Our Favourite Fried Rice – Delicious Leftovers

Here’s our favourite fried rice recipe. That might make it sound like we make the same fried rice every time – we don’t! This recipe is more of a procedure, than a precise recipe – customize it based on what’s in your fridge and the flavours you love the most.

fried rice with chicken
This time with chicken leftovers.

Also Read: 11 Ways to Use Leftover Bread, Freezing Leftovers – What To Freeze and What Not to Freeze, Frittata – Eggs & Leftovers

Fried rice is a dish designed to use up leftovers. In fact, it is best when you use leftover rice that’s been in the fridge for a couple of days. Because we always have different types and amounts of leftovers, the recipe will be different every time. That’s awesome – that’s the way it’s suppose to be.

I chuckle at articles and attempts to trace the origin of fried rice. I’m willing to bet that any mom that has cooked rice since the dawn of time has made fried rice with their leftovers. Cave moms who cooked rice – invented fried rice! So where ever there was rice and people cooking – I’m willing to bet there was fried rice.

Don’t get hung up on exactly what ingredients and what amounts to use – use what you got! Meat, seafood, veggies – it’s all good.

For the seasoning, we use a combo of soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame seed oil and hot pepper flakes. If we don’t have oyster sauce, I use fish sauce or hoisin sauce. I usually start with the smallest amount of soy sauce and add more as needed. The sesame seed oil adds a really nice flavour, I highly recommend it, but if you don’t have it, don’t sweat it.

leftover roast pork in fried rice
Sometimes we add meat, like this leftover pork roast and sometimes we don’t.

Recipe for Fried Rice

fried rice with chicken
Print Recipe
5 from 6 votes

Family Favourite Fried Rice

This is our family's favourite fried rice recipe. A perfect dish for using up leftover rice and various veggies in the fridge. I've listed specific types of veggies just to give you some ideas, but add or omit whatever you'd like.
Prep : 10 mins
Cook : 10 mins
Servings: 4 people


  • 2 Tbsp canola oil, divided
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 2 carrots, grated or diced small
  • 1 cup shredded cabbage
  • 1/2 cup green peas, fresh or frozen
  • 1/2 cup corn niblets, frozen or canned
  • 1 cup chopped leftover meat or seafood (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 3-4 cups cooked and cooled rice*
  • 2 tsp sesame seed oil
  • 3-4 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp sesame seeds, for garnish
  • 3 green onions, chopped for garnish


  • In large skillet or wok, heat 1 Tbsp canola oil.
  • In small dish, gently whisk 4 eggs to mix in yolk. Pour into hot skillet, stir and cook until scrambled and cooked through. Remove from pan and set aside.
  • Add 1 Tbsp canola oil to pan. Add onions, garlic, celery and carrots. Cook until softened, 3-5 minutes.
  • Add in all other vegetables and leftover meat or seafood if using and heat through, 3 minutes.
  • Add butter to pan with vegetables and melt.
  • Stir in rice.
  • Add sesame oil, soy sauce, oyster sauce and hot pepper flakes (if using) and stir well. Sauté rice for 3-5 minutes. For more crispy rice, turn heat up slightly and stir less frequently to allow rice to fry on bottom, but watch carefully.
  • Stir in scrambled eggs and heat through.
  • Adjust seasoning adding more soy sauce or hot pepper flakes as desired.
  • Garnish with sesame seeds and green onions and enjoy!


*To avoid mushy or soft rice, use day old cooked rice.
What else can you add? Just about anything you have in the fridge! 
  • chicken, pork, shrimp, beef, bacon, ham
  • tofu
  • edamame 
  • water chestnuts
  • mushrooms
  • cashews, peanuts
  • kimchi
  • bean sprouts
  • green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, sweet peppers, asparagus, etc.
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Best Rice to Use

The best rice to use is whatever leftover rice you have in the fridge! If you’re making rice from scratch so you can make this dish right away – you’re likely not going to have the best results. You risk soft, sticky fried rice.

Long grain rice, white or brown, that has been cooked and cooled for 1-3 days is ideal. You want the kernels of rice to easily separate and be on their own.

If you don’t have leftover rice or you need a little bit more rice, go ahead and cook some but cool it very well before adding to the pan. You could even spread it out on a sheet pan and put it in the freezer to really cool it off.

fried rice with chicken

What’s your family’s favourite version of fried rice?

Getty Stewart is a Professional Home Economist,  speaker, frequent media guest and writer dedicated to putting good food on tables and agendas.  She is the author of several recipe books on enjoying and preserving fruit, Founder of Fruit Share, a mom and veggie gardener. 

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