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Better Than Take Out Canned Tuna Fried Rice Recipe

October 19, 2022 (Last Updated: December 21, 2022)
canned tuna fried rice

This canned tuna fried rice is better than takeout. It’s cheap, quick, and easy to make. My canned tuna fried rice only takes 5 minutes to cook. Tempted to whip up a batch yet? 5 minutes doesn’t seem possible but it actually is. The secret to quick fried rice is all in the prep.

But we’ll talk about that and a lot more in this post:

This recipe is perfect for you if you’re looking for canned tuna ideas or a cheap and delicious meal that’s made in no time.

Why You Need This Recipe

canned tuna fried rice

This rice and tuna recipe is one of my favorites for a few reasons and I’m sure it’ll be one of yours too.

It’s Healthy

You can file this recipe under “canned tuna recipes healthy”! Making fried rice at home is a great way to make sure you’re eating healthy. Fried rice has a bad reputation for being unhealthy but this recipe uses less oil, has 2 sources of protein from the eggs to tuna, and is loaded with 1 cup of vegetables.

Another reason you need this recipe? It’s cheap.

A Cheap & Great Meal

Canned tuna is amazing on a budget. It’s affordable and very versatile but not very filling. One way to stretch out an entire can of tuna is to make this canned tuna fried rice recipe. You only need one can of tuna, leftover rice, and whatever veggies you have in the fridge.

Eating on a budget doesn’t have to be sad or boring. This recipe makes me breathe out a sigh of happiness whether I’m on a budget or not. Is time an issue?

It’s SUPER Quick

This recipe comes together in 5 minutes. That’s practically no time! I love this recipe on lazy days or days where I’m so busy and dread making dinner. This recipe has come to the rescue numerous moments in my life.

One time, I had surprise guests coming for dinner but my fridge was absolutely empty aside from some rice and beans. I knew I didn’t have the time (or brain power) to make anything. I made this recipe and there were rave reviews plus minimal clean up!

Flexible Ingredients

I love this recipe because it’s so flexible. You can swap out any ingredient in this recipe to make it work for you or your diet. It’s an ‘everything but the kitchen sink’ recipe that’s perfect for weird leftover ingredients.

Speaking of ingredients, let’s look at the shopping list for this canned tuna fried rice recipe!

Shopping List

canned tuna fried rice

There are things you “need” to make this fried tuna & rice recipe as it is. 

  • Canned Tuna: Choose between oil or water.
  • Rice: It doesn’t matter what kind of rice you use but dry cooked rice is the best for any fried rice recipe.
  • Seasoning: The seasoning is important. I use a combination of sweet soy and oyster sauce. Can’t find sweet soy? Mix 3 tablespoons of regular light soy with 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. 

You can add optional ingredients as nice extra to the recipe:

  • Vegetables: Any vegetable (fresh or frozen) will work.
  • Eggs: There are days where I’ve run out of eggs and still wanted fried rice. Turns out, they’re nice but not a must.

The next part of this post is going to cover variations of this tuna fried rice recipe with substitutes and add-ins!

Substitutes & Add Ins

canned tuna fried rice

I love the flexibility of this recipe. There have been countless variations of this recipe depending on what I had in my fridge when I made it. Here are some substitutes and add-ins that may be useful for you!

  • Veggies: You can add more vegetables or use different veggies. Replace the green beans with asparagus, peas, bell peppers, cabbage, carrots, or use a mixed bag of frozen vegetables. Use kimchi and turn this into a tuna kimchi fried rice recipe!
  • Protein: I chose tuna and eggs but you can easily use other options like: tofu, shrimp, crab stick, spam, bacon, chicken, anchovies or canned sardines!
  • Rice: feel free to use any kind of rice, red brown, white, short grained or long grained.
  • Garnishes: Jazz any fried rice recipe with garnishes! I used spring onions and fried anchovies but you can use sesame seeds (black or white), sriracha, furikake rice seasoning, chili oil, fresh chilis, crispy fried onions or parsley.

Dietary Restrictions

Wanna make this recipe but have some dietary restrictions? No problem! Here are some ideas:

  • Low FODMAP diet: Remove the fresh garlic and chilis and swap them out with a mix of garlic oil and chili oil. Soy sauce is low FODMAP friendly. Make sure to only use the green parts of green onions!
  • Vegetarian or Vegan: Ditch the tuna and use eggs or firm tofu instead.
  • Low carb or Keto: Swap rice out with cauliflower rice, broccoli rice or shirataki rice and quinoa for a low carb tuna fried rice.

