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This Chicken Fried Rice recipe is faster, easier and healthier than take-out, thanks to brown rice, shredded pre-cooked chicken and colorful vegetables. Not to mention gluten-free!
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Healthier Chicken Fried Rice Recipe
I used to love getting Chinese food take-out. But what I don’t like is feeling heavy and bloated after dinner. Plus, because of the gluten in many varieties of soy sauce, the food from your local restaurant might not be gluten-free!
That’s why I prefer to make my own lighter versions of take-out favorites, including this healthy chicken fried rice. This recipe is full of fiber, protein, and nutrients from brown rice, rotisserie chicken, carrots, celery, and peas. It skips the added sweeteners and oils for a dinner that makes you feel great, not weighed down.
Plus, this dish comes together in 35 minutes with light and healthy ingredients you probably already have on hand.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
If you like Chinese take-out, you’re going to want to keep this fast chicken fried rice recipe on repeat for weeknight dinners. It’s so easy to throw together and has all the bold, salty and savory flavors of restaurant-quality fried rice, without the unhealthy ingredients.
This recipe is also very forgiving and a great way to use up extra veggies in your fridge. You can experiment with different produce, rice varieties, and even proteins to satisfy your taste buds.
What You’ll Need
There are a few important ingredients in this Chinese-inspired dinner recipe. Here’s what you’ll need to make it:
- Carrots, for color, crunch and beta carotine.
- Celery for extra texture and flavor.
- Brown rice. This is a high-fiber rice that soaks up the sauce flavor beautifully. You’ll cook it per the package direrctions, or use leftvoert rice that you have already prepared.
- Soy sauce. For gluten-free chicken fried rice, substitute tamari or coconut aminos.
- Rice wine or dry sherry. This is a slightly sweet, slightly acidic ingredient in Chinese recipes.
- Brown sugar. For a hint of caramel sweetness.
- Sesame oil. Just a bit of this potent oil adds a nice nutty flavor to the sauce.
- Chicken stock. This adds tons of flavor. You can make your own or use low-sodium store-bought stock.
- Cornstarch. A great gluten-free thickener for Chinese stir-fries and fried rice dishes.
- Eggs. These add extra protein and nice chew texture to the rice dish.
- Shredded chicken. You can use leftover cooked chicken from Lemon Herb Crockpot Roast Chicken or shredded rotisserie chicken from the store.
- Water chestnuts. These are an easy way to add extra crisp texture to the rice dish.
- Peas. This is a favorite sweet and fresh ingredient in Chinese fried rice.
How to Make Easy Chicken Fried Rice
This dish comes together in one big skillet or wok. Here’s how to bring it to life:
Prepare the rice: You can follow the package directions to cook the brown rice or use one of these 5 methods for how to cook brown rice, depending on whether you prefer to cook it on the stove or in the microwave, slow cooker, Instant Pot or rice cooker.
Make the sauce: In a small bowl or jar, combine the soy sauce, rice wine, brown sugar, sesame oil, and pepper. In a separate bowl or jar, whisk or shake together the chicken stock and cornstarch until dissolved.
Prepare the produce: Soften the sliced carrots and celery in the microwave for 2-3 minutes. Then start sauteing the carrots and celery in a large skillet.
Add the rice: Add the chicken, rice, peas, sauce, and stock mixture to the skillet with the vegetables and bring to a simmer.
Cook the eggs: When the mixture n the skillet is dry, push it all to the edges of the skillet to make an empty circle in the center. Add the whisked eggs and let them cook for a minute or two to set. Onc set, slowly start to stir the eggs, then incorporate them into the rest of the dish until combined. Top with scallions and serve hot.
How to Serve Chicken Fried Rice
With all the whole grains, vegetables, and protein, this is definitely a meal on its own. But if you want to really kick up the flavor, you might want to give it a drizzle of sauce, like one of these.
