Easy Thai Fried Rice

Busy evenings just got tastier with this Thai Fried Rice! A flexible recipe to use up your leftover rice, protein, and veggies, creating a quick, flavorful dinner in only 20 minutes!

Thai Fried Rice in white bowls.

You’ll be surprised how quickly and easily this Thai rice dish comes together. Here’s the scoop: grab that cold rice from the back of your fridge, pick any protein lounging around – chicken, eggs, tofu, you name it – and toss in a handful of veggies. A splash of soy sauce, maybe a bit of fish sauce if you’re feeling fancy and you’re in business. It can be anything you want it to be, depending on what’s in your fridge. Each bite is a cozy blend of familiar and new tastes, turning ‘just another dinner’ into something a bit special. Give it a whirl, and who knows? It might just turn your regular Tuesday night into a mini adventure.

A serving bowl and individual bowls filled with Thai Fried Rice.

What is Thai Fried Rice?

In Thailand, they call Thai Fried Rice as “Khao Pad”. It originated from Chinese cuisine. Then, it evolved over centuries to incorporate local Thai flavors. This fusion dish reflects Thailand’s history of cultural blending. Traditionally a means to avoid waste by using leftover rice, it has evolved into a beloved staple, celebrated for its harmonious blend of aromatic spices and fresh ingredients.

Thai Fried Rice traditionally comes with a side wedge of lime when served. It allows diners to add a hint of citrusy brightness to their dish. Additionally, a condiment known as Prik Nam Pla, a flavorful blend of chilies and fish sauce, is provided for garnishing the fried rice. This condiment adds a spicy and savory kick.

Reasons to Love Thai Fried Rice

  • Thai Fried Rice is quick and easy. It’s perfect for whipping up a delicious meal, ideal for busy lifestyles.
  • It’s an excellent leftover makeover. Transform your leftovers into a new, exciting meal.
  • It’s a family favorite! Its mild flavors and customizable ingredients make it a hit among all age groups.
  • The dish offers a delightful mix of textures, from soft rice to crunchy veggies and tender protein, pleasing the palate.
  • It can be easily tweaked for health-conscious diets, such as using brown rice or adding more vegetables.

Recipe Ingredients

Ingredients for Thai fried rice prepared on a table.
  • Cooked Rice: Jasmine rice adds a fragrant, slightly nutty flavor. When cooked and then chilled, its grains provide the perfect texture for frying.
  • Eggs: Beaten eggs offer a rich, savory taste. When fried, they provide a soft, fluffy texture that contrasts nicely with the rice.
  • Green Onions: These add a mild, slightly sweet onion flavor with a crisp texture.
  • Fish Sauce: This is a key ingredient in Thai cuisine, imparting a salty, umami flavor with a hint of fishiness.
  • Soy Sauce: Offering a salty, umami depth, soy sauce complements the fish sauce and adds color to the rice.

See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.

Variations

  • Vegetables: Add a mix of veggies based on what you have on hand and what you like, consider: cucumbers, bell peppers, carrots, tomatoes, broccoli, peas, snow peas, snap peas, mushrooms, bean sprouts, baby corn, and fresh Thai basil leaves.
  • Tamari for Soy Sauce: Use tamari instead of soy sauce for a gluten-free option. It offers a similar umami flavor with a richer, smoother taste.
  • Vegetable Oil for Sesame Oil: Replace sesame oil with vegetable oil for cooking. This change keeps the fried texture intact while slightly reducing the nutty flavor.
  • Protein Variation: Combine any combination of beef, pork, shrimp, or chicken for a rich blend of flavors and textures. For a plant-based variation, you can use tofu.
  • Oyster Sauce Addition: Mix a bit of oyster sauce with the soy sauce for a slightly sweeter and richer flavor.

How to Make Thai Fried Rice

Step #1: Add your oil to a wok or large frying pan and heat over medium-high. When the oil is hot, add your garlic and fresh ginger (if using ground ginger, wait to add it until you add the rice). Sauté for 60 seconds.

Garlic and oil cooking in a wok.

Step #2: Add your rice and stir it around to coat it in oil. You may feel like you want to add more oil, but don’t. You need the rice to get some good color and texture, and too much oil will just make it oily.

Rice added into the wok.

Step #3: Fry the rice for 30 seconds, then stir it around to expose the unfried side to the heat. Cook for another 30 seconds, and stir.

Step #4: Add 2 teaspoons soy sauce and 2 teaspoons fish sauce, stirring them in.

Soy sauce and fish sauce added to the rice in the wok.

Step #5: Move your rice mixture out of the center of the pan, creating a little well for your eggs. Pour your beaten eggs into the center and let them cook for a few seconds undisturbed.

Eggs added into the wok with the rice.

Step #6: Now, break up the eggs and scramble into your rice, making sure to mix everything together well.

Scrambled eggs added to fried rice in a wok.

Step #7: Add your green onions and the 4 tablespoons fresh cilantro. Then, stir it well.

Green onions and cilantro added to the wok with fried rice.

Step #8: Taste a bite with a spoon to make sure everything is seasoned well and heated through. If it needs more flavor, add a bit more soy sauce or even some red pepper flakes for some heat.

Thai Fried Rice mixed together in a wok.

Step #9: Serve and garnish with a bit more cilantro for color and lime wedges on the side. Enjoy!

Thai Fried Rice in a bowl.

