Mushroom Fried Rice with red curry peanut sauce is the ultimate better-than-takeout weeknight dinner. This vegetable fried rice comes together in just 30 minutes and is packed with good-for-you nutrients. Even better for leftovers, it's perfect for meal prep lunches, too!
Why You'll Love this Mushroom Fried Rice
Not only is fried rice inexpensive and an excellent way to clean out the fridge, it’s also lightning-fast (we’re talking 30 minutes max). Plus, it's one of the most versatile dishes out there--use any mix of vegetables and aromatics you have in the crisper.
This mushroom fried rice is one of my favorite varieties because of its super savory flavor. With a mix of two mushrooms, a slew of aromatics, and a dynamite peanut sauce, you really can't go wrong. (Not to mention the fresh and crunchy toppers!)
This post will teach you how to make fried rice like a pro. And once you perfect it, you'll want to go ahead and double this recipe. After all, fried rice is arguably even BETTER after being reheated.
Recipe Ingredients and Substitutions
The ingredients for fried rice are simple, but they come together to create something truly addictive.
- Mushrooms: A mix of cremini (baby bella) and shiitake mushrooms pack in some serious umami goodness. Plus, their meaty texture ensures you don't miss the actual meat in this recipe. If desired, you can also use oyster mushrooms, or any blend of exotic mushrooms you prefer.
- Rice: The BEST rice to use when making fried rice is leftover, chilled rice. Cold rice works best because it's drier, which keeps the fried rice crisp and prevents clumping. (Day-old rice is BEST.) You can use either long-grain white rice (such as Basmati or Jasmine) or brown rice.
- Aromatics: Fresh ginger, garlic, and scallions create an aromatic foundation for this dish. You'll sauté half the batch of green onions, and reserve the remaining for the topping. I highly suggest using fresh ginger over dried--it really makes a difference in terms of flavor.
- Sugar: Just 1 teaspoon of sugar adds depth of flavor and helps caramelize the rice. You may be surprised at just how well a pinch of sugar can round out the flavor profile.
- Eggs: Fried rice with egg is classic, plus it adds a good punch of protein. If making this dish vegan, you can swap the eggs for edamame as an alternative source of protein.
- Red Curry Peanut Sauce: What really sets this fried rice dish apart is the sauce. A mix of red curry paste, peanut butter, soy sauce (or tamari), and rice vinegar ties the whole dish together with dynamite flavor. If you have a peanut allergy, feel free to use almond butter or sunflower seed butter in its place.
- Toppings: Fried rice is always made BETTER with a mix of fresh, crunchy toppings. My go-to's are sliced green onion, peanuts, and kimchi. Some other fun options are sesame seeds, fresh cilantro, or fried garlic chips.
Step 1: Prepare the Red Curry Peanut Sauce
In a medium bowl, combine the red curry paste, peanut butter, 2 tablespoon soy sauce, and rice vinegar. Stir with a whisk until smooth.
In a separate smaller bowl, combine remaining 1 tablespoon soy sauce, sugar, and salt; set aside.
Step 2: Sauté Mushrooms
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the mushrooms, and cook 7 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are golden.
Step 3: Add Aromatics
Stir in two-thirds of the scallions, garlic, and ginger. Cook 2 to 3 minutes, stirring often to avoid burning, until aromatic. Transfer vegetable mixture to a bowl.
Step 4: Scramble Eggs
Add another glug of oil to the pan, followed by the whisked eggs. Stir to break up, and cook until the eggs are just set (about 30 seconds).
Step 5: Cook Rice
Stir in rice, along with soy sauce and sugar mixture. Cook, undisturbed, pressing down on rice with a spatula so it makes good contact with the pan, until rice begins to crisp, about 2 minutes. Give rice a toss, then press down on it again, cooking until you get more crispy bits, about 2 minutes.
Step 6: Add Red Curry Peanut Sauce
Add mushroom mixture back to skillet, along with half of the red curry peanut sauce; stir to combine. Divide mushroom fried rice evenly between four bowls. Drizzle remaining red curry peanut sauce overtop, and garnish with toppings of choice.
Tips to Make the Best Homemade Fried Rice:
- Avoid using freshly cooked rice. The moisture will make it become clumpy and, as a result, the rice will stick together in the pan. Instead, use either leftover rice that’s been chilled overnight, or the bags of precooked rice (for example, Uncle Ben’s) for a crispier outcome.
