Panda Express Fried Rice

Indulge in a mouthwatering Chinese side dish by preparing Panda Express Fried Rice from scratch in your kitchen. This delectable rice dish is vegetarian-friendly and customizable if you want to include meat.

Whichever way you modify it, it is sure to please your palate. Impress your loved ones with culinary expertise using this copycat recipe from the famous fast-food restaurant chain.

overhead view of homemade copycat Panda Express fried rice.

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What makes Panda Express Fried Rice unique? 

There’s nothing quite like the comfort of a steaming bowl of fried rice with tender vegetables and a satisfying flavor. With this recipe, you can achieve a dish that matches your favorite fast food indulgence – the fried rice served at Panda Express.

You might wonder, “What is in Panda Express Fried Rice that makes it so delicious?”

The Panda Express rice is distinguished by using sesame oil, mixed vegetables, and fluffy eggs, creating a signature dish. It is a great side dish that can elevate any Asian-inspired meal to new heights, and the process of making it is both quick and enjoyable.

Since this homemade version only uses ingredients available at any supermarket, you can make this dish anytime. 

Why this is the copycat Panda Express Fried Rice recipe you should try

If you are looking for a lighter fried rice dish, this is the recipe you should try.

You won’t find soy sauce in this recipe. Using a mixture of water and vegetable broth, you can make fried rice Panda Express style that is super flavorful without adding a ton of extra seasonings or sodium.

Panda Express fried rice ingredients

To make the fried rice Panda Express serves, you’ll need:

  • Long Grain Rice  – leftover rice is best
  • Water 
  • Vegetable Broth 
  • Salt
  • Eggs
  • Frozen Peas and Carrots 
  • Green Onions
  • Vegetable Oil 
  • Sesame Oil 

The exact quantities are in the printable recipe card below.

Don’t skip the sesame oil. Buying an entire bottle of toasted sesame oil for half a teaspoon may seem like a waste, but it is an essential flavoring for this dish that you will miss if you leave it out.

Panda Express fried rice ingredients on a tray.

How to make Panda Express Fried Rice with egg 

To cook the rice:

  1. Measure the rice into a medium stockpot. 
  2. Cover the rice with cold water and swirl the pot around a few times. Carefully pour off the water. Repeat until the water is clear. 
  3. Add the water and vegetable broth to the washed rice and stir in the salt.
rice and vegetable broth in a pot.
  1. Heat over high until the water starts to boil. Immediately reduce the heat to low and cover the pot.
  2. Cook the rice on low for 20 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and let it sit covered for another 10 minutes.
  3. Uncover and use a fork to fluff up the rice. This step will let the steam escape and prevent the rice from losing its shape.
  4. Spread the rice thinly on a baking sheet and let it cool to room temperature.
  5. Transfer to a bowl and cover with a tea towel—place in the fridge for four to eight hours.

To make the fried rice:

  1. Preheat a large pan or large wok. The wok’s size and shape make stir-frying easier but unnecessary. Just ensure your skillet is large enough so you won’t overcrowd the pan.
  2. Add vegetable oil to the pan.
  3. In a bowl, whisk the eggs until they are frothy.
  4. Lightly scramble the eggs in the hot oil, remove the cooked eggs, and put them on paper towels to drain.
scrambled eggs for fried rice in a skillet.
  1. Wait for the pan to return to temperature, then add the frozen vegetables. Stir for 30 or 40 seconds to thaw, then add the rice, breaking apart clumps with your fingers.
  2. Shake the pan and stir vigorously for about two minutes. 
  3. Add the scrambled eggs, the green onions, and extra pre-cooked protein to the rice mixture in the pan. 
  4. Continue stirring until the eggs are warmed through, and serve immediately. 
homemade Panda Express fried rice and chopsticks on a plate.

Tips for making fried rice at home

  • Make sure to prepare everything before you start cooking. This particular dish can be made quickly, so it’s a good idea to chop the green onions, lightly beat the eggs, and measure the veggies before you start cooking. Doing so will help you stay organized and avoid any unnecessary panic.
  • Make sure the pan is large enough, and it has enough oil. Don’t forget, you are frying, after all! Without enough heat or oil, you won’t get the right textures or flavors, and the food might stick.
  • Ensure any extra vegetables you add are the same size as the peas and carrots. Otherwise, you’ll end up with some undercooked veggies and some that are overdone.

Recipe variations

You can add almost any protein to this dish to make it a main dish. Chicken, beef, shrimp, and tofu are all excellent additions. Just be sure to cut the protein into bite-sized pieces and pre-cook it.

You can also substitute or add to the veggies. Corn, green beans, zucchini, broccoli, and bell pepper are popular ones.

How to serve fried rice

Panda Express Fried Rice is best served hot as a side dish. You can garnish it with thinly sliced green onions if desired. Serve it with some regular or low-sodium soy sauce for seasoning it at the table.

