Easy Kimchi Fried Rice (Kimchi Bokkeumbap)

5 from 3 votes
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Kimchi fried rice is a super simple, fast, and delicious meal made with leftovers and the bold flavor of kimchi in one pan! {Vegan-Adaptable, Gluten-Free}

Kimchi fried rice with sunny side egg

Kimchi tastes great and adds plenty of zing on the side of any dish. I have to confess that I always keep a huge jar of kimchi in my fridge. I love the stuff, plus it contains natural probiotics which are excellent for gut health. Sometimes when I want to fix a quick and lazy meal, I simply top kimchi on steamed rice with a fried egg. And if I feel like spending an extra 5 minutes fixing lunch, I’ll make kimchi fried rice.

Kimchi fried rice, or Kimchi Bokkeumbap, is a great way to use your kimchi and jazz up leftovers. It’s so quick and easy, you can whip it up in no time, even on a crazy day.

Kimchi Bokkeumbap

Ingredients

When you’re ready to cook, your table should have the ingredients below.

Ingredients for making kimchi fried rice

PRO TIP: Best rice for fried rice

Whenever I mention leftover rice or day-old rice, it means steamed rice that has been left in the fridge (or freezer) for a while. When the steamed rice is less fresh and stored in a cooled environment, the grains lose moisture and become less starchy. So the grains will separate and brown more easily during the stir fry.

There are a few steps to making the best rice for fried rice:

  • If you plan to make fried rice, you can use slightly less water or use the “cook hard rice” function on your rice cooker to make chewier steamed rice in the first place. 
  • Once your rice is cooked, use a rice paddle to fluff it and spread it out to release the steam. Whenever I use fresh rice to make fried rice, I spread the rice into a thin layer on a big plate and let it air dry for 1 to 2 hours. This will help reduce the moisture.
  • Leave the rice in the fridge (or even the freezer) for a few days before using it, to let it firm up a bit more.

If your steamed rice is slightly dehydrated, it’s less preferable to serve it by itself, but it will be perfect for making fried rice.

Simple formula

My recipe for kimchi fried rice is left simple, and it’s more of a guide on how you can structure your own rice bowl. You can:

  • Add a protein to it to make it more filling. Try leftover stew or roast meat, rotisserie chicken, or ground meat (brown the ground meat at the beginning of the cooking). 
  • If you’re vegetarian or vegan, you could use vegan kimchi with tofu as your protein.
  • You can use frozen vegetables or any other fresh produce you have on hand.

Cooking process

Cooking kimchi fried rice couldn’t be easier.

  1. Chop the kimchi into bite-sized pieces to create a better mouth feel
  2. Saute the kimchi with aromatics to release the fragrance (If you plan to use raw ground meat, cook it before this step using a bit of oil and a pinch of salt.)
  3. Add the rice and toast it thoroughly
  4. Add the veggies and cook briefly. If you plan to use leftover (or cooked) meat, add it at this step
  5. Add the sauce and stir everything together
  6. Cook until the rice is lightly charred and the veggies are cooked through
How to make kimchi fried rice step-by-step

PRO TIP: how to make better fried rice 

  • Be generous with the oil: it will produce crispier rice. If you do not use enough oil, the fried rice will somehow taste dry.
  • You don’t have to stir constantly: letting the rice sit on the hot pan and stirring less frequently will help the rice brown better. This is especially helpful in a home kitchen when the stove is less powerful than a commercial one. 

BONUS TIP

My ultimate guilty pleasure with kimchi fried rice is to add a slice of cheddar or mozzarella cheese to the top. It’s so good, trust me! You can use shredded cheese too if that’s what you’ve got. I also throw a fried egg on top of that and it creates a filling and satisfying meal. Plus, with that hot rice and the hot egg on top, it melts the cheese and renders a wonderful texture for your kimchi fried rice.

Kimchi Bokkeumbap with egg topping

Kimchi fried rice makes a great quick meal for lunch or dinner, or even a snack when you want something to really fill you up. Give it a try!

