Fall

Breakfast Fried Rice

March 24, 2014
6 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
Author Notes

When you think of breakfast, fried rice is probably not the first thing that pops into your head. In fact, it may be nowhere on your radar. Growing up with a Japanese father, we always had a pot of cooked rice at the ready and when we had leftovers (which was often), my father would make breakfast fried rice in the morning. This is my take on a childhood favorite. —Kathleen | Hapa Nom Nom

Test Kitchen Notes

When you're at a loss for what to make for dinner, it can help to look ahead to breakfast the next morning. Is this ignoring the matter at hand? Another form of procrastination? I prefer to see it as forward-thinking!

In high school, this meant begging my mom to order pizza so that I could have a cold slice in the car on the way to school; now, it means picking up the ingredients for tomato-eggplant curry or palak paneer (or, okay, buying take-out) not solely because that dish itself is good, but because it's best served over rice—and that means leftover rice to repurpose as breakfast tomorrow morning.

A container of cooked rice in the fridge shakes out to fried rice for breakfast in (almost) the same amount of time it'd take you to cook oatmeal.

Salty, bacony rice might not be the most common breakfast in the U.S., but in Japan, where the recipe creator Kathleen | Hapa Nom Nom's father is from, there's not as much of a "distinction between breakfast and the rest of the day's meals," she writes. "As a child, I can remember coming downstairs in the morning and seeing my father eating miso soup—I'm sure that sounds rather strange to most, but for most Asian cultures that's pretty common."

Breakfast Fried Rice isn't only a reason to create rice leftovers at dinner—it's also a home for any aimless leftovers—vegetables, raw or cooked; baked tofu; a half-can of beans—you've accumulated throughout the week. Caramelized onions? In! A knob of ginger you haven't made headway on? Grate it and throw it in the pan with the sliced scallions. A jar of kimchi you're fighting to finish? Roasted sweet potatoes or zucchini or eggplant? Into the pan with them!

Kaitlin Forster commented on the recipe that she throws in shredded broccoli and carrots when she adds the onion. She also recommends cooking the egg directly in the rice instead of frying it separately—one less dish to clean! Maybe you have Momofuku's Soy Sauce Eggs on hand already (gold star for you!): Those would make a great addition, too.

To make it even faster, prepare not just the rice but the whole fried rice situation ahead of time. The next morning, reheat it on the stove over low heat and add the egg.

However you customize it, be sure to use low-sodium soy sauce lest your fried rice taste like the sea. And if you've had trouble making a non-sticky, non-burnt pot of rice in the past (I can't be the only one), we have the perfect thing for you... —Sarah Jampel

Watch This Recipe
Breakfast Fried Rice
  • Prep time 5 minutes
  • Cook time 5 minutes
  • Serves 2
Ingredients
  • 5 slices of bacon
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 3 cups day-old cooked rice, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 eggs
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. In a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon, turning it until it's browned evenly. Remove the bacon from the pan and let drain on paper towels. Once the bacon is cool enough to handle, roughly chop.
  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, warm the sesame oil until shimmering. Add 2 of the sliced green onions, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Stir in the cooked rice, breaking up any large clumps. Add the soy sauce, rice vinegar, bacon, toasted sesame seeds, and crushed red pepper flakes. Stir to fully incorporate the ingredients and cook for 5 minutes, or until warmed through.
  4. In a non-stick skillet over medium heat, add the butter. Crack the eggs into the skillet and immediately cover the pan with a lid. Cook until the egg white is cooked through and the egg yolk is barely set, approximately 5 minutes.
  5. Place a fried egg on top of each bowl of breakfast fried rice and garnish with the remaining sliced green onion. Serve immediately, being sure to break the yolk over the rice so it can act like a sauce.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Gayle Stevenson
    Gayle Stevenson
  • Lauren Rapp
    Lauren Rapp
  • Monica Sharman
    Monica Sharman
  • Donna Hayes
    Donna Hayes
  • thechewinn-nova.com
    thechewinn-nova.com

80 Reviews

Gayle S. August 18, 2020
Tried this this morning, but had no chilli flakes, I added a little gochujang instead and can honestly it was one of the best breakfasts I've had. Thank you, it's definitely on my list of "not cornflakes again!"
 
