This easy Thai Fried Rice recipe is one of my favorite go-to meals on a busy weeknight. Use leftover rice and your favorite protein and veggie additions to make Thai rice like you like it.
Whenever we make a stir-fry or other dish that calls for rice, I like to make twice the amount of rice we need so I can save some of it to make fried rice another night.
Fried rice is best when made from stale, cold rice that has been kept in the fridge. Whenever I’ve tried to make it with fresh rice it just becomes a sticky glob. I wouldn’t recommend it.
I’ll let you in on another secret, too – when the husband and I go out for Thai cuisine (or Chinese, or Japanese, or anywhere that gives you white rice), we always say “yes” when they offer us extra rice for the table. Then we box it up, take it home, stick it in the fridge, and make fried rice later in the week. Score!
You’ll be surprised how quickly and easily this Thai rice dish comes together. It’s also a great way to use up any leftover vegetables or meat you have around the house.
I’ll provide you with the basic fried rice recipe, and you can feel free to throw in whatever you like to make it your own. See my suggestions in the Variations section below.
How to Make Thai Fried Rice
Here is how easy it is to make this Thai Style Fried Rice and let your taste buds be transported to Thailand.
Gather all the ingredients. Please note that for exact amounts, see the recipe card at the end of this post.
Add your oil to a wok or large skillet and heat over medium-high. If you need a wok, you can get this very affordable wok from Amazon. When the oil is hot, add your garlic and fresh ginger (if using ground, 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 on it, and too much oil will just make it…well, oily.
Fry the rice for 30 seconds and then stir it around to expose the un-fried side to the heat. Cook for another 30 seconds, and stir.
Add your soy sauce and fish sauce and stir it in.
Move your rice mixture out of the center of the pan, making 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 cilantro.
Taste a bite of it 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 in your favorite bowl and top your rice with a Tablespoon of fresh cilantro and some lime wedges or lime juice.
Personalize your Thai fried rice dish and enrich its flavors and textures by exploring a variety of proteins and vegetables you can add, as suggested in the following lists:
Chicken: A common addition to fried rice. You could use leftovers from a roast chicken, or cook some chicken pieces specifically for the recipe. Ensure they are fully cooked before adding to the rice.
Shrimp: Shrimp cook quickly and add a delightful seafood flavor. They should be peeled, deveined, and cooked until they turn pink before being added to the dish.
Tofu: For a vegetarian option, tofu is an excellent choice. It’s high in protein and absorbs the flavors of the dish. Use firm or extra firm tofu, and consider pan-frying it first for some extra texture.
Pork: Diced pork loin or ground pork can also be used. Make sure it’s fully cooked before adding it to the fried rice.
Beef: Thinly sliced or diced beef would work well. Like the other meats, ensure it is fully cooked before incorporating it into the dish.
Eggs: While already in the recipe, you can add more eggs if you want additional protein.
Chili Peppers: If you like a bit of heat, consider adding thinly sliced chili peppers. Be cautious with the amount – they can be quite spicy.
Cucumbers: While not traditionally cooked in the fried rice, sliced cucumber can be served on the side for a refreshing crunch.
Bell Peppers: Diced bell peppers will add a bit of sweetness and crunch. You could use any color you like – green, red, yellow, or orange.
Shredded Carrots: These can be sautéed with the garlic and ginger at the beginning of the recipe for extra flavor and color.
Tomatoes: Chopped tomatoes can add a refreshing taste. However, they should be added near the end of the cooking process to prevent them from becoming too soft.
Broccoli: Small broccoli florets can be a nice addition, but you may want to steam them a bit first, as they might not fully cook in the time it takes to fry the rice.
Peas: Frozen peas are a common addition to fried rice and can be thrown in directly from the freezer.
Snow Peas or Snap Peas: These can add a great crunch. Trim the ends and slice them if they’re large.
Mushrooms: Sliced mushrooms would be a great addition. You can sauté them first to release their water and concentrate their flavor.
Bean Sprouts: These can be stirred in right at the end of cooking for a nice crunch.
