21 Kimchi Recipes To Fire Up Dinner Tonight

Spice up mealtime with kimchi's signature hot and sour power.

January  5, 2021
Photo by Ty Meacham

A jar full of kimchi is a beautiful thing. It sits in my fridge like a bright, orange beacon calling me to tangy, comforting bites—especially in this bitter cold. Salty, spicy, crunchy kimchi is the perfect solution for instant warmth and zip. The complex, fermented flavors of cabbage, radishes, cucumbers, garlic (and just about any other vegetable you can think of) usually pack enough heat that I keep a glass of water nearby. Plus, it keeps for ages (some might argue forever), making it an ever-dependable dinner helper.

I’m more than happy to eat kimchi straight from the jar, but if you’re looking to add depth to rice bowls and noodle salads, or brightness to heavy stews and crispy french toast, here are 21 ways to use up that jar.

1. Caroline Choe's Kimchi Mac and Cheese

Celebrate the union of two of the world's most glorious fermented foods—kimchi and cheese—in this simple dish that will be the talk of the potluck (before and after it's devoured). Use pasta that can handle a lot of sauce for best results.

2. Kimchi Stew with Pork Belly

Adapted from the beloved Maangchi’s Real Korean Cooking, this recipe for kimchi stew comes together in three easy steps. Finding a regular source of pork belly may prove to be the only challenge (and when you find that source, cherish it!)

3. Instant Pot Kimchi Beef Stew

An Instant Pot will get you into to a hot, fragrant kimchi stew faster than you can say lactobacillus (that's the bacteria responsible for lacto-fermentation). A warming bowl of this spicy, tangy stew hits the spot on a rainy night.

4. Crispy Kimchi and Cheddar Omelet

Kimchi and cheese are a match made in fermentation flavor heaven, and this omelet is a superb canvas to showcase this union. Sprinkle cheese in as soon as you add the eggs to the pan to let it crisp up to golden-brown perfection.

5. Spicy Noodles With Peanut Butter & Kimchi

Fans of the sesame noodles at their local Chinese restaurant will delight in how kimchi complements and transforms simple, humble peanut butter. Any nut butter you have handy will work well, zested up with kimchi juice and tossed with tender noodles for a simple, flavor-packed lunch or dinner.

6. Savory French Toast with Kimchi and Pink Sauce

Kimchi and eggs are a famous pairing, so this savory French toast drizzled with pink sauce (think burger sauce spiked with sriracha) and topped with crunchy kimchi and smooth avocado is a guaranteed hit any time of day.

7. April Bloomfield’s Steamed and Raw Radish Salad with Kimchi and Sesame

Freshen up your salad game with this colorful celebration of radishes from chef April Bloomfield. A quick steam takes away the pepper bite, which is replaced by kimchi leaves and brine. It's as colorful as it is delicious.

8. Pull-Apart Cheesy Baked Potato

Very few things can go wrong when you hasselback a potato, and inviting kimchi and cheese to the party only ups your chances of wild success. Stuff your spud with cheddar and kimchi and you may never go back to sour cream and chives.

9. Kimchi, Shrimp, and Soba Salad

Brine plump shrimp in sharp, acidic kimchi juice briefly before cooking for a flavor infusion that can't be beat. Earthy, nutty soba noodles are the ideal counterbalance for this spicy, zesty shrimp.

10. Kimchi Fried Rice

This simple, classic preparation is one of our favorite ways to use kimchi. You could easily dispense with every other ingredient typically used in fried rice—soy sauce, chili-garlic paste—and rely solely on kimchi's flavor prowess to take this dish sing.

11. Kimchi Tofu Soup

This easy version of soondubu is the perfect meal to warm up (and fill up) on a cold night. Best of all, it's definitely one of those dishes that tastes better reheated the next day (and converts easily to vegetarian or vegan).

12. Warm Kimchi Bowl with Spicy Broccoli and Sesame-Scallion Wild Rice

Rice is the ideal bed for kimchi, however it's being served. In this dish, pair earthy, spicy roasted broccoli with zippy kimchi and nutty wild rice for a full-flavored meal.

13. Beef & Kimchi Burgers

Halve the beef in these hearty burgers with brown rice and finely chopped kimchi for a patty you'll have to taste to believe. A squeeze each of mustard and mayo brings it home for a burger experience that won't make you wonder where the rest of the beef went.

14. Kimchi Jjigae With Spam & Tofu

Inspired by the Netflix film Always Be My Maybe (but long-beloved before it hit the small screen), this kimchi jjigae is a staple of Korean home cooking. Anchovies contribute to a rich broth that simply can't be replicated with chicken, beef, or pork, and using Spam will save you a trip to the supermarket.

