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Kimchi fried rice is a soul-comforting Korean dish made from kimchi and rice, and usually topped with a fried egg. Some popular additions to kimchi fried rice, or kimchi-bokkeum-bap, include vegetables, meat, or seafood.
This is the best kimchi fried rice recipe because it’s bursting with flavor, the rice is perfectly loose and fluffy, and it’s got a beautiful reddish color. With the sunny-side-up egg, it’s comfort food at its finest.
If you’re not familiar with kimchi, it’s a traditional Korean side dish made from fermented vegetables, usually Napa cabbage, mixed with a variety of spices, including chili powder, garlic, ginger, and fish sauce.
Kimchi has a savory, spicy, and tangy flavor that is fantastic as a side dish or condiment. No wonder it’s a staple food in Korean cuisine and is eaten at almost every meal. And it’s great for gut health because of the probiotics from fermentation.
Kimchi has been around for hundreds of years and there are as many varieties, but the most popular variety uses napa cabbage and the ingredients mentioned above. We’ve got a recipe for easy kimchi if you want to make it at home.
Why You’ll Love This Easy Kimchi Fried Rice Recipe
Kimchi fried rice is a delicious and easy-to-make dish that is perfect for a quick weeknight dinner or a hearty lunch.
The combination of spicy and tangy flavors from the kimchi pairs perfectly with the fried rice and creates a dish that is both comforting and satisfying.
Our kimchi fried recipe ensures you’ll get a perfectly light, loose, and fluffy texture. Use long-grain or medium-grain day-old rice for the best result and follow the instructions carefully.
Additionally, this recipe is customizable, allowing you to adjust the spice level and add your favorite vegetables and proteins to create a personalized dish.
Best of all, kimchi fried rice is a budget-friendly recipe that is also filling, delicious, and pretty healthy. Especially if you add loads of veggies or pair it with a light soup.
What Do I Need For To Make The Best Kimchi Fried Rice?
If you have kimchi and day-old rice, you can make this recipe! But for the best kimchi fried rice, you’ll need a little help from some seasonings and special sauces.
- 2 cups cooked rice (preferably day-old rice that is a long or medium grain)
- ½ cup packed kimchi, drained and chopped (preferably overripe kimchi)
- 1/4 cup kimchi juice
- 1/4 cup chopped scallions, green parts only
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tsp. soy sauce
- 1 tsp. gochujang (Korean fermented chili paste)
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 eggs, to fry sunny side up
- Salt and pepper, to taste
How To Make The Best Kimchi Fried Rice
Step 1: Sauté garlic and kimchi
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add ½ tablespoon of vegetable oil. Add the minced garlic to the skillet and sauté for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant.
Step 2: Incorporate chopped kimchi to skillet and caramelize
Add the chopped kimchi to the skillet and cook for another 2-3 minutes, until slightly softened and caramelized.
Step 3: Add rice and sauce
Massage the cooked rice with sesame oil, using your hands to separate the grains of rice. Then add rice to the skillet and stir to combine with the kimchi mixture.
In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, kimchi juice, and gochujang paste until dissolved. Pour it into the skillet and stir to combine.
Step 4: Cook the rice evenly, taste, and season with salt and pepper before turning off the heat
Cook the kimchi fried rice, tossing or carefully stirring occasionally to cook the rice evenly. Taste and, if needed, season the kimchi fried rice with salt and pepper, to taste. Turn off the heat.
Step 5: Fry the eggs
In a separate pan, heat the other ½ tablespoon of vegetable oil over medium-high heat and fry the eggs sunny side up to your liking.
Step 6: Plate the rice, garnish with scallions and a sunny-side-up egg, then serve warm
Divide the kimchi fried rice between two plates and top with chopped scallions and a sunny-side-up egg. Serve hot and enjoy!
- 2 cups cooked rice
- ½ cup packed kimchi drained and chopped
- ¼ cup kimchi juice
- ¼ cup chopped scallions green parts only
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tsp. soy sauce
- 1 tsp. gochujang
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 eggs to fry sunny side up
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the vegetable oil.
- Add the minced garlic to the skillet and sauté for 1-2 minutes. Add the chopped kimchi to the skillet and cook for another 2-3 minutes, until slightly softened.
- Massage the cooked rice with sesame oil, using your hands to separate the grains of rice. Add the rice to the skillet and stir to combine.
- In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, kimchi juice, and gochujang paste until dissolved. Pour into the skillet and stir to combine. Cook, tossing occasionally to cook evenly. Taste, season with salt and pepper, and turn off the heat.
- Fry the eggs sunny side up to your liking.
- Serve the kimchi fried rice hot with scallions and a sunny-side-up egg. Enjoy!
Notes & Tips
- Use day-old rice if possible, as it will be less sticky and easier to stir-fry. Fried rice is a great way to use leftovers.
- Adjust the spice level by adding more or less gochujang paste. Remember that it’s salty, so you may need to use less soy sauce.
- For the best sunny-side-up egg, crack the eggs as close to the hot pan as possible and turn the heat down to medium-low. I love a runny egg yolk because the creaminess combined with the kimchi fried rice is magical.
- Make sure to drain the kimchi well before frying it. Otherwise, it won’t caramelize properly and you may end up with soggy rice because of the extra moisture.
- I like to use overripe kimchi for a stronger flavor, but if you only have fresh kimchi, simply use more of it.
Variations & Substitutions
Instead of using regular rice, try using cauliflower rice or quinoa for a low-carb option. It’ll probably turn out a bit mushier, but it’ll still taste amazing.
Add some minced ginger along with the kimchi for more spice. You can also replace the garlic with ginger or omit it for a milder flavor.
Feel free to add your favorite vegetables and proteins, such as diced carrots, peas, mushrooms, or sliced beef or chicken. Add them after the kimchi is softened.
For a vegan version, omit the egg or replace it with tofu or mushrooms. But remember that kimchi usually has seafood in the marinade, so it’s not vegetarian/vegan.
To make it fully vegan, buy vegan kimchi or make kimchi at home with this easy kimchi primer recipe. As for the protein, mushrooms, tofu, or vegan sausage are a great addition.
Serve kimchi fried rice as a main dish or as a side dish with grilled meat, tofu, or a light soup. As a side dish, it pairs well with Korean Pork Chops (Bulgogi) or this easy and delicious Korean Seafood Pancake.
Sprinkle the kimchi fried rice with sesame seeds and gim (dried seaweed) for added flavor and texture. You can also scramble the egg into the rice before serving.
Serve with a side of Korean-style pickled vegetables, such as cucumber, radish, or kohlrabi, for a refreshing contrast to the spicy and savory flavors of the kimchi fried rice.