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Easy Fried Rice With Leftover Rice Recipe

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This easy fried rice with leftover rice recipe is a budget-friendly meal perfect for a quick and easy weeknight dinner that rivals takeout. Toss in leftover pork, leftover chicken, or your favorite protein along with healthy vegetables, and you have a simple stir-fry that’s perfect for the whole family.

Close-up of fried rice with leftover rice in a black pan.

Leftover white rice is the perfect base for just about any of my fried rice recipes! Don’t forget to bookmark these reader favorites for later: the spicy tom yum fried rice, the kid-friendly chicken pineapple fried rice, and the wholesome vegetarian Thai fried rice.

In this recipe, I’ll show you how to make fried rice with day old rice that’s not only extremely tasty but also highly customizable and perfect for meal prep. If you’d prefer to skip straight to the instructions, you can do that below.

Why use day old rice for fried rice

Using day-old rice for fried rice is best because it’s drier and firmer, making it easier to stir-fry and preventing sogginess. Freshly cooked rice can be too moist, causing the fried rice to turn mushy instead of crispy and light.


If you’ve been around here a while, you know I’ve worked at several Thai restaurants and even ran my own place. Every restaurant has one thing in common – we all use day old rice for fried rice. Chilled rice grains firm up and separate easily, giving fried rice that perfect crispy and chewy texture.

Fried rice with day old rice served in 2 black dishes.

What if I don’t have leftover rice

If you don’t have leftover rice, don’t worry – you can still make some delicious fried rice!

Just spread your freshly cooked rice on a tray and let it cool down. Then, if possible, store it into the fridge for a few hours uncovered to dry out. This trick mimics the drying process of day-old rice, which is essential for reducing moisture.

In my Thai restaurant, we had one rice cooker for fresh rice and another for storing cooled, day-old rice to make fried rice. If we didn’t have leftover rice, we would spread out hot jasmine rice and let it sit to cool quickly and dry out, ensuring the perfect crispy texture for our easy fried rice.

Pork fried rice with leftover rice served in a black dish.

Leftover rice fried rice recipe

Now that you know why it’s best to use day-old rice, I’d love to share why you have to try this recipe before we dive into the instructions!

This Thai fried rice with pork recipe is perfect for meal prep. You can quickly whip it up in advance, store it in the fridge, and have lunch ready for several days. Not a fan of pork? No problem! You can easily swap out the meat for another protein with one of the many customization options after the instructions.

It’s also a very budget-friendly recipe since it uses leftover rice, and you can even toss in leftover vegetables and protein. It’s quick and easy, requiring just one pan, and is truly perfect for every home cook.

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 recipe: jasmine rice, vegetables, eggs, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, and leftover pork.
  • Pork – Choose pork tenderloin for a lean cut, or enjoy it with pork shoulder or pork butt. Make sure to slice it thinly for quick cooking, and adjust the cooking time accordingly.
  • Leftover rice – Leftover jasmine rice is your best choice for this pork fried rice with leftover pork. If you use freshly cooked rice, you can chill it to ease the stir-frying. You can try using leftover basmati rice for a variation.
  • Light soy sauce – Light soy sauce is a thin, salty condiment that’s ideal for stir-fry dishes.
  • Dark soy sauce – Dark soy sauce is a thicker, sweeter variety with a molasses-like consistency, commonly used in Southeast Asian cuisine to add rich color and depth of flavor to stews, stir-fries, and sauces.
  • Oyster sauce – Oyster sauce is a thick, savory sauce made from oyster extracts, used for adding a rich, umami depth to many dishes in Thai cuisine
  • White sugar – Sugar is essential for balancing out the savory flavor of the stir-fry sauce.
  • Carrot, onions, green onions – Feel free to use stir-fry vegetables of your choice. 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
  • Oil – For stir-fried rice, always use a neutral oil with high smoky point, like canola oil and vegetable oil.

How to make fried rice with leftover rice

  1. Prepped vegetables for fried rice: onion, green onions, carrots, and garlic.

    Step 1: Mince the garlic and chop your green onions. Dice all vegetables into bite-sized pieces for even cooking.

  2. Step 2: Place a frying pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add oil followed by the garlic. Sauté until it’s fragrant and golden, about 20 seconds.

