To make baked fried rice, just place uncooked rice, stock, soy sauce and a few other flavourings in a baking pan, give it a mix then shove it in the oven. Out comes fluffy, seasoned fried rice that’s so good, you may never wok-toss fried rice ever again!
(Well, maybe not. Nothing beats the real deal, after all. But this emergency version is excellent for the minimal effort required!)
Emergency baked fried rice
OK, you’re right, this isn’t fried rice per se! It’s a baked rice. But I call it a baked fried rice because it’s everything we love about fried rice, without the frying! It will save you on all those nights when you’re scrambling for a quick side dish that will go with almost everything and please everyone.
Unlike the normal way fried rice is cooked, there’s no need to plan ahead and cook rice the day before so that it has time to dry out overnight in the fridge. You don’t even need to chop anything (hello, frozen veg!).
Just dump everything in the pan – uncooked rice, stock, frozen pre-chopped vegetables, raw bacon – then whack it in the oven. There’s no need to stir while cooking – in fact, I forbid it, because it makes the rice mushy!
And for all that effort, you will be rewarded with THIS ↓↓↓ (“this” being a big pan of fluffy seasoned fried rice that’s littered with vegetables and oh wow, even the bacon is nice and golden!!🙌🏻)
Ingredients for baked fried rice
This is an excellent recipe to customise and make your own, with lots of options for changing up add-ins! Here’s what I use in this baked fried rice recipe:
Rice – Best made with long grain white rice because it’s the least sticky. This means you get that nice, crumbly and fluffy fried rice texture with this “dump ‘n bake” cooking method.
Other rice types that work:
→ Basmati rice: Has the same fluffy texture but you get the basmati aroma (it’s not traditional with fried rice seasoning, but it’s rather nice!)
→ Medium and short grain white rice: Works perfectly but these rices are a bit stickier so don’t expect quite the same rice texture you see in the video (it will clump a little more).
→ Jasmine rice: Reduce water by 1/4 cup (water to rice ratio is lower, see here for cooking plain jasmine rice).
This recipe won’t work as-written for the following: Brown rice, paella or risotto rice, wild rice, quinoa or other speciality rices. I’d need to figure out special liquid/rice ratios and bake times, which I have not done!
Stock/broth – Chicken stock will give a better flavour (it’s not chicken-y as such, it has just a more deeply seasoned flavour), but vegetable stock works just fine too. Whichever you use, make sure it’s low sodium otherwise the rice ends up a tad saltier than is ideal.
Don’t have liquid stock? Use water plus stock powder. Make up 2 cups according to the stock powder directions and use per the recipe.
Vegetables – Because this is conceived as a recipe for “dinner emergencies”, I’ve used frozen diced vegetables here. Fresh vegetables can be used, but you’ll need to increase the water by 1/4 cup because the liquid to rice ratio factors in the water that comes off the frozen vegetables (a surprising amount!).
Garlic – I can’t ever imagine making any type of fried rice without garlic. And that includes an emergency baked version!
Bacon (uncooked) or ham – Just like we do in wok tossed fried rice! Here, it’s scattered across the surface and it adds flavour into the stock as it cooks.
There’s no need to cook the bacon beforehand, it will brown at the end when we finish the rice off uncovered in the oven.
Soy sauce – I’ve used light soy sauce here which adds seasoning without discolouring the rice too much. All purpose soy sauce will work just fine too.
Dark soy sauce – It’s much more intense in flavour so use half the quantity and be prepared for your rice to be much browner in colour.
Chinese cooking wine (Shaoxing wine) – adds umami / depth of flavour which is important for this method of cooking that skips the usual “sauté garlic and onion” etc.
Best substitute – Dry sherry, followed by cooking sake, followed by mirin (though rice will be a touch sweeter).
Non alcoholic option – Skip the wine and add an extra 1/2 tbsp of soy sauce PLUS add 30g / 2 tbsp of unsalted butter with the sesame (butter compensates for loss of flavour from skipping the cooking wine). It’s not the same, but equally delicious!
