{Better Than Take-Out} Fried Rice with Ham and Vegetables

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Cold rice is fried in a hot skillet along with soy sauce and sesame oil, then mixed with plenty of ham, peas and corn, eggs, and a generous handful of mushrooms to make this Ham Fried Rice.

It’s easy to make, a great use for leftover ham, and most importantly, completely and utterly delicious.

Better Than Take-Out Fried Rice

When I tell you that this recipe is “Better Than Take-Out,” I’m not exaggerating.

Not only is it tastier than almost any of the fried rice you can order at your local take-out place, but it’s also budget-friendly and super easy, especially if you have leftover ham in the fridge.

This wound up being my family’s favorite meal of the week.

As this rice was cooking, every single one of my boys wandered into the kitchen and asked what smelled so good for dinner. I let each of them “taste test” for me and they all rated it two thumbs up. When dinnertime arrived, my family polished this rice off without hesitation.

I’ve been making rice skillets and my own random versions of fried rice for as long as I can remember. Fried Rice is a terrific way to use up bits and pieces of leftover meats and vegetables. It’s often my answer for how to use up small amounts of leftovers since so many things are delicious in a fried rice dish.

When I stumbled onto my friend Julie’s recipe for Ham Fried Rice with her method of cooking the eggs first, basically in a flat pancake, and then dicing that up, I couldn’t resist trying it right away.

Ham and Vegetable Fried Rice

How to Make Fried Rice

One thing that sets this method apart is the extended cooking time of the rice with the sauce. Leaving the rice in the skiller by itself with only the sauce is different than the average fried rice recipe and makes so much difference. It lets the flavor permeate each grain of rice and it crisps up a bit as well.

And when I say “longer cooking time,” don’t let that scare you away. Start to finish this entire recipe is still going to be done in 15-20 minutes. That’s just as fast, if not faster, than getting delivery or take out!

Just don’t skip that extra 5 minutes of time with the rice in the skillet. It’s worth it, I promise!

The most important thing to follow in this recipe is making sure that the rice is COLD COLD COLD. I typically double the amount of rice we need anytime I’m cooking rice. That way I always have plenty of leftover cold rice to use a few days later.

This is one of those occasions when leftover rice really is better than fresh made so it has plenty of time to chill and get slightly dry before you fry it up in the skillet. Using hot rice just won’t work nearly as well.

{Better Than Take-Out} Fried Rice with Ham and Vegetables - get the recipe at barefeetinthekitchen.com

Ham Fried Rice

Ham is one of my favorite meats to use in fried rice recipes. Its salty, savory flavor pairs so well with the veggies and sauce here.

Plus, I love to make a big batch of one of my favorite ham recipes then have leftovers to use for fried rice! (Sometimes I find myself cooking a ham JUST so that I’ll have an excuse to make this fried rice later in the week. It’s that good.)

This is hands-down the best fried rice I’ve ever made and it’s better than any fried rice I’ve had in a restaurant. It is top notch, not to be missed, better than take-out fried rice, and I will be making fried rice this way every time in the future.

I serve it on its own as a quick and easy one pan meal but it would also be delicious as a side dish for an Asian inspired meal like Spicy Chinese Vegetable Stir-Fry.

This fried rice is so simple to make and serve that you’d be remiss not to give it a try. Make it part of your regular menu and you’ll never worry about not having time to make a tasty homemade dinner ever again.

Make fried rice at home that is better than take-out!

  Kitchen Tip: I use this skillet and this spatula to make this recipe.

Ham Fried Rice Recipe

  1. Warm a tablespoon of bacon grease, or oil, in a large skillet over medium heat. Swirl the oil to coat the surface of the pan. Pour the eggs into the pan and tilt as needed to spread across the skillet. Let the eggs cook for 2-3 minutes and then flip. Cook one more minute. Slide the egg out of the skillet onto a cutting board and allow it to cool. Cut into 1/2-inch wide strips and then and cut into small pieces.
  2. Add a tablespoon of grease, or oil, to the skillet. Add the mushrooms and toss to coat. Spread them across the skillet and let them cook for 2-3 minutes until lightly browned. Stir and cook until slightly softened, about 2 more minutes. Transfer the mushrooms to the plate with the chopped eggs.
  3. Add the remaining tablespoon of grease, or oil, to the skillet and increase heat to medium-high. Add the rice and stir to coat. Continue stirring and cooking for about 2 minutes. Add the soy sauce and sesame oil. Stir well, to distribute the sauce throughout the rice. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently until the rice is heated through.
  4. Add the ham, corn, and peas. Stir and cook an additional 3-4 minutes, until everything is hot. Add the eggs, mushrooms, and green onions to the skillet. Sprinkle with pepper. Stir gently to mix. Push the rice out of the center of the skillet and add the butter. Allow it to melt and stir to distribute the melted butter throughout the rice. Taste the rice and add salt, only if needed.
{Better Than Take-Out} Fried Rice with Ham and Vegetables - get the recipe at barefeetinthekitchen.com

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Servings: 5 -6 servings

  • Warm a tablespoon of bacon grease, or oil, in a large skillet over medium heat. Swirl the oil to coat the surface of the pan. Pour the eggs into the pan and tilt as needed to spread across the skillet. Let the eggs cook for 2-3 minutes and then flip. Cook one more minute. Slide the egg out of the skillet onto a cutting board and allow it to cool. Cut into 1/2-inch wide strips and then and cut into small pieces.

  • Add a tablespoon of grease, or oil, to the skillet. Add the mushrooms and toss to coat. Spread them across the skillet and let them cook for 2-3 minutes until lightly browned. Stir and cook until slightly softened, about 2 more minutes. Transfer the mushrooms to the plate with the chopped eggs.

  • Add the remaining tablespoon of grease, or oil, to the skillet and increase heat to medium high. Add the rice and stir to coat. Continue stirring and cooking for about 2 minutes. Add the soy sauce and sesame oil. Stir well, to distribute the sauce throughout the rice. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the rice is heated through.

  • Add the ham, corn, and peas. Stir and cook an additional 3-4 minutes, until everything is hot. Add the eggs, mushrooms, and green onions to the skillet. Sprinkle with pepper. Stir gently to mix. Push the rice out of the center of the skillet and add the butter. Allow it to melt and stir to distribute the melted butter throughout the rice. Taste the rice and add salt, only if needed. Enjoy!

The rice for this recipe needs to be completely chilled, so that it can be easily broken apart into individual grains without any clumping or sticking. I suggest making the rice a day or two (even as much as 4-5 days) before you want to use it. The key to great fried rice is using rice that is as dry as possible, so that your fried rice won’t be mushy or soft.
Technically, the mushrooms are optional here, but we loved the extra flavor and meatiness that they add to this rice. Feel free to skip them, if mushrooms aren’t your thing.

Calories: 385kcal · Carbohydrates: 47g · Protein: 10g · Fat: 17g · Saturated Fat: 6g · Cholesterol: 117mg · Sodium: 578mg · Potassium: 275mg · Fiber: 2g · Sugar: 1g · Vitamin A: 395IU · Vitamin C: 11.1mg · Calcium: 38mg · Iron: 1.6mg

{originally published 8/23/16 – recipe notes updated 3/24/21}



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