This Kimchi fried rice recipe (김치 볶음밥) is one of our easy go-to recipes when our kimchi gets too ripe to eat as a side dish. This is super easy to whip up, especially if you want an easy, lazy meal. Although we’ve made our own version of it over the years, this year, I had my mom show me how to make it her way (which I hate to admit is infinitely better).
What is Kimchi Fried Rice?
It’s a type of fried rice where the main star of the dish is kimchi (see our kimchi recipe here). Use mature kimchi vs. fresh kimchi to have the best-tasting kimchi fried rice. You can make it with any meat of choice or into a vegetarian or vegan dish. Spam is quite popular to use in this dish among Koreans.
Kimchi Fried Rice Recipe (김치 볶음밥 레시피)Course: MainCuisine: KoreanDifficulty: Easy
2 Tbsp olive oil or vegetable oil
4 stalks of green onion, chopped
2 cups beef eye round, chopped into 1/4 in pieces
2 cups kimchi, chopped (squeeze the excess juice first)
1 Tbsp oyster sauce
2-4 Tbsp Korean plum extract (Maesil Cheong)
4 cups of cooked rice at room temperature
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp roasted sesame seeds
1-2 Tbsp Korean pepper flakes
1 sunny-side-up egg per person (optional)
- Over medium heat, add olive oil and green onion until it browns.
- Stir in beef or choice of protein until it cooks.
- Add kimchi until almost all the excess liquid evaporates. You want it to be caramelized.
- Add in oyster sauce and plum extract (start with 2 Tbsp). Add in more plum extract to taste, which depends on the kimchi you use and whether you need more or less sweetness.
- Mix in the rice for 5 minutes or until you hear crackles.
- Add sesame oil, sesame seeds, and Korean red pepper flakes. Start with 1 Tbsp of Korean pepper flakes and add more if you like it spicier. We usually use 2-3 Tbsp. Keep in mind some pepper flakes you buy are spicier than others.
- Add salt to taste.
- Serve with an optional sunny side egg on top.
Mom’s Notes + Substitutions
- Some recipes use Korean red pepper paste in their kimchi fried rice instead of red pepper powder, but my mom says it overpowers the kimchi flavor. Other recipes also add back kimchi juice, making the rice soggy / stickier than desired.
- You can also use lean ground beef or other beef, pork, or chicken cuts.
- If you add spam or pork, it tastes better. You can do a 1-to-1 ratio (we often do 1 cup beef and 1 cup pork).
- You can substitute Korean plum extract with sugar. Sugar is sweeter than the plum extract, so start with half the amount.
- For Vegans: If you want to make it vegan, you can substitute oyster sauce with soy sauce. Remember that most kimchi you buy from the store will have fish sauce.
What did you think of this kimchi fried rice? Did you have any substitutions or things you added?
Want to learn how to make non-spicy kimchi? Check out our radish water kimchi recipe.