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Chicken and Shrimp Fried Rice

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An awesome one-pan dinner, in about 20 minutes.

chicken shrimp fried rice with cilantro red chopsticks

Fried rice often gets relegated to the status of semi-forgettable takeout side. A greasy add-on to the Chinese takeout order: good but not great, a nice filler or base for the “main” entrée. But a great fried rice recipe stands its own as a filling, flavorful, and satisfying dinner. This chicken and shrimp fried rice takes 20 minutes, and tastes great.

You’ll also like: Homemade Miso Soup, Spring Vegetable Farrotto, and Mixed Mushroom Risotto

peas and onion and chives on marble

A great fried rice recipe is all about technique and flavor — and old rice.

The #1 key to making good fried rice: Use day-old rice. Fresh rice has a higher moisture content, and will be harder to stir fry without it getting gummy or lumpy. Day-old rice is drier. The grains separate more easily for frying purposes.

Other than that, fried rice is really just a question of add-ins and flavor. Feel free to vary this up. If you want to make it pork fried rice, substitute that. No chicken or shrimp? No problem. Fried rice tastes good in all its variations, provided you cook it right and get a few elements correct. Specifically:

  • In addition to day-old rice, make sure you use neutral oil, such as vegetable or canola oil. Fried rice is cooked at a relatively high heat. These oils, in addition to not imparting no strange flavors, have a high smoke point.
  • Though you can vary it up, the most common vegetables in fried rice — other than the rice — are peas and diced carrots. Scallions, cilantro, onion, and mirin (you can also substitute a little sugar) add more flavor dimensions, as does a hit of sesame oil. But again, make it your own with what you’ve got.
  • If you want fried rice Right.Now. and don’t have leftover rice handy, you can approximate day-old rice by cooking rice, spreading it on a sheet pan, and refrigerating it, uncovered, for about an hour. Stir it once or twice.
  • This recipe serves four as a main course, and the leftovers will be great. You can easily halve the recipe as needed.

chicken shrimp fried rice with cilantro red chopsticks

Did you make this chicken and shrimp fried rice recipe? How did it go?

chicken shrimp fried rice with cilantro red chopsticks

Shrimp and Chicken Fried Rice

A great fried rice recipe loaded with vegetables, protein, and flavor.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Course: dinner, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: Chinese
Keywords:: chicken, coconut rice, easy, fried rice, shrimp
Servings: 4 people as a main course, 6 to 8 as a side


  • 8 cups (2 quarts) cooked, day-old rice, white or brown
  • 1/4 cup neutral oil, such as canola
  • 1 chicken breast, cut into small pieces
  • 1 medium-sized onion, diced small
  • 1 pound raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 cup peas, fresh or frozen
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced small (about pea sized)
  • 2 tablespoons mirin (can substitute 1 tablespoon sugar)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 large handful of cilantro, leaves and tender stems, roughly chopped
  • 3 scallions, dark and light green parts, sliced thin


  • Using a large skillet or wok, heat the oil over medium-high heat until shimmering.
  • Add the onion, chicken, and a large pinch of the salt. Cook until the chicken is a little more than halfway done. Add the shrimp, peas, carrots, and another pinch of salt. Continue to cook until everything has cooked and any excess moisture has evaporated. Stir frequently. If things start to stick, add another tablespoon of oil.
  • Add the rice, the rest of the salt, and mirin or sugar. Cook, stirring constantly, until heated through. Add the sesame oil. Stir, and adjust seasoning.
  • Off the heat, toss in most of the cilantro and scallions and stir to combine, reserving some of the scallions and cilantro to garnish. Serve hot.


  • Diane Frohling

    I thought you were supposed to fold a beaten egg into the stir fry. I’m going to try it without this time. Thanks for your great recipes.

    • Unpeeled

      That definitely works, too, but I find if you crack an egg directly into a clear spot in the pan, you can just scramble it up then and there well enough. (Saves a dish, too!) Hope it turns out well, and thanks so much for the kind words.

  • Jackie Underhill

    5 stars
    Such a good basic recipe for during the week!!!

  • 5 stars
    was a little surprised because I usually use soy sauce in mine but I actually liked it better this way. very good recipe.

  • 5 stars
    Delicious and very easy. Took me slightly longer than 20 minutes.

  • 5 stars
    Made fried rice for dinner and it was delicious!
    Unfortunately no leftovers for lunch tomorrow as it here was nothing left.
    Thx for the great recipe

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