- Hot Sauce: Give it a little heat with some sriracha or try making your own Chili Sauce.
- Peanut Sauce: Making your own Peanut Satay Sauce is super simple and adds a savory richness.
- Teriyaki Sauce: Most store bought versions are not gluten free, but you cna easily make a quick batch of Gluten Free Teriyaki Sauce.
This recipe is very easy to mix and match with whatever you have on hand. Try these simple ingredient substitutions:
- Use diffrent vegetables, like diced bell pepper, onion, mushroom or asian greens like bok choy.
- Substitute soy sauce for coconut aminos or tamari for gluten-free fried rice.
- Use honey or maple syrup instead of brown sugar.
- Substitute arroroot starch for cornstarch.
- Use shrimp, tofu or beef instead of chicken for portein.
- Top the dish with hot sauce, red pepper flakes or sesame seeds for heat or crunch.
- Try a different grain, like quinoa, farro (note that farro is NOT gluten free), or wild rice. White rice works great too, though without the whole grain benefits of brown rice.
Tips for Success
This is a very easy recipe, but these tips will help keep things simple for busy nights:
- If you can, make the rice the day before. It will dry out inthe fridge and become even crispier when you make the fried rice.
- Make sure to whisk the eggs really well before adding them to the pan. There should be no visible streaks of egg white in the mixture.
- Let the pan get nice and hot before you add the ingredients. This helps keep everything crisp, not soggy.
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
This fried rice is best eaten hot, but you can store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days. It makes a healthy lunch or dinner the next day.
Can I Freeze Leftovers?
You can freeze leftover cooled chicken fried rice for up to one month. Thaw the dish in the fridge overnight and reheat in the microwave or on the stove until heated through.
Things You’ll Need
- You can use any large skillet, but I love my Anolon Nouvelle wok. I use it al the time when I make this or Egg Roll Bowls.
- I usually use Kikkoman or San-J for gluten free soy sauce. Both are good, and I will get whatever the store has or what is on sale.
- You can definitely make a big batch over the weekend and package it in meal prep containers to take to work for lunch during the week. It reheats great!
Chicken Fried Rice
- 2 cups brown rice plus water for cooking it, per package directions (or 3 3/4-4 cups cooked brown rice)
- 1/4 cup soy sauce, gluten free soy sauce or tamari, if needed
- 1/4 cup rice wine or dry sherry
- 2 tsp brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp sesame oil
- 1/8 Tbsp black pepper
- 1/4 cup chicken stock or broth
- 1 Tbsp cornstarch
- 2 large eggs
- 3 medium carrots, sliced
- 3 ribs celery, sliced
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup cooked shredded chicken or leftover rotisserie chicken
- 1/2 cup water chestnuts
- 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
- Green onions, thinly sliced for garnish, if desired
- Hot sauce for serving, if desired
- Cook the rice according to the packaged directions, drain and set aside.
- In a small bowl combine the soy sauce, rice wine, brown sugar, sesame oil, and black pepper. Set aside.
- In a small mason jar or something that has a lid, add the chicken stock and cornstarch and shake well. Set aside. Whisk the eggs in a separate bowl and set aside.
- Meanwhile, in a microwavable safe dish heat the carrots and celery for 2-3 minutes to soften slightly.
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet or wok over medium heat. Add the carrots and celery and sauté for roughly 10 minutes, stirring often.
- Add the chicken, cooked rice, peas, and soy sauce mixture to the skillet and mix to combine. Add in the stock mixture, mixing well to combine. Let the mixture come to a slow simmer.
- Push all of the ingredients to the sides of the pan, forming a circle of open space in the middle. Add the beaten eggs and let them sit for a minute or two. Once the eggs start to set, stir them to cook evenly. Then proceed to mix them into the rest of the ingredients.
- Serve with sliced scallions and hot sauce!
More Healthier Take-Out Recipes
Here are a few more make-your-own-takeout Asian-inspired dishes…