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Make Thai Chicken Fried Rice at home that’s just as delicious as your favorite Asian restaurant takeout! You may wonder how to perfect this rice dish with savory sauce, fried eggs, and tender chicken bites. However, it’s easy when you know the secret ingredient!

chicken fried rice in a white bowl with chopsticks and a bowl of soy sauce in the background sitting on a wooden board.

Not to mention, this easy fried rice recipe is pretty versatile! Instead of bite-sized chicken breast pieces, feel free to substitute them with pork, shrimp, diced ham, chicken thighs, lobster, crab, or beef.

The possibilities are quite literally endless! Just about any protein works for this delicious fried rice, including tofu or chickpeas, making it a vegetarian dish.

First, I’ll briefly describe how I discovered the mind-blowing key to a perfect fried rice dish. One New Year’s weekend, I visited with my daughter and new son-in-law. She made a bowl of phenomenal fried rice for lunch!

I was so proud of her because she never liked to cook when she was younger. And then, my daughter shared her secret ingredient for her delicious fried rice — FISH SAUCE! Who knew?

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find this ingredient at my local grocery store, so I substituted it with oyster sauce. The results were pretty darn close to the more authentic flavor of my daughter’s recipe and just as satisfying!

If you’re a fan of this fried rice recipe, check out more of my rice dishes, like Chicken, Sausage, and Shrimp Gumbo, Beef Pad Thai with Crunchy Peanuts, or Sriracha Chicken Stir Fry with Brussels Sprouts!

Key ingredients & substitutions for Easy Chicken and Fried Rice

  • Jasmine rice | Before adding it to the frying pan, you’ll need to cook and chill the rice. Jasmine rice is best and completes the flavor of the recipe. So, avoid using other types of rice, like white long grain rice or brown rice. Leftover rice is also excellent for stir-frying!
  • Chicken | You’ll want skinless, boneless chicken breast cut into small bite-size pieces. If preferred, you can use another meat, like pork or beef.
  • Onion | Add a diced sweet onion for a boost of flavor. 
  • Peas | Frozen peas work well for this fried rice recipe. There’s no need to get fresh or canned peas.
  • Carrots | I like to also add some roughly chopped matchstick carrots for a touch of sweetness and color.
  • Eggs | Include seasoned and scrambled eggs in the dish for added texture and flavor. If desired, you can omit the eggs. It’s a signature ingredient for fried rice, but leaving it out won’t ruin the recipe.
  • Oyster sauce | Thick oyster sauce deepens the rich flavor of chicken fried rice. More traditionally, fish sauce is used in fried rice dishes. However, I had a hard time finding it at my grocery store. So, oyster sauce works as an excellent substitute.
  • Soy sauce | For restaurant-quality rice, choose a higher-end authentic soy sauce. Use light soy sauce with less sodium if preferred.
  • Butter | Before adding the chilled rice to the pan, prepare it with unsalted butter to prevent sticking and add flavor.
  • Olive oil | Continuously adding olive oil to the pan will help to cook the ingredients evenly and prevent burning. Vegetable oil or peanut oil also does the trick.
  • Salt and pepper | Add some salt and black pepper to round out the flavors.
  • Cayenne pepper | Sprinkle in some cayenne pepper for a subtle kick of spice.
  • Green onions | You may also want chopped green or spring onions as an optional garnish.

How to make Restaurant Style Chicken Fried Rice

Some people think making fried rice is challenging. But you’ll be pleasantly surprised when you discover this recipe has a pretty simple cooking process!

STEP 1 | Cook and chill the rice

At least two hours before you dive into this delicious Thai chicken fried rice recipe, cook the jasmine rice according to the package directions. Then, allow the rice to cool before chilling it in the refrigerator for a couple of hours.  

It also works to use day-old rice that’s been stored in the refrigerator. You can also prepare by dicing the chicken breasts.

process steps for making chicken fried rice; cooking chicken in wok; cooking veggies in wok; mixing up eggs; scrambling eggs.

STEP 2 | Stir fry the chicken

When you’re ready to begin the recipe, place a large skillet or large wok on the stovetop over medium-high heat.

