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Onion Fried Rice

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Onion fried rice might be easier to make than you might think!

If you want to recreate onion fried rice like you get at the best curry houses, you’ve found the right page! Here you will how it’s done and it really could not be easier!

Next time you prepare a curry feast using one or more of these curry house style curry recipes, be sure to have some onion rice on the table!

Onion fried rice

About this onion fried rice recipe

You will find onion fried rice on so many Indian restaurant menus. The recipes are usually quite similar and simple. It is onion fried rice, so that is exactly what you are going to do here. Heat up some ghee, fry some onions and a little garlic and then add the rice. 

The recipe only takes minutes to make and is an excellent way for you to use up leftover Basmati rice.

How do you cook onion fried rice?

The most important part of getting any fried rice recipe right is to always add cold cooked rice. Don’t just cook your rice and then add it to the pan to fry.  Frying the rice warm or hot will make it fall apart and become clumpy.

So all you need to do to make the most fantastic onion fried rice in minutes, is fry the spices and curry leaves and then add the cold rice to cook for about 10 minutes or until piping hot. 

Can you use any Basmati rice?

You can but for best results, look for  premium quality, aged Basmati rice. I use VeeTee Extra Long Premium Rice.

You really will taste the difference so if you want your onion rice to be amazing, getting the Basmati rice right is by far the most important thing.

Working ahead

If more convenient, you can allow the rice to soak overnight. This is not at all necessary but it won’t hurt the rice to soak longer. 

How long does onion fried rice keep in the fridge?

Cooked rice will keep in the fridge for about 3 days. So if you cook and chill the rice on day one, you have two more days to get the finished onion fried rice to the table.  

Can you freeze onion fried rice?

You sure can! Rice freezes really well and this onion fried rice is no exception. You can will freeze onion fried rice for at least 6 months. Just be sure to freeze it in portion sizes that work for you.

You don’t want to freeze it all in one large container if you only want to serve yourself.

How do you reheat onion fried rice?

Whether you place it in the freezer or fridge, the easiest way to heat up your onion fried rice is in a microwave.

If you are cooking it cold from the fridge, your onion fried rice should heat up in about a minute. You can microwave  the rice from frozen in the covered container in 3 to 4 minutes.

Just ensure that it is piping hot before serving.

Can this recipe be upscaled or downscaled?

Yes. No problem there!. 

Generally speaking, 185g (1 1/2 cups) of raw rice will make two generous portions of cooked rice, though when served as part of a larger meal, you can probably stretch that to three people.

If upscaling, the water to raw rice ratio is 1 part rice to 1 1/2 parts water. 

All is explained with step by step photographs in my perfect Basmati rice recipe.

What do you serve this onion fried rice with?

If you want to make a simple meal, you could just serve it topped with a nice chutney or two

It’s also delicious served with dal, either on the side or over the top. Here are a few popular dal recipes for you.

Of course this rice will go well with pretty much any curry. Try some of these chicken, lamb, veggie and seafood curries. You might also like to try your onion fried rice as a side for curry house style curry.

Is there a way of making this onion fried rice into a meal?

Yes. When heating the ghee and spices, you could add some cubed paneer or minced (ground) meat or chicken tikka. Cook it through and then stir in the rice.

You’ll have a delicious restaurant style biryani in minutes! If cooking leftover onion fried rice, just fry up your protein of choice and add the rice to the pan to heat through.

Pro Tips

  • Always ensure you cook your rice correctly. There are many ways to do this but this recipe will get you perfect results every time.
  • Never stir the rice too vigorously. You just want to move it around in the hot ghee until heated through.
  • Season carefully. If adding salt or turmeric, be sure to add these to taste. If you cooked rice per my recipe, you will have already added salt so be careful when finishing this off.

Step by step photographs

Ingredients for onion fried rice.

Get your ingredients together before starting. You don’t want to go looking for things while you cook, after all.

Adding onions and garlic to the frying pan.

Fry the onions until soft and translucent. Then stir in the slivered garlic to cook for about a minute.

Adding cold Basmati rice to the pan.

Stir in your rice. Stir it gently into the onion and garlic mixture until completely coated.

Cooking onion fried rice.

Once well mixed and hot, your onion fried rice is ready to serve. Season with a little salt if you like.

onion fried rice

All done! Enjoy with your favourite curry.

Yield: 2 - 4

British Indian Restaurant (BIR) Style Onion Fried Rice

Onion fried rice
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes


  • 3 tbsp ghee
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced into slivers (optional)
  • 600g (3 cups) cooked, cold Basmati rice
  • Salt, to taste
  • 3 spring onions - finely chopped


  1. Heat the ghee over medium-high heat. Pour in the sliced onion and stir into the oil. Stir it around in the hot ghee for about 5 minutes or until soft and translucent.
  2. Stir in the garlic slivers, if using and fry for another minute to soften.
  3. Now add the cold, cooked rice and gently stir it into the ghee and onion mixture. Do not stir too vigorously or the rice grains will split and become mushy.
  4. Continue gently frying the rice until it is piping hot and then stir in salt to taste.
  5. To finish, garnish with the thinly sliced spring onions and serve.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 134Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 16mgSodium: 149mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 1gSugar: 3gProtein: 2g

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I hope you enjoy this onion fried rice recipe. If you do try it, please don’t be a stranger. Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you.

jon m

Friday 18th of November 2016

i added a cardamon pod after cooking the rice, it gave a great flavor

bristol plasterers

Wednesday 10th of June 2015

mm this sounds rather tasty and something new to try. Thanks for sharing this recipe.


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