In a sweet and savory sauce, Honey Garlic Chicken Fried Rice has tons more flavor than any fried rice you’d find at your local take-out spot. This is great served right away or tucked away for a quick and unique freezer meal.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again - fried rice and busy weeknights are a match made in heaven. I keep 2 to 3 cup portions of cooked rice in the freezer just for this purpose. Defrost them in the microwave, and fried rice is minutes away. Even better for our weeknight routine is discovering how well this works as a freezer meal. Not only does having this fried rice (or this Thai Fried Rice) in the freezer (along with some frozen spring rolls) give me confidence that dinner is always only a few minutes away, but the honey garlic sauce makes it easy to skip ordering a take-out version that I know will have far less flavor. Best of all, it’s a breeze to make! And if you like this honey garlic flavor, also try one of my favorite takeout fake-out dishes of all time, Honey Ginger Chicken Stir-Fry.
- Garlic and Honey - These are central to the flavor of the sauce. Don’t skip them.
- Low-Sodium Soy Sauce - I always test my recipes with low-sodium soy sauce. It’s easier to get more sauciness without making the dish too salty. If you use regular soy sauce, reduce the amount to 1 ½ tablespoon and add ½ tablespoon of water.
- Rice Vinegar and Toasted Sesame Oil - These are both great pantry staples to have for cooking Asian meals. Both are available at most grocery stores in the international aisle.
- Chicken - Boneless, skinless chicken breast or chicken thighs would work. Chop them into bite-sized pieces and season them with salt and pepper before cooking.
- Frozen Peas and Carrots - This mix of frozen vegetables is great because they are small and cook fast. (No need to defrost them first.) Any frozen vegetables will work well here. Or use finely chopped fresh vegetables (they will need a few extra minutes to cook).
- Cooked Rice - Any type of cooked rice will work. It’s best if the rice is a day or two old and has had time to dry as that will help it to hold its shape as it cooks. I’ve been really loving short-grain brown rice (which is shown in the photos).
- Lime Juice - Don’t skip a squeeze of fresh lime juice added at the end of cooking. It gives the dish an extra dimension and a fresh, bright flavor.
- Gluten-Free - For a gluten-free version, just use Tamari instead of soy sauce. (Check the other ingredients to be sure they are gluten-free.)
- Lower Calorie - Try this with cauliflower rice instead of rice for a delicious, healthy variation.
- Vegetarian - Use cubed tofu in place of the chicken to make this vegetarian. Or skip the protein in the dish and top the finished fried rice with a fried egg.
- Swap Vegetables - A frozen vegetable mix makes this dish extra fast - no chopping or defrosting needed. Any frozen vegetable mix will work, or use finely chopped raw vegetables (just cook them for a few minutes longer).
Freeze This Meal
Transfer fried rice to a freezer-safe plastic bag. Press out as much air as possible then seal tightly and freeze. Rice can be frozen for up to 6 months.
Defrost in the fridge overnight and then let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking (this will help all of the ingredients to heat through without drying out).
Then cook in one of two ways:
- Transfer rice to a microwave-safe bowl and heat, stirring occasionally, until warmed through.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a wok or skillet. When shimmering, add fried rice to heated pan and cook, stirring constantly, just until heated through.
- Squeeze lime juice over cooked fried rice.
Print the recipe below for a cut-out label with reheating instructions. Just tape it to the top of the meal before you freeze it.
How to Deliver This Meal To Someone Else
Honey Garlic Chicken Fried Rice would be a fun meal to deliver to someone who could use a little extra TLC. It’s different than casserole-style meals and can easily be frozen to serve later.
- Frozen Spring Rolls
- Hot Sauce (like Sriracha or Gochujang)
Don’t forget to print the recipe below for a recipe label / reheating instructions that can be attached to the top of the meal!
More Fried Rice
- Pineapple Fried Rice - A little sweet and with the crunch of cashews, this was a favorite when we lived in Thailand and is still a version I crave.
- Cauliflower Fried Rice - Plant-based, low carb version of the classic. Low on carbs but not low on flavor!
