Soy Sauce Fried Rice (酱油炒饭)

5 from 9 votes
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Soy sauce fried rice is simple yet indulgent. It is a classic Chinese dish that uses minimal ingredients to create maximum flavor. Only takes ten minutes to prepare, and it’s robust enough to serve as a main or to satisfy your midnight salty snack craving.

Fried rice with eggs and green onions

Soy sauce fried rice is a classic. It is not just another fried rice. It’s a signature of Chinese cooking, as it uses pretty minimal ingredients to create a wonderful flavor. It uses simple ingredients such as butter, soy sauce, tons of green onions, and eggs to turn your leftover stale rice into a feast.

Traditional soy sauce fried rice uses animal fat (lard or chicken fat) instead of oil to create the best taste. However those animal fats are less commonly used in the US. That’s why I altered the recipe to use butter while maintaining the best taste.

Soy sauce fried rice in a pan

Ingredients

It only takes a few ingredients to make a great soy sauce fried rice. But here are some important notes.

Overnight (leftover) rice

Overnight rice is not the most precise description. The best rice is 2 to 3 days old.

Freshly cooked rice contains a lot of moisture and its texture is sticky. It tastes great served as-is, but it won’t create the best result for fried rice.

When the rice is a few days old, it will start to get quite dry. You can easily separate the grains using your fingers without it feeling sticky. It is the best rice for frying, to get that crunchy crispy texture. Sometimes I freeze the rice and then thaw it, to achieve the desired texture for fried rice.

Dark soy sauce

It’s a dark-colored soy sauce that has a thicker texture and lightly sweet taste. It’s the key to the beautiful caramelized color of soy sauce fried rice.

Butter

It adds tons of flavor to the rice and it’s important. The next best choice is premium peanut oil with some sesame oil, but I still prefer the taste of butter. 

If you want to get a super authentic taste, consider using chicken fat, duck fat, or lard. Epic and Fatworks both produce premium high-quality fats. You can find both on Amazon (Chicken Fat by Fatworks & Duck Fat by Epic).

Prep

Before turning on your stove, your kitchen counter should look like this.

Ingredients for making fried rice

Cooking process

  1. Lightly scramble the eggs until the bottom is cooked but the top is still runny, so some of the eggs will coat the rice.
  2. Add the rice and cook.
  3. Drizzle in the soy sauce mixture.
  4. Add the green onions and mix well.
Cooking soy sauce fried rice step-by-step

NOTE: It’s important to heat up your pan really well and cook the rice thoroughly, so the moisture evaporates and the surface of the rice crisps up. If you’re using very stale rice, you will achieve a great texture more quickly. If you’re using fresher rice, it might take longer to fry the rice to achieve the desired texture.

Soy sauce fried rice close-up

How to DIY your soy sauce fried rice

Sometimes you might want to throw in some protein or veggies to make your fried rice into a full meal. Here are some great options:

  • Leftover ham, rotisserie chicken, roast beef, cooked shrimp
  • Diced peppers, onions
  • Frozen veggies such as green peas, corn, and carrots

You can add these ingredients right before you drizzle in the soy sauce mixture (Between step 3 and 4 in the recipe). 

NOTE: Making good fried rice is like choosing pizza toppings – less is more. You don’t want to add too many things that dilute the taste and texture of the fried rice. I would say only add a small handful of other ingredients (no more than 1 cup if combining everything you add). You’d be surprised how large the final volume will be. 

Fried rice in a bowl

Afterthought

I serve soy sauce fried rice on rare occasions at home. But not because I don’t like it that much. Quite the opposite, I LOVE it so much that I’d eat the whole pan myself! Yep. It’s THAT good. It’s not the healthiest thing to do, but I enjoy every moment when devouring every bit of the fried rice directly from the frying pan. 

More restaurant-style Chinese recipes

If you give this recipe a try, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it (once you’ve tried it), and take a picture and tag it @omnivorescookbook on Instagram! I’d love to see what you come up with.

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Soy Sauce Fried Rice (酱油炒饭) | Simple yet indulgent, it’s a classic Chinese takeout dish that uses minimal ingredients to create maximum flavor. Only takes ten minutes to prepare, and it’s robust enough to serve as a main or to satisfy your midnight salty snack craving.

