This beef fried rice recipe is the perfect one-bowl meal that combines ground beef, leftover rice, and the warmth of cumin for the perfect meal! It’s faster than takeout and only takes 15 minutes to make this from scratch. This fried rice tastes incredible and goes with just about everything.
The ground beef fried rice is a delicious blend of tender ground beef and fluffy, grainy rice, flavored with a unique mix of spices. It is a great dish to make at home because it is quick, easy, and convenient - especially if you have leftover rice.
What’s special about this beef fried rice recipe is that it is inspired by the Xinjiang cumin lamb from the local Uyghur restaurant. This recipe captures the same vibrant flavors and brings them to your dining table. The addition of sumac, an optional ingredient, adds a tartness that contrasts beautifully with the robust flavors of cumin and garlic.
The best part is that this dish can be ready in about 15 minutes if you are using leftover rice. Trust me, it’s the perfect meal that’s completely no-fuss and delicious!
If you are looking for an easy, delicious, and flavorful meal, this recipe is definitely worth trying. If you're looking for a simpler fried rice, I also have an easy egg fried rice recipe made with 5 ingredients.
Read on to learn exactly how to make this delicious beef fried rice recipe today!
What is Beef Fried Rice?
Beef fried rice is a popular, hearty, and flavorful dish that originated from Asian cuisine and has since gained worldwide acclaim.
It generally consists of cooked rice, ground beef (or beef strips), and a medley of veggies such as green onions, peas, and carrots, all stir-fried together in a wok or a frying pan. The dish is seasoned with garlic, ginger, and soy sauce, and often includes an egg for added protein.
The beauty of this dish lies in its versatility and simplicity, making it a favorite choice for those who love to experiment with flavors and ingredients. People enjoy making it because it’s a great way to utilize leftover rice, and it can be easily customized to suit individual tastes.
Why You’ll Love This Beef Fried Rice Recipe
Quick and Easy to Make: This beef fried rice recipe only takes 15 minutes to whip up. You just need to combine your ingredients in a frying pan, making it a quick and easy meal option.
Very Versatile: The recipe is versatile, allowing you to substitute ground beef for other proteins like lamb or chicken, or even tofu for a vegetarian version. You can also add other veggies to boost the nutritional content.
Incredibly Delicious: The combination of cumin, garlic, ginger and soy sauce provides a robust and deeply satisfying flavor profile. It’s an explosion of taste in every bite.
Crowd Pleaser: This beef fried rice dish is a crowd pleaser. It is a one-bowl meal that’s hearty and filling and can easily be scaled up to feed a large group.
Utilizes Leftovers: This recipe is perfect for using up day-old rice, turning leftovers into a completely new and exciting dish. You can also use leftover meats in place of the ground beef as well!
Ingredients You’ll Need to Make Beef Fried Rice At Home
All you need are some incredibly simple, pantry-staple ingredients to make this delicious beef fried rice recipe at home.
Here's an overview of the specific ingredients for this recipe. For the exact ingredients and measurements, please scroll to the recipe card below.
- Ground Beef: Ground beef (beef mince) will serve as the main protein source in the dish. Browning makes it very flavorful, especially when it cooks with the spices and sauces. I usually like to use lean ground beef for this recipe. If you can get a hold of ground lamb, it will work beautifully with this recipe as well.
- Cumin Seeds: I try to use whole cumin for this beef fried rice whenever possible. Always toast it in a pan for a few seconds to bring out its flavor before using it. I have tried using ground cumin and although it does work, it will not have as strong of a flavor.
- Garlic and Garlic: Ginger and garlic, when toasted in oil adds a wonderful flavor that works very well well with cumin and beef. Definitely do not omit these 2 ingredients.
- Soy Sauce: This will add a salty and umami flavor to the fried rice, enhancing the taste of the other ingredients.
- Eggs: This is a must-have ingredient for any delicious fried rice. When cooked with the rice, they’ll also help to break it up into individual grains.
