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Easy Fried Rice With Leftover Rice Recipe

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Easy fried rice with leftover recipe, my go-to for a quick and easy weeknight dinner that rivals takeout. Toss in tender pork or your favorite protein with healthy vegetables, and you have a simple stir-fry that’s perfect for the whole family.

Close-up of leftover rice with fried rice in a black pan, with another fried rice dish in the distance.

Check out some of my best fried rice recipes: chicken pineapple fried rice, spicy tom yum fried rice, and vegetarian Thai fried rice.

Why use day old rice for fried rice

Day-old rice is ideal for fried rice as it’s drier, firmer, and less sticky, which means it’s easy to stir-fry. Freshly steamed rice is too moist, the rice grains clump together and turn soggy when stir-fried.


Top-view of 2 black dishes with pork fried rice and vegetables on a wooden background.

I’ve whipped up countless variations of fried rice across Thai restaurants, and they all had one thing in common: leftover rice is always the go-to.

Chilled from the fridge, the rice grains are firm and separate easily, perfect for achieving that signature crisp and chewy texture.

Close-up of leftover pork fried rice, stir-fried with vegetables.

If you do not have day old rice, you can still make fried rice with no leftover rice.

Spread out your hot, freshly cooked rice on a tray, allow it to cool down and then pop it into the fridge for a few hours uncovered. This is a trick you can use to make fried rice with no leftover rice.

In our Thai restaurant, we used to spread out freshly cooked jasmine rice and fat it for quick cooling and drying.

Drying out the rice is crucial for reducing moisture.

Top-view of 2 black dishes with fried rice with day old rice, pork, and vegetables.

Why try this leftover fried rice recipe

  • Perfect for meal prep. Thai fried rice with pork is perfect to make ahead of time. Make a big batch, store it in the fridge, and you’ve got lunches for several days.
  • Budget-friendly. Use up your leftover rice to save costs. This recipe can be made with leftover vegetables and protein.
  • Quick fried rice. This recipe comes together so quick and easy. It’s doable for any home cook.
  • Super versatile. You can mix in whatever veggies or protein you have on hand. Clean out your fridge and add your leftovers!
  • One pot recipe. You only need one pot, so there’s barely any cleanup to do!

Ingredients

Ingredients can be sourced at Asian grocery stores and Asian markets.
The exact measurements are in the recipe card at the end of this post.


Top-view of ingredients for leftover fried rice; rice, vegetables, eggs, sauces, pork, and seasonings.
  • Pork – Choose pork tenderloin for a lean cut, or enjoy it with pork shoulder or butt. Whatever cut you prefer, just adjust the cooking time and slice it thinly.
  • Leftover rice – Day-old jasmine rice is your best choice for this leftover pork fried rice recipe. If you use freshly cooked rice, you can chill it to ease the stir-frying.
  • Light soy sauce – Seasons the dish to savory perfection.
  • Dark soy sauce – In Southeast Asian cuisine, dark soy sauce is typically used to darken the color of dishes.
  • Oyster sauce – Oyster sauce is often used in Thai cuisine for adding an umami and salty flavor.
  • White sugar – A sprinkle of sugar is needed to balance out the salty flavor of the soy sauces.
  • Carrot, onions, green onions – You can totally add your favorite vegetables. Make sure to dice them or slice them thinly to speed up the cooking time.
  • Eggs – Egg fried rice has a rich, creamy texture to each bite. Additionally, eggs add lots of nutrition and protein.
  • Garlic

You can find all ingredients at Asian grocery stores.

Step-by-step instructions

  1. Prep the vegetables

    Top-view of diced carrots and onions, minced garlic, and chopped green onions.

    Mince the garlic and chop your green onions. Dice all vegetables into bite-sized pieces for even cooking.

  2. Make fried rice

    Step-by-step instructions for how to make fried rice with leftover rice in a pan.

    1: Sauté garlic. Place a non-stick wok over high heat. Once hot, add oil followed by the garlic. Sauté until fragrant and golden.

    2: Cook pork. Toss in your pork and stir-fry until it’s cooked.

    3: Mix in eggs. Move everything to one side, crack the eggs into the open space and scramble them. Bring the pork back into the mix.

