I love stir fried rice but can't get close to restaurant quality. Mine seems to clump or turn almost gummy.

What can I do to improve the texture?

  • Take rice that has been cooled/refrigerated. Use your hands, wetted with cold water, to separate the rice, and use the pile of non-clumped rice when making the fried rice. Commented Oct 4, 2016 at 15:32

5 Answers 5


You want your rice to be fairly dry for stir frying. If you cook some rice specifically to fry, put in the minimum amount of water for whatever method you're using. As others have mentioned, it works well if you use leftover rice that's a day or two old.

Then, when you're actually frying it, it helps if the rice isn't clumped together (as it usually is when you use a rice cooker), so break it up before putting it in the pan. Use very high heat, a good oil (I like grapeseed), and be sure the oil is very hot before putting the rice in.

If you want that nice yellow colour, when the rice is almost done, make an opening in the middle of the pan, crack an egg into it, and very quickly stir the rice into it.


The easiest fix for this problem is to use rice that was made up to 3 days ahead.

I will plan the menu to have a meal with rice on night 1, make extra, and then use that leftover rice for SF rice on night 4.

If you are making it fresh, use less water so the rice will be a bit dry.

Use high heat, and cook the rice in a wok. This also helps.

  • 2
    If fresh you still need to let it cool down to room temperature otherwise you'll have too much moisture in the rice. Observing a local Chinese restaurant with an open kitchen they have a large bowl of pre-cooked rice on/under the counter so the frying process is quick too.
    – tonylo
    Commented Jul 21, 2010 at 2:40
  • 1
    That's the same method my Indonesian friends use. Good answer!
    – Boetsj
    Commented Jul 21, 2010 at 13:51

I would recommend washing the rice prior to cooking. Just grab a sieve, or strainer, and run cold water over the grains until the excess starch has washed away. (This will keep the rice from being mushy, and sticking together.) Then just shake off any extra water, and cook the rice as you normally would.


A couple of other suggestions...

  • Use long grain rice. This is where you want to use the Uncle Ben's par-boiled rice. There's very little residual starch on that stuff.
  • Quickly cool the rice after steaming it by spreading it out on a large sheet pan and put in the fridge for an hour or so.
  • If you must used just-cooked rice then try mixing a well-beaten egg into it and stir furiously until each rice kernel has a slight coating of egg on it.
  • Cook in a very, very hot pan, preferably a wok, with a generous amount of oil.

One trick to try is to mix part of the oil into the rice before putting it in the pan, and massaging the oily rice until grains are reasonably separate (bonus: how badly it sticks to your fingers tells you how a semi-nonstick surface will react :) ). You will need to exercise caution with the total oil amount in the dish though, it is easy to end up too oily.

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