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Kimchi Grilled Cheese

5 from 26 votes
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This crunchy kimchi grilled cheese sandwich is unbelievably delicious. Use sourdough or your favorite kind of bread to make a hot, cheesy, and spicy sandwich topped with Everything Bagel seasoning.

There are a few ingredients that I’m personally obsessed with. Kimchi, Everything Bagel seasoning, and garlic are the main ones. I also love very spicy food! My family doesn’t share my enthusiasm for these culinary delights, but that’s fine by me because then I don’t have to share. 🙂

Today we’re talking about a grilled cheese sandwich that combines all my obsessions into one mouthwatering bite. It has kimchi, it has Everything Bagel seasoning, it has garlic and it is spicy! If you have never thought of putting kimchi in a grilled cheese sandwich before, you have to try it. I don’t know why I didn’t do it sooner, but no other grilled cheese will ever compare to the utter deliciousness that came off my griddle the other day when I made this sandwich.

To make this grilled cheese, crunchy sourdough bread is slathered in spicy garlic mayo, then stuffed with cheddar cheese, kimchi, and a touch of red pepper flakes. Then softened butter is spread on the outside of the sandwich, and a generous sprinkle of Everything Bagel seasoning is sprinkled on top before everything is grilled to golden perfection.

Why You’ll Love This Kimchi Grilled Cheese

  • Easy. If you can make a regular grilled cheese sandwich you can make this spicy kimchi version. You won’t need any special tools, though you may need to visit your local Asian grocery store or Amazon for the chili garlic sauce.
  • Spicy! There are a few ingredients that add a delightful spiciness to this meal. In addition to the kimchi, we’ll also be using chili garlic sauce and red pepper flakes to add some extra heat.
  • So, so good. If you’re a fan of spicy, garlicky food then your eyes will roll back into your head when you take a bite. This sandwich is crunchy, gooey, spicy, buttery and garlicky. It’s so good.

What is Kimchi?

Kimchi is a traditional Korean side dish made from salted and fermented vegetables, plus various seasonings. Napa cabbage is the most common main ingredient. To make kimchi, the cabbage is salted and then mixed with seasonings such as gochugaru (Korean chili flakes), garlic, onion, and ginger. The specific ingredients can vary according to region and family traditions. The mixture can be eaten right away, or more often, is left to ferment for a few days so that flavors can develop.

What Does Kimchi Taste Like?

Kimchi has a unique and complex flavor profile. It is known for its bold, tangy, and spicy taste. The fermented cabbage has a slightly sour and tangy flavor, while the seasoning blend of red chili pepper flakes, garlic, ginger, and other ingredients adds a distinct spiciness and depth of flavor. Depending on the recipe and fermentation process, kimchi can range from mildly spicy to very spicy. The fermentation also imparts a subtle umami flavor and a hint of natural sweetness.

Tips for the Best Kimchi Grilled Cheese Sandwich

  • Don’t use high heat. One of the most common mistakes people make when cooking a grilled cheese sandwich is using heat that is too high. If you try to use high heat what will happen is that your bread will brown very quickly, but the cheese inside the sandwich will not melt completely. The best heat setting on a gas stove for making grilled cheese is medium.
  • Cover the skillet. Another trick for perfect grilled cheese sandwiches is to cover the skillet with a lid while the sandwich is cooking. I recommend using a clear lid so that you can see the sandwich. This traps heat inside and helps the cheese melt while the bread gets all golden and toasty.
  • Choose a good bread. I recommend sourdough bread, french bread, or a good quality loaf of sandwich bread for the best spicy grilled cheese sandwich. Homemade bread works too as long as the slices have some structure to them and will hold their shape while being grilled. You want each slice to be about 1 inch thick.

That’s it for now friends! I hope you give this kimchi grilled cheese recipe a try, and that you love it as much as I do.

More Easy Lunch Ideas

Kimchi Grilled Cheese

5 from 26 votes
This kimchi grilled cheese sandwich is crunchy, spicy, hot and melty. In other words, grilled cheese perfection.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time25 minutes
Yield: 1 sandwich


For the spicy mayo

  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • ½ teaspoon chili garlic sauce
  • ½ teaspoon garlic paste
  • teaspoon ground black pepper

For the kimchi grilled cheese

  • 2 slices sourdough bread
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided use
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon Everything Bagel seasoning
  • 4 slices yellow cheddar cheese**, thin deli slices
  • 1-2 tablespoons kimchi


  • Make the spicy mayo. In a small bowl combine the ingredients for the spicy garlic mayo. Mix well, then set aside.
  • Soften the butter. Place 2 tablespoons of butter in a small microwave-safe bowl. Zap for 15-20 seconds or until just softened enough to spread on the bread.
  • Add butter & seasoning to the bread. Spread 1 tablespoon of softened butter on one side of each slice of bread. This is the side of the bread that you will want to have facing outwards when you assemble your sandwich, that way it comes into contact with the griddle or skillet. Sprinkle Everything Bagel seasoning on top of the butter.
  • Add spicy mayo. Spread half of the spicy mayo mixture onto the other side of each slice of bread (the side that doesn't have butter on it).
  • Assemble your sandwich. Lay 2 slices of cheddar cheese onto the mayo side of one piece of bread. Top with your desired amount of kimchi. Add a sprinkle of red pepper flakes, then top with the remaining 2 slices of cheese and the last piece of bread, making sure the side with mayo on it is what is touching the cheese.
  • Cook your sandwich. Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter in a skillet or on a griddle over medium-high heat. Spread the butter around with a spatula to make sure the surface is evenly coated. Once the butter has melted, lower the heat to medium and place the sandwich in the pan. Cover and cook for about 3 minutes, then flip the sandwich over using a spatula and cook, covered, on the other side for about 3 minutes. You want each side of the sandwich to be golden and crunchy, and for the cheese to be melted. (You can flip the sandwich again if it needs more cooking time.)
  • Slice and serve. Remove your grilled cheese from the pan and slice. Add another sprinkle of Everything Bagel seasoning if desired and dig in!
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**I used deli sliced cheddar cheese for this recipe, so each slice covers almost the entire piece of a bread. If you are using block cheese and cutting the slices yourself, you may need to use more. You basically want each slice of bread to be covered in cheese. Make sure you don’t slice your cheese too thickly or it won’t have time to melt.
Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as a courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.
Did you make this recipe?💖 I love hearing how my recipes came out for others! If you tried this recipe, please share a comment. 💖

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Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. I’m enjoying see these recipes and can’t wait to try some, going to have a hard time knowing which one to start with. So I’ll have to keep going through and make my weekly menu out. Thanks for sharing.5 stars

    1. Rustic Family Recipes

      Happy to hear you are enjoying the recipes I share! I hope you do try some. Please come back to let me know how they turned out if you do!