Hibachi Rice vs Fried Rice | Both Easy Delicious Dishes But Different

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Almost half of the hibachi dishes are sided with hibachi rice to give them an extra touch of taste and flavor.

However, is this Hibachi rice the same as Chinese fried rice or all the other adaptations we find throughout the world?

Do the flavors differ? Or is it just a fancy Japanese name given to simple fried rice?

Hibachi Rice vs Fried Rice | Both Easy Delicious Dishes But Different

Well, here’s a short answer for you:

Hibachi rice is a Japanese take on fried rice cooked with butter and soy sauce, often served with vegetables. There are hardly any vegetables in the dish itself. On the other hand, fried rice is cooked with oil and vegetables and can be made or served with any protein, whether seafood, chicken, egg, or meat. 

But is it all you need to know about both? Certainly not! 

In this article, I will compare both from various angles, from ingredients to the cooking method, taste, texture, and anything in between. 

At the end of this article, you will be fully able to explain the difference between hibachi rice and fried rice, as well as how to prepare both.  

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What is hibachi rice?

Hibachi rice is a delicious and popular dish often served in Japanese restaurants. It’s technically the Japanese version of fried rice.

Hibachi rice is prepared by cooking white rice with various ingredients, such as soy sauce, sugar, butter, and sesame oil.

The result is an irresistible dish with a great aroma, making it perfect for any occasion.

Hibachi rice is usually served as a side dish with steak and veggies.

However, it is also a flavorful dish on its own and can serve as a main course without any accompaniments. 

Although it’s usually prepared on a griddle or a wok at high heat, it also turns out pretty well with a dutch oven.

If you don’t have a dutch skillet, you can simply use a cast iron skillet or wok. 

Apart from the main ingredients, you can add seafood, meat, veggies, and some extra seasonings to the rice to make it more flavorful.

However, authentic recipes usually include none of the above, except for some eggs. 

Once all the ingredients are added, you’ll need to stir the mixture over medium to high heat until everything is perfectly cooked and has absorbed the seasonings. 

Hibachi rice is a great way to add flavor and texture to any meal. It’s easy to make and a great way to get your family to eat more vegetables and protein. 

What is fried rice?

Fried rice is a classic dish that’s been around for centuries. It’s a staple in many Asian cultures and is equally enjoyed worldwide.

The essential ingredients are rice, vegetables, and protein, usually egg, meat, or seafood. 

As the name suggests, the rice is stir-fried in a wok or skillet with oil, vegetables, and protein.

The result is a delicious, flavorful dish that’s easy to make and can be customized to suit any taste. 

You can add anything to it, unlike hibachi fried rice.

For example, do you have any leftover vegetables lying around? No problem! Just toss it in and fry it with the rice. It’s as simple as that.

It’s one of those late-night lazy dishes anyone can whip up, and be sure that it will taste absolutely awesome.  

All in all, fried rice is an excellent meal for any time of day. It’s quick, easy to make, and a great source of extra nutrients.

So next time you’re wondering what to make for dinner, give it a try. It’s sure to be a hit with everyone!

Also read: 22 Best Sauces For Rice So You’ll Never Have A Dull Meal Again!

Hibachi rice vs. fried rice

Now that you know what both are, here are some side-by-side differences between hibachi rice and fried rice: 

Preparation method

Hibachi rice is cooked on a hibachi grill, a type of Japanese charcoal grill. The rice is cooked in a cast iron skillet or wok with butter, soy sauce, and other seasonings. 

The rice is stirred constantly while it cooks, which helps it to become crispy and flavorful.

Afterward, it is drizzled with soy sauce and sesame oil, cooked until it absorbs them, and served hot with steak and veggies. 

Another preparation method is frying the rice on a grill, which we usually see in teppanyaki restaurants (those awesome restaurants where they cook in front of you!).

However, you can use any griddle if you’re making it at home. The Dutch oven also does pretty well.  

On the other hand, fried rice is made by stir-frying cooked rice with vegetables, eggs, and other ingredients.

The rice is cooked in a wok or large skillet with oil and is stirred constantly to ensure that it is cooked evenly.


Hibachi rice has a slightly clumpy texture as the dish uses short-grain rice, which tends to stick together upon cooking. 

Plus, since the rice is also drizzled with sauce and oil, it also feels a little moist but not mushy. If the rice obtains a mushy texture, you have likely overcooked it. 

