An evening at Benihana is an experience, not just a meal, and a Benihana chef is an entertainer, not just a cook. That chef will cook everyone’s food on the large heated surface built into your table as you watch— this is called teppanyaki, and is a variation of a cooking style popular in Japan. (It probably won’t surprise you to learn that the Benihana experience is a very, very American phenomenon). You may also be familiar with the word “hibachi,” which refers to a smaller grill. One of their most popular dishes is their Benihana fried rice recipe that I’m delighted to say I have a copycat recipe for you.
What makes Benihana different from other US teppanyaki-style restaurants is its focus on entertainment. A Benihana chef will joke and banter with the guests, flip eggs off spatulas, do scarily impressive knife tricks, and generally just perform, all while cooking for the entire table.
And the fact that the entire table shares the experience may be a subtler part of the appeal, but it’s kind of rare today that a group of people—sometimes two groups who begin the meal as strangers to each other—share a table and laugh. You share some of the food, too, and most frequently that food is fried rice. You’ll watch the chef chop the vegetables and spin the eggs, as he makes enough fried rice for the entire table.
How to Make Benihana Fried Rice at Home
The theater is what brings people to the restaurant, of course, but their fried rice with chicken is also just really, really great. It’s easy to make this buttery, indulgent Benihana fried rice copycat recipe at home, no knife tricks or egg-and-spatula balancing required, just a little advance planning to cook the rice a day ahead of time.
8 servings per container
- Amount Per ServingCalories370
- % Daily Value *
- Total Fat
- Saturated Fat 6.7g 34%
- Cholesterol 131.5mg 44%
- Sodium 462mg 20%
- Total Carbohydrate
- Dietary Fiber 1.9g 8%
- Sugars 2.5g
- Protein 13.6g 28%
* The % Daily Value tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Be watchful of the soy sauce and salt; it’s easy to overdo them both. There should be just enough soy sauce to make the rice golden brown, not dark. Taste the cooked rice before you season.
It’s important to rinse the rice thoroughly before cooking, or it will be starchy and gluey. It’s also important to leave it overnight—softer, freshly cooked rice can’t stand up to the heat and butter and will lose its texture. This is a great recipe to use up leftover rice and vegetables from another meal.
Important health note: this Benihana fried rice can keep well for a few days in the fridge, but it should go from heat to fridge as quickly as possible and be stored in small containers that allow it to cool quickly. Leaving cooked rice at room temperature for a long time can risk contamination.
Everything fries quickly once you get going. If you aren’t confident about timing the vegetables and chicken together, feel free to cook them separately and set aside until combining.
There are many ways to adjust this recipe:
Replacing the white rice with brown rice works well, but the brown rice will need more cooking time to soften and absorb flavors.
It’s easy to swap the chopped chicken with any protein you like—shrimp is Benihana’s second most popular fried rice flavor, but pork, beef or even tofu will work. And because the ingredients don’t come together until the end, it’s easy to divide up the rice before adding the meat to accommodate different preferences.
You can substitute the neutral-tasting oil for sesame oil or add a teaspoon of oyster sauce for a more complex flavor.
Feel free to throw in any veggies you like—chopped broccoli, green peas, or any leftover vegetables you have in your fridge.
And if you want to learn how to balance an egg on the edge of your spatula? Go for it!