Crab Fried Rice

By Jeri Mobley-Arias
August 25, 2023 | Updated on March 19, 2024

Crab fried rice is a quick and easy Thai dish made of sweet lump crab and toasted rice and enhanced with aromatics and a umami flavored dipping sauce. This fried rice recipe is popular in Thai restaurants around the world but you can make it at home in just 20 minutes!

For more delicious crab recipes, try Crab Soup with Shiitake and Napa Cabbage and Crab Rangoon next.

plated crab fried rice garnished with cucumbers, lime, and cilantro

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Crab fried rice is a fragrant and flavorful mixture of tender crab meat, fluffy scrambled eggs, and wok fried Jasmine rice. Add familiar Thai ingredients like fish sauce, light soy sauce, and lime for even more flavor. After one forkful, you’ll devour the rest until every single grain is gone!

Why This Recipe Works

  • Quick and Easy – The main ingredients are pre-cooked (the rice and the crab). Dinner is on the table in less than 30 minutes so this is perfect for a busy weeknight.
  • Affordable – Crab is such an indulgence and it can be costly but when you add fried rice, it stretches a bit further.
  • Flavorful – Dungeness crab is sweet and delicate and pairs well with fresh herbs, citrus, and fish sauce for a tantalizing mesh of flavors.
plated crab fried rice garnished with cucumbers, lime, and cilantro with a small sauce full of Thai dipping sauce on the side

What is Thai Crab Fried Rice?

Thai crab fried rice (also known as khao phat buu) is popular across Southeast Asia and throughout the world. Different cultures have their own variations of the dish (i.e., Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese, and Filipino) but Thai crab fried rice is the most prominent.

It is made with jasmine rice, scrambled eggs, crab meat, cilantro, scallions, and fish sauce. The dish is traditionally served with cilantro, lime wedge, and cucumbers for garnish.

Tools You’ll Need

  • Wok
  • Wok Spatula

Ingredients You Will Need for Thai Crab Fried Rice

The ingredient list may look lengthy but each element brings something to the dish.

Crab

  • Dungeness crab meat – this type of crab is subtly sweet and briny with a hint of nuttiness.
  • Fish sauceThis imparts a savory, salty flavor.
  • White pepper – This has a lighter, less pungent taste than black pepper.

Egg

  • Eggs – beaten eggs add color, a rich taste, and extra protein.
  • White pepper
  • Light soy sauce – I use Pearl River Bridge.

Sauce

  • Fish sauce – I use Three Crabs.
  • Oyster sauce – This salty, sweet, savory condiment sauce gives the rice a darker hue.
  • Sugar – This sweetness balances out the savory flavors.
plate of lump crab

Fried Rice

  • Ghee or avocado oil – Both can withstand higher temperatures without burning. I prefer ghee for its rich flavor.
  • Aromatics – Build the flavor foundation of the rice with sautéed diced shallots and garlic cloves. Once the pan has been removed from the heat, toss the rice with chopped cilantro and scallions to infuse even more flavor into the dish.
  • Jasmine rice – Cold, day-old.

Thai Dipping Sauce (Prik Nam Plaa)

  • Lime juice – For a bright citrus tatse.
  • Thai chilis – Thinly sliced and added for a spicy quality.
  • Fish sauce – Umami flavor.
  • Clove garlic – Minced.

Garnish

  • Cucumber
  • Lime wedges
a bowl with two eggs, white pepper, and soy sauce

How To Make Crab Fried Rice

The key to the best crab fried rice is gradually adding the ingredients to build up the flavor and improve the texture of the dish.

  1. If needed, strain crab meat to remove excess moisture. In a bowl add crab, white pepper, and soy sauce. Mix to combine, then set aside.
  2. In another bowl, add eggs, white pepper, and soy sauce. Whisk until well mixed, then set aside.

3. Add light soy sauce, fish sauce, oyster sauce, and sugar to a bowl and whisk until sugar dissolves. Set aside.

4. Add oil to a wok then add shallot and garlic. Cook on medium heat until shallot is translucent, about 3 minutes.

shallots and garlic sautéing in a pan

5. Turn heat to high then add eggs and let it set for 30 seconds before breaking the egg with wok spatula.

egg frying in pan with garlic and shallots

6. Add rice, and break up with wok spatula. Mix with the egg and cook for 2 minutes. Add sauce mixture, then mix well. Cook for 4 minutes, ensuring rice is evenly mixed with the sauce mixture, eggs, and oil. Cook through until most of the moisture from the sauce mixture is absorbed into the rice.

white rice added to pan with fried egg and aromatics
crab added to fried rice in the pan

7. Lower heat to medium high then move rice to the side then add crab meat. Stir until crab is warmed through. Remove a little of the crab and set aside in a bowl. Gently mix remaining crab with the fried rice so as not to break up any lump pieces.

crab fried rice in a wok pan

8. Turn off heat and stir in scallions and cilantro. Divide leftover crab between two bowls then top with rice and pack gently. Place a plate over the rice then flip and remove the bowl. Serve immediately with prik nam plaa and enjoy!

plated crab fried rice garnished with cucumbers, lime, and cilantro with a small sauce full of Thai dipping sauce on the side

