Craving Chinese but don’t want to go out? Make Panda Express fried rice at home!
This copycat recipe is better than takeout! With just a few simple ingredients, you can make this family favorite right at home.
Panda Express Fried Rice
Who doesn’t love a delicious serving of Panda Express fried rice? Luckily, you don’t need to step outside your house to enjoy this sizzling favorite!
With a few simple ingredients and steps, you can whip it up right at home.
It’s easy to get this party started. If you have rice, eggs, and veggies, you’re halfway there. And the magic these basic items create when mixed together is to die for!
Just a quick tip here: leftover rice works wonders. This is a wonderful way to repurpose last night’s dinner.
The star of the dish is the combo of soy sauce and sesame oil. They bring the “Panda Express” feel right into your kitchen. The fragrance alone will have your mouth watering!
After a few quick stirs, you have a mouthwatering bowl of fried rice! It’s as if you’ve just walked into a Panda Express restaurant.
You only need a few ingredients to make Panda Express fried rice:
- Long-Grain Rice – Any long-grain rice you have on hand will work well. And as mentioned, leftover rice gives that perfect day-old rice feel Panda Express masters.
- Water – For cooking the rice.
- Eggs – Scrambled up and chopped into small bits, they bring protein and a delightful texture contrast.
- Butter – It adds richness to the dish.
- Vegetables – Peas, carrots, and white onion are a colorful trio, adding crunch and sweetness. Feel free to throw in any leftover veggies. The more, the merrier!
- Seasonings – Soy sauce and sesame oil bring the quintessential Asian flavor.
- Salt and White Pepper – Add it to taste.
- Green onion – The finishing touch that adds a fresh pop of color and flavor.
How to Make Panda Express Fried Rice
Ready to whip up some fried rice? Here’s what you need to do:
- Cook the rice. If you have leftover rice available, skip this step. If not, boil the water, add the rice, and stir to prevent clumping. Once done, reduce the heat, cover the saucepan, and let it simmer for 20 minutes.
- Let the rice cool. Move the cooked rice to a large bowl and set it aside for later use. It needs to cool down a bit.
- Scramble the eggs. Melt a tablespoon of butter in a skillet and scramble the eggs. After cooking, chop the eggs into small, pea-sized bits.
- Stir the eggs in with the vegetables and rice. Ensure the chopped eggs, thawed vegetables, and cooked rice are all mixed together.
- Fry the rice. In the same skillet, melt the remaining butter over medium heat. Once it’s ready, add the rice mixture to the skillet and stir.
- Add the soy sauce and sesame oil. Evenly drizzle this mixture over the rice while continuing to sauté.
- Cook the rice mixture for approximately 6 to 8 minutes. Be sure to consistently stir and turn the rice until it attains a light brown color.
- Season the rice. Season the fried rice with white pepper and table salt. Adjust to your taste preference, and then remove it from the heat.
- Garnish and serve. Transfer the fried rice to a serving dish and garnish it with diced green onions. Enjoy!
Recipe Tips & Tricks
If you’re looking to make the best fried rice possible, follow these tips:
- Save yourself a step. Get all your ingredients chopped and measured before you start stir-frying. This will save you from any last-minute scrambling. (Except for the eggs, of course!)
- Don’t beat the heat. Turn the heat up for that stir-fry! It gives your rice a smoky flavor and saves it from getting soggy.
- Show veggies some love! Just a quick stir-fry to heat them through will do the trick. No one likes mushy peas and carrots.
- Season to your heart’s content. A little more soy sauce, sesame oil, or salt and pepper? You decide!
Want to try something different? Give these variations a go:
- Make it vegan. It’s totally doable! Swap out eggs for crumbled tofu jazzed up with turmeric, or use a plant-based egg alternative.
- Turn up the heat. Add a kick with sriracha, chili garlic sauce, or red chili flakes. Your tastebuds will thank you!
- Make it the main event. Add cubed chicken, shrimp, sliced beef, or crumbled marinated tofu. There you have it, a main course with a personality!
- Give it a flavor boost. Start with fresh garlic, ginger, and onion. Finish with fish sauce and mirin.
- Try a healthy twist. Opt for brown rice instead of white. It’s a nutrient-packed alternative that packs a fiber punch.
- Dial down the sodium. Swap regular soy sauce for a low-sodium variety.
What to Serve with Fried Rice
This copycat fried rice is just the beginning. Pair it with our other Panda Express-inspired dishes. Try out these delicious recipes:
How to Store & Reheat
Full disclosure: I never have leftovers when I make this fried rice recipe. It’s just too good. I end up having it for dinner and a late-night snack.
But if you do have leftovers, here’s how to store them
To store in the fridge:
- Let the fried rice cool completely.
- Transfer it to an air-tight container.
- Store it in the fridge for 5-7 days.
To store in the freezer:
- Let the fried rice cool completely.
- Cover the dish and refrigerate it for 1 hour.
- Transfer the rice to a freezer-safe bag or box.
- Label with the date and freeze for up to 3 months.
When you’re ready for round two, let it thaw in the fridge overnight and reheat. Voila, another delicious meal is ready to roll!
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