Kimchi Grilled Cheese Is Trending—And We’re Obsessed

Adding kimchi to grilled cheese will literally change your life. Here's how to do it.

I can divide my life into two eras. The time before I knew about kimchi grilled cheese, and the time after I learned about kimchi grilled cheese. The sandwich has gone viral a number of times over the past couple of years, led by Korean food influencer @maangchitime on TikTok.

@maangchitimeMake kimchi grilled cheese!♬ original sound – maangchi

Look, I still love a basic grilled cheese—possibly with tomato soup on the side—as much as the next guy. But adding kimchi to your grilled cheese takes you into a whole new universe.

What Is Kimchi?

Kimchi is a Korean dish (or condiment) made of spicy fermented pickled vegetables, usually cabbage. The unique spice and flavor it adds to dishes has made it very popular, with cooks creating kimchi pancakes, kimchi french fries, kimchi soup and more. Kimchi offers multiple health benefits, and luckily, you can find it at most grocery stores these days. If you prefer to go the traditional route, you can also make your own kimchi.

How To Make Kimchi Grilled Cheese

Kimchi Grilled Cheese Jason Wilson For Taste Of HomeJason Wilson for Taste of Home

The recipe for this sandwich is easy and flexible. I like to heat the kimchi, sauteing it in butter before adding it to the cheese, but some recipes add it at room temperature. I also prefer to spread mayonnaise, rather than butter, on the bread before toasting it to give it richer flavor. You can make this with any number of cheeses—I usually use a sharp cheddar, but any grated semi-firm cheese works. Some claim mozzarella, Monterrey Jack or even pepper Jack work, so go with your favorite! As far as bread goes, you can’t go wrong with a good sourdough or rustic artisan bread.

Ingredients

  • 2 slices of bread
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 cup drained and chopped kimchi
  • 1/2 cup of grated cheese (cheddar, mozzarella, Monterrey Jack, etc.)

Instructions

Step 1: Warm the kimchi

In one side of a large skillet, over medium heat, melt butter and saute the kimchi until it’s hot. Leave room in the skillet for the bread.

Step 2: Toast the bread and melt the cheese

Spread the mayonnaise on one side of each bread slice. Place the bread in the skillet—mayonnaise side down—and top both sides evenly with the grated cheese. Lower heat to medium-low and let the cheese mostly melt until no shreds remain, about 5 to 7 minutes.

Step 3: Add the kimchi and close the sandwich

Add the warm kimchi to one slice of side and top with the other, pressing down with the spatula. Cook each side for another couple of minutes, flipping as needed, until the bread is golden brown.