Tips and Tricks

  • Use a wok. The spacious design of a wok provides ample room to spread ingredients out in a single layer. This allows for better exposure to the heat, enabling ingredients to cook rapidly while maintaining their distinct textures and flavors. They also distribute heat more evenly than regular pans.
  • Use day-old rice for the best-fried rice. Fresh rice has too much moisture and the rice won’t properly toast. Instead, it will be mushy.
  • Don’t have leftover rice and need to make Thai crab fried rice ASAP? Cook fresh rice then spread it on a tray and set in the fridge for 5 minutes.
  • Gradually add the ingredients. The biggest mistake people make when preparing fried rice is dumping everything into a skillet at once.
plated crab fried rice garnished with cucumbers, lime, and cilantro

Variations

  • Rice – If you don’t have jasmine rice, use another medium-grain rice.
  • Additions – Traditional Thai crab fried rice includes fish roe as a flavor enhancer. However, many restaurants add shredded carrots as an affordable alternative.
  • Crab – I prefer the taste and texture of dungeness crab (visit your local seafood counter or fish monger) for this recipe but you can use whichever type of crab you prefer including blue crabs or snow crabs.
plated crab fried rice garnished with cucumbers, lime, and cilantro

Frequently Asked Questions

What is imitation crab made of?

Although imitation crab is meant to be a substitute for crab, it’s not made from crab. It is primarily made from a seafood paste called surimi, which is processed and flavored to mimic the characteristics of crab meat. Surimi is a fish (typically pollock) that is minced into a paste and used as mock crab meat.

What is the difference between Chinese fried rice and Thai fried rice?

Chinese fried rice uses long-grain rice and incorporates ingredients sesame oil, hoisin sauce, peas, and corn. Whereas Thai fried rice uses jasmine rice and includes fish sauce, Thai chili peppers, basil, and lime.

Can you reheat crab fried rice?

You can reheat crab fried rice in the microwave or on the stove. To warm it up on the stove, add leftover rice to a wok over medium heat with a bit of oil. Stir fry gently for about 5 minutes. Alternatively, break up clumps with a fork and then heat it in the microwave for 2-3 minutes.

close up view of plated crab fried rice garnished with cucumbers, lime, and cilantro

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plated crab fried rice garnished with cucumbers, lime, and cilantro with a small sauce full of Thai dipping sauce on the side

Crab Fried Rice

Crab fried rice is a quick and easy Thai dish made of sweet lump crab and toasted rice and enhanced with aromatics and a umami flavored dipping sauce. This fried rice recipe is popular in Thai restaurants around the world but you can make it at home in just 20 minutes!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 2 people
Author Jeri Mobley-Arias
Course Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine thai

Equipment

  • Wok
  • Wok Spatula

Ingredients

Crab

  • 6 ounces dungeness crab meat
  • ¼ teaspoon fish sauce, I use Three Crabs
  • pinch white pepper

Egg

  • 2 large eggs
  • pinch white pepper
  • teaspoon light soy sauce, I use Pearl River Bridge

Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon fish sauce, I use Three Crabs
  • 2 teaspoons oyster sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sugar

Fried Rice

  • tablespoons ghee or avocado oil
  • cup shallot, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • cups jasmine rice, cold, day-old
  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
  • ¼ cup scallions chopped

Thai Dipping Sauce (Prik Nam Plaa)

  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 3 thai chilis, thinly sliced
  • teaspoons fish sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, minced

Garnish

  • Cucumber
  • Lime wedges

Instructions

  • If needed, strain crab meat to remove excess moisture. In a bowl add crab, white pepper, and soy sauce. Mix to combine, then set aside.
  • In another bowl, add eggs, white pepper, and soy sauce. Whisk until well mixed, then set aside.
  • Add light soy sauce, fish sauce, oyster sauce, and sugar to a bowl and whisk until sugar dissolves. Set aside.
  • Add oil to a wok then add shallot and garlic. Cook on medium heat until shallot is translucent, about 3 minutes.
  • Turn heat to high then add eggs and let it set for 30 seconds before breaking the egg with wok spatula.
  • Add rice, and break up with wok spatula. Mix with the egg and cook for 2 minutes Add sauce mixture, then mix well. Cook for 4 minutes, ensuring rice is evenly mixed with the sauce mixture, eggs, and oil. Cook through until most of the moisture from the sauce mixture is absorbed into the rice
  • Lower heat to medium high then move rice to the side then add crab meat. Stir until crab is warmed through. Remove a little of the crab and set aside in a bowl. Gently mix remaining crab with the rice so as not to break up any lump pieces.
  • Turn off heat and stir in scallions and cilantro. Divide leftover crab between two bowls then top with rice and pack gently. Place a plate over the rice then flip and remove the bowl. Serve immediately with prik nam plaa and enjoy!
Keywords can you reheat crab fried rice, crab fried rice, crab fried rice recipe, easy crab fried rice recipe, how to make crab fried rice, thai crab fried rice, thai crab fried rice recipe
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plated crab fried rice garnished with cucumbers, lime, and cilantro

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jeri-mobley

Hey, I'm Jeri!

At Whisper of Yum, we explore ALL cuisines - comfort foods, classics, elevated originals. If you love food like me, I invite you to settle in to this place, where swoon-worthy food is attainable + inspo for your next meal awaits.

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