Kimchi Grilled Cheese Recipe (2024)

By Ali Slagle

Kimchi Grilled Cheese Recipe (1)

Total Time
15 minutes
Read community notes

Spicy heat plays well with melty cheese (think: queso dip, stuffed jalapeños, Buffalo wings and blue cheese). Here, kimchi and mozzarella cheese come together for a twist on the classic grilled cheese. Mildly flavored mozzarella is an especially good choice in this recipe because it lets the kimchi shine, but you could also add ¼ cup of grated Cheddar, Monterey Jack or even pepper Jack for more kick. If you have grilled steak, roasted vegetables or practically any other savory leftover in your fridge, chop it up and add about ¼ cup to your sandwich along with the kimchi. Smearing mayonnaise on the bread, instead of butter, might sound weird, but it won’t burn as quickly as butter, allowing the cheese ample time to melt, and the bread to toast up to golden perfection. (Watch the video of Ali Slagle making kimchi grilled cheese here.)

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Yield:1 serving

  • 2slices bread, either soft sandwich bread or large rustic slices, not more than ½-inch thick
  • 1tablespoon mayonnaise
  • ½cup grated mozzarella, Cheddar or other mild, semifirm cheese
  • ¼cup drained and coarsely chopped kimchi

Ingredient Substitution Guide

Nutritional analysis per serving (1 servings)

536 calories; 36 grams fat; 15 grams saturated fat; 0 grams trans fat; 9 grams monounsaturated fat; 8 grams polyunsaturated fat; 32 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams dietary fiber; 4 grams sugars; 22 grams protein; 892 milligrams sodium

Note: The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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Kimchi Grilled Cheese Recipe (2)


Make the recipe with us

  1. Heat a heavy skillet over medium-low. Thinly spread 1 side of each slice of bread with ½ tablespoon mayonnaise. Place the bread, mayonnaise side down, in the skillet and divide the mozzarella evenly over the slices.

  2. Step


    When the cheese has just melted (no individual shreds of cheese remain), 6 to 10 minutes, add the kimchi to one side. Use a spatula to top with the other slice of bread, cheese side down. Press with the spatula to meld, then let cook, covered, flipping as needed to prevent burning, until the bread is crusty-brown and the sandwich is warmed through, 2 to 4 minutes.



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Cooking Notes


I make this frequently on sourdough. Any good melting cheese works. Tips: gently toast and warm the bread dry on the skilllet, then flip the pieces over and add cheese. That will kick start the melting process, especially if you’re using refrigerated kimchi. You can also warm the kimchi a bit but I find that the tip above plus very low heat and patience works well even with cold kimchi. And I use butter or oil, never mayonnaise.


I use sauerkraut instead of kimchi.


It has to be real full fat mayo or it won't work. Light mayo or mayo alternatives will stick. Hellman's original works for me every time. I never use butter now.

Randy Jones

I made mine with gouda from the Union Star cheese factory in Zittau, Wisconsin. My face melted along with the cheese.


A great recipe with a simple change/addition- Instead of draining your kimchi (the older the better) try frying it with butter and sprinkling with some brown sugar. Add pan fried spam to the mix and you’ve got yourself a melt with sweet, savory, salty, gooey goodness straight from a Korean American childhood.


I have been eating Kimchi for over sixty years but never thought to use it in a grilled cheese sandwich. I use well-aged kimchi (two-three months). Today with butter, Jewish Rye produced an excellent lunch. Will try other variations. Soon.


fry the egg first, let the yolk barely set, set aside, then add to sandwich with the kimchee


I used mild Mexicana blend cheese and it turned out really well! Definitely squeeze the kimchi to get liquid out.


I recommend grilling the kimchi along with the slices of bread before adding it to the sandwich. It creates a wonderful Unami flavour and takes some of the heat out of the kimchi for those who like it milder. I also serve it with pickles - perfection.


I've been using mayonnaise instead of butter for grilled cheese sandwiches for years. I find it adds a little extra flavor to the bread, and it's easier to spread than cold butter.

Jennifer Basye Sander

A now defunct cafe in Washington’s Skagit Valley had a tuna and kimchi sandwich called The Writer’s Sandwich named after a local fellow… Tom Robbins. I’m not a huge kimchi fan but it was a great combination.


