Frozen Fried Rice Brands, Ranked From Worst To Best

Supermarket freezers are full of frozen fried rice, but not all are of equal quality and taste. Each has a distinct flavor, preparation, and format. Some, for example, come covered in gooey sauce. Others are drier. Ingredients may be as simple as frozen peas, carrots, bits of egg, and chicken chunks. More complex mixes boast red pepper, edamame, cabbage, broccoli, onions, steak, or tiny shrimp. The tastes range from sweet to salty to spicy. A few companies sell individual servings, while others peddle family-sized bags. Careful, though! Individual bowls weigh between nine and 11 ounces, while bigger bags usually have six-ounce servings. This means a three-serving family-sized bag does not contain three times the amount of food as an individual bowl.

The brands in this article come from the shelves of Walmart and Meijer, and were all the available choices on the day I went shopping. To qualify, the packaging had to say "fried rice." I judged them first on flavor and the texture of the rice, with ease of preparation and packaging being secondary concerns. If you'd like more specific information about how I came up with the rankings, please refer to the methodology section at the end of this article. The price had no impact on a rice's ranking, but you can find information about the cost of each product in this article. That being said, the prices are specific to the date and region where I purchased them, and will vary for readers.

Marie Callender's Chicken Fried Rice Bowl

Marie Callender's Chicken Fried Rice Bowl got the lowest ranking because of the mushy texture of the rice. The individual grains are difficult to detect, and this dish seems more like porridge than fried rice. The overly gooey sauce contributes to the moist unpleasantness, and tastes strongly of soy sauce — salty and sour. The half-inch cubes of chicken are bland and a bit chewy. Your spoon will also dig up bits of carrots, eggs, and peas. In fact, the only positive thing about this microwave dinner is the high ratio of veggies to rice.

This product is a single serving, meant to be a whole meal for one person — perhaps a workday lunch, since you'll only need a microwave and get no dishes dirty. Inside Marie Callender's box, you'll find a microwaveable cardboard bowl. This box-plus-bowl packaging is perhaps unnecessary, and produces more trash than some of the other products on this list. The bowl contains 11 ounces of rice, and has 390 calories for just over $3. To eat it, you put it in the microwave for five minutes. Upon removing the plastic film from on top, you'll notice that the melted sauce is concentrated in just one area of the bowl. A quick stir will spread it more evenly over the rice, but if it's too much sauce for your liking, you can remove a couple of spoonfuls fairly easily.

Stougger's Vegetable Fried Rice

Some fried rice reviewed here has too much sauce, but Stouffer's Vegetable Fried Rice doesn't have enough. It was the only product on this list with this issue. When you pull it out of the microwave, the top has a brown crust, which is most highly concentrated around the edges and in the corners. Dig your spoon in and you'll see white rice beneath, but it's nearly impossible to mix the hardened sauce in. The grains have a pleasant texture — not too sticky, and none are undercooked or hard — but the flavor is bland. The sparse veggies are carrots and peas. The box claims there are onions too, but they're harder to find. There are also bits of egg.

This microwaveable tray contains 24 ounces of rice — according to the package, that's 3.5 servings. The food designers at Stouffer's intended this as a side dish at a larger meal. The $7 price tag is in line with or cheaper than other similar products. The instructions ask you to microwave this rice for 12 minutes. That's longer than most of the other fried rices, and perhaps a shorter time would result in a moister, easier-to-mix-in sauce and a less crusty top. The sole positive thing about this rice is you will not have to get any dishes dirty to prepare it. Many other family-sized packs require a skillet or bowl for heating or serving. The plastic tray easily solves that, but produces more waste.

P.F. Chang's Chicken Fried Rice

The instructions are the biggest problem with P.F. Chang's Chicken Fried Rice. They direct you to heat a skillet to medium, pour in some oil, and add the whole bag. The cook time — partly covered and partly uncovered — totals about 10 minutes. The four-step, stovetop instructions are more complex than those for other similar products, most of which are microwaveable. Consumers often choose pre-prepared frozen entrees hoping for a simple, fast meal, not complicated prep procedures. Then, the texture of the rice comes out hard and undercooked. This dish likely requires a longer cook time — around 15 minutes — but if you've chosen the frozen route, you don't want to toy around with cook times or prep methods. You want your rice to turn out right the first time you make it. This product scored 2.5 out of 5 stars on Walmart's website, and many reviews agreed that they needed to heat it for more time than indicated on the back of the bag.

