Make kimchi and use it to enhance the flavor of almost any food, including pancakes, fried rice, hot dogs, braises, and cocktails.

Kimchi, the national dish of South Korea, is a mainstay in kitchens throughout. This dish of fermented cabbage may be eaten raw or stirred into tomato sauce, folded into scrambled eggs, served over rice, or simply eaten as a side dish. Here are some of our favorite dishes that call for this very tasty ingredient, along with some information on kimchi and how to create it.

What is kimchi made of?

A classic batch of kimchi will probably include napa cabbage, fish sauce, gochugaru (Korean coarse red pepper powder), sugar, ginger, garlic, scallions, radishes, and carrots, however many families have their own special combination of ingredients. But because kimchi is a fermenting method rather than a particular cuisine, you may use almost any vegetable and add or subtract components as you see fit. For instance, you may exclude the fish sauce to produce a batch of kimchi that is suitable for vegans. Alternatively, try creating baek kimchi, also known as white kimchi, which is a milder, more refreshing take on conventional kimchi by leaving out the gochugaru.

How to make kimchi

There is no strict recipe to follow while preparing kimchi, so you may customize it to your preferences. You may even produce a cucumber kimchi that takes just two hours to prepare, eschewing the lengthy fermenting procedure.

To make traditional Fast Cucumber Kimchithe most crucial step is to brine sliced cabbage in salt (or salt water) as the initial step. In addition to flavoring the vegetable, this helps the cabbage retain its freshness for many months by removing part of its water content. Dredge the cabbage in a couple teaspoons of kosher salt, then let it for at least two hours, or perhaps overnight, to let the salt do its work. To get rid of the salt and provide a more neutral basis for the kimchi, thoroughly rinse the cabbage leaves in cool water after brining.

Next, take a large bowl (preferably the largest one you can find) and add the cabbage to it, along with the fish sauce, sugar, scallions, onions, carrots, ginger, gochugaru, and sliced daikon radish. Toss everything together with gloved hands until everything is uniformly distributed and the cabbage leaves are covered. Before usage, pour the mixture into quart-sized containers or any other kind of airtight jar and let it sit at room temperature for a full day. Then, place the containers in the refrigerator to cool for a minimum of three to four days.

Even though kimchi is excellent eaten straight out of the jar or as part of a banchan spread, it is also a flexible component that can be used in a variety of different dishes, such as flavorful pancakes or unique burgers. These are a few of our most popular recipes that include kimchi.

Sesame-flavored Kimchi Fried Rice paired with Spicy Shrimp

This fried rice is chef Rachel Yang’s go-to fast snack after a long shift at her Seattle restaurant Joule. It makes excellent use of leftover rice from takeout and largely consists of pantry basics.

Kimchi made with fresh cabbage

Do you want to create kimchi at home without having to wait for it to ferment? This quick meal comes together in little over an hour with just 15 minutes of prep work. In a big bowl, combine napa cabbage and bok choy. Add salt, sugar, and water to cover and immediately brine. The last detail? a tasty concoction of fish sauce, sesame oil, ginger, garlic, and red pepper flakes.

Kimchi and Chorizo Dogs

For a spicy-tart contrast to sausages and hot dogs, kimchi is ideal. Chef Claudette Zepeda of San Diego made this meal as a tribute to the Sonoran hot dog.

Rice Cake Lasagna with Crunch

In chef Christine Lau’s inventive interpretation of lasagna, a fiery sauce consisting of sweet Italian sausage, fennel seeds, crushed red pepper flakes, gochujang, ssamjang, and kimchi is brushed over chewy, delicate Korean rice cakes. The heat is tempered with a caramelized, frothy, and stringy provolone topping.

Hanger Steak with Miso Butter-Grilled Vegetables and Kimchi Glaze

Pictured by Tara Done, food styled by Chris Lanier, and prop styled by Raina Kattelson

2016 F&W Best New Chef Ravi Kapur glazes grilled hanger steaks with pineapple juice, ketchup, and brown sugar using kimchi, creating a Hawaiian-inspired summer picnic spectacle.

Bloody Mary Kimchi

This creative take on a Bloody Mary derives its flavor and spice from pureed kimchi and a hint of sriracha chili sauce.

