Whip up this easy fried rice recipe with leftover rice in just 20 minutes. It makes an easy lunch option, and stops you feeding your leftover rice to the chickens (Just me?)
TOTAL TIME INVESTMENT: 20 MINUTES
I have a real soft spot for this quick fried rice recipe. Nary a week goes by when I don’t have it for lunch at least one day. And I have taken to cooking more rice than I actually need for dinner just so I have enough to make myself a bowl of fried rice for lunch the next day.
There was a time when the only leftover meal I would eat was lasagna. Everything else went in the bin. Then I met Mr Grumpy, and for years he would take all the leftovers to work for his lunch.
Over time though, I have become better at repurposing our leftovers and turning them into new meals. Nowadays Mr Grumpy and I fight over who gets to eat any leftovers from dinner.
What about you? Do you struggle with using up your household leftovers? To help you out, I have put together a quick guide with some suggestions for using up the most common leftovers. You can download the guide from my Resource Library by clicking the link below or by requesting the password at the end of this post.
My quick fried rice recipe with leftover rice is so easy to customise, and is really all about what I have on hand in the fridge. One thing I do stress though is that the rice must be cold. Freshly cooked rice will result in a gluggy mess in the fry pan (Not that I would know …)
So open the fridge or freezer, have a rummage, and see what you have on hand to whip up your own bowl of this super easy fried rice recipe.
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Ingredient Substitutions for this easy fried rice recipe
This fried rice recipe with leftover rice is very much about the ingredients I have on hand at the time, rather than a specific list. So it can easily be changed up according to your family preferences and the ingredients you have on hand.
- Substitute the bacon for shredded chicken, chopped up leftover roast pork or any other protein you have on hand.
- Finely sliced onion can be used in place of the spring (green) onion.
- Any frozen vegetables can be used in place of, or in addition to, the frozen corn. Frozen peas work extremely well.
- A teaspoon of ginger paste can be used in place of the freshly grated ginger. Omit the ginger if you are not a fan.
- Tamari or shoyu can be used in place of the soy sauce. Using a gluten free tamari will make the recipe gluten free.
- This is about the only recipe that I make that specifies white pepper. I really do think it makes a difference here. However you can easily use normal black pepper or simply leave it out if preferred.
Frequently asked questions about leftover rice
Rice is one of the most frequently produced leftovers in the kitchen, and also has the potential to be the most dangerous.
Rice can contain a bacteria called Bacillus cereus which is surprisingly heat resistant and which can survive the cooking process. Leftover rice needs to be cooled quickly and stored in the fridge to prevent the bacteria reproducing.
Incorrectly handled leftover rice can give you food poisoning.
Leftover rice that has been handled correctly is perfectly safe to eat. Rice can be stored for up to three days in the fridge, after which time it should be discarded.
Rice can also be stored safely in the freezer for up to three months.
Rice should be cooled as quickly as possible to discourage bacterial growth. The fastest way to cool rice is to remove it from the hot cooking container and to spread it out in a shallow container.
Transfer the cooled rice to the fridge within 1 – 1 1/2 hours after cooking to prevent bacteria multiplying.
Rice should be stored in a sealed, airtight container in the coolest part of the fridge.
Do not store rice in the fridge for more than 3 days.
To reheat leftover rice either add it to a dish during the cooking process (such as in this fried rice recipe) or simply zap it in the microwave for serving as a side dish.
Microwaving the rice may kill the bacteria, but will not remove any toxins produced by the bacteria. It is the toxins that cause food poisoning.
If your rice has been stored correctly, it is perfectly safe to microwave. If the rice is more than 3 days old, discard it.
Fried Rice Recipe With Leftover Rice: Some Final Tips
I make this simple fried rice recipe with leftover rice regularly, and it is slightly different every time. So I wanted to leave you with a few final tips that I have discovered along the way:
- This fried rice recipe works with any type of rice. I have used Jasmine, Basmatti and brown rice over time, and cannot say I have a preference for one rice variety over another.
