Ten Simple Fried Rice Recipes

Rice has been a staple food for nearly half of the world’s population. Originating in China over 8,000 years ago, rice cultivation spread throughout Asia and eventually reached Europe, Africa, and the Americas during the colonial era. Today, rice is grown on every continent except Antarctica due to its versatility and ability to adapt to different environments. While plain white rice may seem simple, it can be transformed into countless flavorful dishes. One of the most popular is fried rice, which has become a beloved one-pot meal enjoyed globally. The basic concept of fried rice is remarkably simple – cooked rice is stir-fried in a wok or pan with other ingredients like vegetables, meat, eggs, and soy sauce. Yet every culture has put its own spin on the classic, resulting in dozens of regional variations.

Ten Simple Fried Rice Recipes

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Here are a few quick and easy fried rice recipes from around the world. While takeout is convenient, homemade fried rice is fresher and healthier. It also allows you to customize flavors to suit your tastes. 

From Korean kimchi fried rice to Mexican fried rice with corn and black beans, keep reading for globally-inspired twists on this weeknight dinner staple.

  1. Thai Pineapple Fried Rice

This tropical twist adds sweet pineapple and zesty Thai flavors like lime, fish sauce, and red chili paste. Begin this easy pineapple fried rice dish by sautéing chicken or shrimp, then remove and cook rice according to package directions. 

Add diced pineapple, raisins, carrots, peas, and scrambled eggs to the pan. Stir in the cooked rice and seafood, then season with lime juice, fish sauce, ginger, and as much chili paste as you can handle. Top it with cashews or peanuts and fresh cilantro. The contrast of sweet pineapple against the savory and spicy rice makes this recipe truly Thai.

  1. Basic Vegetable Fried Rice

The traditional Chinese version of fried rice is made simply with leftover plain rice, eggs, soy sauce, and produce on hand. Almost any combination of vegetables works well, like carrots, peas, corn, bell peppers, mushrooms, or broccoli. 

Simply sauté the vegetables until tender, then add cold cooked rice to the pan and stir-fry everything together. Season with soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, and ginger. Finish it off by scrambling an egg or two into the rice. 

Add sliced green onions for a pop of color and freshness. This basic formula allows you to use leftovers in your fridge while delivering delicious results.

  1. Indian Curry Fried Rice 

Indian cuisine is known for its complex aromatic spice blends. This curry fried rice infuses basmati or jasmine rice with those signature flavors. Sauté onions, garlic, ginger, and your protein of choice, like chicken or chickpeas. 

Add spices like turmeric, coriander, cumin, and garam masala. Then stir in diced tomatoes and vegetables like peas, carrots, and bell peppers. Mix in the cooked rice and let it absorb the curry spices and vegetables. 

Finish with cilantro. The rice turns a beautiful golden hue and tastes like a flavorful Indian curry.

  1. Korean Kimchi Fried Rice

In Korea, kimchi is served at just about every meal. It adds a spicy, tangy kick to fried rice. Simply add chopped kimchi and its juices along with the vegetables. Scrambled eggs, green onions, and sesame oil complement the distinctive kimchi flavor. 

And you can bulk it up with leftover meat like bulgogi beef. The rice soaks up the red color of the kimchi and provides the perfect canvas for its robust flavor. Even just a spoonful of kimchi jazzes up plain white rice.

  1. Mexican Fried Rice

Think outside the box with this Mexican-style fried rice. Sauté onions, garlic, bell peppers, and corn kernels until softened—season with cumin, chili powder, and oregano. Then add cooked rice, black beans, and your choice of cooked chicken, beef, or shrimp. 

Top with sliced avocado, cilantro, lime juice, and hot sauce or salsa. The Tex-Mex flavors of this dish pair perfectly with the rice. It makes a hearty, protein-packed meal thanks to the beans and meat.

  1. Indonesian Nasi Goreng

This national dish of Indonesia is their take on Chinese-style fried rice. It contains a flavorful paste of chilies, shrimp paste, garlic, and kecap manis (sweet soy sauce). Sauté shrimp, chicken, or tofu along with the spice paste, vegetables, and cold cooked rice.

Scramble some eggs into the mix. Traditional nasi goreng is served with fried shallots, pickled cucumbers, and prawn crackers. The complex blend of sweet, salty, spicy, and umami flavors is hard to beat.

  1. Spanish Paella Fried Rice

Transform leftover paella into easy-fried rice. Sauté onions, garlic, and diced tomatoes. Add saffron, smoked paprika, and red pepper flakes. Then mix in the cold paella rice along with frozen peas. 

Fold in cooked shrimp, mussels, and calamari. The saffron rice and seafood mimic the flavors of traditional paella, while the technique becomes fried rice. Sprinkle with parsley and lemon wedges. Enjoy the tastes of Spain in one pan.

  1. Japanese Chahan Fried Rice 

Chahan is the Japanese version of fried rice, often made with leftover sushi rice. It contains carrots, onions, mushrooms, and green onions sautéed with ginger and soy sauce. Add cooked rice and scramble in eggs. 

Top with nori seaweed flakes and sesame seeds. You can also include diced spam, octopus, shrimp, or other seafood. The light flavors allow the taste of the rice to shine. It’s simple, savory, and perfect with teriyaki chicken.

  1. Chinese Egg Fried Rice

This is the quintessential Chinese fried rice with egg scrambled right into the dish. Simply beat 2-3 eggs and cook while stirring constantly to break it up into small pieces over high heat. 

Once cooked, remove the egg, then stir-fry rice, soy sauce, peas, carrots, etc. Add the egg back in at the end to evenly distribute throughout. The egg adds protein, color, and richness to the fried rice. Kids and adults alike will devour this classic version.

  1. Thai Basil Fried Rice

No Thai meal is complete without the iconic flavors of basil and chili. Infuse your fried rice with both. Sauté chicken or tofu with garlic, chilies, and basil leaves. Add cold jasmine rice and stir thoroughly to distribute the flavors. 

Finish with a squeeze of lime, fish sauce, and more torn basil. The aromatic basil permeates the entire dish. Its slight licorice taste pairs wonderfully with the lime and chilies. Feel free to add a fried egg on top too.


Fried rice is the perfect way to breathe new life into leftover rice and random vegetables in your fridge. While the basic formula is straightforward, global flavors from Thai, Indian, Korean, Chinese, Japanese, Mexican, and more cuisines can elevate it from boring to extraordinary. 

Try out these ten quick and easy fried rice recipes from around the world for an easy weeknight dinner. Your tastebuds will thank you. 

What’s your go-to fried rice recipe? Share your ideas in the comments!

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