Next, add the oil and diced chicken meat. Stir fry until the meat is cooked, taking about 5 minutes or a little longer. Remove the chicken from the large wok or skillet and set aside for later.

STEP 3 | Cook the veggies

Then, add more oil to the hot wok or skillet and sprinkle in the diced onions, frozen peas, and chopped carrots. Stir fry the veggies until they are crisp and tender, taking around 5 minutes. 

Again, remove the ingredients from the wok and set them aside for later.

STEP 4 | Scramble the eggs

Next, set out a small bowl and add the eggs, salt, pepper, and cayenne, whisking until they are well combined. Then, add a bit more oil to the wok on the stove and pour in the egg mixture.

Allow eggs to cook for a few seconds, then scramble them gently until they are cooked all the way through. Once again, remove the ingredients from the heat and set them aside.

tips

  • Besides the sliced scallions and extra soy sauce, consider serving the recipe with a dish of lime wedges to squeeze fresh lime juice on top– YUM!
  • To stir fry successfully, use a non-stick pan. If you don’t have a non-stick skillet or wok, use plenty of oil for your ingredients to cook evenly.
melting butter in wok to stir fry the rice for chicken fried rice; adding back in all ingredients for the stir fry.

STEP 5 | Fry the rice

Now for the rice! Drop some butter into the wok or skillet and heat it until it’s melted. Remember to swirl the melting butter all around to coat all sides of the pan. Next, add the cold rice and cook over medium-high heat for a few minutes. 

You’ll know your rice is just about finished frying when the bottom layer begins to brown and crisp up. Once it browns some, stir the rice for another few minutes. Don’t forget to observe it to avoid burning!

pouring soy sauce into fried rice in a wok.

STEP 6 | Combine all ingredients and serve!

After stir-frying the rice for 4 minutes or so, add the tasty ingredients you previously removed, like the cooked chicken, veggies, and beaten egg.

Continue to stir-fry the rice dish until all the ingredients are evenly incorporated. Then, drizzle in some oyster sauce and soy sauce and continue to stir fry until all the ingredients are heated through.

Finally, serve this perfectly-made chicken fried rice immediately. If desired, sprinkle on some additional soy sauce and garnish with freshly chopped green onions– Dig in and enjoy!

tips

  • Stick to the suggested measurements of the oyster and soy sauce. When there is too much liquid in fried rice, it can result in a heavy and lumpy texture.
  • If preferred, add the meat to the bowl of rice before serving without mixing it in.
close up shot of fried rice in a wok with chicken.

Frequently asked questions

How are fish sauce and oyster sauce different?

Fish sauce is more fluid than thick oyster sauce and tastes saltier. Oyster sauce is caramelized, producing a sugary flavor, while fish salt is fermented and has robust, savory notes.

Most recommend using the fish sauce for fried rice for the best flavor and a more authentic experience. However, I have found that oyster sauce certainly does the trick!

How do you make chicken fried rice spicy?

Add one of your favorite chili sauces or a spoonful of chili flakes to give this fried rice recipe an extra burst of heat!

What Is the difference between Thai fried rice and Chinese fried rice?

Thai and Chinese fried rice include the same base ingredients like rice, egg, veggies, and meat. Furthermore, both variations are stir-fried and use very similar cooking methods. 

The most significant difference between the two is that Thai fried rice almost always contains fish sauce, giving it that signature Southeast Asian flair. The Thai version may also include lime juice, while the Chinese dish typically lacks fish sauce and lime.

How do you store leftover fried rice?

Store your leftover chicken fried rice in the refrigerator for up to four days in an airtight container. When you’re ready to serve it again, reheat it in the microwave or toss it back into the skillet with some oil.

chicken fried rice on a white platter with a serving spoon to the side.

Serving suggestions

Serve your homemade Thai fried rice with a refreshing side salad, like this Kale Salad with Thai Peanut Vinaigrette, my Asian Sesame Salad, or get creative with these delicious Asian Slaw Egg Roll Crackers.

a bowl of chicken fried rice on a wooden board.

Behind the recipe: Thai Chicken Fried Rice

Fried rice dates back to China’s Sui Dynasty, 589-618 CE. Late into the Ming Dynasty, fried rice was widely consumed. The original use of fried rice recipes was to combine the bits and pieces of leftover dishes from the week. Of course, this led to all kinds of variations. 

