Supper Made Fast: Chicken Fried Rice Using Leftover Meat & Rice

By Texas Homesteader ~ 

Chicken Fried Rice makes a whole new meal using leftover meat & rice to get supper on the table fast. A delicious yet very flexible recipe for those busy nights.

Chicken Fried Rice makes good use of leftover meat & rice to get supper on the table fast. #TexasHomesteader

Benefits of Leftover Food

I’m a big fan of Planned Leftovers. That’s the method of cooking when some of the components of today’s meal were actually prepared for a completely different dish yesterday.

It’s a super-fast meal since some of the ingredients of tonight’s entrée have already been cooked.

For instance, I have leftover grilled fajita chicken and some plain long-grain rice in the fridge needing to be used.

So I’ll combine them deliciously to make a completely different meal tonight with an oriental flair. Chicken Fried Rice!

Using Planned Leftovers

There’s a whole list ideas at the bottom of this post for making good use of purposely-planned leftovers.

But today I’m using those planned leftover shortcuts to make chicken fried rice.

You see, when RancherMan fires up the grill – I make sure he fills that entire grill surface up! He may start off grilling venison for instance, but I’ll bring all manner of food out to him to grill at the same time.

So he’d cooked chicken breasts and we’d enjoyed some of them as chicken fajitas one night. But then…

Planned leftovers using leftover fajita chicken meat. #TexasHomesteader

There was plenty of grilled and seasoned chicken leftover to use for my chicken fried rice.

This will be perfect – the meat is already cooked and delightfully seasoned. Tonight’s meal will be on the supper table fast, thanks to planned leftover’s cooking.

It’s just one of the shortcuts I utilize to be able to Make Homemade Meals Daily The EASY Way.

So first I’ll bring the Fajita Chicken Meat out of the fridge & chop it into cubes. I’ve now got about a cup of chopped meat.

You can make it even meatier if you want. Or if you don’t want to use chicken feel free to use chopped ham or beef.

That’s the beauty of homemade meals. Make it however you like it! But we’re making chicken fried rice today.

I’ve also got about 3 cups of cold, cooked rice in the refrigerator. For this chicken fried rice it’s important that the leftover rice be chilled. It just makes it all come together best.

Better than takeout simple chicken fried rice uses leftover chicken and leftover rice to get a tasty supper on the table FAST! #TexasHomesteader

Chicken Fried Rice Ingredients

Making chicken fried rice comes together quickly. So I first gather up my  ingredients:

      • A cup (or more) of leftover cubed meat

      • 3 cups leftover cold rice,

      • About a cup of chopped onions,

      • 2 minced garlic cloves,

      • A cup of frozen peas and carrots,

      • 3 eggs ,

      • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce.

And for us, I’ll be using the last of the grilled jalapenos from our cookout the other day. It’s not an official part of the recipe, but RancherMan & I like our food spicy!

Now it’s showtime. This meal comes together quickly y’all, so hold on to your hats!

Chicken Fried Rice ingredients using planned leftovers. Cold rice, leftover chicken, scrambled eggs, onions, peas and carrots. #TexasHomesteader

Quick-Cooking Chicken Fried Rice

I brought out my large 10” cast-iron skillet and placed a little bacon grease in it, allowing it to heat up while I mixed 3 of eggs with 3 tablespoons of water.

When the grease was melted and the skillet was hot I dropped the egg mixture in and scrambled it. 

After the eggs were scrambled I scooped them away and put them into a container to sauté the onions next. (see below ‘What I’d Do Differently)

Into that same skillet I added another small tablespoon of bacon grease and sautéed the chopped onions and minced garlic.

You can use butter, olive oil or vegetable oil to sauté the onions & garlic if you want. But in our homestead, Bacon Grease is King! For many reasons.

It’s readily available, it’s a free byproduct and it adds a nice flavor to our food too. But whatever you typically sauté onions with works here.

I’ll toss in the peas & carrots toward the end of the onion sauté too. They’re already cooked tender crisp having been frozen and thawed, so adding them at this stage just mixes the flavors best in my opinion.

Now comes the last step. We added the soy sauce, the cup of chopped cooked chicken and the 3 cups of cold leftover cooked rice and stirred everything for a few more minutes to blend all those delightful flavors.

Chicken Fried Rice makes good use of planned leftovers. Chicken Fried Rice makes good use of leftover meat & rice to get supper on the table fast. #TexasHomesteader

In just a few minutes, all those leftovers were blended into a delicious meal.

What I’ll do differently next time:

Should I Use Peas & Carrots?

Sweet peas are definitely part of the actual recipe along with the carrots. It’s a traditional ingredient in fried rice. Plus it adds a nice color to the rest of the ingredients. Presentation is half the meal, y’all!

