The humble sheet pan is the hero of weeknight cooking. Its sleek, spacious surface allows the busy home cook to get a balanced dinner — protein! starch! vegetables! — on the table fast, with very little prep or cleanup. Just chop, drop and roast.
That’s why, every Sunday, we’ll be sharing the go-to, throw-it-all-on-a-sheet-pan recipes from our favorite chefs and home cooks. Whether you’re cooking for yourself, friends, family, or meal-prepping for the week, you should keep these one-pan meals in your back pocket — or, rather, your oven drawer.
This week, food writer and cookbook author Hetty McKinnon convinces us to make our fried rice on a sheet pan — to get that coveted scorched rice on the bottom — plus plenty of veggies and built-in sauce thanks to runny baked eggs. Because hangover dreams really do come true.
Growing up in a Cantonese household, fried rice was our everyday food. My mother always had a ready supply of leftover cold rice in the fridge, and this was the dish she could whip up at a moment’s notice. In Asian culture, fried rice is a common breakfast food and, as kids, we often started our days with a hearty bowl of egg-and-pea fried rice. At other times, perhaps for Sunday lunch, my mother would make a more elaborate version, brimming with lap cheong (Chinese sausage) and salted preserved fish. The one constant in all my mother’s fried rice recipes was perfectly scrambled eggs.
In recent years, I have developed many of my own fried rice recipes for my family, inspired by the comfort food of my youth. When my kids are feeling poorly, ginger fried rice is a dependable remedy. I keep that version simple, free of soy sauce and seasonings other than salt, but with a healthy amount of ginger that delivers a restorative hit of spice. (The dish is particularly good for settling a restless tummy and is also a proficient hangover cure.)
Kimchi fried rice is a family-favorite. The great thing about incorporating kimchi into fried rice is that it offers so much ready-made flavor — spice, umami and sweetness, along with that inimitable funkiness that comes from fermented food.
Lately, I’ve been making my fried rice in the oven. Yes, that’s right: “Frying” rice in the oven, on a sheet pan, is not only possible, it actually produces the perfect amount of crisping. As with all sheet pan recipes, it’s the perfect throw-it-in-the-oven dish — simply toss cold rice with veggies, kimchi and seasonings, spread it all onto a sheet pan and let a hot oven do the "frying" for you.
I’ve used Brussels sprouts and carrots as my chosen veggies but feel free to mix this up with whatever you have in your fridge — broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage or kale would also work well. The baked eggs add a touch of luxury, elevating this simple sheet pan dinner (or breakfast!) into a dinner party-worthy dish.