Kimchi Fried Rice, or Kimchi Bokkeumbap (볶음밥), is a fast and flavorful rice dish made with leftover cooked rice, kimchi, and a handful of other simple ingredients. Ready in just 30 minutes, top with a crispy fried egg for a complete meal.
Kimchi fried rice, known as “Kimchi-bokkeum-bap” in Korean, is a popular dish both in Korea and internationally. Its ease of preparation combined with the rich flavors from ingredients like tangy kimchi and spicy gochujang makes it a favorite quick meal and a delicious way to enjoy Korean food from the comfort of your kitchen.
One of the best things about kimchi fried rice is how customizable it is. You can adapt the ingredients based on your taste, making it as spicy (or mild!) as you’d like.
Ingredients in Kimchi Fried Rice
- Kimchi: The most important ingredient of the whole dish, pick a well-fermented kimchi for the best flavor and softer texture. Kimchi ranges from mild to very spicy, so pick according to your taste and preference.
- Rice: Medium-grain or short-grain white rice is preferred. Day-old rice is ideal as it fries better and doesn’t become mushy.
- Oil: This recipe calls for vegetable oil. For additional flavor, you may use half vegetable and half sesame oil, as sesame oil has a nutty aroma and flavor.
- Garlic: Fresh garlic adds depth to the flavor of the dish. Onion is another popular aromatic commonly added to kimchi fried rice. Should you choose to include it with this recipe, fry it at the same time as the garlic until fragrant.
- Soy Sauce & Mirin: For salty flavor.
- Sugar & Ketchup: To balance the chili paste’s spiciness, the kimchi’s tanginess, and the soy sauce’s saltiness.
- Gochujang (Korean Chili Paste): A savory, sweet, and spicy fermented condiment made primarily from chili powder, glutinous rice powder, fermented soybeans, and salt.
- Eggs (optional): It’s popular to scramble eggs into the rice or place a fried egg on top of the dish before serving.
- Garnishes: Sesame seeds, chopped green onions, and seaweed.
Optional Ingredients: Protein like pork belly, spam, chicken, shrimp, or veggies like carrots, onion, bell peppers, mushrooms, or peas may be included for a more complete and filling meal.
Find the printable recipe with measurements in the recipe card below.
How to Make Kimchi Fried Rice
1. Sauté the Kimchi and Garlic: Heat a large wok or skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the oil and heat until shimmering, then add the chopped kimchi, its liquid, and the minced garlic. Cook for 1-2 minutes.
2. Add the Rice and Cook Until Crispy: Add the cooked rice and stir fry for 8-10 minutes or until crispy. If needed, add vegetable oil to the pan to prevent the rice from sticking and burning to the skillet.
3. Prepare the Sauce: Whisk together the soy sauce, Gochujang, sugar, mirin, and ketchup.
4. Add the Sauce: Once the rice is hot and crispy, add the soy sauce mixture and continue to fry until the sauce is fully absorbed.
5. Garnish and Serve: Garnish with sliced scallions, crumbled or slivered nori (roasted seaweed), and black sesame seeds, then top with a fried egg, if desired.
What is the Best Type of Kimchi For Kimchi Fried Rice?
The best kimchi for kimchi fried rice is a well-fermented Napa cabbage kimchi (Baechu-kimchi). Napa cabbage kimchi is preferred for its more complex and tangier flavor. Well-fermented, it’s softer, making cooking, eating, and integrating into the rice easier. Fortunately, napa cabbage kimchi is the most common type of kimchi available.
What Type of Rice is Best for Kimchi Fried Rice?
Medium-grain or short-grain rice is ideal, like those used in Korean or Japanese cooking. They are slightly sticky, moist, and chewy, helping the rice grains stick together when cooked. Day-old rice that’s been refrigerated is crucial as it’s drier and makes for a better texture in the fried rice.
Can Brown Rice Be Used?
Yes. Brown rice can be used as a healthier alternative to white rice. If possible, use day-old medium-grain brown rice for the best results.
What Can I Serve with Kimchi Fried Rice?
It’s often enjoyed on its own or with a sunny side egg on top. It can be paired with Korean side dishes (banchan) like cucumber salad, stir-fried vegetables, Korean BBQ beef short ribs (Kalbi), or Korean fried chicken for a more substantial meal.
Storage and Freezing
- Leftovers: Allow leftover rice to cool to room temperature before storage. Transfer the rice to an airtight container and place in the refrigerator. Stored properly, leftovers will last for 3-5 days.
- Freezing: Allow leftover rice to cool to room temperature before storage. Divide the rice into smaller portions and place in freezer-safe bags or containers. Place in the freezer for up to 2 months.
- Thawing and Reheating: Thaw frozen leftovers in the refrigerator overnight (thawing in the microwave may affect the texture). To reheat, transfer the rice to a skillet set over medium heat. If necessary, add a little water or broth to moisten the rice.
More Easy Rice Recipes
- Stick of Butter Rice
- Easy Mexican Rice Recipe
- Easy Spanish Rice Recipe
- Coconut Rice Recipe
- Fried Rice Recipe
- Easy Yellow Rice Recipe
If you try making this Easy Kimchi Fried Rice Recipe, please leave me a comment and let me know! I always love to hear your thoughts.
Kimchi Fried Rice
- Heat a large skillet or wok over medium heat. Add the vegetable oil, heating until hot and shimmering. Add the kimchi (and its liquid) and garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Stir in the cooked rice and stir fry for 8-10 minutes or until crispy. Stir often, adding more oil if needed to prevent the rice from sticking and burning to the skillet.
- In the meantime, whisk together the soy sauce, Gochujang, sugar, mirin, and ketchup.
- Once the rice is hot and crispy, add the soy sauce mixture and fry until the sauce is fully absorbed.
- Garnish with sliced scallions, crumbled or slivered nori (roasted seaweed), and black sesame seeds, and top with a fried egg, if desired.
- Gochujang paste is very spicy. Adjust accordingly.
- The best type of rice for fried rice is day-old medium-grain or short-grain rice like Japonica rice or sushi rice.
- Keep leftovers stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.)