Craving takeout? Pineapple fried rice is so easy to make at home! All you need is five main affordable, easy-to-find ingredients and basic equipment for this recipe.
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What to know about Chinese vs Thai Pineapple Fried Rice
Do you know the main difference between Thai fried rice and Chinese fried rice? It’s the fish sauce!
Fish sauce is a common ingredient in Thai cooking, while Chinese fried rice utilizes soy sauce for that familiar umami flavor.
In our recipe, we’re using soy sauce since it’s vegan, but if you have fish sauce (and you’re not vegan) go for it! Another veggie-friendly option would be using Yondu, the best vegan umami sauce out there.
The recipe below is not meant to be authentic Thai or Chinese fried rice whatsoever. We instead are focusing on recreating these familiar flavors we love with common ingredients and cooking utensils.
If you’re looking for a more authentic recipe for fried rice, keep reading/scrolling for the ones we recommend from Asian chefs!
Tips for customizing pineapple fried rice
- The type of rice or grain is up to you. While it’s less traditional, quinoa or even couscous would work in this simple recipe.
- Have frozen or leftover rice? That’s even better for this recipe.
- You don’t have to use tofu! You can edamame, tempeh or tofu if you’re vegan/vegetarian. When in doubt, you can also add more veggies. See the next section if you’d like to make this a chicken or shrimp pineapple fried rice.
- Veggies are also up to you. In the version above, I used just broccoli and pineapple. The recipe below calls for frozen mixed veggies. You can use bell pepper, sugar snap peas, mushrooms, celery, bok choy, eggplant, greens, squash – basically anything except tomatoes in this meal.
- Hate pineapple or can’t find any? Try mango instead. You can also ditch it and still make a very tasty fried rice dish for meal prep! Keep reading for other easy fried rice ideas.
- Switch up the sauce. You can make your own sauce (recipe below) OR use a store-bought stir-fry or teriyaki sauce!
It really doesn’t get more versatile than this! Fried rice is one of the best meals to use up leftover veggies or produce on its last legs, so make sure to do some fridge scavenging before making it!
I want to note that the first time I made this, I bought pre-cut pineapple chunks which were more expensive but it was all I could find. The second time, I bought a whole pineapple and chopped it up, but had a lot left over for freezing. You can totally use canned or frozen pineapple for this fried rice recipe too.
Making Chicken or Shrimp Pineapple Fried Rice
If you eat meat, using chicken or shrimp in our fried rice recipe is a great swap!
Instead of cooking tofu in step 4, simply cook the chicken or shrimp in your skillet (or wok if you have one!) with a little oil and maybe a tablespoon of soy sauce and a pinch of sugar or dash of honey. Since you’re mixing everything up later in the sauce, you don’t need to worry about marinating the chicken or shrimp too much.
If you’re new to cooking chicken perfectly on the stove, watch this video. This same method works for making fried rice, you’re just chopping your chicken into smaller pieces. It’s all about getting that sear! More color = more flavor when it comes to cooking protein. Another tip is to make sure you’re not crowding the pan, otherwise, you’ll get no sear on your shrimp or chicken.
Once your protein is cooked, remove it from the pan and cook your vegetables and egg if using.
How to Get Crispy Tofu
Watch the beginning of this video to learn how to drain your tofu to make sure it gets nice and crispy!
How To Make Pineapple Fried Rice (Cooking Tips)
Here’s a general step-by-step approach to making awesome fried rice at home.
- Heat up your pan and cook the protein.
- Add vegetables to the pan.
- Cook the scrambled egg (in a separate pan, or push the contents of your current pan to the side)
- Add rice and sauce ingredients.
If your pan is big enough, it could be a one-pan meal!
You need a big pan for this since you are adding all the different ingredients together at the end! I used my 5.5 quart Cuisinart pan (it has high sides which also help). Pineapple fried rice and other varieties are typically cooked in a wok. Here’s our favorite wok option!
Do you need to use day-old rice?
While fried rice might taste a little better with day-old rice, you can totally use freshly cooked rice.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t usually have leftover rice and I’m not going to remember to make it the day before I want to make fried rice. This recipe includes instructions for fresh rice, but if you have some frozen or day-old rice lying around, use it!
One of the biggest mistakes to avoid when making fried rice is adding the egg at the wrong time, or cooking it the wrong way. The first time I ever made fried rice at home, I added the egg with the veggies and rice and made this somewhat gross egg veggie scramble. That’s NOT what we’re going for here!
If using an egg, you want to cook it in the pan on its own, preferably with a little soy sauce. You can also push the veggies to one side while you do this, but if you’re making it for the first time, it’s easier to just whip out a nonstick skillet and quickly scramble the egg to add later.
Will Fried Rice Work For Meal Prep?
You can absolutely meal prep fried rice. This pineapple fried rice recipe will last in the fridge for up to four days making it an awesome meal-prepped lunch or dinner option.
To successfully reheat rice recipes, I suggest partially covering the container (leaving the lid on a bit) when reheating in the microwave. This allows the rice to steam back to life.
Adding a few drops of water into the meal prep container to your fried rice also helps rice soften when reheating.
The same applies to reheating meal prep fried rice on the stove, just cover the pan in the process and it won’t be crunchy and hard!
Storing and reheating Veggie Pineapple Fried Rice
This recipe can be stored in the fridge for up to four days. While I did not test it in the freezer, I think it would be freezer-friendly. It reheats best in the microwave or on the stove. Add a few drops of soy sauce before reheating if your rice sticks.
Authentic Fried Rice Recipes
Other Free WWL recipes to try out!
Pineapple Fried Rice with Peas, Red Pepper and Tofu
- cooking spray
- 3/4 cup rice or grain of your choice
- 14 oz package of firm tofu firm
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 TBSP olive oil divided
- 1 1/2 cup pineapple chopped (fresh frozen or canned)
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1/2 red bell pepper chopped into small pieces
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes optional if you like heat
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1 TBSP rice vinegar
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 TBSP agave, maple syrup or honey
- 1 TBSP ginger minced, optional
- Preheat your oven to 425 F and prepare a baking sheet with cooking spray.
- Press your tofu to drain it a little by placing it on a plate with a paper towel, then placing something heavy on top (there's a video above to see how I do it!) for 10-20 minutes.
- Cook the rice according to the package.
- On a cutting board, chop the tofu into cubes - size is up to you. Add the cubed tofu to the greased baking sheet. Generously top with salt and pepper. Throw on other spices you like at this point if you want! Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Flip and bake for 10 minutes longer for crispier tofu - optional.
- Add 1 TBSP oil to a large skillet over medium heat. After a minute, add the peas, chopped pepper and pineapple with salt, pepper and crushed red pepper if using. Cook on a medium-low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. The cooked pineapple will start to smell sooo good!
- Meanwhile, add the soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, sweetener and minced ginger if using to a bowl. Mix, taste and adjust ingredients to taste if desired.
- Remove the tofu from the oven and add it to the pan with the veggies (the heat should still be on medium-low). Add the cooked rice to the pan as well. Then pour the sauce on top and mix well. The tofu might break a little and that's ok! Cook for 5 more minutes, then turn off the heat. That's it!
- To assemble: divide your pineapple fried rice between three meal prep containers.