One-Pot Wonders

Kimchi Fried Rice

September 10, 2013
7 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Prep time 5 minutes
  • Cook time 20 minutes
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

If you’re not yet sure about kimchi (Korean spicy fermented cabbage), this dish could be just the right gateway drug for you. Once sautéed, kimchi loses some of its pungent harshness, but answers back with an addictive, tangy-spicy warmth that deepens with a little time spent sizzling.

Kimchi is so flavorful, it makes the perfect fried rice base. No need to mix in egg or smother it with soy sauce. You could probably dispense with every other ingredient; all you really need is kimchi, rice, and heat. It would still taste so good.

This recipe has a little more than that going for it, though. I based it off a recipe I found in a discount Japanese cookbook, of all places (from a series that a friend and I have dubbed "bookazines"), and modified it to be more like dishes I’ve enjoyed in restaurants in Korea. I added gochujang (Korean chili paste), sesame oil, and a fried egg on top (because few dishes are not improved by a fried egg!).

For the fried rice in the photo, I opted for shrimp, but I’ve also made it with chicken before (and pork would work, too). Or leave the protein out entirely. Like I said, all you really need is kimchi, rice, and heat to make this spicy, tangy comfort food.

Adapted from a recipe by Kumi Imaizumi in the Japanese cookbook called "One Dish Cooking." —Allison (Spontaneous Tomato)

Test Kitchen Notes

As Allison (Spontaneous Tomato) suggests, this recipe is fine without the addition of meat. I made a vegetarian version, using a kimchi without seafood, and it is a satisfying, tasty dish -- comfort food for those of us who turn to warm bowls of rice in those times of need. While I would scale back the amount of sesame oil (for me a full teaspoon verges on bitter), what really makes the dish is the garnish of seaweed, egg, and green onion, which for me aren't optional. I can see many chilly winter mornings with a nice, steamy bowl of this for breakfast. —vvvanessa

What You'll Need
  • Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil (up to 2 tablespoons)
  • 1/2 pound chicken or pork (cut into bite-size), or shrimp, optional
  • 4 scallions, whites only, finely sliced (up to 2 scallions)
  • 1 cup kimchi, chopped (up to 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon gochujang (Korean chili paste, up to 2 tablespoons)
  • 3 cups cooked rice (up to 4 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 pinch salt, to taste
  • Optional Ingredients
  • 1/2 bunch buchu (Korean garlic chives; called nira in Japanese), chopped in inch-long pieces
  • 1 fried egg (per person), to serve on top
  • 4 scallion greens, to garnish (up to 5)
  • 1 handful Shredded seaweed, to garnish
  1. Heat canola or vegetable oil in a large, deep frying pan over high heat. Then add chicken, pork, or raw shrimp (if using) and cook, stirring frequently, for several minutes until the meat changes color and begins to look nearly cooked. Add more oil if necessary.
  2. Add the scallion whites, and cook while stirring for 1 to 2 minutes. Next add kimchi and gochujang, and cook while stirring for 3 to 5 minutes until the kimchi starts to get soft. (If using pre-cooked shrimp, add now, and stir to coat with kimchi flavors.)
  3. Add the rice, sesame oil, and soy sauce. Then mix well until the rice is coated with the kimchi. (You can always add a little bit of the briny liquid from the kimchi jar if it seems like there’s not enough color or spice for all of your rice!)
  4. Continue cooking, stirring constantly, for just a few more minutes until the rice is warmed through. Add the garlic chives in the last minute of cooking, and stir well until they start to wilt. Season with salt, to taste.
  5. Serve topped with a fried egg and sprinkled with scallions or shredded seaweed.
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31 Reviews

