When I make fried rice, it turns out one of two ways:
1. It’s a gastronomic homerun that makes the most of leftover odds and ends while resulting in a dish worthy of multiple servings, rave reviews and a call home to Mom.
2. It’s a hot mess of a meal that results in me MacGyver’ing fried rice into “fried risotto” before arriving at the final (and only) destination for 4 cups of excessively sticky rice … Asian-inspired arancini.
It took me years to learn the secret to perfecting fried rice. And when I tell you how simple it is, you may just be tossing those takeout menus for good. Put simply, it all boils down to the age of the cooked rice …
- Freshly made rice = sticky, glue-like fried rice
- Day-old rice = perfectly plumped, clump-free fried rice
The key element in this equation is the moisture level. Hot, fresh rice sticks together, while older, cooler rice is less likely to cling to itself.
The good news is that even if you are starting out with fresh rice, you can speed up the drying out process by spreading it onto a baking sheet and stashing it in the fridge. And while you’re poking around in there, grab whatever stray tidbits are taking up shelf space. Peppers, onions, Brussels sprouts, pancetta, chorizo. All are welcome in this ultimate clean-out-the-fridge feast.
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- 2 boneless , skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
- 1/2 cup diced carrots (if frozen, run under warm water to thaw)
- 2 scallions, sliced, plus more for garnish
- 4 cups cooked long grain white rice (cold or room temp)
- 1/2 cup peas (if frozen, run under warm water to thaw)
- 1 cup chopped pineapple
- 3 Tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
- In a medium bowl, toss the cubed chicken with the sesame oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Heat a large sauté pan or wok over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil. Let the pan heat for 2 minutes then add the chicken and cook, stirring, until the chicken is cooked throughout.
- Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil then add the onion, garlic and ginger and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion softens, about 2 minutes. Add the carrots and cook 1 more minute until they've softened slightly.
- Stir in the scallions, rice, peas and chopped pineapple.
- Drizzle the rice with the soy sauce then stir to combine. Season the rice with salt and pepper and serve.
- Use a sauté pan that has at least a 2-inch rim so that all of the ingredients can be properly stirred without overflowing from the pan.
- Put your knife skills to the test for true restaurant-quality fried rice, which features small diced pieces of protein, vegetables and pineapple. Smaller-sized ingredients guarantees a little bit of everything in each bite.
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Recipe by Kelly Senyei of Just a Taste.
Absolutely LOVE this recipe!! Got chicken and pineapple fried rice from a Chinese restaurant one night and fell in love- this recipe is the closest I’ve found to how it tasted! It’s become my go to for whenever I have leftover rice :)
I was wondering- is it safe to freeze this after making it and if so, how long do you recommend keeping it for?
Thanks for the great recipe!
I’m so thrilled you’ve been enjoying the recipe, Isaiah! And you can absolutely store it in the freezer! Once cooled to room temp, transfer the fried rice to an airtight container or zip-top storage bag. It’ll keep for up to a month.
I just whipped this recipe up after I misplaced my favorite Caribbean shrimp fried rice recipe. This has gotten rave reviews!!! I had made jasmine rice yesterday in preparation and I was able to quickly put this together this morning. I used frozen veggies, and I added cilantro and red pepper flakes as I love that flavor profile. I used a 20 can of pineapple and I used all the juice as well and it came out perfectly (I doubled the recipe)! Thank you for this great recipe, it is now in my go to slot!
You are so welcome! I’m thrilled you enjoyed the recipe!
This came out so mushy for us and a little bland. We even refrigerated the rice ahead of time. Just not our day I guess. If I had to do it over again I would fry the rice in oil and then cook it with chicken stock instead of using just cooked plain white rice.
Thanks for your comment, Monica. What type of rice did you use?
My son and I eat this often. It’s easy and delicious!
I’m so thrilled you and your son have been enjoying the recipe, Judi!
Easy, quick and fun to make!! Give it a try!! Yummy!
I’m thrilled you enjoyed the recipe, Jaynne!
Great recipe simple healthy are used fresh peas and carrots instead of frozen are used scallions and light soy sauce cilantro the rest of the recipe was pretty easy to followed it was amazing healthy low-fat lean don’t eat a lot of rice is a great main dish great recipe thank you
You are so welcome, Peggy! I’m thrilled you enjoyed the recipe!
Was really good and very healthy. What would have made it a 5 star would be a bit more of a sauce and a bit more of a “kick”.
I’m glad you enjoyed the recipe, Linda!
I just signed up for your posts and newsletters and took out chicken breasts so I can make this tomorrow. Just cut up 5 gold pineapples that are so sweet and awesome! Froze some and will purchase more this weekend. I love chicken and pineapple dishes and plan to cook up rice today and have that ready! Seems everyone has had the best of luck with this recipe and my mouth waters already. Anxious to explore your siteandrecipes and tips. Thanks so much.
Welcome to Just a Taste, Kathleen :) I hope you enjoy the recipes!
