Crispy Chicken Thighs With Chicken-Fat Fried Rice

September  4, 2019
4 Ratings
Photo by Bobbi Lin
  • Prep time 30 minutes
  • Cook time 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

Chicken fried rice, emphasis on the chicken. By starting with chicken thighs—crisped leisurely in a skillet, Canal House–style—you earn a surplus of golden, flavorful schmaltz. This is what we’ll use instead of a neutral-flavored oil to stir-fry ginger and garlic, onion and scallion, carrots and peas. The result is a standout fried rice that’s chickeny even before the chicken thighs get nestled on top. A few notes about the execution: Using refrigerated rice not only streamlines day-of cooking, but also sidesteps wet, mushy fried rice. Scrambling the eggs in a separate skillet ensures fluffy, distinct curds (versus egg-coated fried rice—no thanks). And if you want to keep the chicken thighs hot in a low-temp oven while you’re cooking the fried rice, feel free, but I prefer the ease of letting them rest on the still-warm stove. This is great with a very cold, very hoppy beer. —Emma Laperruque

What You'll Need
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • 1 pinch kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • 1 pinch freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
  • 1 tablespoon Microplaned (or very finely grated) fresh ginger
  • 2 large garlic cloves, Microplaned or minced
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 bunch scallions, finely chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and finely diced
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 2 cups cooked white or brown rice, short- or medium-grain, cold
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce, plus more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter (more canola oil works, too)
  • 4 large eggs
  1. Add the oil to a large, heavy skillet, preferably cast-iron. Set over medium heat. Season the chicken thighs all over with salt and pepper. Add them to the skillet, skin side-down. Cook without moving until the fat has rendered and the skin is super golden brown and crispy, 15 to 30 minutes. Adjust the heat as needed, reducing to medium-low if the skin begins to burn before it gets evenly brown. Turn the thighs over and continue cooking until the other side is browned and the meat closest to the bone is cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes. When the chicken is done, transfer it to a plate, and pour the rendered fat into a heatproof glass or bowl. Leave the heat under the skillet on.
  2. Add 1 tablespoon chicken fat to the pan, then the ginger and garlic. Stir-fry for 1 minute until very fragrant. Add another 1 ½ tablespoons fat, along with the onion, scallion, carrot, and a big pinch of salt. Stir to combine, then cover the pan. Cook covered for 5 minutes, stirring halfway through. Uncover the pan and cook for another 3 minutes or so, until the vegetables are mostly tender. Add the peas and stir-fry to thaw and cook, about 2 minutes. Add the rice, soy sauce, and a little more chicken fat (or all of it!). Season to taste with salt, pepper, and more soy sauce. Turn the heat down to low while you cook the eggs in a separate pan.
  3. Add the butter or oil to a nonstick skillet and set on the stove over medium heat. Crack the eggs into a bowl, season with a pinch each of salt and pepper, and beat with a fork until smooth. When the butter has melted and is starting to foam, pour in the eggs. They should sizzle. Cook, stirring slowly but constantly, until the eggs are just set—this should only take a minute or so. Add the eggs to the rice and gently stir to incorporate so they’re evenly distributed in big pieces.
  4. Nestle the chicken thighs on top of the fried rice and serve hot.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • K.V.
  • Corianne Nelson
    Corianne Nelson
  • SophieL
  • Emma Laperruque
    Emma Laperruque
Emma was the food editor at Food52. She created the award-winning column, Big Little Recipes, and turned it into a cookbook in 2021. These days, she's a senior editor at Bon Appétit, leading digital cooking coverage. Say hello on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.

8 Reviews

K.V. June 19, 2022
Always satisfying. Amazing how with the right combination of every-day ingredients, a recipe can be so tasty. This dish lends itself well to minor tweaks like adding mushrooms, or the tiniest bit of chili sauce, so it's not the same dish twice yet thoroughly enjoyable every time.
KS October 31, 2019
Okay, you are absolutely right, the "formula" is great and this variation is wonderful. And I have no problem using up any leftover schmaltz. Chopped liver, anyone? However, there is one simplification I always use that uses one less pan and tastes (I think--you try it for yourself) even better. Before you do the chicken, melt a knob of butter over medium high in the large skillet you will use for the rice. Whisk the eggs lightly with a fork and pour them into the skillet, allowing them to spread to a thin layer. They will cook through without turning very quickly. Slide them onto a plate to cool, and proceed with the chicken and the rest of the recipe. Cut the eggs into strips and keep them aside to toss back into the fried rice just before nestling the thighs back in. All this can pretty much be done faster than I can write it, and no second skillet. What do you think?
SophieL November 11, 2020
Yes, this is how I make my Chinese-style fried rice - scramble the eggs first in the skillet, set it aside, then proceed with the recipe. One less pan.
Corianne N. October 13, 2019
So yummy! Will definitely make again.
I did add much more garlic, ginger, and soy sauce for added flavor.
LovinSpoon October 6, 2019
I thought this was really good! I did add a bit more ginger and served with chili oil. My husband absolutely loved it!
Emma L. October 6, 2019
Mmmmm chile oil!
alien September 5, 2019
70 hours!
Emma L. September 5, 2019
Oh my, that's not right! It should be ~70 minutes—thanks for the catch! Just fixed.