Expert Tips

  • Use Day-Old Rice: Opt for cold, day-old rice, as it’s less sticky and fries better, preventing the dish from turning mushy. This type of rice absorbs flavors well while retaining a good texture.
  • Preheat Your Pan: Always start with a hot pan or wok. This ensures even cooking and prevents ingredients, especially rice, from sticking to the pan, which is essential for a perfect fry.
  • Balance Your Sauces: Achieve authentic Thai flavor by using the right ratio of fish sauce to soy sauce. This balances saltiness and umami, which is key to the dish’s distinct taste.
  • Chop Ingredients Finely: Finely chopped ingredients like garlic, ginger, and green onions cook evenly and blend better with the rice.
  • Taste and Adjust Seasonings: Before serving, it’s important to taste the dish and adjust the seasoning if needed. Sometimes, a bit more soy sauce or a pinch of sugar can elevate the overall flavor.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use a different type of rice?

Yes, you can use alternatives such as long-grain white rice, brown rice, or basmati, but I recommend Jasmine rice for its fragrant and slightly sticky qualities. Keep in mind that using different types of rice will result in variations in taste and texture.

Can I make this recipe in advance?

Fried rice is best enjoyed when served fresh, but it can be made in advance and reheated. While the texture might not be exactly the same, it will still be delicious.

What if I don’t have a wok? Can I still make fried rice?

Absolutely! While a wok is ideal for making fried rice due to its shape and the way it distributes heat, you can definitely use a large skillet or frying pan if you don’t have one.

How can I make my fried rice less sticky?

The key to making fried rice that isn’t overly sticky is using day-old rice that has been refrigerated. The chilling process dries out the grains, making them firmer and preventing them from clumping together during frying.

Can I make this Thai Fried Rice sweeter?

Yes, you can add palm sugar or brown sugar to the dish. Start with a small amount and adjust to your taste. These sugars add a subtle sweetness that complements the savory flavors.

Storage Info

To store Thai Fried Rice, place it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. While freezing is not ideal due to potential texture changes, you can freeze it for up to a month. When reheating, use a microwave or stovetop. To reheat in the microwave, sprinkle a little water over the rice to keep it moist. On the stovetop, reheat it in a pan over medium heat, stirring frequently. Adding a bit of water or additional oil can help restore its texture.

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Easy Thai Fried Rice in a bowl.

Easy Thai Fried Rice Recipe

Busy evenings just got tastier with this Thai Fried Rice! A flexible recipe to use up your leftover rice, protein, and veggies, creating a quick, flavorful dinner in only 20 minutes!
4.5 from 77 votes
Pin Rate
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Thai
Diet: Dairy Free
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4 Servings
Calories: 284kcal
Author: Linda
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Ingredients

  • 4 cups cooked rice - recommend cold, leftover rice, and jasmine works best
  • 2 eggs - beaten
  • 2 green onions - chopped
  • 2 tsp. fish sauce
  • 2 tsp. reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh minced ginger - or use ⅛ tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 clove garlic - minced
  • 1 Tbsp. sesame oil
  • 4 Tbsp. fresh cilantro - chopped
  • 1 lime - for optional lime wedges for garnish
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Instructions

  • Add your oil to a wok or large frying pan and heat over medium-high. When the oil is hot, add your garlic and fresh ginger (if using ground ginger, wait to add it until you add the rice). Sauté for 60 seconds.
  • Add your rice and stir it around to coat it in oil. You may feel like you want to add more oil, but don't. You need the rice to get some good color and texture, and too much oil will just make it oily.
  • Fry the rice for 30 seconds, then stir it around to expose the unfried side to the heat. Cook for another 30 seconds, and stir.
  • Add 2 teaspoons soy sauce and 2 teaspoons fish sauce, stirring them in.
  • Move your rice mixture out of the center of the pan, creating a little well for your eggs. Pour your beaten eggs into the center and let them cook for a few seconds undisturbed.
  • Now, break up the eggs and scramble into your rice, making sure to mix everything together well.
  • Add your green onions and the 4 tablespoons fresh cilantro. Then, stir it well.
  • Taste a bite with a spoon to make sure everything is seasoned well and heated through. If it needs more flavor, add a bit more soy sauce or even some red pepper flakes for some heat.
  • Serve and granish with a bit more cilantro for color and lime wedges on the side. Enjoy!

VIDEO

NOTES

Storage Info:
To store Thai Fried Rice, place it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. While freezing is not ideal due to potential texture changes, you can freeze it for up to a month. When reheating, use a microwave or stovetop. To reheat in the microwave, sprinkle a little water over the rice to keep it moist. On the stovetop, reheat it in a pan over medium heat, stirring frequently. Adding a bit of water or additional oil can help restore its texture.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 284kcal | Carbohydrates: 48g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 82mg | Sodium: 323mg | Potassium: 218mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 1185IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 51mg | Iron: 1mg

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About the Author

Linda

Hi, I'm Linda! Welcome to The Wanderlust Kitchen, where I share recipes and travel adventures from all around the world. Here you'll find a world of recipes you can have confidence in. These recipes celebrate authentic food heritage as well as modern techniques and ingredients. Be adventurous and try a new recipe and travel somewhere you have never been before.  Bon Appétit! Bon Voyage!  

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Comments:

  1. Great way to use rice leftover or otherwise, Thai food is one of my favorites. This is great.

    1. Absolutely – rice is such a staple in Asian cuisine because it is so plentiful and versatile. I love finding ways to spice it up!