- The rice must be cold. Hot rice will give you a gluggy mess.
- I freeze rice in 1 cup portions so I can whip up this fried rice recipe at any time.
- This recipe is sufficient for a decent lunchtime serve. It is easily scaled up by adding more of all the ingredients (and using a larger fry pan).
- I buy spring onions by the bunch, and chop the whole lot when I get home from the market as they go limp so quickly. Then I simply freeze them in old take away containers, which helps makes this recipe even quicker. I simply scoop the frozen spring onions into the fry pan with the frozen corn, where they quickly defrost.
- The beansprouts are a nice addition, but I don’t always have them in the fridge. I regularly make the recipe without them, and like it just as much.
- A sprinkle of crispy onions over your bowl of fried rice is a great way to finish off the dish. I buy tubs of crispy onions from my local Asian grocer. They are a “nice to have” not a “must have”.
Looking for more recipe ideas for using your leftovers?
One of the best resources I have found for repurposing leftovers is Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s (of River Cottage fame) book River Cottage Love Your Leftovers: Recipes for the resourceful cook. I adore this book, and pull it off my shelf regularly to turn the bits and pieces in my fridge into something useful.
You may also like:
- 60+of the Best Leftover Food Recipes to Reduce Food Waste
- 20 Minute Leftover Roasted Vegetable Frittata
- Spiced Hot Chocolate Spoons with Leftover Chocolate
- 30 Minute Leftover Mashed Potato & Corn Pancakes
Made this recipe? Tell me how it went in the comments below.
And if you loved it, please don’t forget to rate it.
Quick & Easy Fried Rice Recipe
- 2 bacon rashers finely chopped
- 4 button mushrooms sliced
- 1 spring onion (green onion) sliced
- 1/4 cup frozen corn kernels
- 1/2 teaspoon grated ginger
- 1 cup cold leftover rice
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
- 2 eggs
- 2 Tablespoons soy sauce or more if desired
- 1/2 cup bean sprouts optional
- 2 Tablespoons crispy fried onions to serve
- Place a medium fry pan on a medium heat.
- Put the bacon in the fry pan and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, allowing the fat to render from the bacon. I usually cook the bacon whilst I am preparing the other ingredients.
- Add the mushrooms to the pan. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms have softened and released their moisture.
- Add the spring onion and frozen corn to the pan. Cook for one minute, stirring, to allow the corn to defrost.
- If using the beansprouts, add them to the pan with the sweetcorn.
- Add the grated ginger to the pan and stir through the other ingredients.
- Tip the rice into the fry pan and mix it through the other ingredients.
- Scrape everything to one side of the fry pan.
- Scatter the white pepper over the pile of fried rice.
- Crack the eggs directly into the space you have created in the pan.
- Lightly scramble the eggs with a spatula directly in the pan, then cook for 2 minutes or until set.
- Scrape the cooked eggs from the base of the pan with a spatula, which should turn the cooked egg sheet into rough chunks. Cut any large chunks into smaller pieces with the spatula if necessary.
- Pull the piled rice mix from the side of the fry pan into the middle, and mix the egg through the rice.
- Drizzle the soy sauce over the rice, and stir again until incorporated.
- Serve immediately, sprinkled with crispy onions if desired.
- Any leftover rice works here. I have used Jasmine, Basmatti and brown rice over time, and they all work well.
- The rice must be cold. Store it in the fridge for at least a few hours before trying to make fried rice with it.
- I freeze rice in 1 cup portions so I can make this fried rice recipe anytime.
- This recipe serves 1. Scale up the ingredients accordingly to serve more people.
- The beansprouts are a nice addition, but not essential. Leave them out if you don’t have them.
- A sprinkle of crispy onions over your bowl of fried rice is a great way to finish off the dish, but again they are a “nice to have” not a “must have”.