Soy Sauce Fried Rice (酱油炒饭)

5 from 9 votes
Soy sauce fried rice is simple yet indulgent. It is a classic Chinese dish that uses minimal ingredients to create maximum flavor. Only takes ten minutes to prepare, and it’s robust enough to serve as a main or to satisfy your midnight salty snack craving.
Author: Maggie Zhu
Course: Side
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: takeout
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 2 to 4

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon white pepper powder
  • 3 tablespoons butter (*see footnote 1)
  • 3 eggs , beaten
  • 4 cups overnight rice (see blog post for description)
  • 3 green onions , chopped
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

  • Combine the light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, sugar, and white pepper in a small bowl. Stir to mix well.
  • Add the butter into a large nonstick skillet and heat over medium-high heat until melted. Add the eggs. Cook until the bottom is slightly set. Scramble until the eggs are mostly cooked.
  • Add the rice onto the egg. Cook and chop the rice with your spatula, to separate the grains and coat the rice with egg. Cook until the heat builds up and you can hear a vibrant sizzling.
  • Swirl in the soy sauce mixture. Cook and stir constantly, until the rice turns an even color.
  • Add the green onion and stir to mix well.
  • Carefully taste the rice. Season lightly with sea salt if needed. Stir and mix thoroughly, so the salt is evenly dispersed.
  • Transfer the rice to a bowl and serve hot as a side or a light main dish.

Notes

  1. My original recipe called for chicken fat or lard, to get the best flavor. In my latest update, I decided to use butter instead of animal fat, which is easier to find. The flavor of the rice will be slightly different but still taste rich.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving, Calories: 183kcal, Carbohydrates: 12.9g, Protein: 6.2g, Fat: 12g, Saturated Fat: 6.5g, Cholesterol: 146mg, Sodium: 786mg, Potassium: 117mg, Fiber: 0.6g, Sugar: 1.7g, Calcium: 31mg, Iron: 3mg
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Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine says:

    Fried rice was always a big favorite in my family!

    • Maggie says:

      Ours too! It’s so quick and delicious, isn’t it 🙂

  2. Helen @ Scrummy Lane says:

    I love this recipe, Maggie, and most of all the story behind it. Where do you get the fat from – do you buy it or just use the fat from cooking chicken or bacon?

    • Maggie says:

      We usually cook with the fat from roasting poultry. There are jarred lard and duck fat in the supermarket, but it’s too large for us and I’d probably end up cooking every dish with it! lol One of my favorites is duck fat. We get quite a lot every time we roast a whole duck or duck breasts. We always save them for other cooking.

  3. Kathleen | Hapa Nom Nom says:

    I like the way Thomas thinks! The lamb sounds wonderful, but I could definitely have a big bowl of this fried rice and be very, very happy for dinner!

    • Maggie says:

      Me too 😉 This is a very simple dish, but I won’t mind to serve it for dinner at all!

  4. Jeff @ Make It Like a Man! says:

    Uh … bacon fat? I’m on board. Plus, I already have most of these ingredients on-hand, which makes this very tempting. (And I love rice.)

  5. Liew says:

    This recipe looks nice and simple!
    I will try that!
    Thanks!

  6. Marin says:

    I had leftover rice, and NOTHING else in the fridge, buy pure luck I had all the ingredients, although I had fully sized white onion, not green, so I just put less of it!
    The dish is AMAZING and strong, so you feel full, although I had my doubts 🙂
    I am from Croatia and our cuisine is very fatty and strong in my part of the country so I felt at home with this one!
    Thank you for making an evening that was supposed to be just putting something in my mouth so I don’t starve into a wonderful dinner!
    I only recently discovered soy sauce and find it heavenly, I have yet to try food with it that doesn’t taste wonderful!
    I will keep trying other recipes 🙂

    • Maggie says:

      Hi Marin, I’m so glad to hear you tried out this recipe and enjoyed it! It’s a simple dish with bold flavor, isn’t it 🙂 Thanks so much for your kind words. You just made my day!
      Soy sauce is truly amazing. I hope you would try a few more Asian dishes to try out soy sauce, and discover more dishes you love.
      Hope you have a great weekend and happy cooking!

      • Danielle says:

        Hi is the bacon fat the secret ingredient that makes fried rice at the Chinese takeaway store taste so amazing???? I have been googling and trying different recipes at home but it NEVER tastes the same!?! I haven’t tried bacon fat though… I did however wander if it would work..

      • Maggie says:

        Hi Danielle, in fact Chinese restaurant usually lard. I used bacon fat because it’s easier to obtain than lard. But yes, it’s the secret ingredient that the restaurant version always tastes better than homemade. Also the restaurant version uses quite a lot of fat, which also helps.

  7. Funton says:

    5 stars
    Came out so GOOD!! First try! Thanks!😄

  8. Sebastian says:

    Dear Maggie,
    I’d like to try this recipe, but is not very clear to me what is leftover rice. Is it boiled rise that remained from a prevous dish? Or is it uncooked rise that you have around the house?
    Thank you,
    Seba

    • Maggie says:

      Hi Sebastian, by leftover rice, I mean steamed rice that was previously cooked and not used (and stored in the fridge). I prefer to use yesterday’s rice instead of freshly made rice, because the rice will be less starchy and the grains are easily separated during the cooking to produce a better result.

  9. Chris says:

    I know this is a dumb question but is it 4 cups cooked or uncooked rice? Thank you!

    • Maggie says:

      Hi Chris, it’s 4 cups cooked rice. Happy cooking!

