This BBQ chicken fried rice pairs chicken breast with a simple BBQ rub, Japanese BBQ sauce, and leftover rice to make a simple and unique weeknight dinner even picky eaters will love. It’s highly customizable with plenty of room for added veggies and even substituting cauliflower rice to make low carb chicken fried rice. I can’t wait for you to try this recipe so let’s dive in.
How to Make BBQ Chicken Fried Rice
If you’re a chicken fried rice pro, feel free to skip straight to the recipe card. In the post between here and there, however, you will find some valuable tips and ingredient substitution notes. The choice to learn is yours and yours alone.
1. Dice 1 pound of chicken and season with your favorite BBQ dry rub.
You can use chicken breast, tenderloins, or my personal favorite—boneless skinless chicken thighs—to make this BBQ chicken fried rice.
Using kitchen shears to cut chicken into smaller pieces is a major unlock. It saves a cutting board and a good pair of shears with removable blades makes washing them super easy. (I have a pair of Henckels – available on Amazon.)
Homemade BBQ Seasoning
- Smoked Paprika
- Salt and Pepper
- Granulated Garlic
- Dark Brown Sugar
- Dry Mustard
- Ground Cumin
If you’re using a pre-made BBQ rub, it’s hard to say exactly how much to use, but I’d go with maybe 1-2 tablespoons. If it’s a salty rub, stick to the lower end.
2. Prepare remaining ingredients: 2 cups of cooked and chilled rice, 2 eggs, oil, and BBQ sauce.
You can use any rice here. You’ve probably heard day-old rice works best for fried rice, and that’s mostly true. But if you haven’t planned ahead, that’s okay.
Our favorite food scientist, Kenji, found when testing his fried rice recipe that freshly cooked rice that’s been spread on a tray and dried for an hour (ideally with a fan) works even better than rice that’s been refrigerated overnight.
If you’re looking to make a lower carb dish, you could use the Trader Joe’s riced cauliflower stir-fry I used for my chicken fried cauliflower rice recipe or plain riced cauliflower with optional added veggies like carrots and peas.
The recipe calls for the same Bachan’s Japanese barbecue sauce I used for our pork fried cauliflower rice and Traeger chicken jerky recipes. We’re obsessed with sauce and its umami BBQ flavor profile.
3. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet and cook the BBQ chicken pieces for 3-4 minutes.
Make sure the pan and oil are hot before adding the chicken. You want to get a good sear on the BBQ chicken pieces. Try to space the chicken out in the pan as much as possible and leave it untouched for the first 1-2 minutes before flipping and cooking another 1-2 minutes until fully cooked (165ºF internal temperature).
The brown sugar in the BBQ rub will help with browning so if you skip that ingredient, you may not get as much browning as you see in the photo below.
4. Set aside and add 2 tablespoons of oil to the skillet.
If you wanted to add more vegetables to your chicken fried rice, you could fry them at this stage as well. Check out our brisket fried rice for an example of adding mushroom, onion, and jalapeño.
Make sure to scrape up any crispy bits from the bottom of the pan after adding the oil. The rice will pick up all the great flavor from any fond left behind in the pan.
5. Add 2 cups of chilled rice and fry for 3-4 minutes before scrambling 2 eggs in a center well.
I like extra crispy rice. So I tend to let the rice hang out in the pan for a few minutes before stirring. You’re looking for the rice grains to start turning a golden brown color. Once there, push the rice to the sides to create a center well to fry the eggs.
To cook the eggs, I stir constantly with my spatula in the center until cooked to a scramble before stirring the egg in with the fried rice.
I’ll also mention you can totally leave the egg out if you’d like.
6. Add your favorite BBQ sauce and cooked chicken, stirring everything together.
If you don’t have any Japanese BBQ sauce, you can mix your favorite BBQ sauce with a tablespoon of soy sauce and a dash of toasted sesame oil and mirin.
If you like extra crispy bits in your chicken fried rice, add the sauce and let it caramelize on the bottom of the pan for about 30-60 seconds before removing from the heat and stirring everything together.
Keep in mind, you don’t want to continue cooking the chicken. Get it in the pan to warm with the fried rice but don’t keep cooking once it goes in.
How to Make BBQ Chicken Fried Cauliflower Rice
I mentioned using cauliflower rice above and after publishing this recipe decided to make BBQ chicken fried cauliflower rice for myself. You might find the video below helpful!
Everything but the cauliflower rice is mostly the same. So regardless of what rice you use, this should give you a good idea of how to make this recipe.
How to Serve BBQ Chicken Fried Rice
Treat this fried rice as you would any other. Some fresh scallion or chives, toasted sesame seeds, chili oil or chili crunch, and a little soy sauce or more Japanese barbecue sauce are all perfect garnishes.
One of my favorite things about chicken fried rice is that it can be a simple full meal. Though if you’re looking to make a full spread, you could serve this with some gyoza (Japanese potstickers) or chicken egg rolls.
For more ideas, check out these roundups of Japanese side dishes and what to serve with fried rice.
That’s the way the cookie crumbles. If you have a question about this BBQ chicken fried rice I forgot to cover, drop it in the comments below. And once you try this recipe, I’d appreciate your feedback in a recipe review!
BBQ Chicken Fried Rice
BBQ seasoned chicken breast pieces with egg fried rice and a Japanese BBQ sauce.
For the BBQ Chicken
- 1 pound Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast, diced
- 1 Tablespoon (12g) Dark Brown Sugar
- 1 Tablespoon Smoked Paprika
- 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
- 1 teaspoon Ground Cumin
- 1 teaspoon Dry Mustard
- 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
- 1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
For the Fried Rice
- 3 Tablespoons (48g) Olive Oil, divided
- 2 cups Cooked Rice, ideally chilled overnight
- 2 large Eggs
- 2 Tablespoons (38g) Japanese BBQ Sauce*
- Mix the BBQ seasoning blend together and toss with the diced chicken breast. For best results, let the chicken rest at room temperature with the seasoning for 10-20 minutes before cooking.
- To cook the chicken fried rice, heat 1 tablespoon (16g) olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the seasoned chicken to the pan in an even layer. Cook for 60-90 seconds, allowing the chicken to brown, before flipping and cooking an additional 2-3 minutes to fully cook the chicken. Transfer the cooked chicken to a plate or bowl and set aside.
- Add the remaining 2 tablespoons (32g) olive oil to the skillet and carefully add the cooked rice.
- Create a well in the center of the rice and add the eggs. Scramble in the center of the pan before breaking apart and mixing into the rice.
- Add the BBQ sauce and stir everything together, cooking for an additional 30-60 seconds until the sauce begins to caramelize on the bottom of the pan.
- Turn off the heat and add the chicken back to the pan. Toss everything together and serve immediately.
*I used Bachan's Japanese barbecue sauce, but you can mix any BBQ sauce with a little soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, and a splash of mirin.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: about 9 oz
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 485Total Fat: 14gCarbohydrates: 53gProtein: 34g
Friday 19th of May 2023
I used leftover bbq chicken which was covered in bbq sauce. After sautéing the onion, peas & carrots, added an egg and scrambled then added the cold rice. Sautéed that until the rice was hot and a bit browned then added the bbq chicken. The bbq sauce gave the rice the perfect seasoning. It turned out just delicious!!! Thanks for a great idea and recipe!
Monday 21st of March 2022
Great recipe! Easy and full of flavor. We added peas and carrots but would be great with other veggies.