Make perfect soy sauce fried rice in just 5 minutes! This recipe calls for basic ingredients and easy preparation, with pro tips to ensure consistent success every time.
What is soy sauce fried rice
Today, I’m adding another member of the Chinese fried rice family to my blog. Soy Sauce Fried Rice (Jiàng Yóu Chǎo Fàn/酱油炒饭) refers to fried rice that’s distinctively flavored with soy sauce. Among many varieties of this classic dish, I’ve chosen to introduce the most basic, vegan version which can be easily altered with extra proteins and vegetables.
Although simple, it’s by no means lacking great flavors. I particularly enjoy its simplicity which allows you to appreciate the beauty of soy sauce, one of the most widely used condiments in Chinese cuisine.
Like its cousins, such as Egg Fried Rice, Pork Fried Rice, Chinese Sausage Rice, etc, soy sauce fried rice is quick and easy to prepare, but in order to achieve the best results, certain rules must be followed. Read on to learn all the tips and tricks!
Before I explain the recipe in detail, here are some top tips to help you achieve the best result possible:
- Use slightly undercooked, refrigerated rice. Freshly cooked rice is too moist and sticky for frying.
- Keep the heat high while frying. Firstly crisp up the rice then toss constantly to heat evenly.
- Don’t overcrowd your wok/skillet. Fry in batches if making a very large portion.
- Mix the sauce beforehand and add it at the very end.
Choose white rice for this recipe. My personal favorite is jasmine rice which has mid-long grains and a perfect texture for fried rice. It’s less starchy than short-grain rice, yet not as dry as basmati rice, which isn’t commonly used in Chinese cooking.
Regardless of the rice variety, it should be cooked and cooled before frying. Slightly undercooked, refrigerated, day-old rice works best as it has a dry texture that prevents the grains from sticking together and forming a gummy mass when fried.
If you wish to take your fried rice to the next level and achieve perfect results every time, check out my blog post on Cooking Rice On the Stove. It introduces two special steaming methods that produce al dente rice with the optimal texture for fried rice.
Garlic and scallions (green onions/spring onions) play an important role in lending a subtle aroma to the rice, so it’s essential not to skip them. Be generous with the quantity, particularly garlic, to enhance the flavor even further.
Minced fresh garlic is preferable. But if it’s unavailable, use garlic powder to substitute. In this case, mix it with the sauce mentioned below.
This recipe calls for a few common condiments that are staples of any Chinese kitchen.
- Light soy sauce & dark soy sauce. Soy sauce is the single most important condiment for this dish. The light version is the source of the savory and umami taste, while the dark version acts as a browning agent and provides a subtly smoky, caramelized flavor.
- Sesame oil. It has a distinctive nutty aroma that can give any dish a flavor lift. Make sure you use the Asian version made from toasted sesame seeds, rather than the pale-colored, neutral-flavored version made from raw sesame oil.
- Sugar. Used in small quantities, it’s for balancing the salty taste of soy sauce.
- White pepper. It provides a subtle heat that adds another dimension to the flavor profile, elevating the overall taste of the dish.
- Cooking oil. Use neutral-flavored cooking oil that has a high smoking point, such as canola, rapeseed, sunflower, vegetable, soybean oil, etc. In some regional cuisines of China, lard (rendered pork fat) is also used to fry rice, providing a richer flavor.
Optional proteins & veggies
The above ingredients are all that you need for my simple version of soy sauce fried rice recipe. However, adding 1 to 2 proteins and some vegetables would make it more nutritiously balanced and even tastier.
- Scrambled eggs (vegetarian). Lightly beat the eggs and scramble them in oil then dish out. Add it when the rice is fried.
- Smoked or five-spice tofu (vegan). Cut it into small cubes. Fry with the rice.
- Cooked chicken. Cut it into small pieces. Fry with the rice.
- Ground pork/beef. See pork fried rice to learn how to prepare it.
- Shrimp. Cook it in a little oil then dish it out. Add it when the rice is fried.
Many vegetables are suitable for fried rice. Here are classic choices: peas, carrots, onion, celery, bok choy, corn, bell pepper, zucchini, broccoli, mushrooms, etc.