      • chris says:

        5 stars
        Thanks for getting back to me. This recipe is amazing!!!! I can’t believe how good it is – thanks for sharing and I can’t wait to try more from your site.

  10. Jen B. says:

    Any recommended substitute for dark soy sauce? (sheltering at home) Thank you!

    • Maggie says:

      Hi Jen, you can substitute it with 1 tablespoon oyster sauce if you have any. If not, you can replace it with 1 tablespoon regular soy sauce plus 1/4 teaspoon sugar. Your rice won’t have the dark color without the dark soy sauce, but it should still taste pretty good!

  11. Amy says:

    This looks so delicious, and I can’t wait to try it!
    I don’t have dark soy sauce on hand, so I’m wondering if I can substitute kecap manis in place of the dark soy and sugar?

    Thanks!

    • Maggie says:

      Hi Amy, I’m pretty sure you can! I think the rice might taste too sweet if you use 1 Tablespoon kecap manis. Maybe only use 2 teaspoons, and 1 more teaspoon of regular soy sauce.
      Happy cooking 🙂

  12. Kim says:

    5 stars
    Recipe was excellent, however my rice waa still too moist even after days in the refrigerator. I did not steam it (no rice steamer) but thought I had followed proper directions not to fully cook. Any recommendations appreciated. Thank you for such a simple delicious recipe!

    • Maggie says:

      Hi Kim, to cook a drier textured rice for fried rice, here are a few tips:
      – Use slightly less water when you steam the rice, so it’s tougher
      – Use medium grain, long grain, or jasmine rice, which is less starchy less short grain rice
      – Once the rice is steamed, fluffy it with rice paddle and let it cool completely before put in a container for storage. It also helps to leave the container open (at room temperature) for 1 to 2 hours so the rice will dry up further more (the most important)
      – Freeze the rice and thaw it before cooking
      Any of these things above help!

  13. Clare Parker says:

    5 stars
    So I made dinner like this yesterday before seeing your recipe! I used light soy and oyster sauce to taste no other seasonings at all! I used a chopped roasted chicken breast, spring onions baby corn and frozen peas! It was honestly one of the best meals ever!
    I will make this over and over again
    The rice I used was a precooked plastic dish of supermarket long grain rice and was perfect!

  14. Kay Pea says:

    5 stars
    I love this fried rice recipe. It was one of the only things that my niece would eat when she was living with me while her mom was out of town doing COVID relief work. I usually use white onion because I never have scallions around. In my last batch I also added some chopped char siu and I thought I had died and gone to heaven.
    Thank you for the amazing recipe!

  15. Rhonda says:

    5 stars
    Such a great recipe! I added chicken, green, red bell peppers. Hubby raved! I used Basmatic rice which was already partially cooked and it worked beautifully. As a side note, I ordered some dark soy sauce as I found the Oyster sauce made it more salty (I use low sodium soy sauce).

    • Rhonda says:

      5 stars
      Oh and I forgot to say, Very Addictive!! I made this several times already and cannot get enough of it! The Dark Soy sauce worked beautifully.

  16. Mako says:

    Instead of butter my mom would start out with some chopped up bacon, to which she added diced onions … then the egg mixture. I need to get “your” soy sauce! Thanks

    • Maggie says:

      That sounds super delicious!

  17. Larry Vitor says:

    5 stars
    Great recipe. I used homemade Chinese bacon as my source of fat and protein. It really makes the rice great.

  18. Olivia B says:

    Any recipe adjustments needed to make it without egg? Or substitutes for the egg? Not vegan/vegetarian just wondering to cook it for someone who can’t have eggs

    • Maggie Zhu says:

      I think you can totally make this dish without using eggs. I would add some ground meat to further add flavors. And adding a handful of frozen veggies will give you a better texture.

  19. Pam says:

    I love fried rice and I definitely want to try and make this. Could u tell me what kind of rice you use?

    • Maggie Zhu says:

      I used Jasmine rice in this recipe. Medium grain rice also works well.

  20. Jan Doe says:

    I loved this recipe so much!

  21. Beth says:

    5 stars
    Excellent! I added thinly sliced mushrooms and bean sprouts (because why make fried rice w/o bean sprouts?) Perfect side dish for chicken and broccoli *also pretty darn good. Honestly Maggie, I’ve loved everything I’ve made from your site!

  22. Sue Leung says:

    5 stars
    I love this recipe! I would recommend this to others. I purchased all my items online with a website called Food For Foodies as I don’t have a Chinese supermarket near me. I would recommend them.
    I would also recommend using a lower salt soy sauce if you want to be healthy!

  23. Patti Jagodzinski says:

    I’ve been looking for this style recipe forever. Thank you for posting this.

  24. Katie Smith says:

    Made it with cauliflower rice, no egg, and soy free soy sauce for whole30. It was amazing.

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