  3. Step 3: Toss in your thinly sliced pork pieces and stir-fry until it’s almost cooked through.

  4. Eggs and cooked pork in a pan.

    Step 4: Move everything to one side of the pan, crack the eggs into the open space and scramble them. Then, combine the pork with the scrambled eggs.

  5. Pork and eggs fried in a pan.

    Step 5: Stir in light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, oyster sauce, and sugar. Mix well and make sure each piece of pork is coated with the stir-fry sauces.

  6. Step 6: Add your prepped vegetables and stir-fry for about 1 minute for a crisp crunch, or approx 2 minutes for tender veggies. It’s best to add the green onions near the end.

  7. Fried rice with leftover rice and pork ready in a pan.

    Step 7: Add your leftover rice. Use the back of your spatula to break up the grains. Stir-fry for about 2–3 minutes, mixing everything well, optionally season with white pepper and then serve immediately. Enjoy!

Kitchenware

  1. Measuring spoons and cups
  2. Cutting board and a sharp knife
  3. Non-stick wok or cast iron skillet
  4. Spatula

Tips for the best day old fried rice

Now that you know how to make fried rice from leftover rice, here are some more additional tips and tricks to ensure your dish turns out perfectly every time!

  • 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 sit undisturbed at the bottom of the pan for a few minutes to allow it to brown and develop a deliciously crispy texture.
  • 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.

Recipe variations

Clean out your fridge and use up your leftovers!

  • Switch up the protein: This fried rice recipe with leftover rice can be made with leftover chicken, beef, shrimp, or other protein. Make sure to adjust the cooking time accordingly.
  • Vegetable options: 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 with optional garnishes like white or black pepper, Thai chili flakes, freshly chopped cilantro, or green onions. A squeeze of lime juice adds zest, and pairing it with a spicy Thai condiment like prik nam pla enhances the flavors.

How to store and reheat leftover rice

Storing: Let your egg 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: Transfer the leftovers to a freezer-safe container or bag and freeze it for up to 2 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight.

Reheating: Reheat in the microwave or stir-fry until warm.

Frequently asked questions

  1. Why is my fried rice not crispy?

    If your fried rice isn’t crispy, it might be too moist. Use day-old rice, don’t crowd your pan, and let the rice sit undisturbed at the bottom for a bit to get that crispy texture.

  2. 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 chilled day-old rice.

  3. 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 flavor combination.

  4. Is this recipe gluten-free?

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

  5. What to do with leftover rice?

    Use leftover rice to make fried rice, rice pudding, or rice cakes. You can also add it to soups, use it to stuff peppers, create a rice salad, or turn it into a simple casserole.

Authentic Thai rice recipes

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Easy Fried Rice With Leftover Rice Recipe

Close-up of fried rice with leftover rice in a black pan.
This easy fried rice with leftover rice recipe teaches you how to whip up a quick, healthy stir-fry using day-old rice, protein, and vegetables.
Praew
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Cuisine Thai
Course Main Course
Serving Size 3 people

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 clove of garlic minced
  • 1 cup pork thinly sliced
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 0.5 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • 0.5 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 frying pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add oil followed by the garlic. Sauté until it’s fragrant and golden, about 20 seconds.
    2 tablespoons oil, 1 clove of garlic
  • Toss in your thinly sliced pork pieces and stir-fry until it’s almost cooked through.
    1 cup pork
  • Move everything to one side of the pan, crack the eggs into the open space and scramble them. Then, combine the pork with the scrambled eggs.
    2 eggs
  • Stir in light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, oyster sauce, and sugar. Mix well and make sure each piece of pork is coated with the stir-fry sauces.
    3 tablespoons oyster sauce, 2 tablespoons light soy sauce, 0.5 tablespoon dark soy sauce, 0.5 tablespoon white sugar
  • Add your prepped vegetables (carrots and onion) and stir-fry for about 1 minute for a crisp crunch, or about 2 minutes for tender veggies.
    1 cup carrot, 1 cup onion
  • Add your leftover rice. Use the back of your spatula to break up the grains. Stir-fry for about 2–3 minutes, add the chopped green onions near the end and mix everything well. Optionally season with white pepper, and then serve immediately. Enjoy!
    3 cups rice, 1/2 cup green onions

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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