Kimchi Fried Rice

published Jan 15, 2024
Kimchi Fried Rice Recipe

This classic Korean comfort food is made with kimchi, cold rice, and a perfect balance of spicy and salty seasonings.

Serves2

Prep5 minutes

Cook15 minutes to 20 minutes

Jump to Recipe
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Overhead shot of kimchi fried rice in a shallow light pink bowl, topped with a fried egg and green onion.
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Food Stylist: James Park

Kimchi fried rice is one of my favorite comfort foods (it’s also one of the first dishes that I learned how to make!). I always get excited when I see a heaping scoop of this vibrant red rice with tender, slightly caramelized kimchi and a crispy sunny-side-up egg on top. 

Even though you can simply mix rice and fermented kimchi together to make this dish, what turns it into something special is the seasoning. Here, butter, soy sauce, and mayo add extra oomph, making the rice just incredible.

I often make a big batch of kimchi fried rice, portion it into small servings, and freeze it. Seeing a stack of homemade kimchi fried rice in my freezer always brings me joy — you should try it too!

Key Ingredients in Kimchi Fried Rice

  • Kimchi: Go for something that’s not too fermented, but not too fresh either. To avoid staining your cutting board, put kimchi into a bowl, and use a pair of kitchen scissors to cut it into bite-size pieces. 
  • Scallions: The backbone of building flavors in fried rice is scallion oil. My recipe calls for 4 medium scallions. It may sound like a lot, but trust me — you can never use too many scallions, especially in dishes like kimchi fried rice. 
  • Butter: You can use regular oil instead of butter, but a little bit of butter adds a layer of richness to the rice.
  • Mayonnaise: This is my secret ingredient that makes my kimchi fried rice so special. The creaminess from the mayonnaise helps the kimchi achieve the perfect level of caramelization. 
  • Sugar: A little bit of sweetness balances the spiciness of kimchi, and helps the rice absorb all the flavors.
  • Gochugaru: Even though kimchi is seasoned with lots of gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes), sprinkling a little extra in helps the rice turn into a visually appealing red color.
  • Soy sauce: Adds umami and seasons the rice and kimchi. If it’s not seasoned enough after using the soy sauce, add more salt, rather than more soy sauce, to prevent sogginess. 
  • Toasted sesame oil: Brings a wonderful nutty flavor to the rice.
  • Eggs: Fried eggs are non-negotiable when it comes to kimchi fried rice. A little bit of rich yolk elevates the taste of kimchi fried rice in a magical way.

How to Make Kimchi Fried Rice

  • Cook the seasonings. In a hot wok (or large nonstick frying pan), cook scallions, kimchi, mayo, sugar, gochugaru, and soy sauce until the kimchi and scallions absorb all of the seasonings.
  • Add the rice. Make sure to break up any large clumps of rice and stir-fry until heated through. 
  • Fry your eggs. You’ll want set whites and runny yolks. Top bowls of kimchi fried rice with a crispy egg, more scallions, and toasted sesame seeds. 

If You’re Making Kimchi Fried Rice, a Few Tips

  • Use different types of kimchi. Even though using napa cabbage kimchi is standard here, you can make kimchi fried rice with other types like radish kimchi or scallion kimchi. I personally love making kimchi fried rice with radish kimchi.
  • Use cold, day-old rice. The key to making excellent fried rice is using cold rice. When you use cold rice to make fried rice, each grain gets toasty and absorbs all the flavors. If you’re in a pinch, cool down freshly cooked rice in the fridge for 10 minutes or so to mimic the texture of cold, day-old rice. 
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Food Stylist: James Park

Kimchi Fried Rice Recipe

This classic Korean comfort food is made with kimchi, cold rice, and a perfect balance of spicy and salty seasonings.

Prep time 5 minutes

Cook time 15 minutes to 20 minutes

Serves 2

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 4

    medium scallions

  • 1 cup

    drained Napa cabbage kimchi

  • 1 tablespoon

    mayonnaise

  • 1 tablespoon

    kimchi brine

  • 1 tablespoon

    granulated sugar

  • 1 tablespoon

    coarse gochugaru (Korean pepper flakes)

  • 1 tablespoon

    plus 1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce

  • 2 tablespoons

    unsalted butter

  • 2 cups

    cold cooked white rice

  • 1 tablespoon

    toasted sesame oil

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt, plus more as needed

  • 1 tablespoon

    neutral oil, such as canola or vegetable

  • 2

    large eggs

  • Toasted sesame seeds, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Thinly slice 4 medium scallions (scant 1 cup); reserve about 1 tablespoon of the dark green parts for garnish. Finely chop 1 cup drained Napa cabbage kimchi into bite-sized pieces. Place 1 tablespoon mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon kimchi brine, 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon gochugaru, and 1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce in a small bowl.

  2. Melt 2 tablespoons unsalted butter in a wok or large nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the scallions and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the kimchi and cook until the kimchi softens, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the mayonnaise mixture and cook, stirring occasionally, until the kimchi and scallions absorb all the seasonings, 2 to 4 minutes.

  3. Add 2 cups cold cooked white rice, breaking up any big clumps with your hands as you add it. Stir-fry until combined. Turn off the heat. Season with 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, and toss to combine. Taste and season with more kosher salt as needed.

  4. Heat 1 tablespoon neutral oil in a medium nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add 2 large eggs and fry until the whites are set but the yolks are still runny, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Take the pan off the heat. Using the edge of a flat spatula, cut through the 2 fried eggs to separate if needed.

  5. Divide the fried rice between 2 bowls. Top each bowl with a fried egg. Garnish with the reserved scallions and toasted sesame seeds.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days.