kimchi fried rice

An easy weeknight meal that comes together in under 30 minutes and satisfies the craving for comfort food! With the right tips and ingredients, you can make it even better than most restaurants'.

Kimchi fried rice is one of the easiest and one of my favorite weeknight staples -- it uses ingredients I always have on hand! It’s savory, a little spicy, has a touch of acidity from the kimchi, and the occasional bites of corn keep it balanced and delicious.

What kind of kimchi do I use?

It's most common to use napa cabbage kimchi for kimchi fried rice (though there is such thing as a radish kimchi fried rice)! I love using Cosmos Kimchi* (you can use promo code "smelly10" for 10% off!) for perfectly fermented kimchi out of the jar, and especially for that flavor-packed kimchi brine. They will be launching this product at Aldi stores, starting with SoCal and AZ locations Fall 2022!

How can I make delicious kimchi fried rice?

To get the best-tasting kimchi fried rice, take your time cooking each ingredient to build more depth in the flavors! Let the spam get golden and crispy before adding the onions, which should caramelize before adding garlic and fermented kimchi. Sautéing the kimchi for a few minutes before adding the rice rounds out the acidity and deepens its flavor. 

It takes a few more minutes this way, but trust me that it makes a noticeable difference in the finished dish!

*Please note that while I am partnered with Cosmos Kimchi to create recipes and will receive some commission through the link above, I truly love their product and have chosen it above 9 other brands of packaged kimchi in a blind taste test! I would highly recommend their product, especially for anyone who hasn't tried kimchi before.

Kimchi Fried Rice

The perfect, simple weeknight meal: it comes together in under 30 minutes and is packed with flavor.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine korean
Servings 4 people


  • 3-4 cups cooked rice cooled or day old
  • ½ can spam or any other protein
  • 1 cup fermented kimchi
  • cup kimchi brine
  • 1.5 tablespoon gochujang
  • ½ yellow onion
  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • ½ cup sweet corn
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1-2 tablespoon butter optional
  • 1 egg per serving
  • 2-3 stalks scallions
  • neutral oil for cooking


Prepare the ingredients

  • In a bowl, cut kimchi into smaller pieces (about 1 inch) with scissors. This helps avoid staining your cutting boards with kimchi juice. 
    1 cup fermented kimchi
  • Mince garlic and dice onion. Dice spam into ½ inch cubes.
    ½ yellow onion, 3-4 cloves garlic, ½ can spam
  •  In a separate bowl, mix gochujang and kimchi brine until homogenous. 
    1.5 tablespoon gochujang, ⅓ cup kimchi brine

Cook the fried rice

  • Heat up pan to medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of neutral oil (I.e canola, vegetable, avocado). Once warm, add diced spam and cook for about 2-3 minutes or until golden brown, stirring occasionally.
    neutral oil for cooking
  • Add onion and sauté until lightly caramelized, or 3-4 mins. Add minced garlic and cook for another minute. Once fragrant, add kimchi and stir fry for another 2-3 minutes. 
  • Turn up the heat to medium high, and add cooked rice, breaking it up gently and evenly across the pan. Add the kimchi juice and gochujang mixture, and mix it well into the rice. 
    3-4 cups cooked rice
  • Season with salt to taste (start with ¼ tsp), and sugar. Add the corn, butter, scallions, and sesame oil, and mix until butter is melted. 
    ½ cup sweet corn, 1 teaspoon sugar, salt, 1-2 tablespoon butter, 2-3 stalks scallions, 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • Lower heat back to medium to ensure rice doesn't burn at this step. Push the rice aside to cook a fried egg for each serving. While the egg cooks, the rice will get crispy on the bottom. 
    1 egg
  • Garnish with more scallions and enjoy! 
Keyword fried rice, kimchi, kimchi fried rice
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