This chicken fried rice recipe tastes just like the one served at Benihana! The secret? Lots of garlic butter. Chewy and delicious, it is easy to make at home, no special tricks required!

I love cooking Asian and Asian inspired cuisines at home. A few of my favorites are my Short Rib Ramen Soup, Bo Luc Lac and Chicken Stir-Fry with Peanuts.

Benihana-style chicken fried rice in a bowl.

A teppanyaki-style chicken fried rice recipe!

Growing up, I wasn’t very adventurous where food was concerned.

So I wasn’t thrilled when my parents told me that we had to go to this new Japanese restaurant for my uncle’s birthday! I huffed and puffed the whole way there.

The restaurant was Benihana, and – as you can imagine – I ended up having the time of my life. If you’ve ever been to a teppanyaki restaurant before, you know that you don’t go there for a meal, but for a fun experience!

The chefs cook the food right in front of you, performing theatrical tricks to draw oohs and aahs from the audience. Onion volcanos, heart shaped mountains of rice and even some very amusing egg juggling.

And the food? Well, it’s amazing! Grilled steaks, chicken, seafood, veggies and their famous fried rice. 

I’ve been obsessed with that chicken fried rice since that evening. And every time we go to Benihana, I watch the chef serving the portions, secretly praying that I’m the one who gets the little extra!

In this post you will learn:

Plus a printable recipe!

A bowl of chicken fried rice.

What is the difference between Japanese fried rice and Chinese fried rice?

The main difference between Japanese fried rice and Chinese fried rice is the type of rice that is used.

The Chinese tend to use long-grain rice, so their fried rice is fluffier and less chewy, with the individual grains of rice remaining firm and distinct.

Japanese fried rice (called chahan in Japan) uses stickier rice, producing  chewier results.

Ingredients for chicken fried rice recipe.

Ingredients for Chicken Fried Rice Recipe

To make this chicken fried rice recipe, you will need:

RICE – The star of the show. It is recommended that you use day-old rice, as it gets a chance to get drier in the fridge, reducing your chances of ending up with gloppy fried rice.

CHICKEN – I use chicken breasts, but I can’t see why the recipe wouldn’t work with boneless chicken thighs.

ONION, GARLIC AND SCALLIONS – These three ingredients make the “soffritto”, aka the flavor base, of this fried rice recipe.

EGGS – Adds protein and richness.

OIL – You will want to use an oil that has a high smoke point, since most of the cooking will be done over medium-high heat. Teppanyaki restaurants use safllower oil, but I use canola oil at home.

BUTTER – A good quality unsalted butter. Make sure it is softened, otherwise it is going to be a pain to mix the garlic butter.

GARLIC – Use fresh garlic to make the garlic butter. It has to be minced really small (or use a garlic press) so nobody is biting into huge pieces of garlic.

LEMON JUICE – Fresh lemon juice is added to the garlic butter for a little added brightness/freshness.

SOY SAUCE – I use Kikkoman, which is a Japanese soy sauce, but you can use whatever kind you have on hand.

SALT AND PEPPER – Leave most of the seasoning to the very end. The soy sauce is quite salty, so you probably won’t have to add a whole lot of salt.

TOASTED SESAME SEEDS – Optional, for garnishing.

Medium-grain rice is the best for Japanese fried rice.

What type of rice is used for fried rice recipe?

A medium-grain rice, like Calrose, is what it’s usually used at teppanyaki restaurants.

This variety will give you that nice chewy texture that makes it easy to eat with a pair of chopsticks, but the grains separate enough from each other and won’t clump up into a big mass when stir-frying.

I usually avoid using sushi rice because it’s very starchy/sticky and clumps together easily.

You can use long grain rice, if that’s what you have on hand, but the results will be more like Chinese-style fried rice. 

Can I make this recipe with leftover rice?

Yes! Leftover cooked rice works great in this recipe and will save you time when preparing your chicken fried rice.

Chicken fried rice in a wok pan.

How to make chicken fried rice recipe

The secret to the best fried rice is planning ahead so the rice can chill in the fridge overnight. 

When left in the fridge for 8 to 24 hours, the grains firm up, making it easier to separate so they don’t stick together too much when stir-frying.

If you’ve been to a teppanyaki restaurant, you know that the ingredients and cooked separately and then combined in the end.

I tried to recreate that by using a skillet to prep everything and then the wok to finish. My dream is to have one a flat top griddle, so I can cook Benihana-style, but since I don’t have one yet, I had to get creative!

Your skillet should be non-stick, to prevent the eggs from sticking.

When using the wok, make sure it is well oiled and that you have the stove at medium-high or high. We don’t want the rice to steam in the pan, or it will get moist and soggy.

Recommended tools: large baking sheet, plastic wrap, large non-stick skillet, wok pan.

Step by step instructions to make chicken fried rice recipe.

Here’s how I make this chicken fried rice recipe. As always, you will find the printable (and more complete) version of the recipe at the end of this post!

