Creamy Kimchi Gratin

October 28, 2021
8 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland. Food stylist: Anna Billingskog. Prop stylist: Molly Fitzsimons.
  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cook time 40 minutes
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

Ready to really revamp your vegetable gratin game? This one is guaranteed to stand out from the plain potato gratin that we’re all too familiar with. Spicy, tangy, and impossibly juicy napa cabbage kimchi canoodles in a pool of savory, garlicky, cream sauce (and the whole thing is topped with bubbling stringy cheeses). The natural tanginess of the kimchi and the addition of yogurt in the sauce cuts through the gratin’s richness, with bursts of heat from chunks of pickled chiles. Cooling undertones from shiso leaves and nutty sesame oil bring an exciting yet well-balanced depth of flavor.
Mandy @ Lady and pups

Test Kitchen Notes

This dish is part of Residentsgiving—aka the Thanksgiving menu of our wildest dreams—created by Food52's resident experts-slash-superheroes. Devour the rest of the spread here, and while you're at it, learn how to Remix & Remaster your Thanksgiving. —The Editors

What You'll Need
Watch This Recipe
Creamy Kimchi Gratin
  • 4 1/3 cups (850 grams) loosely packed, lightly drained kimchi
  • 8 oil-packed anchovies, plus 1 tablespoon of their oil
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup (227 grams) heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup (180 grams) plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 7 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, plus more for serving
  • 3 cups (320 grams) Mexican-style shredded cheese blend, divided
  • 1/4 cup (48 grams) chopped pickled jalapeños
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons gochugaru, depending on your heat preference
  • 5 fresh shiso leaves, or 3 scallions, or a handful of fennel fronds, thinly sliced (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  1. Heat the oven to 425°F (200°C fan) and position a rack in the middle-upper area. If using whole kimchi, remove the stem and cut into 1-inch-long segments. Place the kimchi in a large bowl. If the kimchi tastes very sweet and not sour enough (typical with store-bought kimchi), you can add additional tang by mixing in 1 tablespoon of distilled white vinegar.
  2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the anchovies and their oil and black pepper. Cook, pressing on the anchovies until broken down and slightly browned. Turn off the heat and mix in the heavy cream, yogurt, garlic, nutmeg, and 2½ cups of the cheese.
  3. Mix about three-quarters (about a heaping 2 cups) of the anchovy mixture into the kimchi until well combined, then transfer into a 2½- to 3-quart ramekin or baking dish. Add the remaining ½ cup of cheese and the chopped jalapeño to the remaining anchovy mixture in the medium saucepan until combined, then set aside. Bake the gratin for about 35 minutes, until bubbling.
  4. Switch the oven to broil on high. Remove the baking dish from the oven, then dollop the reserved cheese mixture over the top, sprinkle with the gochugaru, and grate a bit more nutmeg over the top. Scatter over the shiso leaves or scallions or fennel fronds (if using). Broil for 5 minutes, and once the cheese on top has melted, drizzle the toasted sesame oil over the surface and return to the broiler for 1 to 2 more minutes, until browned. Serve immediately.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Stacy Bower
    Stacy Bower
  • Laura415
  •  Burton
  • Mary Abercrombie
    Mary Abercrombie

4 Reviews

Burton January 17, 2022
Love the flavors in this recipe - my only complaint is that it is *extremely* salty. First time I made it, I made it as written; second time, I substituted 3/4 of the kimchi for fresh napa cabbage which I had quick-pickled by soaking in white vinegar, with the addition of some more hot pepper in the final mix. Overall, the flavor profile was mostly unchanged from that substitution (though the gratin was a little looser, presumably due to the quick-pickled cabbage having more water left in it), and the the saltiness was at a more manageable level. But even in altered form, this was still a very salty dish. Definitely serve this at a meal where everything else is minimally salty to balance. Other than that, the recipe was excellent, and I would highly recommend it!
Stacy B. December 18, 2021
I am obsessed with this recipe. I followed the recipe as exactly as I was able to. I lacked gochugaru so I substituted aleppo pepper flakes and it was quite spicy. The only other substitution was using freshly grated cheddar and jack cheeses in place of the Mexican pre-shredded cheese. I have since obtained gochugaru and made my own kimchi and again made the gratin. It has been delicious each time. It will be front and center on our Christmas table. Thank you for the wonderful recipe and enchanting video.
Mary A. November 7, 2021
I want to make this for our Thanksgiving this year! Any thoughts on what I could sub for the anchovies? My husband can’t eat them (gout trigger).
Laura415 November 4, 2021
Assertive flavors, not for the faint of heart. If I need to make it less strong tasting I think to add some plain fresh sauteed nappa cabbage to the mix. I'll try it the way it's written first to see how strong tasting it is before changing the recipe.