Kimchi Fried Rice (Kimchi Bokkeum Bap)

If you have some kimchi and rice, try this easy kimchi fried rice recipe! It’s so versatile that you can add any protein you like or omit it entirely. It’ll become one of your go-to easy meals. 

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Kimchi fried rice (kimchi bokkeumbap, 김치볶음밥) is a humble Korean dish made basically with kimchi and leftover rice. Since Korean homes almost always have these two staples, kimchi fried rice is a favorite go-to meal whenever there seems to be nothing to eat at home.

It’s especially popular among young people who are living on a low budget as it is a quick-fix meal, inexpensive to prepare, yet delicious and filling. 
 
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All you need is well fermented kimchi and some cooked rice! We typically use baechu (napa cabbage) kimchi for fried rice, but old radish kimchi such as kkakdugi or chongak kimchi, works well too. Kimchi has plenty of flavors, but it’s common to add some gochujang, soy sauce and/or gochugaru for more robust savory flavors and spiciness. 

Popular protein additions by Koreans include processed meat, such as bacon, ham, sausage, or spam, as well as canned tuna. You can also cooked or uncooked chicken, pork, beef or shrimp, so feel free to experiment once you’ve got a hang of the basic technique.

For a vegan option, substitute the meat with tofu or omit it. Use vegan kimchi and skip the egg.

Rice for kimchi fried rice

Koreans typically use short grain white rice for everyday use. However, any other rice you’d use for fried rice, including brown rice and mixed grain rice, is fine for this recipe as well.  

As with any fried rice, day old rice is best to use, if available. The rice can get hard after being in the fridge. Heat it up in the microwave to soften it a little and break it up before stir-frying with kimchi. 

You can, of course, make fresh rice for this dish. Simply use a little less water than the usual amount to make the rice slightly drier and cool before using. 

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How to make kimchi fried Rice

The basic technique involves stir-frying the kimchi typically with some aromatic vegetables and seasonings until the kimchi turns soft and deep in color. This step brings out rich flavors of the kimchi.

If you’re using uncooked meat, cook the meat before stir-frying with the kimchi. It doesn’t need to be completely cooked through. When I use bacon, I cook it until it turns slightly brown and crispy. 

It’s much faster if you use cooked meat or canned tuna (drained). Simply throw it in while the kimchi is being stir-fried. 

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After adding the rice to the pan, stir constantly over medium low heat, breaking up the rice clumps, until everything is well incorporated. This will keep rice from sticking to the pan too much. Once the rice is evenly coated with the seasoning, turn up the heat high and stir only occasionally so the rice can get nicely toasted.  

Tips for making good kimchi fried rice

  • Whenever you cook with kimchi, it is best to use well-fermented kimchi for the rich and robust flavor it develops. No exception here.
  • If the leftover rice is hard after being in the fridge, heat it up in the microwave to soften it a little and break it up before stir-frying with the kimchi mix. 
  • If you are using raw meat, season it with salt and pepper. A small amount of garlic and/or ginger to flavor the meat will be great too. Cook the meat before stir-frying with the kimchi. 
  • To make it spicier, add gochugaru instead of more gochujang. Too much gochujang will make the dish too salty. 
  • Use high heat to cook the kimchi, medium low heat while breaking up the rice clumps to keep the rice from sticking to the pan too much, and high heat to get the rice nicely toasted at the end. 

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Have you tried this kimchi fried recipe? Please rate the recipe below and leave a comment! Stay in touch by following me on YouTubePinterestTwitterFacebook, and Instagram.

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Kimchi Fried Rice (Kimchi Bokkeum Bap)

4.65 from 31 votes
Main
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 2
Print Recipe

Ingredients

  • 3 - 4 strips of bacon, diced (or about 4 ounces ham or spam, or 1 can of tuna, drained) See note 1 if using uncooked meat
  • 3/4 cup diced kimchi See note 2
  • 1/4 small onion, diced diced
  • 1 scallion, chopped chopped
  • 1 small carrot, finely chopped - optional
  • 3 - 4 tablespoons juice from kimchi
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon gochujang (Korean chili pepper paste) See note 3
  • 2-1/2 cups cooked rice See note 4
  • oil for stir-frying
  • 1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Optional

  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • 2 eggs fried
  • 1 sheet roasted gim (dried seaweed sheet)

