By learning how to make Shrimp Fried Rice at home, you can skip the takeout lines while still enjoying the best Chinese food in less than 30 minutes! Leftover rice is stir-fried in a healthy oil alongside shrimp, eggs, vegetables, and a delicious Asian sauce until crispy. Delightfully fresh and flavorful, this one-pan recipe will always prove a hit for dinner, no matter the occasion! 

Chopsticks are shown with a bowl filled with easy shrimp fried rice.

Fried rice is one of my favorite weeknight dinners to make at home. It’s so quick and easy to throw together, and I almost always have all of the ingredients for it close at hand.

I’ve made many different variations of it over the years – Chicken Fried Rice, Vegetable Fried Rice, even a Cauliflower Pineapple Fried Rice. But the best by far has been this Shrimp Fried Rice recipe!

Experimenting with different ingredients like fresh shrimp and vegetables is an incredibly easy way to elevate a simple dish like rice fried with cooking oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sesame oil.

With it, you can get all the authentic flavors of your favorite Chinese restaurant without leaving the comfort of your kitchen. 

Even children love it, and it’s the perfect healthy dish for sneaking in a couple extra servings of vegetables!

Shrimp, rice, peas, ball peppers, carrots, onion, garlic, egg, seasonings, green onions, oil, rice vinegar, and soy sauce are the ingredients for this recip.

Ingredients

To make this easy Shrimp Fried Rice recipe you need:

  • Shrimp. A small variety of peeled, deveined, tail-off shrimp – such as 100/200 count-per-pound – is recommended for this recipe. Fresh is ideal, but frozen will also do. If you cannot find shrimp this small, larger shrimp cut into bite-sized pieces will work. 
  • Oil. Either extra-virgin olive oil or avocado oil is ideal for this recipe, as healthier alternatives to vegetable oil. Olive oil is easier to find, but avocado oil has a slightly higher smoke point which makes it more useful for very high temperatures.
  • Vegetables. Carrots, onions, and peas are the usual choices for fried rice, but any diced vegetables will do – this recipe calls for bell peppers and green onions, as well. Frozen may also be used, but it is recommended to let them thaw and drain ahead of time.
  • Garlic. Fresh cloves of garlic are ideal, but if those are unavailable, then ⅛-teaspoon of garlic powder may be substituted for each clove. For more information, see How to Mince Garlic.
  • Eggs. Any kind of large egg may be used for this recipe, but organic eggs usually taste the best and are healthier for you.
  • Rice. Long-grain white rice is recommended, but brown rice, basmati rice, or jasmine rice will work too. Ideally, the rice should be cooked the day before and used as leftovers.
  • Soy sauce or Tamari sauce. Soy sauce is light and salty in flavor, while Tamari sauce is rich and gluten-free, with heavier notes of soy – either will work for this dish. However, a well-vetted brand such as Kikkoman or San-J should be used, as they are higher quality than store brand.
  • Rice wine vinegar. This provides a sweet, tangy acidity which helps to cut through the oiliness of the fried rice, and provide contrast. If it isn’t available, white wine vinegar may be substituted.
  • Toasted sesame seed oil. This ingredient should be used sparingly, because its powerful, deep, nutty flavor packs a punch, and can easily overwhelm simple dishes.

How to Make

The basic steps for making Shrimp Fried Rice are simple to follow. See the recipe card below for more detailed ingredient amounts.

Cook the Rice

For the best results, leftover Instant Pot White Rice that has been made ahead should be used. Freshly made rice is more moist and prone to sticking together, whereas leftover rice has a drier texture that breaks apart and crisps very easily in the skillet.

The uncooked rice should first be rinsed repeatedly under cold water in a strainer, until the water runs clear. This removes excess starch clinging to the rice, which can cause stickiness and prevent the rice from breaking apart easily.

Freshly cooked rice can also be spread out, uncovered, in a tray or shallow container in the fridge overnight, so that it all dries out evenly. Leaving the tray cooling under a directly blowing fan for at least 1 hour, or freezing it for 20 minutes, can also help achieve the same effect if the rice must be made quickly.

Instant pot white rice is a fluffy and tender side dish for your dinner.

Sauté the Vegetables

Finely dice the carrots, onion, and bell pepper into ½-inch pieces, and chop the garlic to a fine mince. Keeping the pieces small and uniform in size allows the vegetables to cook quickly.

In a large wok or skillet, heat the oil over medium heat on the largest stove burner, and add the carrots, pepper, and onion.

Sauté the vegetables for 3-5 minutes. To avoid overcooking throughout the frying process, they should only be slightly softened at this stage.

Add the garlic, and sauté 1 minute more, or until the garlic is fragrant and only slightly soft. Due to its fine mince, saving the garlic for last prevents it from burning while the rest of the vegetables soften.

Diced vegetables are cooked in the skillet first.

Scramble the Eggs

Whisk together the eggs in a small bowl.

Push the vegetables to one side of the pan, making an empty space, or remove them to a separate plate while the rest of the ingredients cook.