Mrsmasi April 15, 2020
This was perfect! Trying to master using leftover and this was a great help
 
cpc February 28, 2020
I didn't have any scallions so I used a small thinly sliced shallot. I skipped the bacon because it's Friday in Lent but otherwise followed the recipe. It's super easy, fast and has tons of flavor. I will definitely make this many times again. It's easily adaptable.
 
clafount January 15, 2020
Absolutely delicious! I will make too much rice again just to have this the next day.
 
Jane December 28, 2019
This is wonderful. I may have to keep leftover rice in the fridge just so I can make it. I baked the bacon first so it really is a 10 minute meal.
After reading the reviews, I did use a little less soy sauce.but added oyster sauce. I had a leek so that is was I used and made a 30 second soft boiled egg in the microwave and mixed it into the rice.

This a a true keeper.
 
nickandhoney February 23, 2019
This is a great recipe for a very delicious breakfast. My only question is why fudge about the cook+prep time? I make my own similar breakfast bowls (highly recommend adding avocado, cilantro, a little sesame oil and a big squeeze of lime to the ingredients mentioned here) and I’m a pretty efficient home cook. Even without my additions, it takes more than 10 total minutes to sequentially fry bacon, then chop and fry scallioms with rice, then fry an egg and assemble the bowl (you could use multiple pans and fry everything at the same time, but then you’ve made a relatively big mess you have to clean up, so haven’t really saved any time). The extra time’s not a big deal at all - maybe it takes 15 minutes all told? -but it’s weird to me how often published recipes unrealistically minimize the time it takes to make them. Like the semi-famous Hamilton Nolan exposé about recipe-writers constantly “lying” about how long it takes to caramelize onions, this post just made me think, “why not be as accurate about the cooking time as you are about ingredients?”
 
Wicko February 23, 2019
Maybe frying the bacon pushes the time up a couple of minutes but the rice is Pre cooked, scallions take @60 seconds to chop and everything except soy sauce uses a one teaspoon
. Fry the eggs when you add the soy sauce. 8 minutes total maybe? Not worth a quibble.
 
Lauren R. December 16, 2018
Delicious! I didn't have scallions so I used onion. With some chile oil it was perfection and ideal for a hungover Sunday.
 
Lisa P. May 7, 2018
How did you get the yolk to look like that in the 3rd picture?
 
Monica S. August 2, 2017
Fried rice is one of the items The Gazebo Restuarant (Napili, Maui) is famous for. It's one of the featured photos on their Yelp page: https://www.yelp.com/biz/gazebo-restaurant-lahaina
 
Donna H. November 6, 2016
I ate fried rice for breakfast all the time as a kid. Added a touch of curry powder as well. Nomnom
 
liz O. September 10, 2016
Thinking I'd like to make this for friends coming for breakfast/brunch. Any suggestions on what I could serve with it?
 
marlene M. April 16, 2016
I have commented before about this recipe. It is a great recipe, but even using the lowest low sodium soy sauce(1 table spoon 460 sodium a tablespoon) a 1/3 of a cup is 2300 sodium added. 2400 is the amount for the day for those not watching their sodium. Since the recipe is for 2 maybe it is half.
 
thechewinn-nova.com April 15, 2016
Fried rice (Sinagag) is a regular part of Filipino breakfast (like cereal in America) in Manila sautéed in minced garlic, unlike other Asian countries are served during lunch or dinner. It is eaten usually with Tocino (Filipino bacon), fried eggs (itlog) or Longanisa (pork sausage similar to Spanish one) or dried fried fish (Daing). Your Fried Rice with bacon is called Tosilog but the Tocino is fried separately. A restaurant owner in one of Manila’s suburbs began combining names of the popular breakfast items in the late 80s with Sinagag and eggs as mainstays, hence, To-si-log. A long list of these combination items can be found in --- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tapa_(Filipino_cuisine)
 
