Fried Rice in the Air Fryer Recipe

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Fried Rice in the Air Fryer



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Air fryers have revolutionized the way we cook, offering a healthier alternative to traditional frying methods. Among the plethora of dishes that can be prepared in an air fryer, fried rice stands out for its simplicity, versatility, and the unique texture that the air fryer lends to the dish. This recipe for fried rice in the air fryer is not only easy to follow but also customizable to cater to different dietary preferences and pantry availabilities.


2 cups of cooked rice (preferably day-old rice as it fries better)
1 cup of mixed vegetables (carrots, peas, corn, etc.), either fresh or frozen
2 tablespoons of oil (sesame oil or any vegetable oil)
2 eggs, beaten (optional for a vegetarian or vegan version)
2-3 tablespoons of soy sauce, adjust to taste
1 tablespoon of oyster sauce (optional, can be replaced with more soy sauce or a vegan alternative)
1 teaspoon of garlic powder or 2 cloves of minced garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
Green onions, chopped for garnish
Additional protein (cooked chicken, shrimp, tofu) if desired


Preparation: Preheat your air fryer to 350°F (about 175°C). If your air fryer requires preheating, make sure to do it before you start cooking. In a large bowl, mix the cooked rice with oil, ensuring each grain is lightly coated. This helps to prevent the rice from drying out during the air-frying process.

Mixing Ingredients: To the rice, add the mixed vegetables, garlic powder (or minced garlic), soy sauce, and oyster sauce if using. Mix well to ensure the seasonings are evenly distributed throughout the rice. If you’re adding eggs, scramble them in a pan beforehand and mix into the rice.

Air Frying: Transfer the rice mixture into the air fryer basket. For best results, try to spread the rice in an even layer to ensure uniform cooking. Air fry for about 15-20 minutes, shaking the basket halfway through the cooking time to promote even frying.

Adding Protein: If you’re including an additional protein like cooked chicken, shrimp, or tofu, add it to the rice halfway through the cooking process. This ensures that the protein is heated through without becoming overcooked or rubbery.

Final Touches: Once the rice is crispy and heated through, taste and adjust the seasoning with more soy sauce, salt, or pepper if needed. Garnish with chopped green onions before serving.

Serving: Serve the fried rice hot as a main dish or as a side to complement your favorite Asian-inspired meals.

Tips for Perfect Air Fryer Fried Rice:

Rice Texture: Using day-old rice that’s been refrigerated helps prevent the fried rice from becoming mushy. The grains are firmer and less sticky, which is ideal for frying.

Customization: Feel free to customize the vegetables and protein based on what you have on hand. This recipe is great for using up leftovers!

Keeping it Moist: The air fryer can dry out ingredients, so the oil coating on the rice helps to keep it moist and flavorful. Don’t skimp on the oil, but there’s no need to overdo it either.

Even Cooking: Stirring the rice midway through cooking ensures that it cooks evenly, giving you the perfect crispy texture throughout.

With its ease of preparation and customizable ingredients, fried rice in the air fryer is a quick and delicious meal that can be enjoyed any day of the week. Whether you’re looking for a new way to repurpose leftovers or simply craving a healthier version of this classic dish, this recipe is sure to satisfy.

Variations to Explore:

The beauty of fried rice lies in its versatility. Here are a few variations to inspire your next air fryer adventure:

Vegetarian and Vegan Options: For a plant-based version, omit the eggs and any animal-based sauces. Use tofu as a protein source and tamari or a vegan oyster sauce as condiments. Adding a dash of nutritional yeast can also impart a savory, cheesy flavor.

Low-Carb and Keto-Friendly: Swap traditional rice with cauliflower rice for a low-carb version. Adjust the cooking time as cauliflower rice will cook faster than regular rice. Ensure to add plenty of vegetables and protein to keep it filling and nutritious.