Yum! I ended up adding much more soy sauce, but I used a lot more rice than the recipe called for. The ginger taste and smell came through even after cooking, which was a pleasant surprise. Chicken was cooked perfectly; I was worried it’d overcook, but it was tender. Overall, really good. Be sure to season both the chicken and the rice very well. It took a bit of prep work by myself, but with two cooking you could whip this up quickly. I’ll make it again.
I’m so thrilled to hear you enjoyed the recipe, Masey!
My Japanese sister-in-law says Fried Rice was made with ANY leftovers, be it veggies, chicken, beef, etc. She used to start with bacon and cooked the rice, meat and veggies directly in the bacon fat. VERY DELICIOUS!
Sautéeing in bacon fat is the best!
Made this last night for dinner and my family loved it! Thank you!
Thrilled you enjoyed the recipe, Becky!
I have never had much luck with fried rice, but I can’t wait to try this recipe.
Recipes sound very good.
Thank you, Jerry!
If you don’t like clumpy rice, use Basmati rice. If not lessen the water in other starchy rice brands. In some restaurants they garnish the dish with chicken or pork floss.
This looks great! I’m hoping to make it as more of a side with your ground chicken meatballs…so if I just leave the chicken out of the rice do you think I need to replace it with something? Thanks!
That sounds like my dream menu, Jana! And no need to replace the chicken with any other protein :) I hope you enjoy!
This looks like my new favorite rice dish! I think this would be a great dish to serve at a summer party along with some grilled chicken in a citrus marinade – like garlic lime. YUM x 100!
Made this for dinner last night for 7. After second helpings for a few, we still had leftovers! It was delicious and got a lot of compliments! Super easy as well. I prepped all the veggies and chicken a little earlier in the day. As soon as guests arrived it was done cooking in less than 10 minutes. I found that I didn’t need the second tbs of oil for the veggies since the chicken produced enough fat for them to cook in. Topped with extra scallions and some sriracha, and it was fabulous. I’ll definitely be adding this recipe to the “keep” pile! :)
Yum!! Fried rice is one of my favorite foods and this recipe looks wonderful!
I used shrimp instead of chicken, used more ginger and mixed an egg per cup of rice to my soy sauce before adding it. It was amazing.
Awesome! Love your substitutions, Jen!
What about using an egg? I rather like one or two in my fried rice. Love the idea of pineapple….would be good with pork too.
Definitely! Add eggs for sure!
Oh my :) My SO and I have been looking for great recipes we’d both like involving rice and this is an absolute keeper, Although Im not a fan of Pineapple I substituted it with pepadews which sweetened it up and added great additional taste. Thanks a million
Thank you for the great recipe! We tried it out and turned out great! Serving in an actual pineapple, it was fun to eat, too! I’ll send you the picture soon!
Best fried rice recipe ever!! Thank you. I heated a bag of mixed vegetables in the pineapple with natural juice separately and poured it over everything at the end! Terrific.
I’m wondering if you’ve ever used another grain to make fried “rice”. One of my kids won’t eat rice but they all love farro. What do you think about using already cooked farro as a replacement?
I think using farro would be delicious! Quinoa would be great, too. Enjoy!
I love pineapple in my fried rice.
There was this lobster & pineapple fried rice I had at a tiki bar once; very memorable.
I love this! :D I’ll have to try it sometime, but I’ll probably end up subbing the chicken for tofu since I don’t eat meat. Thanks for the tip about the age of the rice, I’ve wondered why I can’t get it to feel like my grandma’s for a while now, haha!
Looks amazing! Pinned!
Love this combo of fried rice. I can eat a big bowl of it. Delicious! :)
Love pineapple fried rice — it’s a Thai staple! This is so incredibly delish! Thanks for sharing, Kelly :)
I could (and would!) make a meal out of fried rice alone. I love your tips. Definitely trying this soon.
I’m still trying to tackle the perfect fried rice but man oh man do I love the mess ups. haha. I’ll have to try it with day old rice next time!
Wow this looks like perfection on a plate – love, love, LOVE this recipe!! :)
Thanks so much! Enjoy!
Um, yes please. This looks incredible, Kelly!
I went through a major fried rice kick in the spring and I feel it coming on again. The pineapple is genius here!
Funny my fried rice goes either way too lol. My kids LOVE fried rice, I should get in habit of making it more often. They love it with pineapple too! This looks delicious!
love this! On my list for dinner next week!
this looks delicious Kelly! I was trolling pinterest the other day for a tropical rice recipe and couldn’t find anything to my liking, but this DEF fits the bill!!
Fried rice used to be so frustrating to me until I learned that the rice has to be a day old! Love this pineapple chicken version- yum!
I love a good fried rice – especially one with all that pineapple!
Gorgeous fried rice recipe, Kelly! So much better than takeout and I love the chicken and pineapple combo. Your cooking tips for making fried rice properly are much appreciated! xo
Your fried rice looks so good, and so much better than takeout! Love the pineapple!
My post tomorrow is cashew mango fried rice! Haha, to funny! I LOVE your pineapple fried rice and you photos are so pretty!
We are totally on the same culinary wavelength :) Can’t wait to check out your post!