This is fire. I used sourdough bread and sharp cheddar cheese with good ol’ Costco kimchi. I subscribe to mayo on the outside and a little schmear of butter on the inside. This really hits the spot when you’re craving a grilled cheese but also need a little more substance and spice.


Mayo gives you a little extra sweetness that goes great on grilled cheese.


I had fontina cheese and homemade bread. The recipe worked very well. I grilled the bread slowly until the cheese melted, and turned it up after adding the kimchee. I flipped it until adequately browned on both sides. From now on I probably will use mayonnaise for all of my toasted cheese because it did not get overly brown before the cheese melts.​


Respectfully, the sandwich described in this recipe is not a grilled cheese sandwich. It is a melt., this looks delicious! Mayo is probably a good call to up the crunch when you have a looser filling.

Bar Not Kitchen

Holy Cow!!! This was delicious. I used Monterey Jack freshly grated on a mix of the small and big holes of my box grater. I’ll admit after the 4 minute mark I started to have my doubts that all that cheese would melt before the bread burned, but low and behold at the 9 minute mark I had beautiful melty cheesy bread to top with kimchi. Sealed up the sandwich, covered it, and set a timer for 3 minutes, flipped at 1:30 and had a gorgeous golden brown crispy gooey sandwich.


My Korean son-in-law gave me a great tip. Before adding the kimchi to the sandwich, saute it on medium heat in some olive oil until it cooks way down and turns a caramel color (like you would caramelize onions - it takes 15 minutes ). Then add that to the sandwich and grill as stated. The kimchi ends up a little sweet and caramelly as well as spicy.

Betsy T

This is a brilliant sandwich, but after 4 burned attempts, I’ve now put the open faced cheese under the broiler, then moved the pan to the burner once I added the kimchi. Seems to be working.


Adding kimchi makes this a more wholesome, flavorful meal than plain grilled cheese.


Super good. I added two slices of black forest ham to white cheddar and took the kimchi out of the fridge to room temp. Delish


Cover while cheese is melting


For a very low carb version (no bread), try a mound of cottage cheese in a bowl, topped with kimchi, diced cucumbers, and crispy bacon bits. It's a nice combination of creaminess, heat, salt, and a little crunch. It is one of my favorite things to have for lunch. If you use good quality prepackaged bacon bits, it comes together in 2 minutes.


Made this with a chinese tomatoe egg drop soup. Might be a little derivative but it was amazingly delicious


Just made this recipe using Harvarti slices I had to use up. I also used ghee instead of mayo or butter and added red onions and tomato. I missed the step of chopping the kimchi which would have helped when eating. Otherwise, it tasted delicious!

Statistically Insignificant

Delicious, but note that heating the kimchi will kill the wonderful probiotics it contains.


I mix my kimchi with salmon and natural yeast. Then I make my toasted cheese with that mixture


I love all the variations listed in the comments for this… I too make grilled Kimchi sandwiches… but add beets… and Gruyère cheese… SOOOOO good. I make my own kimchi taught to me by my S. Korean friends… I added beets here as that little bit of sweet on. Abed of kimchi is all around fabulous explosion of flavors in your mouth… I use Kewpie mayo. On the sourdough bread and grill with olive oil. Just the best.

Ellen Oliver

Mayo is absolutely better than butter for grilled cheese sandwiches. I discovered this about 5 years ago & will never go back.


Maybe without the mayo.

AEC in the Kitchen

An all season umami meal. Used shredded Gruyere with a dash of shredded Parmesan on thick cut sourdough in a pan because I do not have my panini press. Instead of mayo, I browned with a creamy mayo-like seasoned sauce from a local restaurant. I am going to try the suggestions and ideas from other note makers including adding an egg and chili crisp for a savory breakfast.

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Kimchi Grilled Cheese Recipe (2024)


What kind of cheese goes best with kimchi? ›

Mildly flavored mozzarella is an especially good choice in this recipe because it lets the kimchi shine, but you could also add ¼ cup of grated Cheddar, Monterey Jack or even pepper Jack for more kick.

Why is kimchi and cheese so good? ›

Now we love rich, melted, oozy cheese probably much more than the average person, but when you add tangy, bright, spicy kimchi, it's truly next level. The blend of textures and flavors adds up to a culinary experience that we want to repeat all winter long.