But in the future I may omit frozen peas and carrots from the recipe and just opt for a handful of steamed chopped carrots instead.

It’s not that we don’t enjoy peas, and I like the way they make the finished dish look.

But I don’t like to buy frozen veggies because of the plastic bag they’re sold in. And I’ve never been successful growing sweet peas. I’d think canned peas would be too soft to use here.

So from now on I’ll probably just peel and chop some fresh carrots and then place them in the microwave with a little water to steam while I’m sautéing the onions & garlic.

And I may add strips of red bell pepper while I’m sautéing the onions too. I love the flavor of bell peppers and the color would provide a nice presentation as well. Plus I always have red or green bell pepper growing in my garden.

Making one (or both) of these substitutions would eliminate a plastic bag coming from the frozen-foods section as well as the cost. (Have I mentioned lately how much I Hate Plastic?? LOL)

But feel free to use frozen veggies if you like here. Or heck, experiment with different flavors, colors & textures of other veggies to come up with YOUR family’s fave. Just shoot for about 1.5 cups of steamed veggies.

Better Scrambled Eggs

I started off scrambling the eggs first and then removing them, placing them into a container and setting it aside while I sautéed the onions & garlic. But I’m wondering – why add that step?

From now on I’ll sauté the onions FIRST, then push the cooked onions to the side of the skillet and scramble the eggs next chopping it with the spatula as they cook. Finally I’ll just mix it all together and continue on with the recipe.

Fewer steps? Fewer preparation dishes to wash? Yes please!

Chicken Fried Rice Serves 4? Or More?

Anyway, the recipe below is the base recipe I use.

This recipe makes about 4 servings which is just right for us since RancherMan & I are empty nesters. We’ll enjoy chicken fried rice for supper one night and often have enough left over for lunch the next day too.

But you can double the recipe if you like to increase the servings if you’re feeding a crowd.

Did you make this Chicken Fried Rice? Please rate the recipe in your comment below!

Chicken Fried Rice uses cold leftover rice to make supper fast! #TexasHomesteader
5 from 1 vote

Chicken Fried Rice

This delicious chicken fried rice recipe gets supper on the table fast! It takes advantage of planned leftovers, using a cup of leftover meat and 3 cups of leftover rice stir-fried into a quick supper. #TexasHomesteader

Course Main Course
Cuisine Chinese
Keyword chicken, easy recipe, fried rice, garlic, leftovers, onions, planned leftovers, rice, soy sauce
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 people



  • 1 cup cooked chicken I used cooked chopped fajita chicken – can use ham, beef, etc
  • 3 cups chilled leftover cooked white rice – must be cold
  • 1 cup chopped onion about 1 medium-sized onion
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 3 eggs, mixed w/3 Tablespoons of water
  • 2 Tablespoons butter, olive oil or bacon grease, divided (I used bacon grease)
  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 8-oz bag frozen peas and carrots - about 1 ½ cups, thawed



  1. Add 1 Tbsp grease in a large skillet over medium heat until melted and skillet is hot.
  2. Add 1 cup chopped onion & 2 minced garlic cloves. Sauté until the onion is soft. Add 1 ½ cups of thawed previously-frozen peas and carrots (if using) and mix to blend. Then push the mixture to one side of skillet.

  3. In a small bowl, beat 3 eggs with 3 Tablespoons of water. Into the unoccupied area of the skillet add 1 Tablespoon grease. After it's melted add the mixed egg, chopping with spatula & scrambling until cooked. Then blend egg in with onion/vegetable mixture.

  4. Add 3 cups cold, cooked rice, 1 cup chopped chicken, 2 Tbsp soy sauce & 1 tsp black pepper. Stir-fry together about 3-5 minutes, stirring until mixture is well combined.

  5. Serve hot in wide bowls.

Recipe Notes

Note 1: You can use other kinds of leftover cooked meat if desired such as chopped ham or beef.

Note 2: Instead of a bag of frozen peas & carrots, you can lightly steam fresh veggies of your choice. I like chopped carrots, chopped bell pepper and/or maybe fresh green beans snapped into 3/4" pieces. Lightly steam in your microwave, drain and use in this recipe.


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Tagged in     All our favorite posts about rice. #TexasHomesteader  A list of our favorite entree recipes. #TexasHomesteader


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One thought on “Supper Made Fast: Chicken Fried Rice Using Leftover Meat & Rice

  1. Thelma Briggs

    5 stars
    I purposely make more rice than we can eat on any given night just to have cold leftover rice to make chicken fried rice the next night. So fast, so easy. I use whatever leftover vegetables I have in the refrigerator or lightly steamed veggies from the garden such as colorful bell pepper or fresh asparagus spear tips. It always makes a pretty presentation with all the colors and vegetables. And a meal on the table fast!


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