5 Ingredients or Fewer

Grilled Cheese Tteokbokki

January 24, 2022
5 Stars
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, and who doesn't love to experiment with cheese and rice cakes? 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, which are 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. You really can't go wrong with a combination like that. 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 instead. Without the butter, though, it won’t taste as much like grilled cheese. And, come on, 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
Ingredients
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound garaetteok (cylindrical Korean rice cakes), thawed if frozen
  • 1 tablespoon ghee, unsalted butter, or neutral oil, such as canola
  • 1 cup shredded low-moisture mozzarella, preferably whole-milk
  • Sweetened condensed milk, for drizzling (optional but encouraged)
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Stir in a handful of salt to season the water, then add the thawed rice cakes. If you're pressed for time and have frozen rice cakes, you can soak them in cold water for about 10 minutes to thaw before boiling. Boil for 3 to 4 minutes, until the rice cakes float to the top of the water. Drain the rice cakes in a colander and rinse with warm water so they remain hot but aren't sticky.
  2. Meanwhile, heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat and melt the ghee. (If you don’t have ghee, you can use butter, but watch the heat to make sure it doesn't 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 in an even layer. Immediately sprinkle the cheese over the top of all the rice cakes, distributing evenly. Cook, undisturbed, for about 5 minutes, until the cheesy edges start to brown.
  4. Carefully lift up one section of cheesy rice cakes to check if they're golden brown. Break the rice cake pancake into sections (quarters are easiest) and flip each over. Cook on the second side for 3 to 4 minutes, until golden brown.
  5. Divide into portions based on how many are eating, drizzle with the milk, and enjoy immediately.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • bhilz
    bhilz
  • Jenn Symonds
    Jenn Symonds
  • Nina Angela McKissock
    Nina Angela McKissock
  • Bonnie Martin Fazio
    Bonnie Martin Fazio
Alyse Whitney

Recipe by: Alyse Whitney

Korean-American freelance food writer and dumpling fanatic.

11 Reviews

bhilz January 27, 2022
I love Maangchi and rice cakes and cannot wait to make this!! I feel like this would be really similar in texture and flavor to Brazilian tapioca crepes (also known as beijú) that are chewy with a little crunch and often filled with mild melting cheese and a sweet component like condensed milk, chocolate, dulce de leche, or guava jam (100% savory versions are popular too tho). Might have to cook this up and drizzle both condensed milk and guava!
 
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