Crispy Kimchi Cheese Rice Recipe (2024)

Why It Works

  • Greasing the pan with butter ensures the rice won't stick, and adds some welcome buttery flavor.
  • Mixing the rice thoroughly with flavorful gochujang, soy sauce, and rice vinegar ensures even distribution of seasoning.
  • Adding chopped kimchi on top toward the end keeps the funkiness of the kimchi relatively fresh and adds some much-needed acidity to the dish.

What do you do with leftover rice? Easy: Makefried rice.

But what if you havea lotof leftover rice? Easy: Makea lotof fried rice!

No, but what if you have so much leftover rice, you get sick of fried rice? What if you've eaten fried rice twice a day for five days straight, and you're still looking at a fridge filled with leftover rice?

This isn't a question many people have to answer. Before last month, I thought it was impossible to get sick of fried rice, which is one of the most perfect foods in existence. But then I was assigned arice cooker review, and I had to makea lotof rice! So much rice! And I was wrong: Onecanbecome sick of fried rice. Quite quickly, in fact!

Faced with this unimaginably large surplus of cooked rice of different varieties, I figured I could come up with some use for it that didn't involve awok. But I also wanted whatever cooked thing I could make out of it to be as simple as fried rice. I wanted it to be something that could, in a pinch, be made with stuff I had lying around in my pantry or my refrigerator, which is, in the final consideration, at least half of fried rice's charm.

So this is what I came up with: crispy kimcheesy rice. It's got texture (!), a ton of flavor (!!), a bunch of cheese (!!!), and kimchi (!!!!). And some fussily cut scallions on top, because we are a food website in 2019.

Choosing the Type of Rice

Crispy Kimchi Cheese Rice Recipe (1)

You can use almost any kind of leftover rice to make this, just like with fried rice. I find it works better withglutinous varieties—the resulting kimcheesy rice takes the form of a kind of crispy-on-the-outside, gooey-on-the-inside slab due to the sticky starch from the rice, sort of like a savory, cheesy, rice-y version of acast iron cookie—but long-grain varieties, like jasmine and basmati, also work well. What they lack in stick-togetherness, they make up for with a bit of added aromatic flavor.

Once you have the rice on hand, you'll need chopped kimchi (cabbage kimchi is fine, but a nice mix of different types is better—see ourguide to kimchifor inspiration);gochujang; soy sauce; rice vinegar; sliced scallions; and a fair amount of shredded/grated cheese.

Selecting the Cheese

I ended up preferring to use shredded low-moisture mozzarella cheese, grated Gruyère, and some kind of hard cheese, like Cotija or Parmigiano-Reggiano, because those cheeses taste good together and provide a bunch of different cheesy textures, and because I generally always have mozz, Gruyère, Cotija, and/or parm in my fridge. But I've tried this dish with other cheeses, too, including cheap supermarket cheddar, and it was still pretty good.

Other than the ingredients, all you'll need is a 10-inchcast iron panand a tablespoon of softened butter to grease it.

The process is incredibly simple: Crumble up four cups of cooked rice in a large mixing bowl (warming the rice in the microwave can help to break it up), and stir in three tablespoons each of gochujang and soy sauce, along with a tablespoon of the vinegar and the white parts of the sliced scallions.

Layering the Rice and Cheese

Once it's all thoroughly mixed, scrape half of the seasoned rice into the greased pan, and, using the bottom of a drinking glass or measuring cup, smush the rice into an even layer. Distribute half of the grated mozzarella and Gruyère evenly all over, then scrape the remaining seasoned rice into the pan, and, again, smush it into an even layer.

Pop the pan in a preheated 400°F (200°C) oven for 35 minutes. At that point, the bottom layer of rice should be quite crispy and a little charred at the edges, and the top layer should be dry and hot to the touch. Turn off the oven and switch on the broiler element.

While that heats up, blanket the top of the dish with the chopped kimchi. (If you're using a variety of kimchi, try to make sure the different kinds get distributed evenly—you don't want one side to be all radish kimchi and the other cabbage kimchi...unless youdo, in which case, whatever.)

Distribute the remaining grated mozzarella and Gruyère evenly over the kimchi, and, finally, top everything with the grated hard cheese. (I call for Cotija in the attached recipe, but, again, it can be parm or whatever hard cheese you like.)

