Thai Fried Rice

By: takestwoeggsPosted: 16/06/2023 Updated: 30/11/2023
Prep 10 minutes
Cook 15 minutes
Total 25 minutes
Prepare yourself for a mouthwatering recipe for Thai fried rice, or khao pad, that can be made in your kitchen in under 30 minutes! This Thai style fried rice is made with fragrant jasmine rice, succulent shrimp, eggs, leafy greens and a medley of delicious umami sauces.
Thai Fried Rice

Prepare yourself for a mouthwatering recipe for Thai fried rice, or khao pad, that can be made in your kitchen in under 30 minutes! This Thai style fried rice is made with fragrant jasmine rice, succulent shrimp, eggs, leafy greens, and a medley of delicious umami sauces.

Someone squeezing a lime on to Thai fried rice.

Name your favorite Thai takeout order. I’ll go first—THAI FRIED RICE. With its fragrant jasmine rice, juicy shrimp, softly scrambled eggs, leafy Chinese broccoli, and the most addicting Thai fried rice sauce this Thai fried rice recipe is a true delight for your taste buds.

Thai style fried rice is unique in that it is sweet, savory, and aromatic all at the same time. The best part about this authentic Thai rice recipe is that you can whip it up in under 30 minutes! If you are looking for more Thai cuisine inspiration, check out my mango salad, Chicken pad Thai, pineapple fried rice, and mango sticky rice!

What is Thai Fried Rice?

Thai fried rice, or khao pad in Thai, is a flavorful dish that is widely enjoyed in Thailand and around the world. In Thai, “khao” translates to rice, and “pad” translates to “stir-fried.” The dish is typically made with fragrant jasmine rice, leafy green vegetables, and protein such as shrimp, chicken, or tofu, and a combination of aromatics and sauces.

The distinct flavors of this dish stem from the use of Thai ingredients such as fish sauce, Thai soy sauce, oyster sauce, garlic, onions, and Thai chilis. The Thai fried rice sauce contributes to the dish’s savory, umami-rich taste that has layers of sweetness and a subtle spicy kick.

Up close with a plate of Thai fried rice with shrimp.

Why You’ll Love This Thai Fried Rice Recipe

There are about a million reasons why Thai shrimp fried rice is a dish you’ll absolutely love. Here are the top 3 reasons why you should try this Thai rice recipe:

  • Bursting with Flavor. This authentic Thai prawn fried rice recipe is a flavor explosion in every bite. The combination of garlic, onions, and Thai chilis along with the savory Thai fried rice sauce creates a gorgeous blend of sweet, savory, and slightly spicy flavors that is as satisfying as it is addictive.
  • Versatile and Customizable. This Thai rice is highly versatile and easily customizable to satisfy your preferences. You can choose your protein, add more vegetables, or customize your level of spice.
  • Quick and Easy to Prepare. Thai shrimp fried rice is an easy go-to dish for a quick and satisfying meal. It can be prepared in under 30 minutes which is perfect for those busy weeknights.

Kitchen Equipment

You will need the following kitchen equipment to cook your own Thai fried rice recipe.

  • Rice cooker or pot: You will need either a rice cooker or a pot to cook your jasmine rice one day in advance.
  • Mixing bowls: The mixing bowls will be used to marinate the shrimp and to mix your Thai fried rice sauce.
  • Wok or large skillet: You will either need a wok or a large skillet to cook this Thai rice recipe.
  • Wooden spoons: two wooden spoons are ideal for evenly tossing all the Thai rice ingredients together.

Ingredients

All of the ingredients for this khao pad recipe can be found at your local Asian grocery store or online!

Thai Fried Rice

  • Shrimp: I used the largest tiger shrimp I could find at the grocery store for a succulent and plump Thai shrimp fried rice. Be sure to wash, peel and devein the shrimp before cooking.
All the ingredients to season shrimp.
  • Fish Sauce: Fish sauce is a popular condiment used in Thai cuisine. It adds a salty, briny, caramel-y, umami flavor. Trust me. It’s the secret ingredient.
  • Golden Mountain Sauce: Golden Mountain Sauce is a staple in Thai recipes it is made of soybeans and salt similar to soy sauce. However, it has a richer, saltier, and sweet aftertaste to it.
  • Oyster Sauce: oyster sauce is a thick glossy brown sauce made from an oyster extract that is deeply savory and adds an umami punch to stir-fries.
  • Sugar: a touch of sugar balances out the salty flavors from the fish sauce, soy sauce, and oyster sauce.
  • White Pepper: a touch of white pepper seasons the Thai shrimp fried rice by adding a bright, sharp, and herbaceous flavor.
All the sauce ingredients for making thai fried rice.
  • Garlic: minced garlic adds a rich aromatic layer.
  • Yellow Onion: yellow onions add a sweet caramelized aromatic flavor to Thai prawn fried rice.
  • Green Onion: green onion is another aromatic that adds a sharp, peppery flavor.
  • Chinese Broccoli: Chinese broccoli adds a slightly bitter and earthy flavor that is commonly used in Thai cuisine. Be sure to thoroughly wash and dry the leaves before cooking.
  • Eggs: the eggs will be softly scrambled and tossed in for more flavor and protein.
  • Jasmine Rice: make sure to use day-old Jasmine rice to ensure that the rice is not overly mushy and clumpy when you toss everything together.
All the ingredients organized and labeled for fried rice.