Short Ribs Braised with Soy

Chef Sohui Kim of The Good Fork Pub in Brooklyn creates an exquisite spin on kalbi jim by fusing French technique with traditional Korean cookery. Rather of boiling the short ribs, Kim braises them gently in red wine, which results in very delicate meat and a delicious, rich sauce. In addition to adding depth to the braising liquid, kimchi has a pleasing crunch when served as a condiment.

Kimchi Cheese Pancakes, or Kimchi Cheese Jeon

This mouthwatering pancake is one of chef Rachel Yang’s favorite ways to utilize kimchi—plenty of creamy mozzarella and cheddar cheese counterbalance the acidic, spicy ferment.

Quick Cucumber Kimchi

Although cabbage is the typical ingredient in kimchi, any vegetable will work. Here, chef Bill Kim highlights the role of cucumbers by combining them with other noteworthy ingredients including lime zest, Thai basil, and sesame oil. 

Kogi Dogs

Food & Wine selected this dish as one of our 40 best in 2018. With his Kogi Korean BBQ food truck, Roy Choi set out to change the way people in America received and consumed food. This was a revolutionary move in the food delivery and consumption industry. Lines stretched forever soon after Kogi’s first truck tweeted its destinations, and these smoky Kogi dogs, heaped with cheese, kimchi, and cabbage, became a cult favorite. A sriracha sprinkle brings it all together.

Hot Kimchi Tofu Soup

Not only does this flavor-filled stew of pork and tofu come together quickly (around 30 minutes), but it also reheats well for lunch or supper the following day.

Kimchi with Sparkling White

Chef David Chang’s mother taught him how to prepare kimchi. What’s her secret ingredient? Large red chili peppers for spice and ginger ale, which gives the spicy cabbage a sweet, effervescent accent. 

Kimchi with Caramelized Short Rib Stew

The beef stew made by Kay Chun is flavorful, comforting, and substantial. It becomes considerably more flavorful and complex when served with caramelized kimchi as a condiment.

Easy Kimchi-Poached Chicken

One of the easiest and tastiest braises ever is made by cookbook author Julia Turshen with only five basic ingredients: chicken, kimchi, garlic, scallions, and oil.

Kimchi with Kimchi-topped Stir-fried Pork BellyH FRANCE

In addition to kimchi, the now-closed Izakaya Ten in New York had a famous pork stir-fry. Fresh pork belly, found in Japanese markets, offers the perfect balance of fat to lean meat to balance the spiciness of the kimchi.

Tater Tot Nachos with Cheese Sauce and Kimchi

On its own, Tater Tots are tasty. Cheese sauce-dipped Tater Tots are even more delicious. Nachos made with Tater Tots and topped with kimchi cheese sauce are amazing.

Fries with Caramelized Kimchi and Bulgogi

Chef and proprietor of Chi’Lantro in Austin Jae Kim tops fries with grilled Korean-style meat, caramelized kimchi, and mayonnaise infused with Sriracha.

Jumbo Shrimp Grilled with Kimchi-Miso Butter

Drizzling them with butter and cooking giant shrimp in their shells prevents them from drying up under the grill pan or broiler. Here, kimchi-miso butter is used to cook them. 

Braised Collard Greens with Kimchi

Chef Hugh Acheson’s dish was selected one of Food & Wine’s 40 Best in 2018. A spicy kimchi cream sauce adds a fun, quirky edge to this delicious side dish of collards cooked with onion, bacon, chicken stock, vinegar, and sorghum.

Pancakes with pork-kimchi dumplings

Srful complement to the flavorful pork stuffing of these dumplings is kimchi. After pan-frying the dumplings, San Francisco chef Corey Lee likes to add a batter to make a single, crisp, circular pancake.

Burgers with bacon and kimchi

With two thin stacked patties, thick-cut bacon, kimchi, and a hot sauce, Chef Wesley Genovart creates an outrageously delicious burger that is reminiscent of Shake Shack.

Pork Burgers with Kimchi

When Chef Edward Lee made this crispy, pig-rind-topped burger, he was inspired by the traditional Korean combination of pork and spicy fermented kimchi. “The buttermilk sauce brings it all together and cools down the heat,” he explains.