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Air fryer fried rice- How it stacks up against the wok?

Having recently purchased an air fryer, I’m eager to explore how to put it to full use. One particular recipe that caught my eye is the air fryer fried rice. 

Can the air fryer effectively replace my trusty cast iron wok when frying rice? It will be fascinating to compare the results and see how the air fryer fares in making my delicious fried rice.

Air fryer vs. wok: Is air fryer fried rice a worthy rival to the traditional wok method? Find out now!

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The process of making fried rice with the air fryer

I put my leftover white rice from yesterday to good use by trying this simple recipe. Besides the rice, other simple ingredients include light soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil, green onions, green beans, sesame seeds, eggs, some leftover chicken meat, and a small amount of vegetable oil. 

The process itself is quite straightforward. I begin by microwaving the overnight rice until it returns to room temperature and becomes soft and tender. Once that’s done, I’ll combine all the ingredients in a large bowl, then transfer the rice mixture into the air fryer bowl.

One thing you still need to do before putting all the ingredients in the air fryer bowl is to cook the eggs, as beaten eggs will not cook well in the air fryer. I use a teaspoon of oil in a frying pan to scramble the eggs before adding them to the rice mixture. 

How to air fry the rice

I suggest preheating the air fryer before adding the rice mixture to the bowl. Doing so will effectively replicate the stirring action of a traditional stir fry over the hot wok.  

Place the rice in a cake pan before putting it in the air fryer with a stationary basket. In this case, you must pause the air frying every few minutes and mix the rice. This step is crucial to prevent the rice from sticking together, mimicking the stir-frying process on a stovetop.

Since I have an air fryer with a rotating basket, I can let it continuously cook the rice mixture for ten minutes without stirring it manually. 

I then do a taste test to determine whether it needs a few more minutes of air-frying to enhance the aroma. The cooking time may vary depending on the rice quantity and the air fryer’s power.

Wok-fried or air-fried? Which one is for you?

Overall the air fryer does get the job done fairly well. The hot ceramic bowl, coupled with the rotation of the air fryer, simulates the stir-fry process effectively. 

  • If I don’t have a wok and opt for a hassle-free option with minimal mess, the air fryer is an excellent choice for making fried rice. It requires less effort, eliminates concerns about the rice sticking to the wok, and results in a less oily dish, all achieved by letting the air fryer do the work. This makes it an ideal solution for quick meals with no extra mess, particularly on busy weeknights.
  • Conversely, when I have the time and don’t mind putting more effort into cooking, I’ll likely opt for the traditional fried rice prepared with my trusted wok. This method yields a more intense wok aroma reminiscent of the flavors found in the Chinese restaurant.

This easy air fryer recipe will be in my recipe collection. Since I have both a wok and an air fryer, I can enjoy the benefits of both approaches. Air frying the rice provides a time-saving option with reduced oiliness while using the wok offers an authentic result with a wok aroma.

Variations and suggestions for air fryer fried rice

This air fryer chicken fried rice is a basic recipe that can be easily elevated to a more elaborate dish. Here are some suggestions:

  1. It is a fantastic option for a delicious side dish, but adding more ingredients can easily transform it into a satisfying main dish. You can incorporate extra protein such as prawns, barbecue pork, beef, or tofu for the fried rice. Alternatively, you can replace the green beans in this recipe with mixed frozen veggies.
  2. You can use coconut aminos as a substitute for soy sauce. Besides, adding chili flakes will do the trick for those who enjoy a spicy kick.
  3. Adding some teriyaki sauce is a simple way to impart a Japanese-inspired taste, 
  4. When preparing fried rice, it is crucial to use cold leftover rice. Freshly cooked rice tends to stick together during the cooking process.
  5. This recipe is an excellent way to utilize leftover rice and other ingredients stored in the fridge.
  6. For a final touch, sprinkle some toasted sesame seeds and more chopped green onions on top of the rice before serving.
  7. The leftover fried rice can be kept in an airtight container, then reheated in the microwave before you want to serve it again,

Other related recipes to air fryer fried rice

If you enjoy this easy rice recipe, I highly recommend exploring other fried rice recipes on this food blog. Here are my top picks for you.

  • Nasi Goreng Kampung: This traditional Indonesian fried rice is known for its spiciness. It offers a unique taste apart from other Asian fried rice with the addition of chili paste and water spinach.
  • Basil Fried Rice: Originating from Thailand, this fried rice has a distinct flavor from traditional Chinese fried rice. Give it a try for a delightful meal.
  • Garlic Fried Rice: This Japanese-style fried rice uses crispy garlic as the main ingredient, providing a tasty twist to the dish.
air fryer fried rice (1) recipe 1

Air fryer fried rice

Yield: 2 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

Quick and easy air fryer chicken fried rice for a quick meal with no mess.



  1. Remove the cooked rice from the refrigerator. 
  2. Microwave briefly until it returns to room temperature or slightly warm.
  3. Break up the lumps of rice.
  4. Crack two beaten eggs in a nonstick pan with little oil to make scrambled eggs.
  5. Mix all the remaining ingredients with the rice and eggs.
  6. Preheat the air fryer.
  7. Air fry the rice mixture for ten minutes at 180°C/355°F. Pause to mix the rice if the air fryer has no rotating basket. Otherwise, just let the air fryer to rotating without opening it.
  8. Test the doneness to decide whether to continue air fry until aromatic. Serve
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 802Total Fat: 28gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 19gCholesterol: 313mgSodium: 1323mgCarbohydrates: 77gFiber: 3gSugar: 2gProtein: 56g

This data was provided and calculated by Nutritionix on 20/5/2023.

Jan Gardener

Sunday 4th of June 2023

I really love receiving your recipes. You make everything seem so easy and you are very thorough with your instructions. Keep up the good work and I will continue cooking them. Thank you so much.

KP Kwan

Sunday 21st of May 2023

Hi, this is KP Kwan. I am happy to see you in this comment area, as you have read through my recipe. I am glad to reply to any questions and comments as soon as possible.


Monday 22nd of May 2023

@KP Kwan, Hi, doesn't rice fall through rotating basket?

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