Shrimp Fried Rice: An Easy 20-Minute Recipe

by Ella

When it comes to quick and satisfying meals, shrimp fried rice is a classic choice that never disappoints. This dish offers a delightful combination of flavors and textures, with tender shrimp, fluffy rice, and an array of colorful vegetables, all brought together by savory soy sauce and aromatic seasonings. The best part? It’s incredibly easy to make, taking just 20 minutes from start to finish. In this article, we’ll explore the world of shrimp fried rice, from its origins to the step-by-step process of creating this delectable dish.

The Origins of Shrimp Fried Rice

Shrimp fried rice is a beloved dish that has its roots in Chinese cuisine, specifically the Cantonese region. It is a testament to the ingenuity of Chinese chefs who transformed simple, readily available ingredients into a flavorful and satisfying meal.


As Chinese immigrants spread across the globe, so did their culinary traditions. Shrimp fried rice found its way into American Chinese cuisine, where it gained immense popularity. Today, it is a staple in Chinese-American restaurants and has also become a favorite in home kitchens worldwide.


Ingredients for Shrimp Fried Rice

Before we dive into the cooking process, let’s take a look at the key ingredients you’ll need to prepare shrimp fried rice:


1. Shrimp:


Choose fresh or frozen shrimp, peeled, deveined, and tails removed. Large or extra-large shrimp work best for this dish.

2. Rice:

Long-grain white rice is the traditional choice for fried rice. Cook the rice a day ahead and refrigerate it for better texture. Cold rice is less likely to clump together during stir-frying.

3. Vegetables:

A mix of vegetables like bell peppers, peas, carrots, and green onions adds color, flavor, and texture to the dish. Feel free to customize the vegetables based on your preferences.

4. Eggs:

Eggs are a crucial component of fried rice. They provide richness and create a creamy coating on the rice grains.

5. Soy Sauce:

Soy sauce is the primary seasoning for shrimp fried rice. It adds saltiness and a deep umami flavor to the dish. You can use light or dark soy sauce, depending on your preference.

Shrimp Fried Rice

Shrimp fried rice is a quick and delicious meal that you can make in just 20 minutes. Here's a simple recipe for you to follow:
Prep Time5 minutes
Active Time12 minutes
Course: Main Course


  • 1 cup of cooked and cooled white rice (day-old rice works best)
  • 1/2 pound (about 225 grams) of large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup of frozen peas and carrots (you can also use fresh vegetables if you prefer)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 3 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of sesame oil (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Green onions, chopped, for garnish (optional)


Prepare the Shrimp:

  • Season the shrimp with a pinch of salt and pepper.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat.
  • Add the shrimp and cook for 2-3 minutes per side, or until they turn pink and opaque. Remove the shrimp from the skillet and set them aside.

Scramble the Eggs:

  • In the same skillet, add the remaining tablespoon of vegetable oil.
  • Add the minced garlic and cook for about 30 seconds until fragrant.
  • Push the garlic to one side of the skillet and pour the beaten eggs into the other side.
  • Scramble the eggs with a spatula until they are fully cooked and then mix them with the garlic.

Add Vegetables and Rice:

  • Add the frozen peas and carrots (or your choice of vegetables) to the skillet.
  • Stir-fry for a couple of minutes until the vegetables are heated through.
  • Add the cooked rice to the skillet, breaking up any clumps. Stir-fry for 2-3 minutes, allowing the rice to heat up and absorb the flavors.


Garnish the shrimp fried rice with chopped green onions if desired.

Serve hot and enjoy your homemade shrimp fried rice!

Tips for Perfect Shrimp Fried Rice

Use cold, day-old rice: Cold rice is less likely to clump together, resulting in better texture. If you don’t have leftover rice, you can spread freshly cooked rice on a baking sheet and refrigerate it for about 30 minutes to cool it down.

Prep all ingredients beforehand: Shrimp fried rice comes together quickly, so it’s essential to have all your ingredients prepared and ready to go before you start cooking.

High heat is key: Stir-frying is done over high heat to create that characteristic smoky flavor and crispy texture. Make sure your skillet or wok is hot before adding ingredients.

Don’t overcook the shrimp: Shrimp cook rapidly, and overcooking can result in a tough and rubbery texture. Cook them just until they turn pink and opaque.

Customize to your taste: Feel free to add or substitute ingredients to suit your preferences. Some people enjoy adding peas, diced onions, or even pineapple chunks for a unique twist.