Step 1: Cook the rice the day before

  • Rinse the rice until the water runs clear. We want to get rid of the extra starch to avoid clumps.
  • Combine the rice with water and a pinch of salt. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes, then remove from the heat and let it stand for another 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork, separating the clumps, and let it cool to room temperature.
  • Transfer to a baking sheet, spreading it into an even layer. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or up to 2 days. (Photo 1)

Step 2: Make the garlic butter

  • Combine the softened butter, garlic, soy sauce and lemon juice. Mix until smooth and reserve. (Photo 2)

Step 3: Cook the chicken

  • Brown the chicken breasts on all sides. (Photo 3)
  • Cut the browned breasts into small cubes and bring them back to the pan. Continue cooking until cooked through. Add one tablespoon of the garlic butter and cook until incorporated. Reserve. (Photo 4)

Step 4: Cook the veggies

  • Cook the onions and carrots until softened. Add the green onions and continue cooking for another minute or two. Reserve. (Photo 5)

Step 5: Scramble the eggs

  • Scramble the eggs, breaking them into small pieces. Reserve. (Photo 6)

Step 6: Make the fried rice

  • In an well-oiled wok pan, heat the cooked rice until warmed through. Add the remaining garlic butter and stir, making sure every grain of rice gets coated with that yumminess! (Photo 7)
  • Add the reserved veggies and stir to combine. Then, stir in the chicken and eggs. Continue stir-frying for a few minutes, until the rice starts to brown slightly. Season with salt and pepper, and drizzle more soy sauce to taste. (Photo 8)
  • Garnish with toasted sesame seeds and serve!
Olivia’s Tips: Didn’t plan ahead to let the rice dry in the fridge overnight? No problem! Cook the rice, spread it into a baking sheet and place it in the oven at 220 degrees F for 1 hour.
Two servings

How Long Does Leftover Fried Rice Lasts in the Fridge?

When properly stored in an airtight container, leftovers will keep in the fridge for 3 to 4 days.

According to the CDC, cooked rice needs to be refrigerated within two hours of cooking and should never be left out overnight. That’s because dry rice contains a bacteria called Bacillus cereus that produces a toxin when heated and left out too long.

Long story short, you should minimize the time cooked rice is left at room temperature.

Reheating instructions

While you can reheat fried rice in the microwave, I like to heat a little oil in my wok, over medium high heat, and add the leftover fried rice.

Once hot I add a few tablespoons of butter to bring back moisture and some of that delicious buttery flavor.

Can chicken fried rice be frozen?

Yes! Freeze chicken fried rice in airtight containers or freezer bags. It will keep well for up to 3 months, but will remain safe beyond that time.

When ready to eat, let it thaw overnight in the fridge and then reheat in the microwave or in a wok pan.

Close up of the dish.

What do you eat with fried rice?

When eating at a teppanyaki restaurant, chicken fried rice is usually served in smaller portions as a side to grilled steak, seafood or – yes – more chicken!

However, at home it can definitely work as a entree by itself or accompanied by a nice Asian salad.

Did you make this recipe? I love hearing from you! Please comment and leave a 5-star rating below. You can also take a photo and tag me on Instagram with #oliviascuisine.

Chicken Fried Rice

Chicken Fried Rice

Yield: 6 to 8 as a side
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Additional Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 9 hours

This chicken fried rice recipe tastes just like the one served at Benihana! The secret? Lots of garlic butter. Chewy and delicious, it is easy to make at home, no special tricks required! (Total time to make this recipe includes cooking the rice and chilling overnight.)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups medium grain white rice
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 3 cups cold water
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce, plus more to finish
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken breasts
  • About 1/4 cup vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and finely diced
  • 1/2 cup green onions, thinly sliced
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Sesame seeds to garnish (optional)

Instructions

    1. Place the rice in a fine-mesh sieve and rinse under cold water until the water runs clear. Transfer to a medium saucepan, adding 1 teaspoon of salt and 3 cups of water.
    2. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce the heat to the lowest setting. Simmer, undisturbed, for 15 minutes. Then, remove from the heat and let it stand for at least 15 minutes. Uncover and fluff the rice to break down the clumps. Let it cool completely, then transfer to a baking sheet, cover with plastic and refrigerate overnight.
    3. The next day, mix the softened butter, lemon juice, 1 teaspoon soy sauce and garlic cloves in a bowl. Stir vigorously until smooth. Reserve.
    4. Season the chicken breasts with salt. Heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large non-stick skillet, over medium-high heat, and brown the chicken breasts on all sides, about 2 minutes per side.
    5. Transfer the chicken breast to a cutting board and cut into cubes. Return the cubes to the skillet and continue cooking until golden brown, about 3-5 more minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of the garlic butter and mix to combine. Remove the chicken cubes to a plate and reserve.
    6. Return the skillet to the heat, adding another tablespoon of oil. Add the chopped onion and carrots, sautéing until softened, about 5-8 minutes. Then, add the green onions and continue cooking for another couple minutes. Remove and reserve.
    7. Heat more oil in the skillet and add the eggs, scrambling them, about 1-2 minutes. Remove and reserve.
    8. Place a large wok pan on the stove and heat on medium-high. Add enough oil to coat the whole pan. Add the cooked rice and let it cook for about 5 minutes, or until warmed through. Then, add the remaining garlic butter and toss to combine, making sure all the rice gets coated with the butter.
    9. Add the reserved veggies and mix until combined. Then, carefully stir in the reserved chicken and eggs. Stir-fry for another 2-3 minutes or until the rice begins to brown slightly.
    10. Season with salt and pepper, and drizzle soy sauce to taste.
    11. Serve, garnished with toasted sesame seeds.

Notes

The importance of using day-old rice:

Rice that has been refrigerated for 8 to 24 hours is ideal for fried rice, as the grains dry out and firm up, making it easier to separate them so they don't clump up when stir-frying.

That being said, an alternative would be to cook the rice and then place in the oven at 200 degrees F for one hour to dry out.

Storing fried rice:

Fried rice needs to be refrigerated within 2 hours of cooking. Store in an airtight container, in the fridge, for 3-4 days.

Freezing fried rice:

You can freeze it in an airtight container or freezer bags for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge before using.

Reheating:

Reheat in the microwave or in an oiled wok, over medium-high heat, adding more butter to bring it back to the original consistency.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 328Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 146mgSodium: 488mgCarbohydrates: 16gFiber: 2gSugar: 1gProtein: 31g

Nutritional values are approximate, please use your own calculations if you require a special diet.

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