Fried rice is one of those magical dishes that always saves me when I'm looking into my fridge with nothing but despair and hopelessness. More often than not, I have at least two eggs on hand, some leftover rice from a more inspired meal, and a few vegetables begging to be cooked. Some of these recipes are a little more involved, but most will set you in the right direction when your pantry is lacking, or you don't have time to produce a feast. Plus, a really good fried rice with a few sides is as acceptable a dinner-party main dish as it is a midweek rescue meal.
However you fry it, these 10 fried rice recipes are here to save the day.
Simple Thai shrimp fried rice is packed with flavor, but it doesn't require a lot of work, making it an ideal midweek dinner. With fresh lemongrass, peeled shrimp, and Thai chili paste on hand, you're already well on your way to putting this delicious and easy meal on the table.
Sure, fried rice is easy to make, but that definitely doesn't mean it's all created equal. The best fried rice should have individual grains that just barely hold together when picked up with chopsticks or a spoon. While there's nothing wrong with using day-old rice, we busted some fried rice myths and created a recipe that works just as well with fresh rice as leftover. The result is a vegetable-studded bowl you won't want to put down.
This fried rice really is a whole meal. A generous helping of blistered green beans give the dish a pop of color, and fresh basil caps it off.
Some main dishes are so good you have to start building them into your regular rotation—this is one of them. A vegetarian fried rice packed with bok choy, kale, and crispy nubs of fried rice, this also serves as a perfect side dish, but you'll definitely want to heap it on your plate.
While we don't call this a fried rice, it's certainly earned a spot on this list—and in our hearts. It's one of the easiest recipes around, calling for little more than zucchini, leftover rice, eggs, and a few sauces to build the base of flavor. It'll be ready to eat in 20 minutes or less.
Thai khao phat buu—fried rice with crab—is one of the very best ways to spotlight sweet, flaky crab meat. Before the crab, scallions and a little fish sauce are incorporated, the fragrant jasmine rice is gently seasoned with garlic and chilies. The finished dish is served with cilantro and cucumbers.
Omurice is proof that fried rice is much more than a last-minute dinner. Here, flavor-packed pork fried rice is blanketed with a fluffy omelette and topped with okonomiyaki sauce and Kewpie mayonnaise. It's a dish worthy of your fanciest dinner party.
This omurice, similar to the one listed above, is made with chicken instead of pork. The rice is fried with onion, carrot, and diced chicken and then tossed with ketchup to form a flavorful, glossy coating.
Haters of Spam, it's time you saw the light. Because, really, there are few dishes greater than kimchi and spam fried rice. The rice acts as a backdrop for the powerful acidity and funk of the kimchi, which is balanced out by the Spam's intense saltiness. The final dish is a testament to what happens when two ingredients pair in an unexpectedly perfect union.
This simple pork fried rice with shishito peppers and corn is the best case scenario for what happens when you head to the fridge on a mission to make dinner. Sometimes that results in a sad bowl of leftovers, but this one became a hit. We love the contrasting textures and flavors of the peppers and the pop of the corn kernels. Plus, it doesn't get a lot easier than this.
This post may contain links to Amazon or other partners; your purchases via these links can benefit Serious Eats. Read more about our affiliate linking policy.