Drizzle more oil into the skillet, and add the eggs. Season them with salt and pepper, and scramble for 2-3 minutes, until cooked all the way through.

Break apart the cooked eggs into smaller, bite-sized pieces, and stir them back in with the vegetables.

Add the Shrimp

Push the egg and vegetable mixture to one side of the skillet, or remove it to another plate temporarily. Drizzle another 1 tablespoon of oil into the empty side to begin heating.

Add the shrimp to the empty part of the skillet, and sauté them over medium heat for 1-2 minutes, or until lightly fried. The shrimp will continue to cook and fry along with the rest of the rice, so take care not to overcook them, or they will turn rubbery.

Mix together the seared shrimp, vegetables, and eggs, making sure to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.

Shrimp is added to one side of the skillet.

Fry the Rice

Add the cooked rice, and mix well with the soy sauce, sesame oil, and rice vinegar. Taste, and add another ½ teaspoon of salt to preference, if needed.

Break up any clumps of rice to create a loose texture that will allow it to fry evenly, and continue cooking over medium heat for 10 minutes. All of the ingredients should be well mixed, and distributed evenly throughout the dish.

When the rice has almost reached the desired level of crispness, stir in the thawed frozen peas and cook for another 4 minutes. Putting the peas in last prevents them from overcooking and getting mushy.

Serve the fried rice up in a bowl, and garnish with some sliced green onions. Enjoy!

Meal Prep and Storage

  • To Prep-Ahead: The rice can and should be cooked up to 1-2 days ahead, to dry it out and make the texture better suited for frying. The vegetables can also be cut ahead of time, and will keep in the fridge for up to 2-3 days.
  • To Store: With or without shrimp, this dish can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.
  • To Freeze: Fried rice can be frozen in an airtight container or sealed Ziploc freezer bag for up to 3-4 months. Individual servings can also be portioned out to make reheating easier.
  • To Reheat: It is recommended to reheat fried rice in a skillet with a bit of oil over medium-low heat until warmed through. Reheating in the microwave will suffice as well, but be aware that the shrimp may be more tough or rubbery in texture with this method.

Dietary Modifications

The recipe you’ll find below is already dairy-free as written. Here are some adjustments and substitutions you can make to help it fit your other dietary requirements:

  • Gluten-Free: Use Tamari sauce or another gluten-free soy sauce.
  • Vegetarian: Omit the shrimp, and/or use a meat-free alternative. Prepared a certain way, king oyster mushrooms are sometimes used as a meatless substitution for shrimp.
  • Vegan: Omit the shrimp and eggs, and/or use non-animal products as alternatives. Scrambled tofu can replace the eggs, and king oyster mushrooms can replace the shrimp.
  • Low-Carb/Keto: Substitute the rice for cauliflower rice.
  • Low Sodium: Decrease the amount of salt added alongside the eggs, and use a low-sodium soy sauce.
  • Extra Nutrition: Add more veggies, and consider additional varieties like cabbage, snow peas, green beans, or broccoli. Substitute white rice for brown rice or cauliflower rice.
A piece of shrimp is picked up with chopsticks from a bowl of fried rice.

FAQs

Is shrimp fried rice healthy for you?

The word “fried” gives many health-conscious cooks pause, and for good reason. But shrimp fried rice can absolutely be a healthy dish if the proper substitutions are made to differentiate it from your average Chinese takeout!

If cooked with a healthy oil like olive oil or avocado oil, as this recipe calls for, calorie counts may still remain somewhat high. But the dish will be full of healthy monounsaturated fats, which are much healthier for your heart and cholesterol levels than vegetable oil, for example.

Additionally, substituting white rice for brown or cauliflower rice can still give you much of the same flavor, but have significantly higher levels of fiber and other nutrients.

Why does restaurant fried rice taste better?

Chinese restaurants often utilize very big, professional-grade woks and stove burners which fry rice at a very high temperature that most home cooks cannot replicate, giving it a much more crisp texture without the rest of the ingredients overcooking. Many Chinese restaurants also still add monosodium glutamate (MSG) to their dishes, giving them a greater depth of flavor.

Do I need to boil raw frozen shrimp before I cook it in the skillet to make fried rice?

There’s no need to boil or cook shrimp prior to frying it in the skillet for fried rice – in fact, this is likely to result in rubbery, overcooked shrimp with not much flavor. The high temperature for frying ensures that the short cooking time for the shrimp is sufficient to cook them through.

If using precooked shrimp, simply add them to the rice later in the cooking process to ensure they are fully heated through to a safe temperature, without overcooking.

Does fresh or frozen shrimp taste better in fried rice?

Fresh shrimp will always taste better than frozen, but the latter holds the distinct benefit of not having to be immediately bought anew for every dish. Additionally, when reheating leftovers, it’s very easy to add more frozen shrimp by the handful without overcooking them the second time over.