Jude January 6, 2016
I was delighted to discover this genius idea via google as I stared down the half-full rice cooker with a slight hangover this morning. Obviously a foundation that supports any vegetable you want to throw in (how ridiculous to go online & complain about not enough vegetables instead of just adding some vegetables!), with potential to morph into most dietary approaches - use fried eggs and add tons of soy and hot sauce to get that greasy heavy sodium bomb that American "chefs," people from New Jersey and men seem to love, use sea salt instead of soy to make it gluten free, omit bacon & use coconut oil for vegetarians, add avocado cubes and cherry tomatoes instead of eggs and bacon for vegans, omit rice for the paleos. Rebelled against instructions (sequencing, seasoning, fat choice, fiber content and egg prep) in the following ways: put a separate saucepan of water on to boil for poached eggs (less cleanup & fat) while I fried the bacon (I halved this recipe but did not halve the bacon, did I mention my hangover?), added green onion in w/ the bacon at the last sec (laziness), emptied skillet contents onto a paper towel & wiped out excess bacon grease, dropped eggs into boiling water, (5 mins is way too long to cook eggs - 3 mins. max!) dumped leftover rice into original skillet, squeezed an entire lemon onto this & sprinkled on those hippy bragg's amino acids **to taste** (I don't know where my soy sauce is, & can I just take time out to lecture complainers in this peanut gallery: unless you are like, a professional wok master in a Chinese restaurant, assume you do not know what you're doing with soy sauce - you can not dump a quantity of soy sauce into anything w/ out tasting as you go!), threw in big handfuls of salad greens (the nutritionist recommends I add at least 1 cup of these to everything), stirred a little, added back the bacon & green onions from the paper towel, topped w/ poached eggs that had been seasoned w/ a little salt and pepper, tasted (OMG), and splashed on some hot sauce (out of red pepper flakes!). Will definitely stir fry broccoli and carrots (or whatever) next time with the green onion. Unless it's first thing in the morning and I'm feeling lazy again. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for posting this. Best breakfast I've had in years.
 
Robin March 29, 2020
Why diss People from NJ? 🙁
 
Jude April 15, 2020
because NJ diners are super-gross!
 
Jude April 15, 2020
i mean *the food selection* in NJ diners is totally greasy & unhealthy and IDK why it has to be that way.
 
Robin April 15, 2020
It doesn’t have to be...you can get fruit, oatmeal, any kind of egg, grilled chicken sandwiches. All good options.
 
meeshybells January 3, 2016
Surprised that you fry in the sesame oil. Why?
 
Tad September 23, 2015
Hi, this breakfast recipe will keep your tummy filled all day, or perhaps till next morning when you decide to have some more. It's delicious! I used chicken fried rice, b/c that's what I had on hand, instead of green onion, red onion with some chives and red hot salsa sauce on top. Thank you for the recipe.
 
Katherine C. June 2, 2015
Where can I find the nutrition values for this recipe?
 
Author Comment
Kathleen |. June 2, 2015
Hi, Katherine. I am not a nutritionist and I can't vouch for the accuracy of online recipe/nutrition calculators, but you can give it a try. Hope this helps! http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-calculator.asp
 
Charlotte W. April 22, 2015
I was thinking about making this for a dinner. What would you serve on the side with it? thanks!
 
Caryn B. April 19, 2015
Just tried this dish...after reading some of the comments I was very conscious of the amount of soy I used. I also tasted the leftover rice to gauge its level of saltiness. I cut back by a few tablespoons, but should have cut back more. Next time I will also reduce the vinegar a bit. All in all a satisfying dish.
 
ARay January 30, 2015
Looks super delicious, totally going to try ... These are cool variations, everyone! Thanks! In particular, anyone have a suggestion if I wanted to use something other than green onion? Kimchi?
 
Author Comment
Kathleen |. January 30, 2015
Yes, kimchi is a great compliment to a fried rice dish. When my dad made this for us as kids, he'd just throw in whatever was around. So things like leftover veggies or even pork make great additions. I hope you enjoy the dish!
 
MPaula W. June 14, 2015
Definitely needs more vegetables/fruit either in the dish or on the side.