Other delicious Korean recipes

Make a full Korean meal at home using these recipes:

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Kimchi fried rice is a super simple, fast, and delicious meal made with leftovers and the bold flavor of kimchi in one pan! {Vegan-Adaptable, Gluten-Free}

Easy Kimchi Fried Rice

5 from 3 votes
Kimchi fried rice is a super simple, fast, and delicious meal made with leftovers and the bold flavor of kimchi in one pan! {Vegan, Gluten-Free}
Author: Maggie Zhu
Course: Side
Cuisine: Korean
Keyword: home style
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 2 to 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil , separated
  • 1 cup kimchi , chopped
  • 1/2 yellow onion , large diced
  • 2 green onions , bias sliced, greens & whites separated
  • 3 cups leftover cooked rice (*Footnote 1)
  • 1 cup frozen vegetables
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • Fried egg (optional)
  • Shredded crispy seaweed sheet (optional)

Sauce:

Instructions

  • Before chopping the kimchi, squeeze out the excess juice into a small bowl. If it is less than 1/4 cup, add some juice from the kimchi jar.
  • Combine the rest of the sauce ingredients in the bowl with the kimchi juice. Mix until the gochujang is incorporated, mashing it against the bowl to break it up.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil. Add the kimchi, onions, and whites of the green onions. Stir fry for 30 seconds to release the fragrance.
  • Break apart the rice and add it to the pan. Drizzle in the remaining 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil. Stir, chopping the rice into separated grains as you cook. Cook and stir occasionally, until the rice begins to crackle, 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Add the vegetables and the sauce. Stir to incorporate the sauce so all the grains are evenly coated. Let the rice cook for another minute or so to crisp up the bottom.
  • Turn off the heat, then add the sesame oil and green onion tops. Toss to mix well. Serve hot topped with a fried egg and shredded seaweed, if using.

Notes

  1. Traditional Korean fried rice usually uses short grain rice. But medium grain and jasmine rice will work too.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving, Calories: 277kcal, Carbohydrates: 46.3g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 7.2g, Saturated Fat: 1.2g, Sodium: 247mg, Potassium: 172mg, Fiber: 3.3g, Sugar: 2.5g, Calcium: 33mg, Iron: 3mg
Did You Make This Recipe?Don’t forget the last step! Tag me @OmnivoresCookbook and #OmnivoresCookbook on Instagram!

If you give this recipe a try, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it (once you’ve tried it), and take a picture and tag it @omnivorescookbook on Instagram! I’d love to see what you come up with.

More easy one pan meals

Lilja Walter is a part of the Omnivore’s Cookbook team and worked closely with Maggie to develop and test this recipe.

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Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. Nami | Just One Cookbook says:

    5 stars
    Wow, your kimchi fried rice with eggs on top… look awesome. I like to break the egg yolk and eat with rice. My kids don’t really like kimchi so I haven’t really cooked this for them, but I should slowly introduce this delicious dish! Pinned!

    • Maggie says:

      Half cooked egg yolk and rice are the best combo!
      Some kimchi does have very strong and distinct flavor. I think the flavor of freshly made kimchi will be less strong, and maybe that is a point to start for kids? And maybe less or no Gochujang, since it’s really spicy.
      By the way, I used the leftover chashu, made according from your chashu recipe, and it tasted great! 🙂

  2. dixya | food, pleasure, and health says:

    i love kimchi fried rice but my boyfriend absolutely cannot stand kimchi 🙁

  3. Kathleen | Hapa Nom Nom says:

    5 stars
    I make a breakfast fried rice of my own, but I’ve never combined it with kimchi. It’s something i’ve been wanting to try for awhile now and your photos are so enticing, I’m just going to have to give it a try the next time I make a quick kimchi.

  4. Patrick Charles Easley says:

    5 stars
    I feel like I should’ve left a positive comment on this years ago. This has been my go to recipe for YEARS when I feel that I haven’t been eating enough veggies or protein. Thanks!

    • Maggie says:

      Happy to hear a great feedback on this one! It’s a dish my husband made for me before we got married, and it’s still one of my favorites. It’s great to know you enjoyed it as well 🙂

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