This fried rice comes in a family-sized bag containing 22 ounces or three servings for around $8. When you pour the contents out, you'll find chunks of chicken, edamame, carrots, corn, frozen cubes of sauce, and white rice. While some other similar products come with separate sauce baggies that allow you to make just half a package at a time, the frozen cubes in this product make it necessary to cook the whole package at once.

Lean Cuisine Chicken Fried Rice

The bland flavor of Lean Cuisine Chicken Fried Rice landed this product in about the middle of this list. With a price tag of about $3.50, this rice also falls in about the middle in regards to price. This individual nine-ounce serving won't wow your tastebuds, but it won't gross anyone out either. This may be because it's far less salty than the competition. Compare its 720 mg of sodium to the 940 mg in the same size portion of Tai Pei shrimp fried rice. That being said, people on low-sodium diets will likely want to avoid both of these products. On the other hand, anyone on a gluten-free diet could indulge in this dish, since it is one of only two wheat-free options in this ranking.

When you pull the microwaveable tray out of the Lean Cuisine box, you'll notice one half of the tray is frozen sauce. The other side is rice, chicken, corn, peas, carrots, and eggs. You stir the two parts together after microwaving for three minutes, and then put it back in for a little extra cook time. That's not hard, but still slightly more involved than some frozen TV dinners. The rice grains have a good texture — neither hard nor mushy, and they don't stick together — but the sauce is too gooey, making the whole dish too moist. There seems to be a higher concentration of chicken in this package, but it's chewy.

Healthy Choice Chicken Fried Rice

Healthy Choice Chicken Fried Rice (about $3.50) stands out from the competition by incorporating toothsome brown rice instead of white. It also has the lowest sodium content, and the sweetest-flavored sauce. Eating this dish is a pleasant experience — it tastes great and has high-quality ingredients, but it doesn't fully live up to the chicken fried rice you'd order at a restaurant. In fact, the flavor of the sauce is almost closer to pad Thai than fried rice. If you're hoping to imitate the Panda Express experience, this dish isn't for you. On the other hand, if you want to eat a nice mix of veggies, chicken, and rice — but don't want to spend a bunch of time preparing it — you'll love this product.

Healthy Choice uses the most unique packaging of any product in this ranking. The rice, veggies, and chicken come in a plastic steamer with holes through the bottom. It lays over a bowl containing the frozen sauce. You put the nesting steamer and bowl in the microwave for four minutes. When you pull it out, you pour the drier ingredients into the bowl with sauce and mix. This results in good texture for the rice, edamame, carrots, eggs, and chunks of chicken, but it means there's a lot more trash to throw away at the end of the day. That isn't so great for the environment, especially since it's all used to cook a single 10-ounce serving.

Meijer Chicken Fried Rice

Meijer's Chicken Fried Rice has all the ingredients it should, and tastes as you'd expect. That's why it's this high up on the list. On the other hand, there are indications that it's not as high-quality a product as others. First, the edamame is slightly discolored, almost yellowish instead of bright green. Then, the chunks of egg are much larger than in the competition. Finally, the carrots are also more coarsely chopped, resulting in slightly crunchy centers. The rice gets slightly mushy on the outside, but remains too hard and grainy in the center. The red onion tastes fine, but can look a little off-putting since it turns brownish when cooked. Finally, the chicken is probably the tastiest ingredient in this product — it has a nice flavor and texture.

A bag of this fried rice contains 21 ounces, which provides three servings for under $5. There are instructions for the stovetop (preferred) or microwave. When you cut open the package, the sauce baggie is the first thing to pop out. First, you need to thaw that under running water, and then pour it into the skillet. Then, you add the rice and veggies, and leave them covered at medium for 10 minutes. The packaging forces you to make all three servings at a time, but results in less plastic and paper waste than many of the other products on this list.

Voila! Chicken Fried Rice

The generous chunks of chicken and broccoli are the best thing about Voila! Chicken Fried Rice. Your spoon will also dig up peas, chopped carrots, and bits of egg. The veggies, rice, and chicken all have a tender but firm texture that makes them easy and pleasant to eat. There is a nice amount of pleasantly flavored sauce in this dish as well, but this product is still moister than restaurant fried rice. The fact that the 42-ounce family-sized bag comes with three sauce pouches makes it easier to adjust the amount, though. This package contains six servings, and costs under $10. You may even find it on sale for as little as $7 if you're lucky. Either way, that's one of the best values for frozen fried rice you can find.