Fried rice is softer, and fluffier as it uses medium to long-grain rice and has a little crispness due to the stir-frying method.

The rice is often mixed with other ingredients to create a variety of textures. 

Like hibachi rice, fried rice can also feel slightly moist.

But this entirely depends on how much sauces or seasonings you add and which proteins you use, along with the egg and the veggies. 


Hibachi rice has a savory flavor due to the seasonings used in the cooking process.

Due to the addition of butter, there’s always a certain richness to its taste that makes it super delicious, even in simplicity. 

Some hibachi rice recipes also include extra ingredients to give it a more complex flavor.

For example, some chefs like to sautee some ginger and onion before adding rice and fried egg. 

Traditionally, fried rice is milder in flavor as it does not contain a lot of seasonings.

The vegetables, eggs, meat, and soy sauce give the rice a very nice, umami-ish, sweet, and salty flavor that feels great. 

The best thing about both dishes mentioned above is that you can always add your own touch without fearing messing them up!

But let me warn you; nothing beats the classics.

Nutritional value

Hibachi rice is higher in fat and calories than fried rice due to the butter and other seasonings used in the cooking process. 

A cup of hibachi rice contains:

  • at least 220 calories
  • 12 grams of fat
  • 103 mg of cholesterol
  • 822 mg of sodium

While it also contains proteins and vitamins due to the addition of egg, it certainly isn’t a healthy choice due to the high amount of fat from all the butter and oil. 

Fried rice is relatively lower in fat as its usually cooked with vegetables and eggs.

While it has relatively the same calories, the extra minerals and nutrients from vegetables make it a comparatively healthier choice.  

Compared to hibachi rice, a single cup of fried rice contains:

  • around 243 calories
  • 4.1 grams of fat
  • 25.3 mg of cholesterol
  • 5.7 g of protein (depending on the protein added, like fish or chicken)

Plus it contains vitamins and minerals from the veggies in the dish.


What kind of rice should you use for hibachi rice? 

Hibachi rice is usually made with Calrose rice and the best is actually rice that is about 3 days old.

So Hibachi rice is a great dish to use up leftover rice (just like this recipe for Japanese fried yakimeshi rice)

However, if you don’t have Calrose rice available, you can always use simple long-grain rice or Jasmine rice for extra fragrance.

There isn’t much difference in the flavor, and the taste is equally delicious. 

How do you store hibachi rice? 

You can store hibachi rice simply by freezing it. Hibachi rice is always cooked to be a little moist.

Hence, while storing the rice, you would like to keep that texture intact, and freezing is the best way to do it. 

Can I use oil instead of butter for hibachi rice? 

If you don’t have butter or want a healthy alternative, you can always use sesame oil, peanut oil, or canola oil to make hibachi rice. 

How long is leftover hibachi rice good for? 

If you keep the rice in a refrigerator, you should get rid of it after 3-4 days, as it’ll have gone bad by then. However, frozen hibachi rice can last up to a month. 

What happens if you cook hibachi rice for too long? 

If you cook hibachi rice for too long, it can become mushy. While this will have little effect on the overall flavor, it will undoubtedly make the rice less appetizing. 

Which rice is best to make fried rice? 

Generally, medium-grain rice is considered the best choice to make fried rice. Alternatively, you can also use long-grain rice for the dish. It won’t have much effect on the taste and texture.  

Is fried rice healthy? 

Generally, it is not so healthy. But compared to hibachi rice, it is healthy. While it’s not the ideal dish to include in your daily diet, some portion control might make it something that won’t add to your weight. 

Can you freeze fried rice? 

Yes, you can freeze fried rice and use it for a month. However, before freezing, cool it down in the fridge for at least 10 minutes (but not when it’s hot). 

How long can fried rice stay out? 

After cooking, fried rice should not stay at room temperature for longer than two hours as it can result in bacterial growth. If you plan to eat leftovers later, simply refrigerate them. 


In conclusion, hibachi and fried rice are delicious and popular Asian dishes.

Fried rice is cooked with various vegetables, proteins, and seasonings, while hibachi rice is cooked with eggs and soy sauce.

Both dishes are great options for a quick and easy meal. Still, fried rice is a healthier option due to its lower fat and sodium content.

On the deliciousness scale, both are a solid 10! 

How about sprucing up your fried rice dish with some kamaboko in this Kamaboko Fried Rice Yakimeshi Recipe

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Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.