Fresh, bold, and flavorful Kimchi Fried Rice is a quick and easy Korean recipe that works as a side or main dish.  Top it with a fried egg, serve it with chicken, or leave it as a healthy vegan dish.

We eat a lot of rice at our house but we rarely eat plain old white rice. Depending on the other sides, we love a classic Rice Pilaf, Ham Fried rice, or Arroz Chaufa (Peruvian Fried Rice).

A bowl of kimchi fried rice with a skillet and chopsticks next to it.

Kimchi fried rice (Kimchi Bokkeumbap, 김치 볶음밥) is essentially Korean fried rice.  It’s made with kimchi, which is a Korean side dish of fermented napa cabbage and vegetables.  The first time I had Kimchi Fried Rice was at a local Korean taco restaurant called “Seoul Taco”, and I instantly fell in love. (If you live in the Saint Louis area, you have to go there!)

The method for making Kimchi fried rice is almost identical to making traditional Ham Fried Rice. It’s so easy and flavorful and works as a great side dish or main dish.

Pro Tips:

  • Choose your kimchi.  Kimchi is the star of this dish and you can make it yourself or purchase it from the grocery store. It is usually located near the produce where you would find fresh herbs or wonton wrappers and tofu.
  • Use day-old rice. Leftover rice works perfect for this recipe because rice kernels will cook better if they are cold. If you cook the rice fresh you can cool it off quickly by spreading it out on a baking sheet and refrigerating for 30 minutes.
  • Adjust the spice level.  Taste the kimchi you are using to help you decide how to adjust the spice level of this recipe. The kimchi I buy is not too hot for my taste, so I add ½ cup chopped kimchi. However, if you want it less spicy, or use a really hot brand of kimchi, you can use less.
A measuring spoon full of kimchi and a baking sheet with cold white rice.

How to Make Kimchi Fried Rice:

1. Cook veggies. Heat oil in a large skillet and once hot, add onion and cook for 2 minutes.  Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add Kimchi and cook for another minute.

3. Add rice.  Toss all ingredients gently to combine.

4. Serve.  Serve immediately with green onions as garnish.

Two process photos for making kimchi fried rice.

Other Variations:

  • 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.
A skillet filled with kimchi fried rice and a wooden spoon in it for serving.

If you are looking for more yummy Korean inspired recipes, check out my Korean Ground Beef Bowls!

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Recipe

A bowl of kimchi fried rice with a skillet and chopsticks next to it.
Prep 10 mins
Cook 5 mins
Total 15 mins
Add to Meal Plan

Ingredients
 
 

  • 2 cups day-old cooked white rice (rice that has been cooked and cooled in the fridge for at least an hour or overnight)
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons oil (vegetable or canola)
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic , minced
  • 1/2 cup Kimchi , chopped + 1 tablespoon kimchi juice
  • 1-2 Tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce , or more, to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper , to taste
  • 2 green onions , chopped
  • Sriracha hot sauce , for garnish

Instructions
 

  • Add oil to a wok or large fry pan over medium-high heat.  Once hot, add onion and cook for 2 minutes. Add garlic and saute for 30 seconds. 
  • Add chopped kimchi and toss for 1 minute. Separate the cold, cooked rice kernels with your fingers and add to the pan. Toss gently to combine. 
  • Add the soy sauce, sesame oil, black pepper, and 1 chopped green onion. Toss gently to combine (you don't want to over-stir the rice and make it mushy). 
  • Taste and add pepper, salt or more soy sauce, as needed.
  • Serve immediately garnished with additional green onion and sriracha hot sauce. Kimchi fried rice is a great accompaniment to Pork Buglogi!)

Notes

Other Variations:
  • 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.

Nutrition

Calories: 167kcalCarbohydrates: 35gProtein: 4gSodium: 256mgPotassium: 79mgVitamin A: 340IUVitamin C: 2.2mgCalcium: 16mgIron: 0.5mg

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*I originally shared this recipe June 2016. Updated February 2020 with process photos and instructions.

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Lauren Allen

Welcome! I’m Lauren, a mom of four and lover of good food. Here you’ll find easy recipes and weeknight meal ideas made with real ingredients, with step-by-step photos and videos.

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  1. 5 stars
    This has been something I have always wanted to make and am so glad to have found this recipe. We have now made it several times and we just can’t get enough. It is so flavorful and delicious! Thanks

  2. I would cook the onion, garlic and scallions first to create the aroma base. Then add the kimchi to warm up. Then add sesame, soy sauce, and also gochujang (Korean chili pepper paste), which is missing in your recipe. This last ingredient is important because since this is intended to be a Korean kimchi fried rice. This will also add that vibrant red chilli color. This mixture is now the base. Then add rice. I’d break up the clumps in the pan with the wooden stir spoon instead of hands to make it easier. The juice and eat will help declump the hard rice with less effort. Turn up the eat to create a crisp bottom.

  3. What brand of kimchi do you normally use? I’ve never bought it before, but we love flavorful ethnic food.

    1. Hi Alicia, at the store’s around me it’s usually the King’s Asian Gourmet brand. Good luck–hope you love it!!