International Flavors: While soy sauce and garlic are staples, don’t hesitate to experiment with other seasonings. Try adding curry powder for an Indian twist, a bit of kimchi and gochujang for Korean-inspired fried rice, or even some salsa and black beans for a Mexican flair.

Cooking Tips:

Do Not Overcrowd: Air flow is crucial in an air fryer. Overcrowding the basket can result in unevenly cooked rice. Cook in batches if necessary to ensure every grain gets crispy.

Reheating: This fried rice can easily be reheated in the air fryer for 3-5 minutes at 350°F, making it an excellent option for meal prep or leftovers.

Crispiness Factor: For extra crispiness, you can spray or drizzle a little more oil over the rice halfway through cooking. This will help achieve that sought-after golden brown crunch.

Nutritional Benefits:

Fried rice in the air fryer isn’t just convenient and tasty; it’s also a healthier option compared to traditional frying methods. By using minimal oil, this cooking technique reduces the overall calorie and fat content of the dish. Incorporating a variety of vegetables boosts the fiber, vitamins, and minerals, making it a well-rounded meal. Opting for whole grain or brown rice can further increase the nutritional value, adding more fiber and nutrients than white rice.

Fried rice in the air fryer is a game-changer for busy weeknights, offering a delicious and healthier alternative to takeout. Its adaptability to different ingredients and dietary needs makes it a universal favorite. By following this simple recipe and experimenting with your own variations, you can enjoy the perfect crispy fried rice that’s packed with flavor and goodness, all with the convenience of your air fryer. Whether you’re cooking for one or feeding a crowd, this dish is sure to impress and satisfy.

FAQ: Fried Rice in the Air Fryer

Can I use freshly cooked rice instead of day-old rice?

Yes, you can use freshly cooked rice, but it’s best to spread it on a tray and allow it to cool and dry out a bit before air frying. This step helps prevent the rice from becoming mushy. Refrigerating it for a few hours, if time allows, can also help.

How do I prevent the rice from drying out in the air fryer?

Ensuring the rice is well-coated with a bit of oil helps prevent it from drying out. Avoid overcooking by keeping an eye on the rice and taste-testing towards the end of cooking. Adding a small amount of water or vegetable broth can also help maintain moisture if the rice seems too dry.

Can I add raw vegetables or meat to the fried rice in the air fryer?

For vegetables, most can be added raw if they’re finely chopped, as they’ll cook quickly. However, denser vegetables like carrots might benefit from a brief pre-cook. For meats, it’s best to use pre-cooked options to ensure they’re heated through safely without overcooking the rice.

Is it possible to make a large batch of fried rice in the air fryer?

While air fryers are great for quick and easy meals, they do have capacity limits. For large batches, cook the rice in multiple smaller batches to ensure even cooking. Alternatively, you can cook a large batch on the stove and then crisp it in the air fryer in batches.

How long does air fryer fried rice keep in the refrigerator?

Properly stored in an airtight container, air fryer fried rice can last in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days. Ensure it’s cooled to room temperature before storing to prevent moisture build-up.

Can I freeze air fryer fried rice?

Yes, fried rice freezes well. Cool it completely and store it in airtight freezer-safe containers or bags. It can last up to 3 months. Reheat it directly in the air fryer or microwave, adding a little water if it seems dry.

How do I make my fried rice spicy?

Add a kick to your fried rice by including chopped fresh chili, a dash of hot sauce, or a spoonful of chili paste like sriracha or sambal oelek when mixing your ingredients. Adjust the amount based on your spice tolerance.

Can I use brown rice or other grains?

Absolutely! Brown rice, quinoa, or even couscous can be excellent alternatives to white rice. Just keep in mind the cooking times and textures might vary, so adjust accordingly.

These FAQs aim to address common queries and concerns about making fried rice in an air fryer, ensuring even beginners can achieve delicious and satisfying results. Whether you’re experimenting with different ingredients or making a simple, classic version, the air fryer offers a convenient and healthier way to enjoy this beloved dish.


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