- Salt: This will add more savoriness to the dish. Adding it to the meat rather than the rice guarantees that it is evenly distributed throughout the dish.
- Rice: Try to use leftover rice to make fried rice. I have a few tips below on how to break it apart, and why it works better than using freshly made rice. If you have leftover vermicelli rice pilaf, you can also use that as well!
- Green onion: It will add a fresh and mild onion flavor to the fried rice, providing a bright contrast to the other ingredients.
- Sumac (optional): Sumac has a tangy, lemony flavor that can add an interesting twist to the flavor profile of the fried rice.
How to Make Beef Fried Rice (Step by Step)
Making this incredible beef fried rice recipe at home is super easy and will give you great results every single time. Here's how to make it step by step:
Preparation for Beef Fried Rice
First, crack the eggs into a small bowl and whisk them until they are well scrambled. This will make it easier to evenly distribute them in the rice later on. Once done, set the bowl aside for later use.
Finely grate the ginger and finely mince the garlic and set it aside.
Break the cold rice apart with your hands. Make sure that there are no large clumps left. You want to try to get the rice pieces as small as possible.
Next, focus on the green onions. Start by cutting off the root tips, then proceed to chop the green onions finely, making sure to include the white parts as well. They will give your fried rice a nice crunch and a burst of flavor. Once chopped, set them aside for later.
Making the Beef Fried Rice
Start the cooking process by adding a little vegetable oil to a frying pan or large skillet. Turn up the heat to medium and wait for the oil to get hot.
Once the oil is hot, add whole cumin seeds to the pan. Toast them for about 15-30 seconds, making sure to keep a close eye on them to avoid burning. Toasting the cumin seeds will release their aromatic flavors, infusing your dish with a rich depth.
Now, it is time for ground beef. Add it to the pan and use your spatula to break it into tiny pieces. This will make sure that the beef is evenly distributed throughout the fried rice. Let it cook for about 5 minutes, or until all the water from the beef evaporates.
After the beef has cooked, season it by adding in the salt, ginger, garlic, and soy sauce. Stir well and let it cook for another two minutes. This will allow the seasonings to penetrate the beef, enhancing its flavor.
Next, push the ground beef to the side of the pan, making space for the eggs. Pour the scrambled eggs into the pan and let them cook until they are about 50% done.
It is time to bring in the rice. Add the bowl of separated grains of rice into the pan and stir everything together. The goal is to integrate the beef, egg, and rice together. Keep stirring for about 10 minutes and make sure that the egg gets fully cooked and everything is well combined.
Finally, turn off the heat and sprinkle the chopped green onions over the top of your fried rice.
Your delicious Beef Fried Rice is ready to be served!
Joyce's Tips For Making the Best Beef Fried Rice Every Single Time
Use Leftover Rice: When you are making beef fried rice, always try to use leftover rice. Compared to fresh rice, day-old rice is drier and retains its shape better during the stir-fry process. This results in a fried rice dish with individual grains that have a satisfying mouthfeel, rather than a soggy mixture.
Fresh Rice (If You Don't Have Day Old Rice): If you don’t have day-old rice, you can make a fresh batch and refrigerate it for at least 3-4 hours. Alternatively, slightly reduce the water quantity while steaming the rice. Prior to frying, break the cold rice into smaller pieces for easy handling in the frying pan.
Always Break Cold Rice Apart Ahead of Time: Use your hands, and break apart your cold rice into smaller pieces by gently squeezing the cold rice in a separate bowl before you start making the beef fried rice. It's a lot easier, quicker, and less messy to just put the smaller chunks directly into the frying pan than break it apart directly into the pan while the heat is still on cooking the eggs. I also find that the rice is easier to break apart in the frying pan, once they are in smaller pieces and the fried rice cooks more quickly.
