!! If you can't find Chinese Cooking Wine, use dry sherry or sake if you have it.
Dry, cold day-old rice.
This is what gives you the perfect texture to your fried rice. It needs to be a day old as it dries out while it is in the refrigerator.
This gives it the ideal texture for frying. You can also use frozen rice, which provides you with the flexibility to make the rice a few days/week in advance.
Tips for Making Rice Ahead of Time
- Cook the rice the day before, for the best texture, stir the rice as little as possible while it is cooking.
- Or, when you are cooking rice for another dinner, make double the amount and save it for fried rice. It will keep for 2-3 days in the refrigerator.
- Once the rice is cooked, lay it out on a baking sheet and place it uncovered in the refrigerator overnight. This will dry it out. After that, it can be transferred to a container or ziplock bag.
- If you are not sure when you'll make your fried rice, you can freeze the rice. Cool it overnight, uncovered in the refrigerator (as above) then transfer to bags or a container and freeze for up to 6 months. What's more, you don't need to defrost the rice. Just take the bags out of the freezer when you start cooking.
My fried rice is always sticky.
Does your fried rice end up sticky or lumped together?
The key to avoiding this is the day-old cold rice and using a heavy-based skillet or wok that you can get hot.
The cold day-old rice is nice and dry, meaning it won't stick together and give you lumpy fried rice.
Low heat will mean you are stirring the rice more, which will activate the starch making the rice stickier. So use high heat to ensure the rice fries and keeps its texture.
What veg to add to fried rice
I always add carrots, corn, and peas to my fried rice. That is how my local takeaway shop makes it, plus all five kids will eat those veggies!
But you can mix and match the vegetables to suit what your family will eat or what you have to use. Feel free to use a bag of frozen chopped vegetables (no need even to defrost them!)
Other veggies you can add, include:
- Green beans
- Bean Sprouts
- Asian leafy greens
How to make Fried Rice
- Start by making the spring onion oil.
- Sauté your vegetables.
- Turn up the heat.
- Add the cold-cooked rice.
- Add the sauce ingredients.
- Toss well to combine and get
- Fry over medium-high heat.
- Finish with white pepper and a touch of butter.
Full instructions and ingredients in the recipe card below.
The sauce for fried rice
- Chinese cooking wine (see above for details)
- Oyster Sauce
- Soy Sauce (see below if you want to avoid soy)
- Melted butter (optional, but makes it taste so good)
Can you make Fried Rice without Soy Sauce?
Yes, you can. It won't taste the same, but it will still be good. Make sure you get the Chinese cooking wine to really keep the takeout flavor.
If you avoid soy sauce, you can leave it out of the sauce and add salt to season the rice instead.
Leaving out the soy sauce will also make this gluten-free fried rice. Alternatively, you can buy GF soy sauce.
Do you need a wok for fried rice?
No, you don't need a wok; you can use a large skillet or frying pan.
If you are cooking on an electric stovetop, I suggest a skillet/frying pan as you have a greater surface area touching the heat source.
A wok is excellent with a gas flame as it can lick up the sides of the wok, but on an electric cooktop, you want as much of the pan to get hot as you can, so a skillet is perfect for the job.
What to serve with Fried Rice
I would happily eat a bowl of this for dinner. But it is excellent served with all of my stir fry recipes. Why not try:
Cantonese Fried Rice
- 1 tablespoon Chinese cooking wine -see note 1
- ½ tablespoon oyster Sauce
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 teaspoon melted butter
- 3 tablespoon oil
- 5 spring onions/scallions - cut into 2"5cm sticks - see note 2
- ¼ cup finely chopped onion - see note 3
- 1 clove minced garlic
- ½ cup frozen peas - see note 4
- ½ cup frozen corn - see note 4
- ½ cup finely chopped carrots - see note 4
- 2 cups cold cooked day-old white rice - see note 5
- ¼ teaspoon white pepper - see note 6
- Mix the Chinese cooking wine, oyster sauce, soy sauce, and melted butter together and set to one side.
- Heat the oil in a wok or skillet over high heat until smoking. Remove from the heat and add the sticks of spring onion/scallion. It will sizzle and spit! Just let this subside, then pour half of the oil and all of the onions into a heatproof measuring cup.
- Add the onion to the pan and cook for 1-2 minutes until softened.
- Add the garlic and remaining vegetables to the pan and cook over medium heat for 2-3 minutes until softened and any water has evaporated.
- Turn the heat back up to high and add the remaining oil back into the pan (don't add the onions yet)
- Add the rice and stir to coat in the oil. Fry over high heat for 2-3 minutes, turning the rice gently.
- Stir the sauce ingredients (don't worry if the butter has started to solidify), drizzle over the sauce, stir to coat the rice, and cook for 1-2 minutes until the liquid evaporates.
- Add the spring onion back into the rice, season with the white pepper, and serve immediately.
- Chinese Cooking Wine is also known as Chinese Rice Wine, Shaohsing Rice Cooking Wine, Shaoxing wine, or Shaoxing Cooking Wine. You can find this in the Asian section of most larger grocery stores. Or it is readily available on Amazon. Please don't get it confused with rice wine vinegar; that won't taste great!!! If you can't find Chinese Cooking Wine, use dry sherry or sake if you have it.
- Spring onions are often called green onions or scallions. They are long thin onions with a white bottom and a long green top.
- You can use any onion you have available. But white or brown onion works best. Or use more chopped spring onion (chop into small rounds)
- You can use individually frozen veg or a bag of mixed veg. Just ensure you have at least 1 ½ cups in total. There is no need to defrost the veg - add it to the hot wok and let any water evaporate.
- The day-old cold, cooked rice is what gives you the perfect texture to your fried rice. It needs to be a day old as it dries out while it is in the refrigerator. This gives it the ideal texture for frying. You can also use frozen rice - see the bulk of the post for more details.
- White pepper is traditional, but you can sub in black pepper if you don't have white.