You’ll notice that the dish in different regions has a twist unique to the area and cultural cuisine. Fried rice is enjoyed all over Southeast Asia, including China, Thailand, Japan, and Indonesia.

The Americanized version of Asian fried rice isn’t too far off the authentic recipes. It was introduced sometime in the 20th century when Chinese immigration was at its peak, and the revolutionary Transatlantic Railroad was being built.

chicken fried ride, soy sauce, and chop sticks arranged on a table with linens.

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chicken fried rice on a white platter with a serving spoon to the side.

Restaurant Style Chicken Fried Rice

Make Chicken Fried Rice at home that’s as good as Chinese take-out! It’s easy and delicious when you know about the “secret” ingredient.
4 from 6 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Chill Rice 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Chinese
Servings 6 servings
Calories 334 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 4 cups cooked and chilled jasmine rice
  • 1 skinless boneless chicken breast cut into small bite-size pieces
  • 1/2 cup sweet onion diced
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 cup carrot matchsticks roughly chopped
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2-1/2 tablespoons olive oil divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • green onions chopped for garnish

Instructions
 

  • Prepare jasmine rice according to package directions and chill for at least two hours.
  • Preheat a large wok or non-stock skillet over medium high heat. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and diced chicken. Stir fry until meat is cooked through, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from wok and set aside.
  • Add another tablespoon olive oil to the hot wok or skillet. Add onion, peas, and carrots and stir fry until crisp tender, about 4-5 minutes. Remove from wok and set aside.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Add 1/2 tablespoon olive oil to the hot wok or skillet and pour in the egg mixture. Allow eggs to cook for a few seconds, then scramble gently until cooked through. Again, remove from the wok and set aside.
  • Add butter to the wok and heat until melted, swirling to coat all sides. Add cold rice to the wok or skillet and allow to cook over medium high heat for 3-4 minutes, or until the bottom layer begins to brown lightly and start to crisp, before stirring. Watch carefully, and do not burn!
  • Stir fry the rice for 3-4 minutes, then add the cooked chicken, veggies, and egg. Continue to stir fry until incorporated into the rice. Add the oyster sauce and soy sauce and stir fry until all ingredients are heated through. Serve immediately with additional soy sauce, if desired, and garnish with chopped green onions.

Notes

  • Besides the sliced scallions and extra soy sauce, consider serving the recipe with a dish of lime wedges to squeeze fresh lime juice on top– YUM!
  • To stir fry successfully, use a non-stick pan. If you don’t have a non-stick skillet or wok, use plenty of oil for your ingredients to cook evenly.
  • Stick to the suggested measurements of the oyster and soy sauce. When there is too much liquid in fried rice, it can result in a heavy and lumpy texture.
  • If preferred, add the meat to the bowl of rice before serving without mixing it in.

Nutrition

Serving: 1ServingsCalories: 334kcalCarbohydrates: 39gProtein: 15gFat: 13gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 120mgSodium: 948mgFiber: 3gSugar: 3g

Life Love and Good Food does not claim to be a registered dietician or nutritionist. Nutritional information shared on this site is only an estimate. We recommend running the ingredients through an online nutritional calculator if you need to verify any information.

Keyword chicken, fried rice, stir fry
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was.
Sheila Thigpen, blogger

About Sheila Thigpen

Recipe Developer, Food Photographer, Food Writer

Sheila Thigpen is the publisher of Life, Love, and Good Food — a Southern food blog — and the author of Easy Chicken Cookbook and The 5-Ingredient Fresh and Easy Cookbook. After 20+ years in the publishing industry, she retired in 2018 to focus on her own creative endeavors full time. She and her husband live near the beautiful Smoky Mountains and have a precious little granddaughter who has stolen their hearts. As an influencer, Sheila has collaborated with brands like Creamette, Kroger, HERSHEY’S, Hamilton Beach, Garafalo Pasta, OXO, Smithfield, Valley Fig Growers, and more.

4 Comments

  1. Thank you so much for this recipe. We love fried rice, but I never seem to get it like restaurant style. Will sure try this next week

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