8 Tips Perfect Fried Rice

canned tuna fried rice

The secret to this quick and easy tuna rice recipe is in the tips. Fried rice is easy to make but hard to get perfect. Making fried rice in 5 minutes is possible if you spend a few extra minutes prepping all the ingredients first. Here are 8 tips for the perfect fried rice:

  1. Use the right rice:

The best rice for fried rice is not day-old rice or leftover rice. It’s actually just dry rice. You can use freshly cooked white rice as long as you lay it flat and let it dry. 

  1. Rinse the rice:

Rinse rice before cooking to remove starch. Starch makes the rice clump together. Run a fork through rice to break apart clumps.

  1. Prepare all the ingredients first:

Fried rice takes minutes to make because cooking it is lightning fast. This isn’t a recipe where you can prep as you go. Make sure to chop, pound, or dice anything you need before you start cooking so you don’t burn something.

  1. Cook at the right temperature:

Do not cook fried rice low and slow. Make sure the heat is high to medium high and do it fast.

  1. Keep your ingredients close by:

Make sure all your ingredients are close by so you can keep an eye on your fried rice.  

  1. Use a non-stick wok:

I hate it when my food sticks to the pan because cooking in it and cleaning it is a pain. Save yourself the pain and use a non-stick wok or pan instead. 

  1. Go easy on the liquid seasoning:

Too much sauce will make the fried rice mushy or wet. Season with salt, sugar, or powder seasoning instead of adding more oyster sauce or soy.

  1. Add the ingredients in the right order:

It’s crucial when the ingredients are added to the fried rice. Add ingredients in this order: Start with aromatics like herbs and spices to infuse with the oil. Then, add ingredients that take longer to cook like tough carrots or protein. Finally, add the sauces and rice.

I’d say the most important takeaways from these tips are rule 3, 4, 7 and 8. Let’s get cooking now that you know the secret tips to making perfect fried rice!

How To Make Canned Tuna Fried Rice

Preparing the ingredients is the first important step to making tuna fried rice. This means whisking the eggs together, chopping the vegetables, mixing the sauces, and opening the can of tuna and draining the liquid.

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large wok or pan on medium heat and scramble the eggs. Set them aside for later. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil to the pan and saute the garlic and chili paste for 1 minute.

Add the vegetables and saute for another minute. Then, add in the tuna and sauce. Saute everything for another minute before adding the rice. Mix the rice thoroughly and finally toss in the cooked scrambled eggs.

And voila! Canned tuna fried rice in 5 minutes. This recipe keeps well in the fridge for 3 days or 2 months in the freezer. All you have to do is take it out an hour before and toss it in the pan for 5-10 minutes.

Looking for more recipes like this canned tuna fried rice? Try making our Sardine Fried Rice or Vegan Thai Basil Fried Rice.

Canned Tuna Fried Rice

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Malaysian
By Yummyble -Aisha Serves: 4
Prep Time: 10 minutes Cooking Time: 5 minutes Total Time: 15 minutes

This canned tuna fried rice is so easy to make. Transform a can of tuna to delicious street food style fried rice. It's quick, simple, and perfect on days where you're busy, feeling lazy or only have a can of tuna in the kitchen.


  • 2-3 cups of leftover rice *see notes if you don't have leftover rice.
  • 1 or 2 red chilies (Adjust this to your spice tolerance. You can also leave the chilies out)
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tin (145g or 1.5 oz) canned tuna (in oil or water)
  • 1 cup chopped green beans or any vegetable of choice
  • 4 tbs oil
  • 2 tbs oyster sauce
  • 3 tbs sweet soy *see notes if you don't have sweet soy
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • Optional: spring onion to garnish


Prepare Ingredients Before Cooking:


Pound or blend the garlic and chilies into a smooth paste.


Measure out and mix all the sweet soy and oyster sauce together.


Chop the green beans or vegetable of your choice.


Drain the canned tuna.

Cook The Fried Rice:


Heat 1 tbs of oil in a large pan on medium high heat.


Add in the eggs and scramble them. Set the eggs aside.


In the same pan, add the remaining 3 tbs of oil.


Add the garlic and chili paste into a the pan and saute for 1 minute.


Add the green beans and sauces and saute for another minute.


Add the canned tuna into the pan and cook for 1 minutes.


Finally, add in the rice and eggs and stir everything together.


Season with salt to taste.


Garnish with spring onion or fried anchovies.


  • Rice: If you don't have leftover or day old rice: Cook rice as usual and spread it out flat on a plate or tray. Place this in the fridge for 10-20 minutes or leave it to cool at room temperature before frying rice.
  • No sweet soy: Mix 1 tbs of sugar with regular light soy.

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