Crispy Cheese- and Kimchi-Topped Skillet Rice Recipe

Crispy-chewy rice, gooey cheese, funky and sour kimchi...what's not to like?

Vicky Wasik

Why It Works

  • Greasing the pan with butter ensures the rice won't stick, and adds some welcome buttery flavor.
  • Mixing the rice thoroughly with flavorful gochujang, soy sauce, and rice vinegar ensures even distribution of seasoning.
  • Adding chopped kimchi on top toward the end keeps the funkiness of the kimchi relatively fresh and adds some much-needed acidity to the dish.

What happens when you have so much leftover rice that you get sick of fried rice? This dish is the answer to that question.

Made with leftover rice and a list of ingredients that keep forever in the fridge—like gochujang, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and kimchi—combined with a couple different varieties of cheese, this dish is easy to put together, cheap to make, and, most important, very good to eat.

The rice on the bottom of the cast iron pan gets crispy while the interior stays soft, the layers of melted cheese are gooey and stretchy, the top layer of rice dries and takes on a delightfully chewy character, and the chopped kimchi on top provides a much-needed hit of acidity and funk. Finally, the cheeses on top take on a bit of char under the broiler, so each bite packs a range of textures and flavors, all of them salty and good.

Recipe Facts



Active: 10 mins
Total: 50 mins
Serves: 4 servings

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  • 1 tablespoon (15g) unsalted butter, softened

  • 4 cups cooked short-grain rice (see notes)

  • 3 tablespoons (45ml) gochujang

  • 3 tablespoons (45ml) soy sauce

  • 1 tablespoon (15ml) rice vinegar

  • 4 thinly sliced scallions (80g), white and green parts divided

  • 3 ounces (85g) grated low-moisture mozzarella cheese (see notes), divided

  • 2 ounces (57g) grated Gruyère cheese (see notes), divided

  • 5 ounces (141g) chopped drained kimchi (see notes)

  • 1 ounce (28g) grated Cotija cheese (see notes)


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Grease a 10-inch cast iron pan with 1 tablespoon (15g) butter, making sure to fully cover both the bottom and the sides.

  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine rice, gochujang, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sliced scallion whites. Using a flexible spatula, mix thoroughly.

  3. Scrape half of rice mixture into buttered cast iron skillet and, using the bottom of a drinking glass or measuring cup, press down firmly to create a single even layer of seasoned rice. Distribute half of the mozzarella and Gruyère over the layer of rice, then scrape the rest of the rice mixture over grated cheese. Using the bottom of a drinking glass or measuring cup, press down firmly to create an even top layer of seasoned rice. Transfer pan to oven and cook for 35 minutes.

  4. Remove pan from oven. Turn off oven and turn broiler on high. While broiler preheats, top rice with chopped kimchi. Distribute remaining Gruyère and mozzarella over kimchi and sprinkle Cotija over the other cheeses.

  5. Place pan under broiler for about 2 minutes, or until Gruyère and mozzarella melt and bubble and Cotija begins to char in spots. Remove pan from under broiler, top with sliced scallion greens, and serve immediately.

Special equipment

10-inch cast iron skillet


This recipe was designed to use up leftover rice, but you can use freshly cooked rice, too, without altering the recipe. Short- or medium-grain rice is preferred, but any rice variety works.

If you have more than one type of kimchi available, feel free to use a mix for even greater flavor. Similarly, this recipe offers suggestions of types of cheeses to use, but any good melting cheese will work for the interior and on top, and most any hard cheese will work for the broiling step, too.

Make-Ahead and Storage

This recipe is best eaten immediately after being prepared.

This Recipe Appears In

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
538 Calories
19g Fat
71g Carbs
19g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 538
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 19g 25%
Saturated Fat 11g 55%
Cholesterol 57mg 19%
Sodium 1892mg 82%
Total Carbohydrate 71g 26%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Total Sugars 8g
Protein 19g
Vitamin C 5mg 25%
Calcium 419mg 32%
Iron 2mg 10%
Potassium 254mg 5%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)