Shrimp Fried Rice

Here’s how to make the best shrimp fried rice that tastes just like takeout! Shrimp adds a low calorie boost of protein to make it a healthy dinner.

Shrimp fried rice

Here’s a weeknight dinner that gives us that cozy feeling every time we make it: Shrimp Fried Rice! It’s healthy, it’s over the top delicious, and it’s total comfort food. Fried rice is pretty easy to make by winging it. But if you follow this recipe, it’s the path to shrimp fried rice that tastes like takeout. The garlic, ginger and soy sauce meld perfectly with the colorful veggies, bursts of shrimp and gooey bits of egg into a symphony of flavor. It’s one of our favorites for weeknight cooking…ever.

Ingredients for shrimp fried rice

The very best shrimp fried rice, the kind that tastes like takeout, has very specific ingredients to get that signature flavor. This one is a spin on our Best Fried Rice that adds shrimp. Here are the ingredients you’ll need:

  • Rice: Medium or long grain rice is best, because short grain rice can become clumpy. Basmati rice is a nice option. You can use either white rice or brown rice (we prefer the flavor of white).
  • Sesame oil: For cooking; use the standard variety, not toasted sesame oil.
  • Onion and garlic: These aromatic veggies form the base.
  • Fresh ginger: Important for the very best flavor: you can find ginger root in the produce section.
  • Carrots, peas, and green cabbage (optional): Carrots and peas are classic. Green cabbage is optional, but it adds a nice contrasting texture.
  • Eggs: Eggs make for the perfect chewy, savory texture.
  • Soy sauce: Essential for the final flavoring.
  • Fish sauce (optional): It really amps the flavors to the next level, if you have it on hand.
  • Shrimp: Shelled medium small to small, fresh or frozen. Keep reading for more…
Shrimp fried rice

The best shrimp to use for fried rice

Shrimp is sold in so many different ways: large, small, frozen, fresh, shell on, shell off, tail on, etc. It can be overwhelming once you’re at the store. Here’s what to know about the shrimp to buy for shrimp fried rice:

  • Frozen or fresh: frozen is just as good! Often frozen shrimp can be even fresher than if you buy it fresh, if it’s flash frozen right after it’s caught. We often buy frozen since it’s convenient to store for months.
  • Medium small to small shrimp. Typically the shrimp in shrimp fried rice is on the smaller side. While we often use medium to large shrimp in other dishes, use medium small here.
  • Shelled (and not tail on). You can buy shrimp in the shell, shelled, or tail on. Here you’ll want it fully shelled so can shovel it into your mouth! Tail on is great for something like grilled shrimp or Cajun shrimp.
Shrimp fried rice

Start with day old rice…or here’s a shortcut!

The first thing you’ll hear about fried rice is this: start with day old rice. It’s probably the number one thing to know about this dish. But what if you’d don’t have day old rice and you want to make this shrimp fried rice stat? Here are a few tips:

  • Day old rice is best because it’s dried out. After you first make a pot of rice, it holds a lot of moisture. If you use this to make fried rice, here’s what happens: it clumps up and gets very soggy. Using dried out day old rice is preferable because the grains stay separate and you can achieve that perfect fried rice texture.
  • Want to make it day of? Here’s our shortcut! Make the rice. As soon as it’s done, spread the freshly cooked rice onto a rimmed sheet pan or tray. Place the tray in the freezer and freeze for about 15 to 20 minutes until the grains become cool to the touch. Some might even become frozen: that’s ok! They’ll heat right back up once they hit the pan.

Shrimp fried rice variations

Want to make shrimp fried rice…without rice? Here are a few different variations:

Shrimp Fried Rice

Ways to serve it!

Shrimp fried rice is a meal in itself: but add a few side dishes and you’ve got a feast! Here are a few side dishes we’d pair:

This shrimp fried rice recipe is…

Pescatarian, dairy-free, and gluten-free.

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Shrimp fried rice

Shrimp Fried Rice (Takeout Style!)

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (13 votes, average: 4.31 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free


Here’s how to make the best shrimp fried rice that tastes just like takeout! Shrimp adds a low calorie boost of protein to make it a healthy dinner.


  • 1 pound medium small shrimp (size 51 to 60), shelled and deveined, frozen or fresh
  • 1/2 yellow or white onion
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger (about 1 inch nub)
  • 2 large carrots
  • 2 cups chopped green cabbage (optional)
  • 5 tablespoons sesame oil, divided
  • 4 eggs*
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 4 cups cooked rice, at least 1 day old (use How to Cook Rice or Instant Pot Rice), or use shortcut**
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons soy sauce (or liquid aminos)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce (optional)
  • Green onion, for garnish (optional)


  1. Thaw the shrimp.
  2. Mince the onionMince the garlicMince the ginger. Peel the carrots, then dice them. If using, chop the cabbage.
  3. Pat the shrimp dry. In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons sesame oil on medium high heat. Add the shrimp for about 1 minute per side until just opaque cooked through, turning them with tongs. They can be slightly undercooked because you’ll be adding them to the rice later. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Remove to a bowl and set aside.
  4. In a large skillet or wok, heat 2 tablespoons of the sesame oil medium high. Saute the carrots and onion for 2 minutes. Add the cabbage, garlic and ginger and saute for 2 minutes. Stir in the rice, peas and salt for 1 minute.
  5. Push the rice to the side. Add 1 tablespoon more oil. Add the eggs and pinch of salt, and scramble them in for 1 to 2 minutes until cooked through.
  6. Add the soy sauce and fish sauce, if using. Use tongs to add the shrimp (to remove them from liquid that accumulated in the bowl) and heat for a minute or two, stirring, until all rice is coated. Taste and add additional soy sauce if necessary. Serve hot.
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stir Fry
  • Cuisine: Asian

Keywords: Shrimp fried rice, How to make shrimp fried rice, Best shrimp fried rice, Easy shrimp fried rice

More shrimp recipes

Shrimp is a fantastic healthy meal choice: it’s low calorie and full of protein. Here are some of our favorite healthy shrimp recipes:

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

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