Cook the Egg 50% Before You Add The Rice: For a well-integrated dish, add the rice when the eggs are only half cooked. This allows some of the rice to be coated with egg, guaranteeing evenly dispersed egg bits throughout the fried rice once it is fully cooked.
Salting the Meat: Always add the salt to the ground beef, not to the rice. The fat from the meat helps to distribute the salt more evenly throughout the dish, enhancing the overall flavors of your beef fried rice.
Toast the Cumin Seeds: To get a robust and nutty flavor, toast your whole cumin seeds for a few seconds before using them. This revives the spice a bit and gives it a nicer flavor.
- Pair this rice with some slices of sweet and sticky char siu (Chinese BBQ pork). The rich, sweet flavors of the char siu will compliment the savory notes of the cumin-spiced beef fried rice, creating a delightful contrast that will tantalize your taste buds.
- Consider serving beef fried rice alongside a sweet and sour pork dish. The tangy, zesty flavors of the sweet and sour pork, coupled with the hearty beef fried rice, make for a well-rounded meal with a variety of taste profiles.
- A sesame crusted teriyaki salmon can be an excellent accompaniment to your beef fried rice. The tender, flaky texture of the salmon, along with its sweet teriyaki glaze, can beautifully offset the hearty and savory beef fried rice. It also adds a healthy dose of protein and omega-3 fatty acids to your meal.
- Incorporate a easy seafood dish like Chinese scrambled eggs and shrimp. The soft, fluffy eggs and succulent shrimp will add a light, delicate touch to the hearty, robust flavors of the beef fried rice. Both recipes are easy enough that it can be a no-fuss weeknight dinner.
- Pair the beef fried rice with oven roasted five spice Peking chicken. The aromatic five-spice rub on the chicken pairs wonderfully with the cumin and soy flavors in the beef fried rice, creating a harmonious blend of flavors. The rice is especially delicious when mixed in with the ginger scallion sauce that is served with the peking chicken.
Recipe Variation Ideas for Beef Fried Rice
This delicious ground beef fried rice recipe is so flavorful and easy to make you'll want to try out some of these delicious variations! Here are some great ideas:
Chicken/Pork/Lamb swap: If you’re not a fan of beef or simply want to try a different protein, switch out ground beef for ground chicken, lamb or pork instead. The variations of ground meat adds its unique flavor to the dish, making it a delicious variation to try.
Seafood: For seafood lovers, try replacing ground beef with shrimp. This not only adds a different texture but also infuses the fried rice with a subtle seafood flavor. Remember to cook the shrimp until it turns pink and curls into a loose ‘C’ shape.
Veggies: Looking to increase your vegetable intake? Add in additional veggies like peas, carrots, and bell peppers. This not only adds a colorful appeal to your fried rice but also enhances nutritional value and adds a crunchy texture.
Beef strips: Instead of using ground beef, try using thinly sliced sirloin steak. This will give your fried rice a hearty, robust flavor, making it feel like a steakhouse meal in a bowl. Any other tender cut of beef will also work great!
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you can substitute ground beef with other proteins such as chicken, shrimp, or even tofu for a vegetarian option. Just remember to adjust the cooking time accordingly. If you can get a hold of ground lamb, it will work beautifully with this recipe as well.
Day-old rice is ideal for fried rice recipes as it tends to be drier and firmer. It holds its shape better during the stir-frying process, preventing your dish from becoming soggy.
Yes, you can use fresh rice, but it is recommended to place it in the fridge for at least 3-4 hours to achieve a slightly drier texture. Alternatively, you can also use slightly less water when cooking your rice.
Whole cumin seeds offer a more robust flavor compared to ground cumin. Toasting them for a few seconds before use enhances their flavor significantly. That being said, you can also use ground cumin as well, you just have to skip the step where you toast it.
Absolutely! Feel free to add veggies like carrots, peas, or bell peppers to boost the nutritional value and add color to your fried rice.