Serve

You can dress your plate with the following to brighten up the rich, savory flavors in Thai rice.

  • Tomato wedges
  • Cucumber slices
  • Cilantro
  • Lime wedge

Substitutions and Additions

This authentic Thai fried rice recipe can be customized however you want! I’ve listed some suggestions for any substitutions or additions below.

Substitutions

  • Soy Sauce: instead of Golden Mountain sauce, you can alternatively use light soy sauce or tamari instead for a similar flavor profile.
  • Palm Sugar: for the sake of authenticity, Thai cuisine typically uses palm sugar as its main form of sweetener. If you have access to palm sugar, you can use it instead of regular sugar.
  • Protein: instead of making Thai prawn fried rice, you can swap the protein for chicken, beef, or tofu.

Additions

  • Vegetables: if you want vegetarian fried rice, you can always add sliced carrots, peas, bell peppers, regular broccoli, cauliflower, or baby corn and omit the protein.
  • Nuts: for more added crunch, you can add toasted cashews or peanuts.
  • Fruit: for more of a sweet and tangy twist, add ripe pineapple slices.
  • Spice: if you want spicy fried rice, go ahead and add another chopped Thai chili or a drizzle of Sriracha or chili garlic sauce.

How to Make Thai Fried Rice

Here are the listed step-by-step instructions on how to make this Thai fried rice recipe. I recommend having all the ingredients prepped and measured before you begin cooking.

  1. Cook your rice 1 day in advance. Cook your rice either in a rice cooker or on the stove at least 1 day in advance. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container overnight.
  2. Season the shrimp. Peel and devein the shrimp, then marinate it with Golden Mountain Sauce and sugar. Set aside.
Adding sauce to season a bowl of shrimp.
  1. Mix the sauce. In a small bowl, add the fish sauce, Golden Mountain sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, and white pepper. Mix until combined. Set aside.
Mixing together sauce for thai fried rice in a glass bowl.
  1. Cook the shrimp. Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil on a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat, then add marinated shrimp. Cook for about 2-3 minutes until the shrimp are pink and curled. (*cooking time will vary depending on the size and thickness of your shrimp). Remove and set aside.
Shrimp cooked inside a wok.
  1. Saute aromatics. Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil on a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add minced garlic and diced onion and stir fry for 1-2 minutes or until the onions are translucent and golden brown.
Cooking aromatics inside of a large wok.
  1. Add the vegetables. Next, add the chopped green onion and Chinese broccoli and saute for an additional 2-3 minutes until the leaves are wilted.
Adding vegetables into a large wok.
  1. Add the eggs. Push everything to the side and pour the beaten eggs onto the other side. Scramble it quickly for about 30 seconds.
Pouring egg batter into a wok.
  1. Add the rice, shrimp, and sauce. Add the rice and shrimp back in and toss to combine. Then add the sauce mixture and toss until everything is evenly coated.
  1. Serve. Serve immediately garnished with cilantro, tomatoes, and cucumbers and a lime wedge for added citrus. Enjoy!

Tips for the Best Thai Fried Rice

  • Use cold day-old rice. Fried rice is best made with cold-day-old rice. This is because cold day-old rice is slightly dryer and less sticky than freshly made rice. So when you toss the cold rice into the wok, it will not clump up and create mushy rice.
  • Prep the ingredients in advance. Since this is a stir fry, once you begin cooking your khao pad fried rice, it will move quickly. It is very helpful to have all of the ingredients, prepped, measured, and organized before you begin.
  • Use a hot wok or pan. Make sure the wok or pan is hot before you cook. This prevents any sticking and ensures that the flavors are sealed in properly. This will also ensure you have a beautiful sear on your protein.
  • Lightly caramelize the onions and garlic. Fry the garlic and onion in hot oil until they are fragrant and lightly golden. This step is important because it infuses the oil with aromatic flavors which enhances the overall flavor of the dish.
  • Finish with fresh herbs and lime juice. Serve with fresh cilantro, sliced green onion, and a squeeze of fresh lime juice to brighten and enhance the flavors.

Storage Instructions

This Thai shrimp fried rice is best served immediately. But if you have any leftovers or want to prepare your Thai rice in advance you can store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Freeze: You can also freeze the rice for meal prep or longer storage. To freeze, allow the Thai rice to cool completely, then transfer it to a freezer-proof airtight container or bag and freeze it for up to 3 months. To thaw, place the frozen fried rice in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.

Reheat: To reheat, you can either reheat the fried rice on a warm wok or large skillet over medium heat or microwave covered until warm. Note that as you reheat rice multiple times it may affect the texture as the rice becomes drier the longer it sits in the refrigerator.