Although this dish is incredibly simple to cook, attention to detail is encouraged for the best result. Here are the steps and some extra tips to help you succeed.
Step 1: Loosen the rice
To save time separating the rice grains while cooking, it’s best to loosen them up a bit beforehand. You may use a fork to do so, or use your fingers (wet with a little water). Be sure to handle gently to avoid breaking the grains.
Step 2: Mix the sauce
Combine light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, and white pepper in a small bowl. Mixing them before you start cooking reduces the chance of you burning the food in a hot wok while fetching each ingredient (This rule applies to most Chinese stir-fries).
Step 3: Sizzle the garlic
Pour oil into a hot wok or skillet/frying pan then add the minced garlic. Fry over high heat until it turns slightly golden (do not burn it though). This step makes the frying oil fragrant, lending extra aroma to the dish.
Step 4: Fry the rice
First, briefly mix the rice with the garlic so that the garlic isn’t buried underneath and gets burned. Then spread out the rice into a thin layer to help dry out the grains quickly. After 20 seconds or so, stir and toss the rice to heat it further.
Step 5: Season & garnish
Once the rice becomes piping hot, pour in the sauce mixture and quickly flip and toss. As soon as the rice grains are evenly coated with a brown color, stir in finely chopped scallions and turn off the heat.
Give it a taste to see if you need extra salt. Also, if you enjoy spicy food, drizzle a little homemade chili oil over the fried rice. Enjoy the dish while it’s still warm.
Dishes to pair with
This simple soy sauce fried rice makes a great side dish to any meal. Pair it with a protein dish like Red Braised Pork Belly, Five Spice Roast Chicken, and a vegetable dish like Garlic Bok Choy, Hot & Sour Napa Cabbage.
If you add proteins and vegetables directly to this recipe (as I suggested earlier), it becomes an all-in-one meal on its own. A simple soup, such as Tomato Egg Drop Soup, would complement it well.
A: Heat the wok empty first until it becomes smoking hot. Pour in oil and swirl it around to coat a larger surface. Then start cooking following the steps. Please check out my Ultimate Wok Guide to learn how to maintain a wok which helps to protect the natural non-stick coating of your wok.
A: Yes, you can! My recipe for Soy Sauce Rice Pilaf uses raw rice and produces a similar flavor profile to this fried rice version. Have a try!
Other quick & easy dishes
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Soy Sauce Fried Rice (酱油炒饭)
- 3 cups cooked and cooled white rice - see note 1 & 2
- 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
- ½ tablespoon dark soy sauce
- ½ teaspoon sesame oil
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
- 1 tablespoon neutral cooking oil
- 4 cloves garlic - minced
- 1 stalk scallions - finely chopped
- Gently loosen the rice grains with a fork. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, mix light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, and white pepper. Set aside.
- Heat a wok/skillet over high heat until hot, then pour in oil (see note 3 if using non-stick cookware). Stir in minced garlic and fry until it turns a little golden.
- Add the cooked rice. Mix with the garlic then use a spatula to spread it into a thin layer. Leave to fry undisturbed for around 20 seconds. Then flip and toss to heat further (loosen any lumps with the spatula).
- Once the rice becomes piping hot, pour the sauce mixture over and toss well to coat the grains evenly.
- Stir in chopped scallions before removing the wok/skillet from the heat. Dish out and serve immediately.
NUTRITION DISCLOSURE: Nutritional information on this website is provided as a courtesy to readers. It should be considered estimates. Please use your own brand nutritional values or your preferred nutrition calculator to double check against our estimates.
you are my go-to for asian recipes! I made this fried rice with veggies, that i fried before the rice and seasoned with some oyster and soy sauce, and topped it with some of your chilli oil and it was yuuuum! Can’t wait to eat the left-overs tonight and will defi be making it again!
Wei Guo says
I like how you cook this dish with your own twists. And chilli oil definitely makes it even tastier!
Love your recipes
Think there is a small mistake in the ingredients list.
Should say ground white pepper not sugar
Wei Guo says
Thank you Greg for trying out my recipe and spotting the typo! I’ve corrected it.