Instructions

  • If using bacon, heat a lightly oiled large skillet over medium heat. Add the bacon pieces. Cook until the bacon is slightly browned. If you don't want all the rendered fat, remove it from the pan and add a couple of tablespoons of cooking oil. If using ham, spam or canned tuna instead of bacon, you can simply add it while stir-frying kimchi in step 2.
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  • Add the onion and scallion and stir-fry quickly over high heat. Add the kimchi, optional carrots, juice from kimchi, soy sauce and gochujang. Stir fry until the kimchi turns soft and deep in color, 3 to 4 minutes. Take the time to do this step so the rich flavors develop.
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  • Add the rice, and reduce the heat to medium low. Stir until everything is well incorporated and the clumped up rice is broken up, 3 to 4 minutes.
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  • Once the rice is evenly coated with the seasoning, turn up the heat high and continue to fry the rice, turning occasionally. Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix in the sesame oil and the optional sesame seeds at the end.
    kimchi fried rice4 1 - Kimchi Fried Rice (Kimchi Bokkeum Bap)
  • Top with the optional fried egg, and garnish with the optional sesame seeds, gim (dried seaweed) strips and/or chopped scallion and serve.

Notes

  1. If you are using raw meat, season it with salt and pepper. A small amount of garlic and/or ginger to flavor the meat will be great too. Cook the meat before stir-frying with the kimchi.
  2. Whenever you cook with kimchi, it is best to use well-fermented kimchi for the rich and robust flavor it develops. No exception here.
  3. For spicier fried rice, add gochugaru instead of more gochujang. Too much gochujang will make the dish too salty. 
  4. If the leftover rice is hard after being in the fridge, heat it up in the microwave to soften it a little and break it up before stir-frying with the kimchi mix.
Tried this recipe?Mention @koreanbapsang or tag #koreanbapsang!

This recipe was originally posted in December 2010. I’ve updated it here with new photos, more information and minor changes to the recipe.  

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This was absolutely delicious. I have been wanting to try this recipe with my aged kimchi and it was a winner. My husband wanted Spam sandwiches for lunch and I just happened have the rest of the ingredients. Excellent!

  2. 5 stars
    I made your recipe for the first time tonight and it was phenomenal! I sent a picture of it to my Korean mom and she said it looked yummy! Thank you for the recipe!

  3. 5 stars
    Great recipe! I scrambled the eggs into the rice at the end instead of frying and garnishing, and didn’t use carrots (personal is reference), and it turned out amazing! Will be adding to my collection

  4. 5 stars
    Made this for my family this week and everyone loved it. Perfect balance of all the flavors. Thank you!

  5. Elizabeth Russell says

    5 stars
    Very good

  6. Can you use tuna instead of bacon?

  7. 5 stars
    This recipe is a keeper! I made a couple of changes — tofu instead of bacon, used Sambal Olek (had in the fridge) instead of gochujang and brown rice instead of white. The results were delicious! I’m printing out your recipe and putting it in my recipe notebook because I’ll definitely make it again. Thank you for posting your recipe online!!

  8. We love kimchi fried rice with cheese and fried eggs! This recipe is yummy. I didn’t have bacon the first 2 times I made it and I’m sure the bacon takes it up a notch. Will def try with bacon next time. We put shredded mozzarella on top and throw it in the oven for 10 minutes to get melty. Yummmmm. thank you!

  9. 5 stars
    Absolutely delicious! I will be making this many times, thank you for the recipe!

  10. Luz Gomila says

    Hi there I love the way your meals look and want to try them.They sound like a
    change from my Puerto Rican meals that I usually cook. I love trying new things.My question is what is Kimchi?. I have a Korean supermarket near me. I live in NY. Do I have to ask for something special? Thanks

  11. Hello Hyosun. Thank you so much for sharing your recipes, they’re delicious. I’ve always wanted to learn more traditional Korean dishes, and now your blog is my go-to place for recipes. 🙂 I’ve used you kimchi jiage, kimchi spaghetti recipes — all delicious. Tonight I will try this kimchi fried rice. (I made a lot of kimchi a couple of weeks ago.) Thank you and keep sharing!