Frequently Asked Q’s & A’s

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

Chinese fried rice uses a medley of vegetables such as peas, carrots, and green onion whereas Thai fried rice uses a protein such as chicken or shrimp, scrambled eggs, onions and garlic, and sometimes tomatoes. Chinese fried rice is typically prepared with long-grain rice whereas Thai rice is made with jasmine rice.

Can I use freshly cooked rice for fried rice?

I would not recommend using freshly cooked rice since it may run a higher risk of being overly clumpy and turning into mush instead of individually coated grains.

However, you can use fresh rice by using less water than you traditionally use to cook your rice and then spreading the freshly cooked rice on a baking sheet and cooling it in the refrigerator for about an hour before using it in the recipe.

Why does Thai fried rice taste sweet?

Khao pad tastes sweet because of the addition of sugar in the stir-fry sauce. Also, there is a natural sweetness that comes from caramelizing the yellow onions as well.

Can I make this fried rice vegetarian?

Yes! You can easily adapt this authentic Thai fried rice recipe to a vegetarian version by increasing the number of vegetables, using tofu, and swapping out the sauces for vegetarian-friendly sauces like Tamari and mushroom sauce.

Other Great Thai Recipes to Try

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Thai Fried Rice

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Prepare yourself for a mouthwatering recipe for Thai fried rice, or khao pad, that can be made in your kitchen in under 30 minutes! This Thai style fried rice is made with fragrant jasmine rice, succulent shrimp, eggs, leafy greens and a medley of delicious umami sauces.
Servings: 3 servings
Print Recipe

Ingredients

Marinade

Thai Fried Rice

  • 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • ½ onion diced
  • 3 stalks green onion cut into 1.5 inch pieces
  • ½ cup Chinese broccoli (gai lan) washed and roughly chopped
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 3 cups cooked jasmine rice cold and day old

Sauce

Serve

  • Tomato wedges
  • Cucumber slices
  • Cilantro
  • Lime wedge

Instructions

  • Cook your rice 1 day in advance. Cook your rice either in a rice cooker or on the stove at least 1 day in advance. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container overnight.
  • Season the shrimp. Peel and devein the shrimp, then marinate it with Golden Mountain Sauce and sugar. Set aside.
  • Mix the sauce. In a small bowl, add the fish sauce, Golden Mountain sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, and white pepper. Mix until combined. Set aside.
  • Cook the shrimp. Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil on a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat, then add marinated shrimp. Cook for about 2-3 minutes until the shrimp are pink and curled. (*cooking time will vary depending on the size and thickness of your shrimp). Remove from heat and set aside.
  • Saute aromatics. Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil on a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add minced garlic and diced onion and stir fry for 1-2 minutes or until the onions are translucent and golden brown.
  • Add the vegetables. Next, add the chopped green onion and Chinese broccoli and saute for an additional 2-3 minutes until the leaves are wilted.
  • Add the eggs. Push everything to the side and pour the beaten eggs onto the other side. Scramble it quickly for about 30 seconds.
  • Add the rice, shrimp, and sauce. Add the rice and shrimp back in and toss to combine. Then add the sauce mixture and toss until everything is evenly coated.
  • Serve. Serve immediately garnished with cilantro, tomatoes, and cucumbers and a lime wedge for added citrus. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Use cold day-old rice. Fried rice is best made with cold-day-old rice. This is because cold day-old rice is slightly dryer and less sticky than freshly made rice. So when you toss the cold rice into the wok, it will not clump up and create mushy rice.
  • Prep the ingredients in advance. Since this is a stir fry, once you begin cooking your khao pad fried rice, it will move quickly. It is very helpful to have all of the ingredients, prepped, measured, and organized before you begin.
  • Use a hot wok or pan. Make sure the wok or pan is hot before you cook. This prevents any sticking and ensures that the flavors are sealed in properly. This will also ensure you have a beautiful sear on your protein.
  • Lightly caramelize the onions and garlic. Fry the garlic and onion in hot oil until they are fragrant and lightly golden. This step is important because it infuses the oil with aromatic flavors which enhances the overall flavor of the dish.
  • Finish with fresh herbs and lime juice. Serve the final Thai prawn fried rice with fresh cilantro, sliced green onion, and a squeeze of fresh lime juice to brighten and enhance the flavors.
  • Storage Instructions: if you have any leftovers or want to prepare your Thai rice in advance you can store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • Freezer instructions: You can also freeze Thai fried rice for meal prep or longer storage. To freeze, allow the Thai rice to cool completely, then transfer to a freezer-proof airtight container or bag and freeze it for up to 3 months. To thaw, place the frozen fried rice in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.
  • Reheat: To reheat, you can either reheat the fried rice on a warm wok or large skillet over medium heat or microwave covered until warm. Note that as you reheat rice multiple times it may affect the texture as rice becomes drier the longer it sits in the refrigerator.

Nutrition:

Calories: 470kcal | Carbohydrates: 61g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 231mg | Sodium: 1830mg | Potassium: 485mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 380IU | Vitamin C: 19mg | Calcium: 119mg | Iron: 2mg

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