Crispy Kimchi Cheese Rice Recipe (2)

Slide the pan under the broiler for about two minutes, or just until all the mozzarella and Gruyère melts and gets gooey and the Cotija starts to char a little bit. Pull the pan out, top the dish with the thinly sliced scallion greens, and serve it immediately.

The main question that remains—for me, for my colleagues, for you, too, I'm sure—is,what is this thing?Is it a side dish? An appetizer? Something you eat standing, liquidly, in your kitchen late at night? Does it serve just one, or is it meant for four people or more?

And my answer is yes, sure, go right ahead, eat it whenever, as whatever, however much you want. Although I can tell you that, after making many, many pans of this cheesy, crispy stuff, and eating many, many pounds of leftover rice, the thing it most resembles in my mind is a kind of crispy caked-rice quesadilla topped with kimchi, and I sort of (tr)eat it accordingly. By which I mean: I douse it with hot sauce and shovel it into my mouth while sitting on my couch.

October 2019

Recipe Details

Crispy Kimchi Cheese Rice Recipe

Active10 mins

Total50 mins


  • 1 tablespoon (15g) unsalted butter, softened

  • 4 cupscookedshort-grainrice (see notes)

  • 3 tablespoons (45ml)gochujang

  • 3 tablespoons (45ml)soy sauce

  • 1 tablespoon (15ml)rice vinegar

  • 4 thinly sliced scallions (80g), white and green parts divided

  • 3 ounces (85g) grated low-moisture mozzarella cheese (see notes), divided

  • 2 ounces (57g) grated Gruyère cheese (see notes), divided

  • 5 ounces (141g) chopped drainedkimchi(see notes)

  • 1 ounce (28g) grated Cotija cheese (see notes)


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Grease a 10-inch cast iron pan with 1 tablespoon (15g) butter, making sure to fully cover both the bottom and the sides.

  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine rice, gochujang, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sliced scallion whites. Using a flexible spatula, mix thoroughly.

    Crispy Kimchi Cheese Rice Recipe (3)

  3. Scrape half of rice mixture into buttered cast iron skillet and, using the bottom of a drinking glass or measuring cup, press down firmly to create a single even layer of seasoned rice. Distribute half of the mozzarella and Gruyère over the layer of rice, then scrape the rest of the rice mixture over grated cheese. Using the bottom of a drinking glass or measuring cup, press down firmly to create an even top layer of seasoned rice. Transfer pan to oven and cook for 35 minutes.

    Crispy Kimchi Cheese Rice Recipe (4)

  4. Remove pan from oven. Turn off oven and turn broiler on high. While broiler preheats, top rice with chopped kimchi. Distribute remaining Gruyère and mozzarella over kimchi and sprinkle Cotija over the other cheeses.

    Crispy Kimchi Cheese Rice Recipe (5)

  5. Place pan under broiler for about 2 minutes, or until Gruyère and mozzarella melt and bubble and Cotija begins to char in spots. Remove pan from under broiler, top with sliced scallion greens, and serve immediately.

    Crispy Kimchi Cheese Rice Recipe (6)

Special Equipment

10-inch cast iron skillet


This recipe was designed to use up leftover rice, but you can use freshly cooked rice, too, without altering the recipe. Short- or medium-grain rice is preferred, but any rice variety works.

If you have more than one type of kimchi available, feel free to use a mix for even greater flavor. Similarly, this recipe offers suggestions of types of cheeses to use, but any good melting cheese will work for the interior and on top, and most any hard cheese will work for the broiling step, too.

Make-Ahead and Storage

This recipe is best eaten immediately after being prepared.

Crispy Kimchi Cheese Rice Recipe (2024)


What does kimchi fried rice contain? ›

Kimchi fried rice or kimchi-bokkeum-bap (김치볶음밥) is a variety of bokkeum-bap ("fried rice"), a popular dish in South Korea. Kimchi fried rice is made primarily with kimchi and rice, along with other available ingredients, such as diced vegetables or meats like Spam.

Is kimchi and rice healthy? ›

Kimchi, the star ingredient, is a fermented food packed with probiotics, vitamins, and minerals that are great for gut health and digestion [1]. Many people find that white rice, rather than brown is easier to digest. Use organic ingredients where possible.

How long does kimchi fried rice last? ›

If you store it correctly, you can keep your leftover rice in the refrigerator for up to four days, and it can be stored in the freezer for up to two months! That way, you can have extra lying around to reheat, whether that's kimchi fried rice or Shirakiku Bulgogi fried rice.