Pepper – For a touch of warmth. White pepper is typically used for fried rice because you can’t see it. Substitute with black pepper.
Sesame oil & green onion – For finishing. We add sesame oil at the end to preserve the flavour, and the green onion is tossed through at the end for a hit of freshness and colour.
How to make baked fried rice
Are you ready to see how easy it is??
Put the uncooked rice into the baking pan;
Add everything else except the bacon;
Give it a mix, then scatter the bacon across the surface (because we want it to get some colour when we bake it uncovered);
Cover with foil and bake 40 minutes at 200°C / 390°F (180°C fan);
Remove foil and bake for a further 15 minutes. This gives the bacon some nice colour;
Remove from the oven, cover with foil then let it rest for 10 minutes. To finish the dish, add sesame oil and green onion, fluff with a fork then serve!
Why we rest rice – When you take it out of the oven, there should be no liquid left in the pan and the rice will be cooked through though a tiny bit firmer than ideal. You’ll also notice that the surface of the rice grains will be wet.
When we rest the rice for 10 minutes, the grains finish cooking through using the residual heat, and the wetness on the rice grains gets absorbed. This is an essential step with any rice you cook, no matter what method you use – stove, absorption, boil and drain, oven, microwave or rice cooker!
Here’s a nice close up for you so you can see how the grains are fluffy and separated, and how the bacon bits are lovely and golden.
No mushy, overcooked rice in sight!
What to serve with baked fried rice
Serve to accompany dishes you would with fried rice, which these days is far and beyond just Asian foods! Try it with the Mushroom Stuffed Chicken I shared a couple of weeks ago, or as a side for a fillet of seasoned pan fried fish.
Pair it with something sticky like this Chilli Chicken, Honey Garlic Chicken or a tropical Hawaiian Huli-Huli chicken. For vegetarian options, skip the bacon and instead, pile over juicy and buttery garlic mushrooms or a medley of marinated grilled vegetables.
The rules are: there are no rules! This is a rice side that will go with virtually anything, Asian or not! – Nagi x
PS. I just had a fleeting thought. If you’d like to turn this into a meal, trying stirring through a big handful of baby spinach or chopped English spinach when fluffing it up at the end. By upping the veg in this, it would be great as a meal!
Watch how to make it
Emergency “Dump ‘n Bake” Fried Rice
Uses less liquid than the usual 1 : 1.5 rice to water ratio because we need to factor in the water that comes off the frozen vegetables (a surprising amount!).
Bonus: this recipe starts with uncooked rice. No need to plan ahead with day-old cooked rice like you usually do!
Add in options – like eggs, chicken, see Notes.
Baked Fried Rice:
- 1 1/2 cups long grain white rice , UNCOOKED (Note 1)
- 2 cups chicken or veg stock , low sodium
- 1 1/2 tbsp light soy sauce (Note 2)
- 1 tbsp Chinese cooking wine (dry sherry, mirin or sake, Note 3)
- 2 garlic cloves , minced with crusher (straight into pan)
- 2 cups frozen diced veg (carrots, peas, corn mix, Note 4 fresh veg)
- 1/4 tsp white pepper
- 1 1/4 cups / 180g bacon (uncooked) or ham , chopped (I use store bought chopped bacon, Note 5)
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1/2 cup green onion , finely sliced (2 – 3 stems)
Preheat oven to 200°C / 390°F (180°C fan).
Mix ingredients in baking dish: Place all Baked Fried Rice ingredients except bacon in a baking dish (~22 x 32cm / 9 x 13"). Stir, then spread rice evenly across pan.
Top with bacon: Scatter bacon across surface.
Bake covered 40 min: Cover with foil. Bake 40 minutes.
Bake uncovered 15 min: Remove foil. Bake uncovered 15 minutes – this will colour the bacon. Liquid should be absorbed, rice should be cooked (but will seem wet, will absorb and soften while resting).
Rest 10 min: Cover loosely with foil, stand for 10 minutes.
Fluff: Add green onion and sesame oil. Fluff rice with fork, marvel at how perfectly cooked the rice grains are. Serve!