- Ginger Fried Rice - With leeks, ginger, and garlic, this is an oldie but a goodie.
- Joyce Chen Carbon Steel Wok - This is my favorite wok that I’ve had for years. Rub it with a bit of oil before storing it and it is naturally nonstick and useful for so many things. I don’t just use mine for Asian dishes - I make soup, simmer meat sauces, and cook chopped chicken in it.
- Wok Spatula - This spatula is the perfect shape for stir-fries.
Honey Garlic Chicken Fried Rice
- Wok Spatula
Honey Garlic Sauce
- 4 cloves Garlic, chopped
- 2 Tablespoon Low-Sodium Soy Sauce (use Tamari for a gluten-free version)
- 1 Tablespoon Honey
- 2 teaspoon Rice Vinegar
- 2 teaspoon Toasted Sesame Oil
Honey Garlic Fried Rice
- 1 pound Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast, chopped
- ¼ teaspoon Salt
- ¼ teaspoon Black Pepper
- 2 Tablespoon Cooking Oil, divided (I like avocado or grapeseed oil; vegetable or canola oil would also work)
- 1 large clove Shallot, diced
- 1 ½ cups Frozen Peas and Carrots
- 2 ½ cups Cooked Rice (see note)
- 2 teaspoon Lime Juice (add more or less, to taste)
- Combine garlic, soy sauce, honey, rice vinegar, and toasted sesame oil. Set aside.
- Season chicken with salt and black pepper.
Make Stir Fry
- Place a wok over medium-high heat.
- Add 1 tablespoon oil and when oil begins to simmer, add chicken.
- Saute chicken until nearly cooked through.
- In the last minute of cooking add half of the sauce (about 2 Tbsp) and continue cooking until chicken is coated in sauce.
- Set chicken aside and return wok to heat.
- To heated wok, add 1 tablespoon cooking oil and then shallot and veggies (no need to defrost them first). Saute until shallot is soft and veggies are warmed through, 3 to 4 minutes.
- To vegetables, add remaining sauce, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan, and stir until it begins to simmer.
- Add rice (if the rice is stuck together, use your hands to break the rice kernels apart as you add them to the pan) and stir constantly until rice absorbs all of the sauce and everything is combined.
- Stir chicken back into rice. Squeeze lime juice over top.
- Serve with hot sauce (I like Sriracha or Gochujang) if you’d like.
These sassy ladies headed off for their first day of kindergarten this morning. They were ready, excited, and reported that they had a great time. And I managed to keep it together. 😉 A successful first day all around.
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This recipe looks wonderful, both for ourselves or to give away to a family with a new baby. We love fried rice. I just added the necessary ingredients to make your recipe to my shopping list. Molly and Clara are way too cute in their matching first day of kindergarten outfits.
This sounds really good. I am planning to make it for my college student to take back to campus for a ready to go dorm meal. Could you tell me how much honey to use? I don't see it anywhere in the ingredients list. Can't wait to try it! Thanks in advance!
Thanks so much for catching that, Stacey! 1 Tbsp of honey. (The recipe has been updated with the correct measurement.) This would be a GREAT thing to send with a college student, and much more affordable than ordering take-out Chinese! 😉
Thank you so much! I'm hoping some homemade meals with quality ingredients might help offset some of the takeout options available on campus haha!
Your girls look adorable and I hope they're having a fantastic start to their school years-
I made your fried rice for dinner again tonight. It was delicious! My husband and I really loved it. This recipe is so good.
YAY - so glad you liked it Joy!!
Hey Jess, wonderful recipe! It's super simple to follow and would love to try it, usually at home I would cook the ingredients together. Is there a difference between separating the cooking of the chicken and rice? Thanks
Hi Tony - yes you can definitely do it that way! I find that most home stoves / woks don't get quite hot enough to cook everything to just the right doneness as fast as it needs to, so I always cook the protein separately. This way I can let the rice caramelize and sear a bit on the bottom of the pan without worrying about the chicken being in the pan with it and overcooking.
What a great recipe! I can’t wait to try it. Yum!
This was delicious! My family loved it! Today I'm making it for the second time.