What to serve fried rice with 

Try serving this Panda Express recipe with other Asian dishes, like:

How to store fried rice 

You can store fried rice leftovers in the fridge or freezer. 

Let any leftover Panda Express Fried Rice cool, put it in an airtight container, and then place it directly into the fridge.

You can freeze it for longer storage. Spread the rice onto a baking sheet in a thin layer and freeze for an hour or two. Once frozen, place the rice into a freezer bag and store it in the freezer.

How long does fried rice last?

You can keep fried rice in the fridge for up to three days and in the freezer for up to three months. 

How to reheat fried rice 

The best way to reheat frozen or thawed fried rice is in a pan over medium-high heat. Add some vegetable oil and cook until hot. 

If you are in a rush, you can use the microwave. Put the rice in a microwave-safe bowl and sprinkle some water on the fried rice. Cover it and microwave it on HIGH for two minutes. Stir the fried rice, return it to the microwave, and cook for another minute or two until hot. 

copycat Panda Express fried rice on a plate.

Frequently asked questions about fried rice

What is fried rice? 

Fried rice is an Asian dish that involves sauteing rice over high heat. Besides the rice, the ingredients for each fried rice dish differ but commonly include vegetables, meat, fish, and eggs. 

Is fried rice healthy?

Eating fried rice daily is unhealthy because of the white rice and oil. Although you can replace white rice with more nutritious brown rice, you can’t significantly reduce the oil you use. 

What is the best rice to use for fried rice?

Chinese medium-grain rice or Jasmine rice are two of the best types of rice to use in this recipe. 

How to dry out rice for fried rice?

If you didn’t prepare rice ahead of time, try quick-drying the rice before cooking:

  1. Spread a thin layer of cooked rice onto two or three baking sheets. 
  2. Put the trays uncovered in the freezer for 20 minutes. 

Why is my fried rice mushy?

Mushy fried rice is a common problem. Luckily, there are several ways you can prevent it. 

  • Always use cold rice. Letting the rice chill in the fridge for four to eight hours is ideal. Cover the rice with a tea towel so it doesn’t dry out fully.
  • Don’t overcrowd your pan and cook over high heat. Too much food can lower the temperature and cause the Panda Express rice ingredients to steam instead of sauteing. 
  • Rinse the dry rice until the runoff water is clear before cooking. Doing this will help eliminate excess surface starch that can make your fried rice mushy. 

What to do with leftover fried rice?

Here are two unique ways you can use up any extra fried rice.

  • Use as a filling for an omelet. A few spoons of cold fried rice, a fresh slice of green onions, and a little chili sauce inside an omelet is a great way to start the day.
  • Make a crispy rice pancake with fried rice, flour, and eggs. Mix one tablespoon of flour and one egg in a big bowl for each cup of fried rice. Add the cold fried rice to the mixture and stir—form half-inch thick pancakes with your hands. Cook the rice pancakes over medium heat until crispy on the bottom, flipping halfway through cooking. Eat them on their own or serve them as a side dish.
closeup of homemade Panda Express fried rice.

More Panda Express copycat recipes

Favorite Chinese recipes

Check out more of my easy Chinese recipes and the best fast food recipes here on CopyKat!

overhead view of homemade copycat Panda Express fried rice.

Panda Express Fried Rice

You can make delicious Chinese fried rice with this easy Panda Express copycat recipe.
5 from 16 votes
Print Pin Rate Add to Collection
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: Fried Rice, Panda Express Fried Rice
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Chilling: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 387kcal


  • 2 cups long grain rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs whisked
  • 1/3 cup frozen peas and carrots
  • 2 tablespoons scallions thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil


  • Rinse the rice in a colander and place it in a medium-sized pot with the water, vegetable broth, and salt.
  • Bring to a boil over high heat.
  • When the rice begins to boil, reduce the temperature to low, and place a lid on the pot.
  • Simmer for about 20 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat, and let the rice sit for about 10 minutes.
  • Place the rice in the refrigerator and allow it to cool completely, about 1 to 2 hours. It’s best to make the rice ahead of time.
  • Place a wok or a large skillet over high heat.
  • When the skillet is hot, add the vegetable oil and pour in the eggs.
  • Stir the eggs as they cook and when they have become scrambled remove them from the pan.
  • Add the rice, frozen peas and carrots, and scallions to the pan.
  • Stir the rice continually to break it up.
  • After about two minutes, add the scrambled eggs and pour in the sesame oil.
  • Continue to cook until the rice has heated through.



Calories: 387kcal | Carbohydrates: 77g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 82mg | Sodium: 812mg | Potassium: 168mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 1507IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 47mg | Iron: 1mg

About Stephanie Manley

I recreate your favorite restaurant recipes, so you can prepare these dishes at home. I help you cook dinner, and serve up dishes you know your family will love. You can find most of the ingredients for all of the recipes in your local grocery store.

Stephanie is the author of's Dining Out in the Home, and's Dining Out in the Home 2.

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