15. Savory Stovetop Oats with Avocado, Greens, and Kimchi

There's nothing like a meal that can be eaten any time of day to bulk up your pantry recipe repertoire. Savory oats make a lovely bed for sliced avocado, fried egg, and garlicky quick-sautéed greens.

16. Ravinder Bhogal's Kimchi Royals

A Korean spin on Spain's famed patatas bravas, these "kimchi royals" make the best use of one of the most flavorful potatoes available. Japanese mayonnaise takes the place of traditional garlic aioli, and Asian-inspired crunchies add texture, flavor, and a delicious overall effect.

17. Chicken Nuggets with Warm Kimchi-Bacon Ranch Dip

Fry up a hot batch of chicken nuggets and stay away from the condiments in the refrigerator door: you're making your own. Zingy ranch gets zingier with the addition of kimchi, and endlessly tastier with the addition of smoky bacon. The result is hearty, satisfying bite that will make you forget ketchup ever existed.

18. Skillet Bibimbap

Not everyone has a stone bowl to achieve the crispy rice of traditional bibimbap, but that's okay! A cast-iron skillet will have a similar effect. This dish is a great way to clean out your fridge, so use whichever vegetables and accoutrements you like, and cook it all in one very lucky pan.

19. Pork Tenderloin With Kimchi & Apples

Call upon a generous measure of spicy, tangy kimchi juice to brine pork tenderloin, and save this delicate cut from overcooking. Sweet apples and a buttery pan sauce round out this dish for a phenomenal way to freshen up your pork repertoire.

20. Tuna & Noodles With Kimchi

Tuna and kimchi are each bold enough to get along without overpowering each other, and noodles make the perfect vehicle to bring them together for a simple, spicy, rib-sticking meal.

21. Budae Jjigae (Army Base Stew)

Budae jjigae, or "army base stew," is a bonanza of delicious elements: mushrooms, diced green onions, minced garlic, oval-shaped slices of white rice cake, squares of silky tofu, and of course kimchi. Add or subtract as suits your tastes, and prepare to salivate over this spicy, bubbling symphony.

Make Your Own Kimchi At Home

What's your favorite way to use kimchi? Do you eat it straight out of the jar? Share below!

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A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

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Katie is a food writer and editor who loves cheesy puns and cheesy cheese.


judy February 19, 2022
Chicken thighs with my homemade Kimchi. S&P the thighs, heat skin side down on med/low heat till crispy in cast iron or other oven proof skillet. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. When the skin is golden brown (about 10 minutes) turnover. Tuck the kimchi in between the thighs atop the rendered chicken fat (or remove fat if desired). Then place the pan in the hot oven for about 15 minutes till chicken 165 degrees. The high heat crisps the top of Kimchi and the skin is so crisp and yummy. I serve with rice. A super easy, satisfying meal that gets raves every time .
Stephanie B. January 9, 2021
Add kimchi quiche to the list https://food52.com/recipes/82244-korean-quiche
4waystoyummy January 6, 2021
My favorite way is on sourdough toast with avocado on top of the kimchi. Then top toast with chopped herbs and seeds like chia, sesame and black cumin. I’m not a huge fan of kimchi but I’m on a mission to learn to like it. I’ll be trying many kinds this year!
Ttrockwood January 2, 2018
I have made that recipe for steamed and raw radish salad with kimchi so often it's embarrassing!! I have been using roasted radishes, and i am a spice wimp so i use a white kimchi. I have been SO obsessed with kimchi this year that i am starting my own batch to save some serious money, i am excited to try it this weekend :))

I love using the kimchi liquid whisked with a little neutral oil as a salad dressing, really amazing way to make salad more interesting
HalfPint January 2, 2018
I love to make Dubu Kimchi, which is tofu stir-fried with pork belly and kimchi. It's a great way to use up kimchi that is getting old.
HalfPint January 3, 2018
Yes, I have added noodles to it. I think I used a pad thai noodles. I've seen the restaurants add the bean noodles (?, it's the same noodles that they use for japchae). And yes, it's delicious with noodles too.
Olga O. January 2, 2018
Also, kimchi pancakes: http://www.mangotomato.com/2014/09/kimchi-20-kimchi-pancakes-recipe.html
Olga O. January 2, 2018
Don't forget grilled cheese! http://www.mangotomato.com/2013/11/grilled-cheese-sandwich-with-kimchi-and.html