Vegetable Fried Rice – Budget Bytes


$4.5 recipe / $1.13 serving

Fried rice is a take-out classic because it’s fast, easy, filling, delicious, and inexpensive, which is everything I want from a meal made at home, too! I love making vegetable fried rice at home because it’s an easy way to use up odds and ends in my fridge, it’s always satisfying, and it’s FAST. Plus, I can always add some meat or seafood if I’m feeling it!

Originally posted 6/2/2010, updated 3/30/2022.

Overhead view of a black plate full of vegetable fried rice on a yellow background

What is Fried Rice?

Fried rice is a Chinese dish made with cooked rice that is then stir-fried in a wok with other ingredients, like meat, seafood, vegetables, and eggs, and then seasoned with a savory sauce. It’s extremely flexible and budget-friendly, which is why we love this dish! The recipe below is an American adaptation, using a skillet instead of a wok and ingredients that are easily sourced in most American grocery stores. If you’d like to try an authentic Chinese Fried Rice recipe, be sure to check out Chinese Fried Rice from Rasa Malaysia, Egg Fried Rice from Red House Spice, or Classic Chicken Fried Rice from The Woks of Life.

Use Leftover Rice for Best Results

To avoid clumpy or gummy fried rice, use rice that has been previously cooked and completely cooled, preferably overnight. The slightly drier, less starchy rice is perfect for stir-frying because it can absorb moisture from the sauce and vegetables without becoming overly sticky. If you don’t have leftover rice from the day before, simply cook some rice, spread it out thin on a baking sheet or wide baking dish for faster cooling, then refrigerate until completely cool before using in the stir fry. 

Do I Need a Wok?

Woks are wonderful for stir fry because the large surface area makes it possible to add a lot of ingredients without overcrowding. While using a frying pan doesn’t work quite as well, we can make up for the crowding issue by cooking the ingredients separately, then combining them at the very end. 

What Else Can I Add to Vegetable Stir Fry?

Here’s my favorite part. A simple Vegetable Stiry is a blank slate for all sorts of add ins, whether it’s more vegetables, a meat or seafood, a different sauce, or even a crunchy topping! Here are some other fun add-ins for your stir fry:

  • Other vegetables like beansprouts, mushrooms, green beans, corn, broccoli, red chiles, or kimchi
  • Meat or seafood like chicken, beef, shrimp, pork, or sausage
  • Other sauces like oyster sauce, sriracha, or chili crisp
  • Crunchy toppers like cashews, peanuts, sesame seeds, crushed ramen noodles

Overhead view of fried rice in a skillet with a wooden spoon.

Vegetable Fried Rice

Vegetable Fried Rice is a fast, easy, delicious, and budget-friendly meal that you can whip up with ingredients on hand at any time!

Author: Beth – Budget Bytes

Servings: 4 about 1.25 cups each

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced ($0.16)
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger ($0.10)
  • 1 carrot, diced ($0.16)
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced ($1.50)
  • 4 green onions, sliced ($0.40)
  • 1 cup frozen peas ($0.50)
  • 3 Tbsp cooking oil, divided ($0.12)
  • 3 cups cooked and cooled rice ($0.62)
  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce ($0.18)
  • 1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil ($0.30)
  • Prepare the vegetables before hand so they’re ready to go when needed. Mince the garlic, grate the ginger, dice the carrot and bell pepper, slice the green onions (separate the green ends from the white ends), and measure the frozen peas.

  • Lightly whisk the eggs in a small bowl. Heat a large skillet over medium. Once hot, add 2 Tbsp of cooking oil and swirl to coat the surface. Add the eggs and gently scramble until cooked through. Transfer the cooked eggs to a clean bowl or plate.

  • There should be a good amount of oil left in the skillet. Turn the heat up to medium-high. Add the diced carrots and stir and cook for about two minutes. Next add the bell pepper and the white firm ends of the green onions. Cook and stir for one minute more. Finally, add the frozen peas and stir and cook until heated through. Transfer the vegetables to a clean bowl or plate.

  • Add the remaining 1 Tbsp cooking oil to the skillet and swirl to coat the surface. Add the garlic, ginger, and cooked and cooled rice to the skillet. Stir and cook for about 2 minutes, or until the rice is heated through.

  • Pour the soy sauce and toasted sesame oil over the rice. Stir the rice and sauce together until evenly combined. Turn the heat off.

  • Add the eggs and vegetables back to the skillet with the rice and stir to combine. Allow the residual heat to heat everything through. Top with the remaining green ends of the sliced green onions. Taste and adjust the soy sauce or sesame oil to your liking.

See how we calculate recipe costs here.


Serving: 1.25 cupsCalories: 336 kcalCarbohydrates: 44 gProtein: 7 gFat: 15 gSodium: 771 mgFiber: 4 g

Nutritional values are estimates only. See our full nutrition disclaimer here.


The equipment section above contains affiliate links to products we use and love. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

side view of a plate full of fried rice with chop sticks on the side.

How to Make Fried Rice – Step By Step Photos

Chopped vegetables on a cutting board

Prep the vegetables before you begin cooking because once you start, it will go fast! Mince two cloves of garlic and mince or grate about 1 tsp fresh ginger. Peel and dice one large carrot and one red bell pepper. Slice four green onions, separating the tender green top half from the firm lower half, and measure out one cup of frozen peas.

Scrambled eggs in a skillet

Lightly whisk two large eggs. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add 2 Tbsp cooking oil and swirl to coat the surface. Add the eggs to the skillet and gently scramble until cooked through. Remove the scrambled eggs to a clean bowl or plate.

Sautéed vegetables in the skillet

There should be quite a bit of oil left in the skillet after removing the eggs. Turn the heat up to medium-high. Add the diced carrot to the skillet and stir fry for about two minutes. Next, add the bell pepper and the firm white ends of the sliced green onion. Stir fry for about a minute more. Lastly, add the frozen peas and stir fry just until heated through. Remove the vegetables to a clean bowl or plate.

Stir fried rice in the skillet.

Add another tablespoon of cooking oil to the skillet and swirl to coat the surface again. Add the minced garlic, ginger, and three cups of cooked and cooled rice to the hot skillet. Stir and cook for 1-2 minutes. Don’t worry if the rice sticks a bit to the bottom. It will loosen after the sauce is added.

Stir fry sauce being poured over the rice.

Add 3 Tbsp soy sauce and 1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil to the rice. Fold the rice and sauce together until the rice is evenly coated in the sauce.

vegetables and eggs added back to the rice.

Add the vegetables and eggs back to the skillet. Turn the heat off and stir to combine, allowing the residual heat to reheat everything through.

Finished vegetable fried rice in the skillet.

Top with the sliced green ends of the green onions and you’re done! Give it a taste and add extra soy sauce or sesame oil to fit your taste buds.

finished vegetable fried rice in a skillet against a yellow background.

What do you like to put in your fried rice?

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posted on March 30, 2022 in Bean & Grain Recipes, Dairy Free Recipes, East Asian Inspired Recipes, Globally Inspired Recipes, Quick Recipes, Recipes under $5, Rice Recipes, Side Dish Recipes, Under $1 per serving, Vegetable Recipes, Vegetarian Recipes



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Jacqueline M. Faulkner

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