This Kimchi Fried Rice is a delicious quick and easy meal that is perfect for using up leftover rice. Bonus: it's gluten-free and dairy-free!
When my kids were very little I would mention to other parents how busy I was. Chasing around a toddler while a baby is screaming does feel busy after all.
But parents with older kids would always say things like "You think you're busy now, just wait until the school-age activities start up." I didn't believe them of course, because how much more busy could life possibly get?
Now that my kids are both well into elementary school and both doing multiple activities on weeknights and weekends, I get it. My kids sometimes go straight from school to home for a quick snack, to an activity for one kid, then to an activity for another kid. Many evenings I don't have time to cook dinner at all.
For the past several months, I've definitely been relying heavily on quick-cooking meals and this Kimchi Fried Rice fits the bill perfectly.
What kind of rice should I use for fried rice?
Making fried rice of any kind works best with cold rice (otherwise you might end up with a mushy, soggy mess), so the easiest way to make it is with leftover rice. Every time I'm making rice, I simply plan to make a double batch, then put the leftovers in the fridge to make fried rice (or rice pudding) the next day.
However, you can easily make this kimchi fried rice even if you don't have leftover rice in the fridge. Just make sure you cook up the rice earlier in the day, or even an hour before you plan to start cooking, then put it in a wide, shallow container in the fridge (or in the freezer if you're really in a rush) to chill.
You'll want to use long-grain rice when you're making fried rice, as shorter-grained rice tends to be too sticky. I used basmati rice in these photos, as that's what I had on hand. Jasmine rice would also work fine, as would rice that's simply labeled "long-grain rice".
How to make Kimchi Fried Rice:
Once you've got your rice made and chilled, the rest of the recipe is a breeze. Start by cooking the chopped bacon in a non-stick skillet (or heating about a Tablespoon of butter or oil if you're skipping the bacon). Then add the kimchi, garlic, and white parts of the green onions.
Add the rice, the kimchi brine, and some fish sauce and soy sauce for flavor, and mix well. I like to cook a few sunny-side-up eggs while the rice is cooking, but you could cook your eggs however you prefer, or skip them if you're having another protein source.
As soon as the rice is heated through, it's ready to serve. Simply divide it into bowls, top with the eggs, and sprinkle with green onions and sesame seeds (if you like).
Kimchi Fried Rice Ingredients:
- Bacon: You can easily skip the bacon for a plant-based meal or replace it with turkey bacon if you don't eat pork. Simply add about a Tablespoon of oil to the recipe in this case.
- Kimchi: drained and coarsely chopped, with brine reserved. Note that kimchi varies in flavor depending on its age. "Young" kimchi is less sour, while older kimchi is more sour and will give your fried rice lots of flavor. I like to make this recipe when I'm using up the last of my kimchi jar.
- Green onions
- Leftover or cooked and chilled long-grain rice
- Soy sauce: either regular or reduced-sodium will work
- fish sauce
- Butter or neutral-flavored cooking oil
- Sesame seeds: optional, for garnish
Want more Rice recipes?
Kimchi Fried Rice Nutrition Notes:
The nutrition information in the recipe below includes regular pork bacon. If you skip the bacon or opt for turkey bacon, your fried rice will be lower in fat, particularly in saturated fat.
Kimchi Fried Rice
- 5 ounces bacon chopped (5 regular slices or 3 thick-cut slices - see note)
- 1 cup kimchi drained and coarsely chopped, with brine reserved
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 green onions thinly sliced, green parts and white parts separated
- 3 cups leftover or cooked and chilled long-grain rice
- 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce
- butter or neutral-flavored cooking oil
- 4 eggs
- sesame seeds optional, for garnish
- Add the chopped bacon to a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring often until the bacon is beginning to render its fat, about 5 minutes. Add the kimchi, garlic, and the white parts of the green onions and cook for 2-3 mintues. Add the cooked rice, the soy sauce, and the fish sauce, and the reserved kimchi brine and mix well. Continue to cook, stirring often until the rice is heated through and the kimchi is evenly dispersed throughout the rice.
- While the rice continues to cook, begin heating 1 Tablespoon of butter or neutral-flavored coking oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Crack the eggs into the skillet, add about 1 teaspoon to 1 Tablespoon of water and cover. Cook until the whites are set, but yolks are still runny (about 2-3 minutes), or cook the eggs to your desired doneness.
- Once the rice is heated through, divide the rice into 4 bowls, serving 1 egg on top of each bowl. Garnish with the green parts of the green onions, and sesame seeds, if desired.