Grilled Cheese Tteokbokki

July 27, 2020
9 Ratings
Photo by Alyse Whitney
Author Notes

A popular street food in Seoul, South Korea is “baked cheese,” aka cheese tteok-kocchi (literally meaning "cheese and rice cake skewers"). I was introduced to them through YouTube star and cookbook author Maangchi, who griddles together garaetteok (cylindrical rice cakes) and similarly shaped mozzarella cheese sticks, then drizzles them with sweetened condensed milk. I decided to try my hand at making this street food at home—and I failed miserably.

Even with moderate heat and following Maangchi’s instructions carefully, everything melted together in a sad goopy mess. Instead of giving up, I leaned into the failure. I let the mozzarella coat all of the rice cakes and fried them together without skewers in a pan, resulting in a dish that more so resembles another Korean street-food classic, tteokbokki (stir-fried rice cakes, typically made with gochujang and various toppings).

Upon first making this dish, I immediately tasted the flavors and textures of a perfect grilled cheese sandwich, with a crisp, carby exterior and a melty cheese inside. When frying the garaetteok and cheese, I use ghee to achieve a higher smoke point (meaning, more crispy cheesiness without burning) with an infusion of buttery flavor, but you can also use butter if you watch the heat, or a neutral oil. Without the butter, though, it won’t taste as much like grilled cheese. And what’s the fun in that? —Alyse Whitney

  • Prep time 5 minutes
  • Cook time 10 minutes
  • Serves 4 as a snack, 2 as a meal
  • 1 tablespoon ghee (or neutral oil, like canola)
  • 1 pound garaetteok (cylindrical Korean rice cakes), thawed if frozen
  • 1 cup shredded low-moisture mozzarella cheese, preferably whole milk (plus more cheese to taste)
  • Sweetened condensed milk, for drizzling (optional but encouraged)
In This Recipe
  1. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add a handful of kosher salt to season the water and then add the thawed rice cakes. If you are pressed for time and have frozen rice cakes, you can soak them in cold water for 10 minutes to thaw before boiling. Boil for 3–4 minutes, or until the rice cakes float to the top of the water. Drain rice cakes in a colander and rinse with warm water so they remain hot but are not sticky.
  2. Meanwhile, heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-low heat. Add ghee and let melt completely. (If you don’t have ghee, you can use butter but watch the heat to make sure it does not burn. Neutral oil, such as canola, will work as well, but it will not impart the same grilled cheese sandwich flavor that ghee or butter will.)
  3. Once the pan is heated, add the rice cakes to the pan in one even layer. Immediately sprinkle mozzarella cheese over the top of all the rice cakes, distributing evenly. Let it cook for 5 minutes undisturbed. You’ll know it’s ready when the cheesy edges start to brown.
  4. Carefully lift up one section of cheesy rice cakes to check if they are golden brown. Break the rice cake pancake into sections (quarters is easiest) and flip each part over. Let it cook on the second side for another 3–4 minutes, or until it is also golden brown.
  5. Divide into portions based on how many are eating, drizzle with sweetened condensed milk, and enjoy immediately.

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  • JV
Alyse Whitney

Recipe by: Alyse Whitney

Korean-American freelance food writer and dumpling fanatic.

10 Reviews

JV April 15, 2021
DELICIOUS! It exceeded my expectations... so simple but such a treat. We added generous condensed milk and salt to play up the salty-sweet vibe
Jenn S. April 15, 2021
I made it with vegan mozzarella, and it definitely satisfies the grilled cheese hole in my soul! I haven't tried this with the sweetened condensed milk, due to my dairy sensitivity, but Calabrian chile was fantastic. I love this recipe, thank you!
JV April 15, 2021
Sweetened Condensed coconut milk would be delicious if you can find it!
JV November 20, 2020
I’ve been dying to make this, and finally found Korean rice cakes! Mine a flat and circular... does anyone know whether they’d take less time to cook?

Also Alyse... you make such great videos, I hope you do more of them!
Joanna H. November 12, 2020
I've now made this two times in the span of about a month. It's delicious and pretty simple to make. Highly recommend!!!
eymanm October 11, 2020
soooo yummy and so easy to make. i used butter but i’m sure ghee would have been yummier. i strongly urge you to make this ASAP it’s literally life changing. i think i ascended at least 3 astral planes
eymanm October 11, 2020
soooo yummy and so easy to make. i used butter but i’m sure ghee would have been yummier. i strongly urge you to make this ASAP it’s literally life changing. i think i ascended at least 3 astral planes
Nina A. September 20, 2020
Dear God in heaven. How do you find these recipes? This was delicious. I feel guilty and happy. And happy and guilty. Just happy.
Bonnie M. September 20, 2020
Gee, I sure wish I could print this. I logged in over and over, and it's just not letting me a) go back to the recipe, or -- when I go there through a search, b) print it. There's a lock symbol in the corner, too.
1234suhm August 18, 2020
Cooked this today for dinner after seeing the video on YouTube. So tasty and definitely agreed, never enough cheese