The suggested method of heating this dish is in a covered skillet on the stove for 16 to 19 minutes — the longest cook time for the products in this article. This makes more of a mess than the microwave would, but truly results in a tasty meal. The alternative directions involve making only half a package, and require nuking the rice for around 10 minutes. The fact that this comes in a bag means there is far less trash to throw out, but you'll be left with dirty dishes to wash up. This would not be easy to make as a quick lunch at the office, but would be a perfect family meal.

Bibigo Korean Style Fried Rice

Bibigo Korean Style shrimp fried rice took third place in this ranking because of its fantastic flavor and texture. You might think it was take-out from a restaurant if you didn't know it was a frozen product. The secret to this is that it doesn't come with a separate sauce; the rice is already coated and seasoned. That means it's nice and dry, not soggy like others, with the individual grains of rice easy to detect. It tastes savory — salty with just a hint of sweet. The little shrimp are delicious, especially if you eat them straight out of the microwave. If you wait too long, they'll get chewy and lose appeal. The veggies include orange and yellow carrots, cabbage, and edamame. You'll also discover eggs mixed in.

This 18-ounce box comes with two individually wrapped servings inside. That means you could make it as a side for a family dinner, but it's also easy to make a quick lunch for one. At $6 for the two-pack, it's slightly cheaper than the individual serving frozen rice brands that come in bowls. There's also less packaging to throw out when you've finished your meal. On the other hand, if you take this with you for a work lunch, you'll have to get a bowl or plate dirty.

Tai Pei Fried Rice — Chicken or Shrimp

Tai Pei fried rice is one of the easiest products to prepare, and also one with amazing taste and texture. This rice comes in an attractive tub. All you need to do to cook it is take off the plastic safety seal and put the whole thing in the microwave. You don't even need to remove the lid. There is no extra box to discard, no plastic coating to punch holes through, and no extra steamer. Microwave the simple tub for three or four minutes, and let it sit for a couple more. Then, you can grab a fork and dig in.

When you take your first bite, you'll discover a product that tastes like restaurant fried rice, whether you're trying the chicken or shrimp variety. The chicken fried rice includes corn kernels, peas, and carrots, topped with three large cubes of tender, flavorful chicken. The shrimp variety has chunks of baby corn, carrots, and tiny shrimp. What's most wonderful about this dish is how the crunchy texture of the baby corn creates contrast with the fluffy rice. In both cases, the rice has a perfectly cooked texture — neither mushy nor grainy in the center. Each tub costs around $3.50, but the chicken contains 11 ounces while the shrimp has nine.

InnovAsian Fried Rice -- Vegetable, Steak, BBQ Pork, and Chicken

InnovAsian offers four styles of fried rice, but the best of all is the steak (about $6). This product is delicious with bits of peppery beef, mushroom, and peas throughout. The rice is fluffy and soft. There's no sloppy sauce here; rather, the grains are already glazed with seasoning. This dish leans towards the drier side, but is just moist enough. Like the other rices in the top three ranks, InnovAsian's products taste like they came from a restaurant kitchen.

InnovAsian's other flavors of fried rice were also tasty. The vegetable variety (about $4.50) is wonderfully flavorful and has finely chopped red pepper throughout, in addition to edamame, carrots, egg, and onion. The chicken variety (about $6) is the blandest of the four. This style also has egg, carrots, and red peppers. The BBQ pork (about $6) was too dry, and the bits of meat were too chewy. The other ingredients included in this product were eggs and peas.

InnovAsian's packaging includes a 16-ounce (2.5 serving) microwaveable bag inside a box. To prepare the rice, you simply microwave the bag for five minutes. This method of preparation forces you to make the whole box at once. Since the portion size could be more than desired for one meal, and you'll have to place it on a plate or in a bowl, this isn't a convenient product for lunch at work. It will work perfectly as a meal for two, though.


To rank brands of frozen fried rice, I needed to try them. I did this over a week. First, I bought all of the available brands from two grocery stores — Walmart and Meijer — on the day I went shopping. Then, each day I tried one or two styles of rice. I followed the instructions on the packaging exactly, and if there were two preparation methods, I used the first or preferred. I took notes on the texture of the grains, how soupy or dry the sauce was, the flavor, and the ingredients.

I noticed that these rice dishes fit into two categories — ones with sauce, and ones with a glaze. The saucy rices tended to be too soupy, and didn't taste like the fried rice I'm used to eating at restaurants. Conversely, the glazed rices were drier and fluffier. I enjoyed their texture far more. This was the mouthfeel and taste I identified with fried rice when eating out. The brands with this characteristic — InnovAsian, Tai Pei, and Bibigo — ended up higher in the ranking than all the others.