Expert Tips and Tricks

  • Invest in the good stuff. Opting for a good-quality name brand as opposed to a cheaper store brand makes all the difference with ingredients like soy sauce, Tamari sauce, rice wine vinegar, and sesame seed oil.
  • Break it up. By preemptively breaking your cooked rice apart into a loose texture, you can ensure that all of the ingredients will mix in evenly and that the rice will fry at the same rate.
  • Bring in the butter. For an extra boost of flavor, do as the hibachi chefs do and add a tablespoon or two of butter in the last several minutes of cooking – it makes the final result much richer.
  • Turn up the heat. In the last few minutes of cooking, crank up the heat to medium-high and really let the rice sit and brown between stirs – this will give it that extra bit of crispiness.
  • Mix it up. For a wide variety of flavor profiles, use the simple canvas of fried rice to experiment with ingredients like oyster sauce, ginger, bok choy, water chestnuts, kimchi, and so much more.
Two bowls are filled with delicious shrimp fried rice.

Make it a Meal

Shrimp Fried Rice can make for an excellent meal in its own right, but also pairs beautifully with other dishes for that Chinese restaurant feeling:

A light form of protein like shrimp goes very well with equally light sides such as Vietnamese Fresh Spring Rolls, Thai Zucchini Noodle Salad, or P.F. Chang’s Chicken Lettuce Wraps.

It can also serve as a side dish itself to heavier proteins such as Teriyaki Salmon, General Tso’s Chicken, or Mongolian Beef.

More Stir-Fry Recipes

Get the most out of your skillet or wok by trying out some of these other amazing stir-fried recipes:

Tap stars to rate!

5 from 4 votes

Easy Shrimp Fried Rice Recipe

By learning how to make Shrimp Fried Rice at home, you can skip the takeout lines while still enjoying the best Chinese food in less than 30 minutes! Leftover rice is stir-fried in a healthy oil alongside shrimp, eggs, vegetables, and a delicious Asian sauce until crispy.
Yield 5 servings
Prep 10 minutes
Cook 20 minutes
Total 30 minutes

Ingredients 

  • ¾ lb. shrimp about 100/200 count per pound
  • 2 medium-sized carrots peeled and finely diced
  • 1 cup green bell pepper finely diced
  • 1 cup sweet onion finely diced
  • 4 Tbsp. oil olive or avocado oil, divided
  • 2 cloves garlic finely minced
  • 4 eggs whisked
  • 5 cups cooked rice white or brown*
  • cup soy sauce or Tamari
  • 2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp. sesame oil toasted
  • 1 tsp. salt to taste
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper to taste
  • ½ cup frozen peas thawed
  • Green onions optional

Instructions 

  • In a large wok or skillet, over medium heat combine 2 tablespoons oil, bell peppers, onions, and carrots. Sauté for 3-5 minutes over medium heat, or until they start to become tender.
  • Add minced garlic, and sauté another 1 minute, or until fragrant.
  • Whisk eggs together in a medium-sized bowl. Either push all vegetables to one side of the skillet, or remove and place on a separate plate.
  • Drizzle 1 tablespoon of oil in the spot you have cleared and add in the whisked eggs, ½ teaspoon salt and black pepper. Scramble in that spot for 2-3 minutes, or until cooked. Once cooked, you can combine the eggs with the rest of the vegetable mixture, and either move it back to the side of the skillet or remove and place on a separate plate.
  • Add 1 additional tablespoon of oil to the cleared spot in the pan. Add in shrimp and sauté for 1-2 minutes, or until they are lightly fried. Mix together the shrimp, vegetables, and eggs and then add in the cooked rice.
  • Pour in soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and ½ teaspoon of salt, to taste. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Mix in thawed peas during the last 4 minutes of cooking and mix everything together.
  • If you like extra crispy fried rice, let rice sit over medium to medium-high heat for a full minute before mixing again. Rice likes to stick to the bottom of the pan so be sure to scrape all of the crispy goodness off of it! Repeat this process until it has reached your desired crispiness.
  • Serve immediately with finely chopped green onions and enjoy!

Tap stars to rate!

5 from 4 votes

Video

Notes

Meal Prep and Storage

  • To Prep-Ahead: The rice can and should be cooked up to 1-2 days ahead, to dry it out and make the texture better suited to frying. The vegetables can also be cut into pieces ahead of time, and will keep in the fridge for up to 2-3 days.
  • To Store: With or without shrimp, this dish can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.
  • To Freeze: Fried rice can be frozen in an airtight container or sealed Ziploc freezer bag for up to 3-4 months. Individual servings can also be portioned out to make reheating easier.
  • To Reheat: It is recommended to reheat fried rice in a skillet over medium-low heat until warmed through. Reheating in the microwave will suffice as well, but be aware that the shrimp may be more tough or rubbery in texture with this method.

Nutrition

Calories: 479kcal, Carbohydrates: 53g, Protein: 25g, Fat: 18g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g, Monounsaturated Fat: 10g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 240mg, Sodium: 1382mg, Potassium: 459mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 413IU, Vitamin C: 33mg, Calcium: 100mg, Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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5 Secrets to Healthier Family Dinners
Tips & recipes for getting yummy — and healthy — meals on the table.

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