What to serve with kimchi fried rice? ›

Add fried egg: Kimchi fried rice is often served with a fried egg (cooked over-easy) on top. Add vegetables: carrots, kale, mushrooms, peas. Add meat: cooked bacon, chicken, pork, or ground beef. Make a bowl: Serve in a Korean Bulgogi Bowls.

What is the active ingredient in kimchi? ›

The main ingredient in kimchi is most often cabbage. Traditional Korean kimchi uses baechu, which is also known as napa cabbage. The cabbage is cut into quarters lengthwise, then salted or brined. This draws out the excess water, which helps to preserve the cabbage.

Can kimchi fried rice go bad? ›

Telling if Kimchi Fried Rice has gone bad can be quite simple. Visually, you will see a change in the color, it might appear darker. In terms of smell, it won't be as aromatic and may have a sour or rancid scent. When you see visible mold or any unusual growth in your rice, it's a definite sign it has spoiled.

Is kimchi good for losing belly fat? ›

Eating more radish kimchi (kkakdugi) was associated with less abdominal obesity in both men and women. However, people who ate five or more serves of any type of kimchi weighed more, had a larger waist sizes and were more likely to be obese.

Does kimchi burn belly fat? ›

Now, a study of more than 100,000 people by researchers from the Chung Ang University in South Korea has found that men who eat three portions of the dish per day are less likely to be overweight and have less belly fat - the type thought to be the riskiest for type 2 diabetes.

Is it OK to eat kimchi everyday? ›

Cabbage and radish kimchi, a popular fermented vegetable dish, in particular were effective in reducing the risk of obesity and abdominal obesity in both men and women.

Can you eat too much kimchi? ›

Kimchi is high in sodium, with about 500 milligrams per cup. That's more than 20% of all the sodium that you're supposed to get in a day. Too much sodium can raise your risk of high blood pressure. If kimchi isn't prepared or stored properly, it can cause food poisoning, especially in people who are immune compromised.

What does kimchi do for your body? ›

Because it's a fermented food, it boasts numerous probiotics. These healthy microorganisms may give kimchi several health benefits. It may help regulate your immune system, promote weight loss, fight inflammation, and even slow the aging process. If you enjoy cooking, you can even make kimchi at home.

Can I eat just kimchi and rice? ›

As the national dish of South Korea, kimchi is a staple in kitchens around the world. This fermented cabbage dish can be served as a side dish, over a bed of rice, folded into scrambled eggs, whirred into tomato sauce, or even just eaten as is.

What is best paired with kimchi? ›

What can be mixed and matched with kimchi? I like to add kimchi to soups to give it a tart tangy spicy flavour. You can add it to tofu rolls, to fried rice, to grilled cheese sandwiches. You can replace sauerkraut with kimchi in hot dogs, mix it up in potato salad and stir fried veggies.

What do Asians eat kimchi with? ›

10 dishes to eat with kimchi
  • By itself. Kimchi is the star of the show here. ...
  • Fried rice. Kimchi fried rice (kimchi bokkeumbap) is one of the most popular ways to eat kimchi in Korea. ...
  • Kimchi stews. ...
  • Tofu. ...
  • Udon noodles. ...
  • Kimchi dumplings. ...
  • Korean BBQ. ...
  • Eggs.

What does kimchi fried rice taste like? ›

Tangy and Spicy: Kimchi is a fermented vegetable dish, primarily made with cabbage and seasoned with various spices, including chili pepper flakes. As a result, kimchi fried rice has a tangy and slightly spicy taste that adds a zesty kick to the dish.

What is kimchi in Chinese food? ›

According to Sojin Lim, co-director of the Institute of Korean Studies of the University of Central Lancashire, Korean kimchi is often called pao cai in China, but China has its own Sichuanese fermented vegetable dish that it also calls pao cai.

What is Korean fried rice made of? ›

Korean fried rice can be made with a variety of vegetables, such as carrots, onions, bell peppers, and peas. It is typically seasoned with soy sauce, sesame oil, and gochujang (a spicy Korean red pepper paste), and it is often garnished with green onions and sesame seeds.

What does kimchi taste like? ›

But generally, kimchi has a tangy, spicy, and slightly sour taste, with a hint of umami flavor from the fermentation process. Some people compare kimchi's spiciness to that of hot sauce or salsa, but with a more complex and layered flavor profile.

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