Soy Sauce Fried Rice (酱油炒饭)

Soy Sauce Fried Rice (酱油炒饭) - A true Chinese classic. Slightly indulgent, bursting with flavor, and good enough to serve as a main, it takes just ten minutes to prep and cook |

Soy Sauce Fried Rice is a classic Chinese side dish. It’s slightly indulgent, bursting with flavor, takes just ten minutes to prep and cook, and is robust enough to serve as a main.

Before jumping into the recipe, I need to warn you – this is not a very healthy dish. If you are on a diet or if you generally choose health over deliciousness, please direct your browser elsewhere. This recipe contains animal fat, carbs, and tons of salt.

If you haven’t closed this tab by now, you understand why the dish is delicious, don’t you?

Soy sauce fried rice is a classic. It is not just another fried rice. It’s a signature of Chinese cooking, as it uses quite minimal ingredients to create a wonderful flavor. It recalls the not-so-good ol’ days, when the average household was pretty poor, but life was simple. Those were the days of the planned economy, when most families had to use government-issued tickets (liang piao) to acquire food, which included a lot of grains, a portion of oil that was never enough to last a month, and a bit of pork (the bulk of which was pure fat).

The amazing thing is, under such severe resource constraints, people could still create very hearty and delicious meals that would make your mouth water the moment you heard the name of the dish.

Such is the power and beauty of Soy Sauce Fried Rice. It’s a dish we ate growing up and still crave all the time.

Soy Sauce Fried Rice (酱油炒饭) - A true Chinese classic. Slightly indulgent, bursting with flavor, and good enough to serve as a main, it takes just ten minutes to prep and cook |

Like I suggested at the beginning of this post, this dish is far from healthy. It uses animal fat, leftover rice, tons of soy sauce, tons of green onions, and some eggs to create the BEST fried rice. I know you’re running through this in your mind: high cholesterol, sodium, and carbs.

But in my philosophy, it is totally OK to eat food like this once in awhile, as long as you’re eating healthy food the rest of the time. For example, I won’t feel guilty at all to serve and eat soy sauce fried rice for a gathering of friends, for a dinner party, during the holiday season, or as a main for lunch when I happen to have chicken or duck fat in the fridge.

Funny story. The other day, when we were cooking this dish to serve as a side for roast lamb chops, Thomas suggested, after tasting it, that we should forget about the lamb and just have rice for dinner.

Yep. It’s THAT good.

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Soy Sauce Fried Rice (酱油炒饭)

Soy Sauce Fried Rice is a classic Chinese side dish. It’s slightly indulgent, bursting with flavor, takes just ten minutes to prep and cook, and is robust enough to serve as a main.
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side
Cuisine: Chinese
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 2 to3
Calories: 773kcal
Author: Maggie Zhu


  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon white pepper powder
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons bacon fat (or chicken fat, or other poultry fat) (*see footnote 1)
  • 2 eggs , beaten
  • 3 to 4 cups leftover rice
  • 3 green onions , chopped (*see footnote 2)
  • Sea salt to taste (*see footnote 3)


  • Combine light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, sugar, and white pepper in a small bowl. Mix well.
  • Add bacon fat into a large nonstick skillet and heat over medium heat until the fat is melted. Add eggs. Cook until the bottom is slightly set.
    Soy Sauce Fried Rice Cooking Process |
  • Soy Sauce Fried Rice Cooking Process |
  • Turn to high heat and add leftover rice onto the egg. Cook and chop the rice, to separate the grains and coat the rice with egg. Cook until the heat builds up and you can hear a vibrant sizzling.
    Soy Sauce Fried Rice Cooking Process |
  • Swirl in the soy sauce mixture. Cook and stir constantly, until the rice turns an even color.
  • Add green onion, stir to mix well.
    Soy Sauce Fried Rice Cooking Process |
  • Carefully taste the rice. Season lightly with sea salt if necessary. Stir and mix thoroughly, so the salt is evenly dispersed.
  • If you like crispy and charred rice, you can turn off the heat and let the rice sit in the skillet for a minute or two. Be careful - the rice should be thoroughly cooked but not burnt.
    Soy Sauce Fried Rice Cooking Process |
  • Transfer the rice to a bowl and serve it as a side. Always serve the rice hot, or at least warm, to get the best flavor.


  1. Using animal fat is very important in this recipe. Because the the recipe is very simple, using a flavorful oil will add tons of flavor to the rice. If you don’t like the idea of using animal fat, you should at least use a high quality peanut oil, plus more eggs.
  2. Because the dish uses very few ingredients and tons of soy sauce, it will leave a raw taste of soy sauce in your mouth if you don’t use enough herbs to balance it. You should add at least 3 green onions, if not more.
  3. As I suggested in the post, this dish is qualified to serve a main. Sometimes we cook it for lunch, and serve a very simple veggie dish alongside it. In this case, you want the dish to be salty enough to taste good. You can achieve this by adding a bit more soy sauce, but you also need to add a bit more green onion to balance it. Or you can add a bit of salt. To make the dish look more appetizing and darker in color, you can gently add more dark soy sauce.


Serving: 226g | Calories: 773kcal | Carbohydrates: 151.6g | Protein: 14.5g | Fat: 10.3g | Saturated Fat: 1.9g | Sodium: 914mg | Potassium: 290mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 2.2g | Vitamin A: 150IU | Vitamin C: 4.1mg | Calcium: 70mg | Iron: 8.5mg


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Meet Maggie

Hi I'm Maggie Zhu! Welcome to my site about modern Chinese cooking - including street food, family recipes, and restaurant dishes. I take a less labor-intensive approach while maintaining the taste and look of the dish. I am originally from Beijing, and now cook from my New York kitchen.

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15 thoughts on “Soy Sauce Fried Rice (酱油炒饭)

    1. Maggie Post author

      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.

  1. Marin

    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 🙂

    1. Maggie Post author

      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!

      1. Danielle

        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..

      2. Maggie Post author

        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.

  2. Sebastian

    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,

    1. Maggie Post author

      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.