Leftover Ham Fried Rice with Pineapple

5 from 5 votes
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Turn your leftover ham into a quick meal that tastes better than Chinese takeout. Learn all the secrets to creating the best fried rice without a wok. {Gluten-Free}

Ham fried rice close-up

A couple of weeks ago we developed the Asian pineapple glazed ham recipe for this year’s Christmas. Afterwards, we ended up with tons of leftovers and started to develop recipes using the leftover ham. So far, we’ve made ham banh mi sandwiches, ham ramen, and ham pineapple fried rice. I have to admit, I’m enjoying the leftover ham dishes even more than I enjoyed the ham!!

Today I want to share this super quick and easy ham fried rice, along with all the secrets to making the best fried rice with the easiest setup. Here we go!

Ham fried rice with peppers

How to make the best ham fried rice

Ingredients you need

The good news is, you only need a few ingredients to make ham fried rice and you probably already have most of them in your pantry.

I placed the ingredients in separate bowls for this picture to make the ingredients clear. But when you’re prepping for the cooking, you can group certain ingredients together. Not only does it make clean-up easier, but it also simplifies the cooking process, too.

For example, in this recipe you can combine the pineapple juice and soy sauce in the same bowl. And place the ham and pineapple on the same plate. Because you’ll add them at the same time.

Ingredients for fried rice

Less is more

When it comes to fried rice, less is more. You want just enough meat and veggies to spice up your fried rice. You don’t want too much veggies in the fried rice, because they release moisture and can make your rice soggy. Also, refrain from adding too much meat. You want a well-balanced fried rice with crispy bits of ham, not a stir-fried ham dish.

How to cut ingredients for fried rice

It’s important to cut the ingredients into small, even bites, so everything blends with the rice to create a good mouthfeel.

To further simplify the recipe, you can use 1/2 cup of frozen veggies (a mix of peas, carrots, and corn) to replace the peppers.

How to cut veggies for fried rice

Why overnight rice

It’s important to use day-old (or a couple of days old) rice because that rice contains less moisture and the texture is less starchy after storing it in the fridge. It will lead to crispy and chewy fried rice, not a soggy and mushy one.

Do not stir too much

One of the biggest mistakes of fried rice is stirring too much. It’s funny that even though the process is called “stir-fry”, you should actually not do much stirring.

After adding the ingredients, you want them to cook in the pan for a while without moving anything. So the ham will be properly browned and the veggies properly seared. It’s even more important for the rice. By toasting the rice longer in the hot pan, it helps to evaporate the moisture from the rice and form crispy bits on the bottom.

You don’t need a wok

Chinese restaurants use a super powerful gas stove and wok to make fried rice, which requires constant stirring. But when you cook in a home kitchen, you use a way less powerful stove (sometimes an electrical stove). That’s why I prefer to use a large skillet instead of a wok, to make the pan contact the stove and retain heat better. I also prefer to use a nonstick pan for fried rice. Because rice is quite starchy and can easily stick to the pan. If you use a cast iron or carbon steel pan, you’ll need to use more oil to prevent the rice from sticking.

More oil is the key

If you pay attention, you’ll find that restaurant fried rice is quite greasy. Every single grain of rice is coated with oil. That’s why it tastes great.

When you cook fried rice, it’s important to use a bit more oil to crisp up the rice without it tasting dry.

How to cook ham fried rice

(1) Caramelize the ham and pineapple in a hot pan.

(2)  Cook it with bell peppers for a few seconds and remove everything from the pan. It’s important to clear the pan, so the rice gets properly crisped and the veggies are not overcooked.

(3) Fry some garlic. Be careful not to burn the garlic. Your pan will be hot and it will take like 2 seconds to do this.

(4) Toast the rice.

PRO TIP: To toast the rice properly, you should break it up with a spatula then mix it with the oil (sometimes I add some more oil to it). Then you need to leave the rice in the pan to sear, and stir only very occasionally. Depending on your rice, the cooking time can vary a lot. For example, if using very stale and tough rice (the grains separate easily when fluffed with a spatula or by hand), you’ll need less cooking time. But if the rice still feels sticky, you’ll need more cooking time to cook the moisture out of the rice.

(5) Scramble the eggs.

PRO TIP: I let the eggs cook on one side of the pan until half-cooked, then scramble everything together. So you get bigger egg bites and some of the rice is coated with egg.

(6) Add the soy sauce and pineapple juice.

PRO TIP: I make a well in the center of the pan and add the mixture. The hot pan will cause the liquid to evaporate a bit before mixing and prevent the rice from turning soggy.

(7) Mix everything.

(8) Add back the cooked ham and veggies and mix well.

Cooking ham fried rice step-by-step

Afterthoughts

I can’t believe I wrote such a long post for a simple fried rice recipe. But hey, I hope you can make some great ham fried rice and enjoy it as much I do!

Happy cooking and don’t forget to leave me a comment to let me know how your fried rice turns out!

