This kimchi fried rice combines the sweet heat of caramelized kimchi with leftover white rice (and any other leftovers you may have) for this Korean-inspired comfort food.

Kimchi fried rice may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you’re scrounging for comfort food. But it will be once you’ve tried this ingenious clean-out-the-fridge creation in disguise. When stir-fried, kimchi caramelizes slightly and takes on sweet notes in addition to its usual heat, elevating day-old rice without overwhelming it.Jenny Howard

Two plates topped with kimchi fried rice and nori flakes, one with a fried egg and the other with sliced avocado.

Kimchi Fried Rice

5 / 2 votes
This kimchi fried rice combines the sweet heat of caramelized kimchi with leftover white rice (and any other leftovers you may have) for this Korean-inspired comfort food.
Servings2 to 4 servings
Calories421 kcal
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time5 minutes
Total Time25 minutes


  • 28 ounces store-bought or homemade kimchi
  • 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon mild vegetable oil
  • 1 cup cooked meat and/or vegetables* cut into pea-sized pieces (optional)
  • 2 1/2 cups cold cooked long-grain rice (at least 1 day old) at room temperature
  • Fried egg (optional)
  • Nori flakes (optional)
  • Sliced avocado (optional)


  • Drain the kimchi, reserving 1⁄4 cup of the kimchi liquid. You should have about 1 1/2 cups drained kimchi. Chop it.
  • In a large, nonstick skillet or wok over medium-high heat, warm 1 tablespoon of the butter along with the oil until the butter melts.
  • Reduce the heat to medium, add the drained kimchi, and cook, stirring frequently, until the kimchi is evenly browned but not burnt, 7 to 8 minutes.
  • Add the cooked meat, if using, along with the reserved kimchi juice. Cook, stirring, until the juice has mostly evaporated, about 2 minutes.
  • Stir in the cooked rice and, if using, the vegetables and increase the heat to medium-high. Break up any lumps of rice and continue to cook, tossing and stirring frequently, until the rice is heated through, about 2 minutes.
  • Turn off the heat, add 1 tablespoon of butter, cut into pieces, and gently stir the rice until the butter is completely melted and well incorporated.
  • Transfer to a platter or plates. If desired, embellish it with a fried egg, nori flakes, and/or avocado. Serve immediately.


What You Need To Know About What Leftovers Work In Kimchi Rice

This recipe is a godsend of a use for leftover rice…as well as whatever other cooked meats or vegetables you might have in your fridge. Cooked ground beef or pork, shredded chicken, crumbled bacon, corn kernels cut off the cob, a stray shrimp or two, that half a head of broccoli, a lonely scallion…nothing will disappoint.
Everyday Korean Cookbook

Adapted From

Everyday Korean

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Serving: 1 portionCalories: 421 kcalCarbohydrates: 68 gProtein: 8 gFat: 13 gSaturated Fat: 8 gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1 gMonounsaturated Fat: 3 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 32 mgSodium: 46 mgPotassium: 266 mgFiber: 4 gSugar: 1 gVitamin A: 4991 IUVitamin C: 9 mgCalcium: 46 mgIron: 1 mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2017 Kim Sunée. Photo © 2017 Leela Cyd. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

This kimchi fried rice is enough to evoke an out-of-body experience.

I made jasmine rice the day before I wanted to make the fried rice. I used two 14-ounce jars of store-bought kimchi and that gave me the 1 1/2 cups needed. One jar was mild and the other was spicy. I put the drained kimchi in a tea towel and squeezed out the liquid to get it as dry as possible.

Once the wok was nice and hot, it only took about 10 minutes to make. I didn’t add any meat this time, but I think next time I will add some ground pork.

Kimchi Fried Rice! Since the recipe stated to use leftover cooked rice after it was at least one day old, this can (and should!) be a make-ahead, at least the cooking of the rice.

We made a homemade kimchi. Due to dietary considerations, we made a terrific vegan kimchi. The rice is delicious and was sensational scrambled with an egg later that week.

Originally published July 31, 2019

About David Leite

David Leite has received three James Beard Awards for his writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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