How to Store Leftover Beef Fried Rice
Storing and reheating your leftover ground beef fried rice requires some special attention to maintain the flavors and texture of the dish. To begin with, cool the rice dish slightly before transferring it into an airtight container. The rice, with its ingredients of ground beef, egg, and veggies, can be refrigerated and will keep well for up to four days.
To reheat, you can either use a microwave or a pan on the stove. If using a microwave, sprinkle a little water over the rice to prevent it from drying out and heat it for a couple of minutes until hot.
Stir it halfway through heating to guarantee even warming. For stovetop reheating, add a little bit of vegetable oil or sesame oil to a pan and stir fry the rice on medium heat until it is hot all the way through. You can also add a splash of soy sauce or oyster sauce to freshen up the flavors.
Although its technically possible to freeze this dish, I don’t recommend doing it because it’ll alter the texture and consistency of the rice quite a bit. It’s super quick and easy to make so I recommend making it fresh and storing leftovers in the refrigerator as mentioned above.
More Easy Recipes You May Like
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Cumin Beef Fried Rice
Joyce's Recipe Notes
- Try to use leftover rice whenever you make fried rice. Compared to freshly made rice, leftover rice tends to be a bit drier and firmer and can hold its shape better while you are stir-frying it. This can make a big difference between having fried rice with whole individual rice grains with a good mouthfeel, or soggy fried rice.
- If you don't have day-old rice, you can make a pot of rice and put it in the fridge for at least 3-4 hours. The texture you are aiming for is granular when you separating the big chunks of rice. Alternatively, you can also add slightly less water to your fresh batch of rice when steaming it.
- Add the salt into the meat and not the rice, the grease from the meats spreads out the salt more evenly throughout the fried rice once everything is combined.
- Toast your whole cumin seeds for a few seconds for a more robust and nutty flavor.
- I try to use whole cumin for this beef fried rice whenever possible. Always toast it in a pan for a few seconds to bring out its flavor before using it. I have tried using ground cumin and although it does work, it does not have as strong of a flavor.
- I have also tried sprinkling in some sumac for some extra flavor but this may not be for everyone. Sumac has an intensely sour flavor, so if you're up for a bit more flavor and you're okay with a bit of tartness then give it a try!
- 500 g ground beef (or ground lamb)
- 1 tablespoon whole cumin seeds (see notes)
- 1.5 tablespoons garlic (4 cloves, finely minced or grated)
- 1 tablespoon ginger (grated or very finely minced)
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 eggs
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 3-4 cups rice (cold, preferably a day old)
- 1 green onion (finely chopped)
- sumac (optional, see notes)
- Crack 2 eggs into a small bowl and scramble it. Set it aside for later
- Finely grate 1 tablespoon ginger, and finely mince 1.5 tablespoons garlic and set it aside for later.
- Using your hands, separate the leftover rice into small pieces and set it aside for later.
- Cut the root tips off the green onions and finely chop it (including the whites of the green onion). Set aside for later.
Making the Beef Fried Rice
- Add a bit of oil to a frying pan, and set it to medium heat and wait for the oil to get hot.
- Add in 1 tablespoon whole cumin seeds and toast it for 15-30 seconds. Watch it carefully to make sure it doesn't burn!
- Add in the ground beef. Break up the meat into tiny pieces and cook for about 5 minutes or until the water in the ground beef evaporates away.
- Add in ¾ teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon ginger, 1.5 tablespoons garlic and, 3 tablespoons soy sauce, and cook the beef for another 2 mins
- Push the ground beef to the side of the frying pan. Add eggs into the pan and let it cook for a few seconds until the egg is about 50% cooked.
- Add in the rice and mix the beef, egg, and rice together and cook for about 10 minutes.Keep the rice moving to fully cook the eggs.
- Turn off the heat, and add the green onions and enjoy!
*Nutritional information is calculated using online tools and is an estimate*
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