Leftovers Fried Rice is just that—a great way to use leftover rice, protein like chicken, beef, or pork, and any leftover vegetables you have. This is especially handy during the Christmas. Thanksgiving and Holiday season when there are a lot of leftover ingredients.

Fried rice using leftover vegetables and chicken in a black bowl

This super easy rice recipe takes just 5 minutes to turn a few simple ingredients into an amazing side dish or easy dinner main dish. It could not be easier to make because in this particular case, the ingredients are already cooked (aside from the onion and beaten egg, but they take just a couple of minutes to cook).

This is one of those dishes that you can add whatever you have in your fridge to use up. Leftover roast chicken, turkey, beef, pork or even ham. The veggies you can add are endless and leftover Christmas leftover veggies are perfect in this.

A closeup of colorful green and orange vegetables in fried rice

For the flavor addition, I like to use a mix of soy sauce, toasted sesame oil and vegetable or chicken stock/broth. The reason I add the stock is to dilute the soy sauce to eliminate some of the salt, yet still retain the flavor. Plus, the sesame oil adds an extra layer of flavor.

The best fried rice starts with the best leftover rice

I’ve learned a couple of good tips to achieve the best fried rice. Use day-old rice, allow to dry-out before cooking and cold, not room temperature rice is better as the cold rice is dryer and will fry better rather than steam if moisture is present.

To dry out the rice, spread in an even layer on a sheet pan/tray.  Place in the fridge, uncovered overnight. 

Another preparation that will achieve perfect fried rice is to separate the rice grains before cooking. You can do this by adding a little oil to your hands and separating the rice grains.

These preparation steps are not mandatory, but they do help to achieve the best results.

An overhead view of a bowl of vegetable fried rice

The amount of protein and vegetables to add is up to how many leftovers you have and how loaded you like your fried rice. If you have multiple leftover proteins, mix-it-up and add them all.

Type of rice to use for fried rice

White rice like short grain, long grain, basmati, Jasmine rice or brown rice all will work. Short grain rice has more starch so it may clump and stick together more than the others. If you have leftover takeout rice (takeaway rice), this is perfect too!

Best pan for cooking fried rice

A large wok is what works best for heat distribution and the shape helps for ease of tossing and mixing . If you don’t have a wok, use an enameled cast iron pan. The non-stick surface will prevent the scrambled egg from sticking. Make sure to scrape any browned bits of rice off the bottom of the pan.

Optional additions to fried rice

Red or green bell peppers, spicy peppers, green onions/scallions, sesame seeds, bok choy, 

Make it low carb fried rice

Substitute the rice for cauliflower rice. Cauliflower has a lot of moisture so the drying out step will really be a benefit to the recipe.

Yield: 4

Leftovers Fried Rice

Green beans, carrots and peas in rice

5 minute fried rice with vegetable and chicken leftovers.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes


  • 3 cups (240 grams) leftover cooked rice * see note
  • 4 tablespoons oil of your choice
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped small
  • 3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable or chicken stock
  • Leftover veggies (green beans, carrots, peas) * see note
  • Leftover chicken, beef or pork/ham or seafood, cut into bite-size pieces
  • Green onions/scallions, chopped for garnish


  1. To a large frying pan (wok, or enameled/non-stick cast iron pan) over medium heat add the 2 tablespoons of oil. When hot add the eggs and stir quickly to scramble, do not brown. Remove to a bowl immediately. Wipe out the pan.
  2. Add more oil to the pan over medium-high heat. When hot, add the onion and cook, stirring often until just starting to soften. Add the rice to the pan in a single layer and allow to fry for a minute, stirring a couple of times. Combine the soy sauce, sesame oil and stock/broth. Drizzle all over the rice and stir quickly so each grain absorbs the flavors. Stir in the leftover vegetables, protein and scrambled egg.
  3. Serve immediately garnished with green onions/scallions.


* Dry the rice out by spreading onto a baking sheet/tray and refrigerate uncovered overnight to dry out. Right before cooking, lightly coat your hands in oil and separate the grains. This is not mandatory, but ensures the rice fries better to remove moisture.

* The amount to add is up to you depending on how loaded you like your fried rice.

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 365Total Fat 19gSaturated Fat 2gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 16gCholesterol 101mgSodium 462mgCarbohydrates 38gFiber 1gSugar 2gProtein 10g

This nutrition calculation is provided by Nutronix that is only a guideline and not intended for any particular diet.