- Don’t leave out the sugar. As odd as it may seem, a sprinkle of sugar aids in caramelization which adds color and, moreover, depth of flavor.
- Creamy sauces are KING. This may be a slight detour from classic versions, however I’ve always found the one element fried rice is missing is something creamy to tie it all together. Especially one that includes some acid (for example, vinegar, lemon or lime juice) to add a bright top note to an otherwise salty, less dimensional dish.
- Top with fresh garnishes such as basil, scallions, cilantro, etc. (or a fiery fermented condiment like kimchi) to bring the whole dish to life.
Fried Rice Variations:
There are endless variations for making fried rice. Whether you're craving an extra punch of protein or a fruity twist, here are some other options:
- Chicken or Fried Rice: For classic chicken fried rice, it's best to use boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs. Before cooking the vegetables, cut chicken into small, bite-sized pieces and sauté in olive oil over medium-high heat. Once the chicken is cooked through, remove from skillet and proceed with recipe as written. Add cooked chicken back to fried rice when you add the vegetables.
- Shrimp Fried Rice: It's best to use medium peeled and deveined raw shrimp for shrimp fried rice. The protocol is the same as for chicken fried rice, however the shrimp will only need about 2 minutes of cooking per side. Remove them from the skillet once they are opaque.
- Pineapple Fried Rice: Add chunks of pineapple and a dash of teriyaki sauce to the fried rice at the end of cooking.
- Low Carb Fried Rice: Feel free to swap the rice for cauliflower rice for a lower carb alternative. I personally love Trader Joe's frozen cauliflower rice for convenience.
How to Store, Reheat, and Freeze:
The beauty of vegetable fried rice is that leftovers are just as tasty as fresh. Especially once the flavors have a chance to really marry. You can enjoy it warm, chilled, or even close to room temperature.
- To Store: Place leftover fried rice in an airtight storage container and chill for up to 5 days. i
- To Reheat: Warm leftovers in a large skillet over medium heat until hot. You can also place leftovers on a microwave-safe plate or in a bowl and microwave for 1 minute, or until warmed through.
- To Freeze. Allow fried rice to fully cool before transferring it to an airtight freezer-safe storage container or zip-top bag. Remove as much air as possible, and freeze for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then reheat as directed.
More Healthy Rice Dinners to Try:
If you give this vegetable fried rice a try, snap a pic and tag #dishingouthealth so I can see your beautiful creations. I'd also love if you could leave a recipe rating and review!
Mushroom Fried Rice
- Large skillet
- 3 Tbsp. lower-sodium soy sauce, divided
- 2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
- 2 Tbsp. peanut butter
- 1 Tbsp. red curry paste
- 1 tsp. granulated sugar
- ¼ tsp. kosher salt
- 3 Tbsp. vegetable or olive oil
- 8 oz. baby bella (cremini) mushrooms sliced
- 6 oz. shiitake mushrooms rough stems removed
- 1 bunch scallions, trimmed and roughly chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger
- 3 large eggs, whisked
- 2 ½ cups cooked and chilled white or brown rice (from 1 cup dry)
- Chopped peanuts and toasted sesame oil for garnish (optional, but recommended)
- *Note: this recipe comes together fast, so make sure all your ingredients are prepped and at the ready.In a medium bowl, combine 2 Tbsp. soy sauce, rice vinegar, peanut butter, and red curry paste; stir with a whisk until smooth. In a separate smaller bowl, combine remaining 1 Tbsp. soy sauce, sugar, and salt; set aside.
- Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add mushrooms; cook 7 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are golden. Stir in two-thirds of the chopped scallions (reserve remaining for garnish), along with the garlic and ginger. Cook 2 to 3 minutes, stirring often, until aromatic. Transfer vegetable mixture to a bowl.
- Add remaining 1 Tbsp. oil to the pan. Pour in the whisked eggs; stir to break up, and cook until the eggs are just set (about 30 seconds). Stir in rice, along with soy sauce and sugar mixture. Cook, undisturbed, pressing down on rice with a spatula so it makes good contact with the pan, until rice begins to crisp, about 2 minutes. Give rice a toss, then press down on it again, cooking until you get more crispy bits, about 2 minutes.
- Add mushroom mixture back to pan, along with half of the red curry peanut sauce; stir to combine. Divide mushroom fried rice evenly between four bowls. Drizzle remaining red curry peanut sauce overtop, and garnish with remaining scallions and chopped peanuts. Drizzle each serving with toasted sesame oil, if desired.