Leftover ham fried rice in a pan

More quick & easy 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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Leftover Ham Fried Rice with Pineapple | Turn your leftover ham into a quick meal that tastes better than Chinese takeout. Learn all the secrets to creating the best fried rice without a wok. {Gluten-Free}

Leftover Ham Fried Rice with Pineapple

5 from 5 votes
Turn your leftover ham into a quick meal that tastes better than Chinese takeout. Learn all the secrets to creating the best fried rice without a wok. {Gluten-Free}
Author: Maggie Zhu
Course: Main, Side
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: takeout
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 2 to 4

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons pineapple juice
  • 3 tablespoons peanut oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 1 cup leftover ham , diced
  • 1/2 cup pineapple , diced
  • 1/2 bell pepper , diced (yields about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 cloves garlic , minced
  • 3 cups cooked rice overnight long grain rice
  • 3 eggs , beaten
  • Salt , to taste

Instructions

  • Mix the soy sauce and pineapple juice together in a small bowl.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of oil to a large nonstick pan and heat it over medium-high heat until hot. Add the ham and pineapples. Cook, stirring occasionally, until caramelized, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Add the bell peppers. Stir a few times to mix well, then transfer everything to a plate and set aside.
  • Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of oil and the garlic into the skillet. Stir a few times to release the fragrance. Add the rice and spread it out with your spatula. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the rice is lightly toasted.
  • Move the rice to one side of the pan and add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of oil to the other side of the skillet. Add the beaten eggs onto the oil. Let it cook until the bottom sets, 30 seconds. Scramble a few times until most of the eggs are cooked but some parts are still runny. Mix the rice into the egg, chopping and stirring to mix everything together.
  • Move the rice to the edge of the pan to make a well in the center. Pour the soy sauce and pineapple juice into the center. Let it cook for a few seconds to evaporate the liquid. Stir everything together until the rice is evenly coated with the seasonings. Let it cook, stirring occasionally, until the moisture is cooked off.
  • Add the cooked ham mixture back into the pan. Stir everything together. Taste the rice. Add a pinch of salt and mix again, if needed.
  • Serve hot as a main dish.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving, Calories: 388kcal, Carbohydrates: 44.8g, Protein: 14.2g, Fat: 16.7g, Saturated Fat: 3.8g, Cholesterol: 142mg, Sodium: 1166mg, Potassium: 287mg, Fiber: 1.7g, Sugar: 4.1g, Calcium: 48mg, Iron: 3mg
Did You Make This Recipe?Don't forget the last step! Tag me @OmnivoresCookbook and #OmnivoresCookbook on Instagram!
Leftover Ham Fried Rice with Pineapple | Turn your leftover ham into a quick meal that tastes better than Chinese takeout. Learn all the secrets to creating the best fried rice without a wok. {Gluten-Free}

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Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. Jihad Bilal says:

    5 stars
    If you want to clear up your refrigerator from leftovers, this is the recipe you want to use. About every two weeks, I use every thing I have saved but never used to make this recipe. You cannot go wrong because anything you use here works fine. I have used turkey meat, rotisserie chicken meat (from Costco), BBQ steaks, you name it. As Maggie says, just cut everything in small sized cubes.

    Excellent recipe that is very tasty and in the meantime to clear up your refrigerator.!!!

    Thanks Maggie.

  2. Makeelee says:

    5 stars
    Excellent recipe with clear instructions. My only comment and recommendation is to use dark soy sauce instead of regular soy sauce. Dark soy sauce has a little sugar in it and it will stick to the pan, but it gives this dish (and many others) a better presentation and darker veneer that is often seen in restaurant dishes.

  3. Nikki says:

    5 stars
    Really nice recipe, full of flavour and easy to make.

  4. Deven Kinkead says:

    5 stars
    This looks like what I’m looking for and it looks amazing. I’m cooking this tonight. Someone closed to me used to make us ham fried rice with pineapple all the time. I’ve tried many fried rice recipes with soy sauce and I find that the soy sauce tends to be overpowering. Which is strange as when we out out and get fried rice at restaurants, I never taste the soy sauce. (Obviously I’m not a huge fan). Is there something I’m doing wrong? Or perhaps not getting the right brand of soy sauce?

    • Maggie says:

      Hi Deven, I think Chinese restaurant usually does not use as much soy sauce or they use an array of seasonings to balance the taste (same like my mom’s cooking, she mainly use salt to season and only adds a small amount of soy sauce to add umami). After living in the US, I gradually increase the soy sauce amount in my recipes somehow because that’s a common way of cooking here and many of my readers expect the taste. I used quite a bit soy sauce in this recipe because it actually works with the sweet pineapple and the salty ham. If you’re afraid the soy sauce taste to be too strong, what you can do is to use 1 tablespoon soy sauce plus 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine (if you have any), and use salt to season the dish towards the end of the cooking. A pinch of chicken bouillon powder goes a long way too (we commonly use it for home cooking in China, but I rarely mention it here because most people don’t like the MSG in it).
      Happy cooking and I’m looking forward to hearing your feedback 🙂

  5. SLA says:

    5 stars
    Recipe was easy to follow and delicious. We’re going to try with shrimp the next time!

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