1. Rice types – Best made with long grain rice because it’s the least sticky so you get that nice crumbly, fluffy fried rice texture with this “dump ‘n bake” cooking method. Other rice types that work:
- Basmati rice – same fluffy texture but you get the basmati aroma (it’s not traditional with fried rice seasoning, but it’s rather nice!)
- Medium and short grain white rice – works perfectly but the rice is a bit stickier (that’s the way it is) so don’t expect the same rice texture you see in the video (it will clump a little more).
- Jasmine rice – reduce water by 1/4 cup (water to rice ratio is lower, see here for cooking plain jasmine rice).
Recipe won’t work as written for: brown rice, paella or risotto rice, wild rice, quinoa or other speciality rices. I’d need to figure out liquid/rice ratios and bake times.
No need to rinse rice first unless you’re concerned about rice cleanliness (rice in packets at grocery stores should be fine, I never rinse). If you rinse, reduce water by 2 tbsp.
2. Light soy sauce – adds flavour and salt without staining the rice. Ordinary all purpose soy can also be used. Do not use dark soy sauce – flavour is too strong and sauce will be very dark. See here for more information about different soy sauces.
3. Chinese cooking wine – adds umami / depth of flavour which is important for this method of cooking that skips the usual “sauté garlic and onion” etc.
Best substitute – Dry sherry, followed by cooking sake, then mirin (though rice will be a touch sweeter).
Non alcoholic sub – skip it and add an extra 1/2 tbsp of soy sauce PLUS add 30g / 2 tbsp of unsalted butter with the sesame (butter compensates for loss of flavour from skipping the cooking wine).
4. Fresh veg – If you use fresh instead of frozen veg, add 1/4 cup of water. Required because frozen veg leech water as they cook which is factored into water/rice ratio in this dish.
- Carrots, peas, corn, onion – use in recipe as written.
- Cauliflower, broccoli, green beans, asparagus, zucchini, capsicum/bell peppers (chopped) – add them 30 min into bake time.
I don’t recommend: eggplant, mushrooms (they won’t colour).
5. Bacon – Add it raw, it goes golden during the uncovered baking part. Fattier bacon = better golden = more flavour added into rice.
Alternatives – ham (chunky chopped, not fine slices), Chinese sausage (finely sliced), smoked sausages (like kransky, why not? 🙂 ) Turkey bacon.
Vegetarian – leave it out, or try fried tofu puffs (slice then scatter), otherwise garnish with about 1/4 cup of store bought crispy fried shallots or onion just before serving (crispy salty oily pops of goodness will add a nice hit of extra flavour!)
6. Pan size matters! Do not go larger – rice will dry out and won’t cook evenly. If you go much smaller (eg 20cm/8″ square) it will work ok but rice in the middle will be softer.
7. Add in options: Oh, the possibilities!
- Egg – Cook separately and stir in when fluffing rice. Either scramble, or make ribbons (cook a thin omelette using 2 whisked eggs, roll it up like a cigar then finely slice)
- Cooked chicken (or other cooked protein), char siu – dice or shred, toss on top of rice when resting (residual heat will warm up), then mix through well fluffing rice.
- Raw prawns/shrimp – small ones. When you remove the foil, scatter them across the surface, pop into oven for the last 15 min uncovered bake time.
- Baby spinach or chopped spinach – Stir it through at end with fluffing rice, residual heat will make it wilt.
- Spicy! Add a squirt of sriracha or dollop of your favourite chilli paste during cooking, or stir through a big handful of chopped kimchi just before serving.
8. Storage – Keeps for 3 days in the fridge. Reheat using microwave.
Make ahead – Do not assemble ahead, once rice is mixed with water, bake straight away. Best to cook then reheat (it reheats near perfectly, I make fried rice ahead all the time for gatherings).
9. Nutrition per serving, assuming 5 servings.
Life of Dozer
Weekend car problems. Dozer was keen to help. (Well that’s a big fat lie! We all know he was just snuffling around for treats from the road side assistance man.)