This simple sesame hibachi fried rice will take your tastebuds right back to your favorite Japanese steakhouse! This toasty fried rice is flavored with soy sauce and sesame seeds —no veggies or egg — and takes only 15 minutes to make. It makes the perfect side dish for teriyaki chicken or a full hibachi-style dinner at home! Don’t forget the Japanese white sauce!
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One of my absolute favorite birthday dinner requests as a kid was to go to a Japanese steakhouse hibachi restaurant. You know, the ones where they cook everything on a giant cooktop in front of you, make a volcano out of onion rings, and flip shrimp tails into their hats? Like Benihana or Sakura, but the ones I went to were called Miyabi and Kyoto.
I’d always get the steak and shrimp. Everything on my plate would be dipped in Japanese white sauce, including the side of hibachi zucchini and onions and, of course, the giant mound of simple hibachi fried rice.
I love reproducing restaurant meals at home, and hibachi night is one of my favorites to recreate. I will rotate the proteins between steak and mushrooms, teriyaki chicken, or shrimp with broccoli (ok let’s be real, I’m super extra so I will often make them all), but I always make the veggies and a big side of this super easy sesame fried rice.
What makes this recipe different:
Almost every fried rice recipe I see on the internet — hibachi style or not — has “stuff” in it. Scrambled egg, peas and carrots, onion, green onion.
Don’t get me wrong, I love that kind of fried rice. It’s even on my blog. You can find my recipe for vegetable fried rice with egg right here. I like to eat it with potstickers.
BUT when I go to a Japanese steakhouse, or when I get hibachi takeout, there isn’t any of that stuff in it. No veggies. No egg. Just rice. Toasty brown, flavored with soy sauce, and sprinkled with sesame seeds.
Maybe your Japanese steakhouse is different, but when I make hibachi-style dinner at home it’s the simple stuff I want. With a hefty side of Japanese white sauce.
Hibachi style fried rice has a pretty simple ingredient list since it doesn’t have the extra add-ins like onions, eggs, or veggies. Here’s what I use to make mine.
To cook the rice initially, I use my rice cooker. That thing is so cheap and gets so much use (probably three times a week at least) but you can use your favorite rice-cooking method. This rice cooker is similar to the one I have.
To fry the rice, you will need something with high sides so you can do a good bit of stirring. A wok is great for that if you have one, but a sauté pan will also work. I have the electric Breville Hot Wok.
What not to use? A griddle pan. I used my cast iron griddle once thinking it would be more similar to the flat cooktop they have at the restaurants, but my little griddle is wayyy too small and I just ended with rice all over the stovetop.
Hibachi fried rice either needs something with high sides or something really large like a Steelmade flat top grill. (If anyone wants to buy me an early birthday present, I’d love one of these.)
How to make hibachi fried rice
Making hibachi rice at home is super easy and only takes 15 minutes!
Start with about 4 cups of leftover white rice. When it chills, the starches harden, giving the rice a drier texture that’s perfect for crumbling and frying. A little more or less rice is fine, you can adjust the seasonings to taste if necessary! To make my rice, I used 1.5 cups of uncooked long grain white rice with 2.5 cups of water.
Preheat a wok or large sauté pan to medium high. The more surface area you have, the better, but don’t forget you also want highish sides so you can easily toss the rice around!
Add vegetable or olive oil and heat until it shimmers, about 30 seconds to a minute.
Then add in your cold rice. You can crumble it into the pan with your hands or drop it into the pan in a big chunk and chop it up with a cooking spatula (or two, if you want to feel like a hibachi chef!).
After you have no more chunks in the rice, add salt, pepper, and soy sauce.
Cook it for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally but not constantly. Let it sit for a couple minutes at a time so you can get a bit of color on the rice.
Then add your sesame oil and sesame seeds, mix to combine, and cook for another 2 minutes or so.
Now your Japanese fried rice is done! You can serve it like you would any other rice, or you can be fancy and mold the rice.
At the Japanese steakhouses, they’ll pat the rice into one big block, let it rest for a minute or so, and cut it into chunks to put on people’s plates. If you’re using a flat-bottomed sauté pan you can do this, or if using a wok you can scoop the rice into small bowls, gently pat it down, and rest for a minute before releasing the rice onto a plate in a molded mound.
Why would you want to mold the rice? Well, it adds some elegance to your plating, and it keeps the rice warm if it’s done before the rest of the meal is finished. It also makes the rice easier to grab in chunks with chopsticks and dip without falling apart into the sauce.
Expert Tips & Tricks
- If you’re planning a hibachi-style dinner at home, cook your rice and mix your sauces and marinades a day ahead. This allows time for your rice to chill, giving it the right consistency for making fried rice. Your sauces will have time for the flavors to meld. And you cut down on your cooking time the day of for what can be a labor-intensive meal if you’re making ALL the things like I do.
- If anyone has sesame or soy allergies, you can make this without soy sauce, sesame oil, or sesame seeds. Just substitute an equal amount of coconut aminos for the soy sauce. I did this for my brother-in-law and got rave reviews!
What goes well with Japanese fried rice?
For a complete hibachi dinner, serve Japanese steakhouse fried rice with sautéed hibachi style zucchini and onions, as well as the protein of your choice. You can make teriyaki chicken, steak and mushrooms, or shrimp and broccoli.
Dipping sauces are essential too! If you pick only one, I recommend Japanese steakhouse white sauce (aka yum-yum sauce), and this Japanese ginger sauce is amazing too!
Make a few of these recipes and you’ll feel just like you’re at Benihana or Sakura!
Simple Sesame Hibachi Fried Rice
- Large sauté pan or wok
- 4 cups leftover, chilled white rice
- 1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- Preheat a wok or large sauté pan to medium high. Add vegetable or olive oil and heat until it shimmers, about 30 seconds to 1 minute.
- Crumble cold rice into the wok. You can break apart any remaining chunks with a spatula once it's in the pan, but using your hands gives a great head start. Stir and cook for about a minute.
- Add salt, pepper, and soy sauce, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally but not constantly. You want the rice to get a little bit of color on it between stirring.
- Add sesame oil and sesame seeds and cook another 2 minutes or so, stirring frequently so the seeds get evenly toasty but don't burn.
- If desired, pat the rice into a big rectangle, let it sit for a minute, and then cut into chunks. Alternately, scoop the rice into small bowls and pat down to create domed rice molds before serving.
- Serve with simple hibachi vegetables, your choice of protein, and some Japanese white sauce.