Is kimchi good in a sandwich? ›

Kimchi Grilled Cheese is one of my favorite comfort foods! There are tons of variations of kimchi grilled cheese sandwiches, but I always make mine using this method. Enjoy this elevated version of an American classic combined with a quintessential flavor of Korea.

What do you mix with kimchi? ›

I like to add kimchi to soups to give it a tart tangy spicy flavour. You can add it to tofu rolls, to fried rice, to grilled cheese sandwiches. You can replace sauerkraut with kimchi in hot dogs, mix it up in potato salad and stir fried veggies.

What does kimchi do for your body? ›

Along with fiber, vitamins, and minerals, kimchi contains natural probiotic bacteria. If you eat them regularly, the probiotics in fermented foods can be beneficial to your gut microbiome. Studies suggest that eating kimchi on a daily basis could help to improve some digestive problems.

Does cheddar go with kimchi? ›

Kimchi and cheddar cheese is a top-tier pairing; the acidity and spiciness of the kimchi balanced out perfectly by a sharp and creamy mature cheddar.

Why do I feel better after eating kimchi? ›

The bacteria in kimchi are linked to improved immune function and lower levels of inflammation triggered by diseases. The vitamin C found in kimchi can also help boost your immune health.

Why is kimchi good for your stomach? ›

May support gut health

There is growing evidence that fermented foods such as kimchi may improve levels of beneficial bacteria in the gut, and may as a consequence improve symptoms such as constipation.

Can you eat kimchi everyday? ›

Cabbage and radish kimchi, a popular fermented vegetable dish, in particular were effective in reducing the risk of obesity and abdominal obesity in both men and women.

Does kimchi go bad? ›

Opened, store-bought kimchi lasts 3-4 days at room temperature and up to 6 months in the refrigerator. As soon as you break the seal and expose your kimchi to oxygen, the fermentation process starts to speed up, meaning that your kimchi will near its expiration date a lot faster.

Is kimchi better warm or cold? ›

The answer to “do you eat kimchi hot or cold” is really about health, not flavor. Kimchi tastes great cooked into almost anything. But heating kimchi kills the healthy, helpful bacteria that are a product of the fermentation process.

What can I add to kimchi to make it taste better? ›

Fresh Cabbage Kimchi

The finishing touch? A flavorful combination of garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes, fish sauce, and sesame oil.

What can I add to kimchi to make it better? ›

You can enhance kimchi with a bunch of seasonings and add-ins, traditional or otherwise. These give a distinct flavor to the final product. Love lots of deep, umami, flavor? Try adding salted shrimp, oysters, or mushrooms.

How long does kimchi last in the fridge? ›

Kept at room temperature, kimchi lasts 1 week after opening. In the refrigerator, it stays fresh much longer — about 3–6 months — and continues to ferment, which may lead to a sourer taste. Be sure to refrigerate your kimchi at or below 39°F (4°C), as warmer temperatures may accelerate spoilage.

What tastes best with kimchi? ›

The best side dishes to eat with kimchi are steamed white rice, steamed dumplings, fried shrimp, potstickers, beef and broccoli, egg roll in a bowl grilled meat, Korean pancakes, crispy tofu, japchae, Korean fried chicken, bibimbap, and pickled vegetables.

What kind of cheese do Korean restaurants use? ›

So mozzarella and other mild cheeses are the most common dairy products, and because pizza is very popular with young Koreans, mozzarella is a favorite with them. Korean pizza is pretty good, although it doesn't always use traditional ingredients.

Should I add cheese to kimchi ramen? ›

Instant ramen ranks highly among comfort foods because it can be quickly prepared and those little seasoning packets provide lots of flavor with minimal effort. No packets are used in this recipe, but the addition of gooey, melted Cheddar and funky fermented kimchi makes the dish even more satisfying.

What do Koreans put cheese on? ›

Fried seaweed rolls are dipped in cheese. Korean corn dogs are stuffed with it and kimbap sees kimchi rice rolled with tuna and plenty of mozzarella in nori. If a dish at Sinjeon isn't dipped in cheese, it's likely to have a plate of melted mozzarella poured over it at the table.

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