Don’t wait to go to a hibachi or teppenyaki style restaurant; Japanese Fried Rice (called Yakimeshi or Chahan) is easy to make at home with leftover rice and has a delicious savory, rich flavor. You can use whatever leftover vegetables or meat you have on hand to customize it!
Have you been to a Japanese steakhouse restaurant? They are so much fun! In the U.S., we typically call them hibachi restaurants, but they actually feature teppanyaki style cooking. The chef cooks your entire meal in front of you on a griddle.
One of my favorite dishes to order is fried rice. Japanese fried rice is a little different than other types. Because of short-grain rice, it has a chewy texture. It has a savory umami flavor with a touch of richness. I like it with toasted sesame oil for a hint of nutty flavor, and scallion to brighten it.
Japanese fried rice is called Yakimeshi or Chahan. Once I started making it at home, I realized there’s no need to wait to go to a restaurant to have it! Japanese fried rice is so easy to make right in your own kitchen on a griddle or in a wok or large, deep skillet.
The Best Yakimeshi Recipe (Japanese Fried Rice)
The best recipe for Yakimeshi is simple. It should have rich, savory flavor and slightly chewy texture. And it's very easy to make!
- Short-grain Japanese rice (use leftover chilled rice)
- Japanese mayo
- Vegetable oil
- White pepper
- Soy sauce
- Toasted sesame oil
- Sesame seeds
- Yum Yum Sauce (for serving if desired)
How to Make Japanese Fried Rice with Egg
- Cook the rice beforehand. Make the rice a day or two ahead of time so you can use cooked, chilled rice to make Yakimeshi!
- Combine the rice and mayo. Stir together the cooked, chilled rice and mayo in a large bowl to coat the rice.
- Stir-fry the onion and other savory ingredients. Add oil and butter to a wok or large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the onion a bit, and then stir in the garlic and ginger.
- Stir-fry the rice. Add the rice to the wok, toss it around to coat with oil, and then spread it out in an even layer. Cook for about a minute, and then flip it around so the other side cooks. Repeat this process until the rice is warm and starts to take on a little color.
- Add the egg. Make a well in the center of the rice and pour in the egg. Cook until it sets on the bottom. Flip the egg around with a metal spatula to cook the other side. When the egg is mostly cooked, toss it through the rice and spread the rice out in an even layer.
- Season it. Stir in the scallion, salt, white pepper, soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, and sesame seeds.
- Garnish it. Remove from the heat. Sprinkle more scallion and sesame seeds on top and enjoy!
How to Store Yakimeshi
Store fried rice in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 or 4 days.
Equipment for This Recipe
Variations on This Recipe
- Add meat. This recipe is delicious with leftover chopped beef or chicken added.
- Swap out the vegetables. I kept the vegetables very simple here with onion, but you can add just about anything you like. Carrot, asparagus, green beans, zucchini, peas, etc. are all good choices.
- Go back to basics. Traditional Yakimeshi is seasoned very simply with salt, pepper, and soy sauce. If you want to try this version, omit the garlic, ginger, and toasted sesame oil from this recipe.
Tips for Making Japanese Hibachi Fried Rice
- Use leftover rice. For the best result, use cold, leftover short-grain Japanese rice that’s up to 4 days old to make Japanese fried rice.
- And feel free to use other leftovers! The beautiful thing about this dish is that you can customize it to really make it your own. If you have leftover cooked vegetables or meat on hand, feel free to chop them up and add them in.
- Don’t skip the mayo. When you toss cold rice with mayo, it coats each grain. This helps ensure that the rice is perfectly chewy and tender, but not soggy!
What Rice Do You Use for Yakimeshi?
Short-grain Japanese rice is best for making fried rice or Yakimeshi. It lends a chewy texture and a stickiness that helps when eating the rice with chopsticks.
What is Chahan?
Depending on the region of Japan, Yakimeshi is referred to as Chahan.
Why Do You Use Old Rice For Fried Rice?
When you make Japanese fried rice, it’s best to use day-old leftover cold short-grain Japanese rice to make it. Instead of day-old rice, you can use rice that’s up 3 or 4 days old.
This is because the rice dries out in the fridge so you can easily coat each rice grain in oil as you toss it around while cooking. As a result, it helps make sure that your rice isn’t mushy.
What is Hibachi? How is Hibachi Different Than Teppanyaki?
Here in the U.S., what we think of as hibachi-style cooking is actually teppanyaki. Hibachi means “fire bowl” and it refers to a container (usually a bowl or box-shaped) that’s made out of heatproof material and placed on something with feet so it doesn’t burn the surface of what it’s on. A hibachi is designed to hold burning charcoal.
A hibachi grill is similar to what we think of here as a BBQ grill. When you put charcoal in the bottom of the container and place a grate over the top, you can cook food on the grate with the charcoal’s residual heat.
On the other hand, teppanyaki cooking is done on a flat griddle. The large, flat cooking surface makes it easy to chop directly on it, and it’s the perfect “stage” for the chef to cook your meal right in front of you.
What is Hibachi Fried Rice?
Hibachi fried rice is the rice that they make in what are called hibachi restaurants here in the U.S. It’s fried teppanyaki style on a griddle.
The flavor profile of hibachi fried rice is very similar to Yakimeshi; the type of rice used is the main difference. Japanese fried rice (Yakimeshi) uses short-grain Japanese rice and hibachi fried rice uses medium-grain rice.
What to Serve with Yakimeshi
Yakimeshi (Japanese Fried Rice)
- 4 cups short-grain Japanese rice cooked and chilled
- 4 tablespoons Japanese mayo
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 small onion chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon freshly-grated ginger
- 3 large eggs lightly beaten
- 3 scallions green and white parts, thinly sliced, divided
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon white pepper
- 1 ½ tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 ½ teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds plus more for garnish if desired
- Yum Yum Sauce for serving (optional)
- Add the cooked, chilled rice to a large bowl with the mayo and stir to coat.
- Add the oil and butter to a wok over medium-high heat. Once the butter is mostly melted, add the onion and cook until the onion is starting to soften but not turning color, about 2 to 3 minutes, tossing occasionally. Stir in the garlic and ginger, and cook 30 seconds, tossing it around.
- Add the rice to the wok, tossing it around with the onion mixture, and spread it out in an even layer. Let it cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute, and then flip it around with a metal spatula so the other side cooks. Repeat this process for about 3 to 5 minutes, until the rice is warm throughout and starts to take on a little color.
- Make a well in the center of the rice. Pour the egg into the well and let it cook until it sets on the bottom, about 1 minute. Flip the egg around with a metal spatula so the uncooked part cooks. When the egg is about ¾ of the way cooked, toss it through the rice and spread the rice out in an even layer.
- Add ¾ of the scallion, the salt, white pepper, soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, and sesame seeds. Toss everything together to combine.
- Remove from the heat. Sprinkle the remaining ¼ of the scallion on top, along with more sesame seeds if desired.
- Serve the fried rice along with Yum Yum Sauce to drizzle on top if desired.
- Nutritional Information: Information for this dish was calculated without the optional Yum Yum Sauce. You can find the nutritional information for Yum Yum Sauce here.
- Gluten Free Version: To make this gluten free, use tamari sauce instead of soy sauce.