Baby Corn: This vegetable can add a nice sweet flavor and a crunchy texture to your dish. Baby corn is usually used in Asian cuisine and it is often available canned or in jars in the international food aisle of grocery stores. If you use canned baby corn, make sure to drain and rinse it before adding to your Thai fried rice.
Basil: Fresh basil, particularly Thai basil if you can find it, lends a wonderful fragrance and flavor to fried rice. It’s particularly good with chicken, beef, or tofu. Try adding about a handful, roughly ⅓ to ½ cup of loosely packed leaves, depending on your preference for its strong, anise-like flavor. Remember to roughly tear or chop the leaves and add them near the end of cooking to preserve their flavor and color.
Remember, the beauty of fried rice is that it’s a flexible dish designed to use up leftovers, so feel free to experiment with what you have on hand!
Spicier Thai Fried Rice
Here are several ways you can increase the heat in this Thai Fried Rice dish:
Thai Chili Peppers: You can add Thai chili peppers which are known for their intense heat. They can be finely chopped and sautéed with the garlic and ginger. Be cautious as they are very spicy!
Red Pepper Flakes: If the dish needs more heat after tasting, stir in some red pepper flakes at the end of cooking.
Sriracha or Other Hot Sauce: Drizzle some Sriracha or your favorite hot sauce over the fried rice for an extra kick.
Spicy Sesame Oil: You can substitute regular sesame oil with spicy sesame oil for a more subtle heat.
Add More Ginger and Garlic: While not adding heat per se, increasing the amounts of ginger and garlic can amplify the overall spiciness and pungency of the dish.
Sambal Oelek: This is a spicy Southeast Asian chili paste that can be mixed in while cooking.
Spicy Soy Sauce: Some brands offer a spicy version of soy sauce, which could replace the regular soy sauce in the recipe.
Remember, everyone’s tolerance and preference for heat can vary greatly, so it’s a good idea to add spicy ingredients gradually and taste frequently to achieve your ideal level of spiciness.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you can, although jasmine rice is recommended for its fragrant and slightly sticky qualities. Long-grain white rice, brown rice, or basmati could also be used. However, the taste and texture will be different.
Yes, you can make this dish vegan by replacing the eggs with tofu or another plant-based protein and ensuring your soy sauce and other sauces are vegan.
Fried rice is best served fresh, but it can be made in advance and reheated. The texture might not be exactly the same, but it will still be delicious.
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.
Using day-old rice that has been refrigerated is key to making fried rice that isn’t overly sticky. The chilling process dries out the grains and makes them more firm, which helps them to not clump together when frying.
Storage and Reheating
Cool the rice completely before placing it in an airtight container or freezer bag. To store this dish you can do so in an airtight container in your fridge for 3-5 days. It can be kept in the freezer for up to 3 months.
To reheat frozen fried rice, defrost in the refrigerator overnight and then warm with one of the methods below. The stovetop method is recommended.
To reheat this dish on the stovetop over medium heat. You can add a tablespoon of oil into your wok or skillet then add in the rice and stir fry for 2-3 minutes until everything has warmed through.
If you are reheating in your microwave you can do so for 1-2 minutes until everything has warmed through.
More Thai Dishes you will Love:
- Thai Style Papaya Salad Rolls
- Thai Red Curry (Vegan)
- Grilled Thai Veggie Noodle Bowls
- Thai Mango Sticky Rice
- Spicy Thai-Style Grilled Veggie Skewers
- Easy Thai Drunken Noodles
- Easiest Ever 5 Minute Thai Peanut Ginger Slaw
Check out all of my Thai Recipes!
Easy Thai Fried Rice Recipe
- 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
- 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, wait to add it until you add the rice). Saute 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 on it, and too much oil will just make it…well, oily.
- Fry the rice for 30 seconds and then stir it around to expose the un-fried side to the heat. Cook for another 30 seconds, and stir. Add your soy sauce and fish sauce and stir it in.
- Move your rice mixture out of the center of the pan, making 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 stir into your rice, making sure to mix everything together well.
- Add your green onions and cilantro and stir well. Taste a bite of it 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 garnished with a bit more cilantro for color and lime wedges on the side. Enjoy!