    4: Add sauces and seasonings. Stir in light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, oyster sauce, and sugar. Coat each piece of pork with the sauce mix.

    5: Toss in vegetables. Add your chopped veggies and stir-fry for 1 minute for a crisp crunch, or 2 minutes for tender vegetables.

    6: Add the rice. Use the back of your spatula to break up the grains. Stir-fry for about 2–3 minutes and serve immediately.

Tips for the best fried rice with leftover rice

  • Avoid overcrowding your wok pan.
  • Stir-fry over high heat. This ensures that the vegetables are cooked through quickly while still being crisp, and that the rice is heated through.
  • Crispy fried rice. Let the rice rest on the bottom of your pan for a moment, to make it a bit brown and crispy.
  • Prep ahead. Make sure all your ingredients are prepped and ready to toss in the pan, because you have to stir-fry at high pace.

Kitchen tools

  • Cutting board & chef’s knife
  • Non-stick wok and spatula
  • Measuring spoons & cups

Variations

  • Switch up the protein: Use chicken, beef, shrimp, or other protein. Make sure to adjust the cooking time accordingly.
  • Use other vegetables: Baby corn, bell peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, pineapple chunks, spinach, bok choy, or others.
  • Add nuts: Add cashews or peanuts for a nutty flavor and a crunchy texture.

How to serve

Serve your stir-fried rice for lunch or dinner and garnish it with greens, add chilies, or even pair it with a spicy Thai table condiment like prik nam pla.

Optional garnishes

  • White pepper or black pepper
  • Thai chili flakes: Sprinkle with red chili flakes or add sliced chili peppers to add spice.
  • Fresh herbs: Garnish with a generous amount of cilantro or chopped green onions.
  • Lime juice: A squeeze of fresh lime juice before serving adds a zesty flavor.

How to store and reheat leftover rice

Let your fried rice cool down to room temperature. Transfer it to an airtight container and store it in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Freezing instructions: Transfer to a freezer-safe container or bag and freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight.

Reheating instructions: Reheat in the microwave or stir-fry until warm. If needed, add a splash of oil or water.

Frequently asked questions

Why is my fried rice not crispy?

If your fried rice isn’t crispy, it may be due to excess moisture in the rice. Use day-old rice and make sure not to overcrowd your pan. While cooking, let the rice rest on the bottom of your pan for a brief amount of time to make it crisp.

What’s the best rice for fried rice?

Jasmine rice is considered the best for authentic Thai fried rice due to its fragrant aroma and slightly sticky texture when cooked. Make sure to use day-old rice.

What’s the secret to restaurant-style fried rice?

The secret is stir-frying over high heat, using day-old rice, and the right combination of sauces for that perfect balance of savory, sweet, and umami flavors.

Is this recipe gluten-free?

No, this recipe contains soy sauces which typically contain gluten.

More Asian rice recipes you’ll love

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Easy Fried Rice With Leftover Rice Recipe

Close-up of leftover rice with fried rice in a black pan, with another fried rice dish in the distance.
Fried rice with leftover rice is a quick and easy weeknight dinner perfect for the family.
Praew
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Cuisine Thai
Course Main Course
Serving Size 3

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 clove garlic chopped
  • 1 cup pork thinly sliced
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1 cup carrot diced
  • 1 cup onion diced
  • 3 cups rice leftover rice
  • 1/2 cup green onions

Instructions

  • Mince the garlic and chop your green onions. Dice all vegetables into bite-sized pieces for even cooking.
  • Place a non-stick wok over high heat. Once hot, add oil followed by the garlic. Sauté until fragrant and golden.
  • Toss in your pork and stir-fry until it’s cooked.
  • Move everything to one side, crack the eggs into the open space and scramble them. Bring the pork back into the mix.
  • Stir in light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, oyster sauce, and sugar. Coat each piece of pork with the sauce mix.
  • Add your chopped veggies and stir-fry for 1 minute for a crisp crunch, or 2 minutes for tender vegetables.
  • Add the rice. Use the back of your spatula to break up the grains. Stir-fry for about 2-3 minutes and serve immediately.

Notes

  • Use the nutrition card in this recipe as a guideline.
  • Feel free to use your favorite protein or customize with your choice of vegetables.

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