Variations of Shrimp Fried Rice

While the classic shrimp fried rice recipe offers a symphony of flavors and textures, there are numerous variations to explore, each with its unique twist. Here are a few noteworthy options:

1. Spicy Shrimp Fried Rice: Elevate your shrimp fried rice by adding a kick of heat. Incorporate sliced red chili peppers or a drizzle of sriracha sauce for a fiery upgrade.

2. Pineapple Shrimp Fried Rice: For a tropical twist, introduce pineapple chunks to your shrimp fried rice. The sweetness of the pineapple complements the savory flavors beautifully.

See Also: Flavorful Pineapple Fried Rice: A Step-by-Step Guide

3. Curry Shrimp Fried Rice: Enhance your dish with the fragrant spices of curry. Mix in a spoonful of curry powder or curry paste to infuse your shrimp fried rice with exotic flavors.

4. Kimchi Shrimp Fried Rice: For a fusion of Asian flavors, consider incorporating kimchi into your dish. The tangy and spicy notes of kimchi add depth and complexity to the dish.

5. Vegetarian or Vegan Shrimp Fried Rice: Shrimp fried rice is incredibly adaptable for vegetarians and vegans. Replace shrimp with tofu or a plant-based protein of your choice and use vegan-friendly soy sauce for a satisfying meatless alternative.

See Also: The Easiest Vegetable Fried Rice – 15minutes!

FAQs About Shrimp Fried Rice

Q1. What type of rice is best for shrimp fried rice?

For shrimp fried rice, long-grain white rice is the traditional and most commonly used choice. It cooks up fluffy and separates nicely, providing the ideal texture for fried rice. It’s recommended to use cooked rice that has been chilled in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight, as this helps prevent clumping.

See Also: Top 8 Health Benefits of Rice

Q2. Can I use other proteins besides shrimp in fried rice?

Absolutely! Shrimp fried rice is versatile, and you can use various proteins such as chicken, beef, pork, or even tofu to make different versions of the dish. The key is to ensure the protein is cooked through before adding it to the rice.

Q3. How do I prevent the rice from sticking to the pan when making fried rice?

To prevent the rice from sticking to the pan, make sure you’re using cold, cooked rice that has been properly chilled. Additionally, stir-fry the rice over high heat, and use a spatula to break up any clumps as you go. Adding a bit of oil to the pan before stir-frying can also help prevent sticking.

Q4. What’s the best way to thaw frozen shrimp for fried rice?

The safest way to thaw frozen shrimp is to place them in the refrigerator overnight. If you need to thaw them quickly, you can put the frozen shrimp in a sealed plastic bag and submerge the bag in cold water. Change the water every 30 minutes until the shrimp are fully thawed.

Q5. Can I make shrimp fried rice with brown rice?

While traditional shrimp fried rice uses white rice, you can certainly make a healthier version using brown rice. Keep in mind that brown rice has a firmer texture and a nuttier flavor, so the final dish will have a different consistency and taste compared to the classic white rice version.

Q6. Is shrimp fried rice gluten-free?

Shrimp fried rice can be made gluten-free if you use gluten-free soy sauce or tamari sauce. Many commercial soy sauces contain wheat, so it’s essential to read labels and select a gluten-free option if you have dietary restrictions.

Q7. Can I make shrimp fried rice in advance and reheat it?

While freshly cooked shrimp fried rice is delicious, you can make it in advance and reheat it when needed. To reheat, use a skillet or microwave and add a touch of water or additional soy sauce to prevent it from drying out.

Q8. What vegetables go well with shrimp fried rice?

A variety of vegetables work well in shrimp fried rice. Common choices include bell peppers, peas, carrots, onions, broccoli, and bean sprouts. Feel free to customize the vegetable mix to your liking, and don’t be afraid to experiment with different combinations.

Q9. Can I make shrimp fried rice with leftover takeout rice?

Yes, you can use leftover takeout rice to make shrimp fried rice. In fact, it’s an excellent way to repurpose leftover rice and enjoy a quick and flavorful meal. Just ensure the rice is cold and has been properly refrigerated.


Shrimp fried rice, with its harmonious blend of flavors, is a testament to the rich culinary heritage of Chinese cuisine. Its journey from the shores of Canton to kitchens around the world underscores the universal appeal of this delightful dish. Armed with the knowledge and techniques outlined in this comprehensive guide, you have the tools to master the art of shrimp fried rice and make it a signature dish in your culinary repertoire.

So, whether you’re preparing a quick weeknight dinner or hosting a special gathering, let the tantalizing aroma and delicious taste of homemade shrimp fried rice transport you to a world of culinary delight. Create, savor, and share the magic of this classic Asian dish with family and friends.



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