Mkzb September 25, 2022
Great recipe! Only issue I had with it, it was WAY too spicy for me but the husband loved it. Will make it again but I will cut down on the amount of gochujang that it calls for.
marthageneva October 13, 2020
Used chicken thighs as protein. Don't skip on the seaweed! So good!
Hayley November 27, 2019
Have been using this recipe for a few years now. It's great! As a base protein instead of a meat (which I agree is not even needed) I will sometimes fry crumbled tofu lightly coated in cornstarch/arrowroot/tapioca powder/other starch until browned and crispy. It adds a really nice texture and chewiness to the dish.
Linda D. May 28, 2018
Thank you Alison for this simple and delicious Kimchi dish. I did serve a fried egg over the top-yum!
Rohita April 2, 2018
I bought a giant jar of kimchi for the first time ever and I didn't really love it. I was so worried about what to do with it and then I saw this recipe. It's so incredibly easy and delicious! I added some snap peas for some extra vegetables and it was amazing!!
Tamara P. August 14, 2017
Mmmmmm....yummy. I made this for the first time recently with 6 month old homemade kimchi, prime rib steak as the protein, and gochugaru instead of jang (i did add a little brown sugar to balance the tartness of the kimchi). It was one of the very best things i have eaten! Can't wait to make it again!
Belmont June 6, 2016
I love this recipe...I make it at least once a that I am making my own kimchi it is an extra treat...with or without the addition of meat,chicken or seafood it is a great go to recipe. Leftovers keep well in the refrigerator.
Julie June 17, 2015
I made this with shrimp for lunch! So yummy!! I halfed the recipe for 1 person. It's funny how the one commenter said it would take away the probiotics of kimchi. Koreans have making kimchi fried rice for years! She must never have heard of it...and yes adding it after would be seriously sour. Yuck! Kimchi can be sautéed for lots of meals including soups and rice. Thanks for the great recipe.
Julie June 17, 2015
Meant to say stews as well as rice. There's so many dishes to make with kimchi.
Linda May 21, 2015
I love this dish! It works almost as well with left over noodles.
hkrf1017 April 8, 2015
I've made this several times now. It is so good - a healthy comfort food meal in our home. Thank you for sharing it!
Jenna B. April 8, 2015
I'm definitely trying this since I have two jars of kimchi in the fridge.
Jennifer N. January 28, 2015
This is my "go to" fried rice recipe. Thanks for the yumminess!
Jason K. April 30, 2014
well done with the recipe and beautiful picture!! ^^
Allison (. May 1, 2014
Thanks! ^^ (I didn't take the main photo, though -- just the second one -- but I think it's beautiful too.)
Imik M. April 14, 2014
But then you kill all of the probiotics in kimchi! I think I will add a bit of Kimchi brine to the cooking pot, but add the actual Kimchi after the rice is cooked. Great idea nevertheless.
Jason K. April 30, 2014
most koreans use over-ripened kimchi to add more pungency and taste to the fried rice, thus they saute it to mellow it out. if you add it later, you're gonna have some seriously sour fried rice. ^^
Allison (. May 1, 2014
Yes, I think you'd miss out on the real flavors of this dish if you didn't cook the kimchi. Sometimes I eat raw/fermented kimchi for the probiotics, but when I make kimchi fried rice, I'm just eating it for the taste!
LaCeleste February 16, 2014
A Mark Bittman version of this -- amazing -- recipe substitutes butter for the sesame oil in Step 3. Untraditional, but I love it, and always make it that way now.
Allison (. May 1, 2014
Oo, wow, I'll have to try it with butter sometime.
aubrey |. February 15, 2014
well this is a new favorite recipe. i added scrambled eggs instead of meat, and it was aaaaamazing. also, a fried egg on top. because i love eggs.
Allison (. May 1, 2014
That sounds good. You can never have too many eggs! :)
Rob C. February 5, 2014
How about a recipe for kimchi? has anyone got one?
GretchinF February 6, 2014
This is a great jumping off point. When you make it once you'll know what tweaks you'd like to see next time. Sometimes I replace the sugar with fruit... anything to kickstart the fermentation, really.
mary February 4, 2014
Use day old rice to prevent mushiness.
Allison (. May 1, 2014
Yes, it's definitely better with day-old cooked rice that's been refrigerated overnight, but I also often make it with just-cooked rice, and it still works fine.
Caroline M. January 16, 2014
Bacon is delicious added to kimchee fried rice. just the right amount of smokiness.
putaneggonit October 2, 2013
Oh, so good! This evening, this Hawaii girl introduced her mainland man to kimchi with this meal. I'll admit he was a little wary when I opened the jar, but he devoured the finished product. Great recipe!
Allison (. October 3, 2013
Thanks; I'm so happy to hear you both enjoyed it!