  12. This was delicious! I threw in half a jalapeño that we had in the fridge for extra spiciness.

  13. How long does it take for kimchi to get old?
    I love your recipes!!!
    They are the best!!!

  14. Hi Hyosun!

    I made this with cauliflower rice, it was delicious!!

  15. I love this dish so much. I make it all the time (4 times now since I discovered the recipe last month). It’s so easy to make and I save money by making a big pan of it and eat it for dinner and lunch the following day.

  16. Hi^^. Thank you for the delicious recipes. I love your recipes^^.

  17. I’ve tried your kimchi fried rice (w/o gochujang) and just loved your recipe. I’ve reviewed most of your recipes and they also sound so delicious. I just love Korean food and I can’t get it here where we live. I make my own kimchi as well. I will be trying out some of your other recipes soon if I can get to an Asian market for some of the other ingredients such as gochujang. Some Asian ingredients I can get but not the main ones that I want. Thank you for your recipes.

  18. I just bought a jar of kimchee over the weekend, can’t wait to try out this recipe.

  19. Hyosun Ro, I have just popped in to say I have made this kimchi rice and it was extraordinary! ( In fact I have already prepared it several times and loved it every time 😉 )Thank you for this wonderful recipe!

  20. Love for food – Hope you give it a try. Thanks!

  21. oh.. i must try that.

  22. Thank you for visiting. When uploading, I just pick “none” for a layout and “small” for image size. Then move them next to each other where I want the pictures to be. Hope this answers your question, but if not please let me know.

  23. Michelle – Thanks for trying out my recipe. I am so happy to hear you liked it. SPAM is pretty popular with kimchi dishes.

  24. Thanks for posting this recipe. I’ve been making kimchi fried rice for many years, but never had a concrete recipe. I also add egg to mine and instead of bacon, but husband is used to having SPAM. So far I’ve tried 3 of your recipes and they were all delicious. Thanks.

  25. Amy – Gochujang and/or kimchi juice will add lots of flavor to the dish. Thanks for stopping by.

  26. I love bacon in fried rice and especially with kimchi. Sometimes I use bacon (or pancetta) in kimchi jigae just to get that smoky flavor. It may be too much for some people, but I love it.

    And I’ve never used gochujang or kimchi “juice” in my fried rice. I will have to give it a try next time.

    Also, great photos.

  27. Melissa – You would like this dish if you like kimchi. Gochujang is fermented chili pepper paste. Thanks.

  28. thehungryartist says

    I’ve never had this — looks delicious! I love kimchi, but my husband won’t go near it. I grew up eating it as a kid. I’ll have to make this he next time I visit my mom!

    What is gochujang, by the way?

  29. I adore kimichi…and we are always fans of fried rice. This looks just delicious. I wish I had a bowl to get me through the day before Christmas madness. Thank you for sharing this with me. I hope you have a wonderful and blessed holiday weekend.

  30. A SPICY PERSPECTIVE says

    This is a new dish to me….sounds delicious!

  31. denise @ quickies on the dinner table says

    I have actually made kimchi and bacon fried rice before (I often have kimchi in the fridge) and I LOVE it! My kids tell me kimchi “smells” and won’t eat it – what do they know???! I can even have just rice and kimchi for days and not get bored with it!!

  32. This looks soooo good! Yum!

  33. Oh, I’ve never had kimchi fried rice but I love kimchi. I like to make fried rice when we have leftovers too – random veggies and meat, usually char siu. I used to make fried rice quite often as a college student for the same reasons as your son. 🙂 My roommates and I had creative fried rice ingredients. I am adding your kimchi fried rice to my “to cook” list, and I’m definitely going to use bacon. 🙂

  34. penny aka jeroxie says

    I love kimchi and usually have them around the house for the spicy kick that I need. Have made gyoza with it as well. awesome.

  35. So yes, I’m korean… but I have to admit I don’t LOVE kimchi. There are a couple that I like, like oi kimchi or ggak du gi, but the traditional one I have to be in the mood for… Unless it’s cooked in some form, then I love it! I do love kimchi fried rice very much 🙂 Yours looks delicious.

  36. Believe it or not, I was craving this very dish today even though I’ve never had kimchi fried rice before. It just sounded so good, especially since kimchi has been on my mind a lot lately. I just had to come over as soon as I saw you post this on Foodbuzz. It didn’t disappoint. If anything, the craving is stronger than ever. Thanks Hyosun!