This Kimchi Fried Rice recipe uses simple tricks, like drying out cooked rice, and allowing it to rest after crisping, that make a big difference in the finished product of this convenient dish.

Two blue bowls filled with vegetarian kimchi fried rice, topped with fried eggs and sliced nori.

What is Kimchi Fried Rice?

First, let’s talk about kimchi itself. Kimchi is a traditional Korean fermented dish made of vegetables, often napa cabbage and radish. It’s usually sour, kind of spicy, pungent and super flavorful. It is eaten as a side dish alongside Korean food, or can be used as an ingredient for other dishes, like this one.

Kimchi fried rice is made with cooked rice, kimchi, sometimes other vegetables and occasionally a protein.

If you have a jar of kimchi and some cooked rice, you almost have kimchi fried rice. In a few simple steps, you’ll be enjoying this delicious and convenient one dish entree or side dish.

Why you’ll love this Simple Kimchi Fried Rice Recipe

  • Quick, easy and bursting with flavor.
  • A great way to use up leftover rice!
  • The fried rice itself is completely vegan, but can be topped with an egg for extra protein for non-vegans, if desired.

Vegetarian Kimchi Fried Rice Ingredients

  • canola oil – this oil has a high smoke point, making it perfect for high-heat cooking that fried rice demands. Olive oil will burn and taste bitter.
  • garlic – adds aromatic flavor to the rice.
  • carrots – I like these for their sweet crunch and bright color.
  • kimchi – the tangy and spicy star ingredient! If you need to keep the dish strictly vegetarian, be sure to check labels and buy a vegetarian variety. If you’re in Michigan, look for The Brinery’s Oh Gee Kimchi. This isn’t a sponsored post, this kimchi is simply my go-to and I highly recommend it.
  • green onions – add freshness and a mild onion flavor.
  • cooked white rice – the base of the dish.
  • peas – frozen peas work great, and you don’t even need to thaw them first.
  • sesame oil – this oil is added at the end, as a seasoning. It adds a nutty, rich flavor.
  • soy sauce – adds a savory umami flavor and seasons the dish with no additional salt required.
  • ground white pepper – adds a subtle heat and flavor that complements the kimchi.

How to make Kimchi Fried Rice

A skillet filled with chopped carrot and fermented cabbage.

1. SAUTE. In a large skillet or wok, heat the oil, then saute the garlic, carrots and kimchi until the carrots start to soften, stirring frequently.

A skillet filled with an orange cooked vegetable mixture, white rice and peas.

2. BROWN. Add the onions, rice and peas and cook until the rice begins to get brown and crispy, and all the vegetables are tender.

A skillet filled with a simple kimchi fried rice recipe.

3. SEASON. Stir in the sesame oil, soy sauce and white pepper. Then, let rest in the pan, off the heat, 2 minutes before serving, as this helps the crisped rice release from the skillet for easier serving.

Kimchi Fried Rice Recipe Home Chef Tips

  • You’ll have the best results with fried rice if you cook the white rice the day before, spread it out on a baking pan or large plate, and refrigerate it, uncovered. It dries out and gets sort of crusty, which allows it to crisp up and absorb lots of flavor when turned into fried rice.
  • To yield the 3 cups cooked rice needed for this recipe, you’ll need to start with 1 cup uncooked rice.
  • Shortcut this process by buying a big container of prepared rice from your local Chinese carryout. Spread it on a pan and refrigerate as described above.
A blue bowl filled with a kimchi fried rice recipe.

Kimchi Fried Rice Vegetarian Variations

  • EXTRA VEGGIES – Add other vegetables like mushrooms or bell peppers for more texture and flavor.
  • VEGAN PROTEIN – Instead of an egg, serve with tofu or tempeh.
  • BROWN RICE – Instead of white rice, you can make this dish with brown rice!

What goes well with Kimchi Fried Rice?

I think this recipe is pretty perfect on it’s own for a light meal. But, I also love it topped with a fried egg and sliced nori (dried edible seaweed).

I’ll sometimes add a sprinkle of furikake to the egg for extra umami. Furikake is a dried condiment made with sesame seeds and seaweed. It sometimes includes dried fish, so check labels if you want to keep the dish vegetarian.

Some dishes that pair well with kimchi fried rice to round out your meal include Korean meatballs, ground beef stir fry and my wonton soup recipe.

A blue bowl filled with a kimchi fried rice recipe.

How to store leftover Vegetarian Kimchi Fried Rice

Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Reheating Kimchi Fried Rice

To reheat kimchi fried rice, microwave it until heated through, or reheat in a skillet over medium heat, with a splash of water.

A blue bowl filled with kimchi fried rice, topped with a fried egg and sliced nori.
A blue bowl filled with kimchi fried rice, topped with a fried egg and sliced nori.

Kimchi Fried Rice (Vegetarian)

This Kimchi Fried Rice recipe uses simple tricks, like drying out cooked rice, and allowing it to rest after crisping, that make a big difference in the finished product of this convenient dish.
4.8 from 4 ratings

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 carrots peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 cup kimchi finely chopped
  • 2 green onions thinly sliced
  • 3 cups cooked white rice see Notes below
  • ¼ cup frozen peas
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
  • Fried eggs, sliced nori and/or furikake, for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  • In large skillet or wok, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic, carrots and kimchi and cook 3 to 4 minutes or until carrots start to soften, stirring frequently.
  • Add onions, rice and peas and cook 3 to 4 minutes or until rice begins to brown and all vegetables are tender, stirring frequently.
  • Remove from heat. Stir in sesame oil, soy sauce and white pepper. Then, let rest in the pan, off the heat, 2 minutes before serving, as this helps the crisped rice release from the skillet for easier serving.
  • If desired, serve topped with fried eggs, sliced nori, sesame seeds and/or furikake.

Notes

  • You'll have the best results with fried rice if you cook the white rice the day before, spread it out on a baking pan or large plate, and refrigerate it, uncovered. It dries out and gets sort of crusty, which allows it to crisp up and absorb lots of flavor when turned into fried rice.
  • To yield the 3 cups cooked rice needed for this kimchi fried rice recipe, you’ll need to start with 1 cup uncooked rice.
  • Shortcut this process by buying a big container of prepared rice from your local Chinese carryout. Spread it on a pan and refrigerate as described above.
  • Calories: 265kcal, Carbohydrates: 40g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 10g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 5g, Trans Fat: 0.03g, Sodium: 335mg, Potassium: 237mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 5251IU, Vitamin C: 7mg, Calcium: 43mg, Iron: 1mg
    This website provides estimated nutrition information as a courtesy only. You should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe using your preferred nutrition calculator.
    Did you make this recipe?Leave a Review below or share a photo and tag me on Instagram @foxeslovelemons with the hashtag #foxeslovelemons.