If you’re looking for a Panda Express Fried Rice Recipe, you’ve come to the right place! This is the perfect recipe to whip up using leftover chicken, ham, or bacon! A staple of Chinese food, this easy recipe comes together in just ten minutes!
It’s way easier than you think to make restaurant quality Chinese Fried Rice! This popular side dish just requires leftover rice, leftover meat, fresh or frozen vegetables, and eggs. This copycat Panda Express Fried Rice can also be a complete meal in and of itself, seeing as it has almost all four food groups!
(If you don’t have leftover meat, you can cook some, or just use some lunchmeat ham. You also could use leftover stir-fried vegetables in this dish).
What kind of rice do Chinese restaurants use for fried rice?
Traditionally, Chinese restaurants use medium or short-grain white rice. Because this recipe uses leftover rice and is so versatile, you can really use any type of rice, like brown rice, jasmine rice, basmati, etc. However, short-grain rice will clump together and will be harder to break apart when it is cold.
Do you use hot rice or cold rice for fried rice?
Cold rice is a must for this recipe. That’s why you want to use leftover cooked rice that has been chilled in the refrigerator.
Especially if you use short-grain rice, the rice must be cold. Otherwise, it will be too mushy as you mix it in with the rest of the ingredients.
I have made this with hot, fresh rice before, and you certainly can do it. (There are no fried rice police who will bust into your home if you use fresh hot rice instead of leftover cold rice).
If you do use hot rice, I do recommend a medium or long-grain variety so it won’t stick together.
If you use leftover cold short-grain rice (like I always do, since I always make Japanese rice), it’s easiest to break up the rice with your hands before adding it to the pan with the other ingredients.
How to cook rice for fried rice
Just cook your rice of choice normally per the instructions on the box or bag. If you want to use Japanese rice, I have a great tutorial for you that teaches you how to do it both in a rice cooker and on the stove.
Ingredients for Chinese Fried Rice
- Cooked cold rice
- Vegetables (like diced carrots, peas, green pepper, green onion, etc.)
- Cooked meat (like diced ham, chicken, or bacon)
- Vegetable oil
- Soy sauce
How to make Chinese Fried Rice
This is super easy, guys. Everything goes very quickly, so it is important that you have all your ingredients prepped and on hand before starting.
- First, add some oil to a large pan on medium-high heat. Add your vegetables of choice and stir until tender-crisp. (You can use a frozen vegetable mix if desired, like the one with diced carrots, peas, corn, and green beans).
2. Push the vegetables to one side and crack 2-3 eggs on the other side. Scramble the eggs on that side of the pan, trying not to mix in with the vegetables. (If you want, you can crack the eggs into a small bowl beforehand and mix them together before pouring them into the hot pan. This eliminates the possibility of accidentally getting egg shell in your fried rice).
3. Add the meat and stir everything together.
4. Add more oil if necessary and then add in all the rice and some soy sauce. You can vary the amount of soy sauce according to your taste. (I do recommend low-sodium soy sauce).
5. Stir together until everything is evenly-distributed, and you are done!
Fried rice variations
This recipe is super versatile. You can add in all kinds of leftovers and other ingredients.
I will often add some ginger powder. I’ve seen others use anchovy paste, sesame oil, and oyster sauce.
You can add shrimp, or leave the meat out entirely for a vegetarian option. Leave out the eggs for a vegan option.
Basically, anything goes here. Experiment and have fun!
What to eat with fried rice
There are so many great dishes that go perfectly with fried rice! Here are my favorites to make a full Chinese spread!
Sweet and Sour Pork (you can also use chicken)
- 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil, divided
- 1 large carrot, diced
- 1/2 cup peas (fresh or frozen)
- 1/4 cup green pepper, chopped
- 2 green onions, chopped
- 1 cup ham, chicken, or bacon, cooked and chopped or cubed
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
- 4 cups cooked, cold rice (any variety)
- Put a large skillet on the stove over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil.
- When oil is hot, add all the vegetables and stir-fry until tender-crisp.
- Push the vegetables to one side of the pan and then crack the eggs on the other side. Scramble the eggs, trying not to mix them in with the vegetables.
- Add the meat and stir everything together.
- Add the other tablespoon of vegetable oil to the center of the pan. Add the four cups of cold rice along with 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce.
- Stir everything together until all the ingredients are evenly distributed. Garnish with extra fresh green onions if desired and serve.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 313Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 95mgSodium: 738mgCarbohydrates: 34gFiber: 2gSugar: 2gProtein: 17g