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Cheese Kimbap (Korean Kimbap Recipe)

by Emily
Cheese Kimbap Recipe

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Do you love kimchi fried rice? What about cheese? If so, try making our cheese kimbap recipe! Kimbap is a popular Korean snack and picnic food. Our recipe gives a fun ‘cheesy’ twist to the classic version that uses white rice with different fillings. Instead of using white rice, our recipe for cheese kimbap uses kimchi fried rice and melted mozzarella cheese in the center. It is then rolled in dried seaweed!  

Our cheese kimbap recipe is spicy from the kimchi fried rice. The melted mozzarella ‘pizza’ cheese both calms the spice and gives it a nice, creamy flavor. If you like cheese topped fried rice or tteokbokki, you will enjoy this slightly spicy and creamy recipe as well! 

Before we get to our cheese kimbap recipe, let’s learn about Korean kimbap! 

What Is Kimbap?

One of my favorite Korean dishes to make and eat is kimbap (김밥). You may know that from our triangle kimbap recipe! Also known as gimbap, this Korean dish is made using rice, different filling ingredients, and dried seaweed. To make kimbap, you roll the rice and filling ingredients in the dried seaweed. Then, you cut the roll into bite-size pieces. People around the world often compare it to Japanese rolled sushi, but the two dishes are completely different. If you would like to learn the differences between the two, check out our blog post ‘Kimbap vs Sushi: What Is the Difference?’.

A bowl of kimchi fried rice on a cutting board.
Kimchi Fried Rice!

Korean kimbap does not have a single correct recipe and flavor. Instead, you can make kimbap based on what you want to eat! One day you may desire spam, radish, and spinach. Another day, you may want spicy tuna with kimchi. Kimbap has so many different flavor options!   

Classic kimbap flavors typically use ingredients such as ham, crabstick, pickled radish, carrots, egg, tuna, and more. With classic kimbap, you also typically use plain short-grained white rice. On the other hand, our cheese kimbap recipe uses kimchi fried rice instead of plain white rice. Also, the filling ingredient used is melted mozzarella cheese! 

Dried seaweed on a bamboo mat. The kimchi fried rice is sitting in the background.
Lay the Dried Seaweed on the Bamboo Mat. The Shiny Side Should Face Down.

When Do You Eat Kimbap?

In South Korea, people often eat kimbap as a cheap and convenient food! Often, you will find small kimbap restaurants near elementary, middle, high schools, and universities while walking around the cities. Typically, you can get a huge, fully stuffed kimbap roll for as little as $2. 

Many kimbap restaurants also serve inexpensive food such as tteokbokki, rabokki, and jjigae. If you ever go to a kimbap restaurant in South Korea, I recommend also ordering tteokbokki and dipping your kimbap in the spicy red sauce!

Kimchi fried rice spread overtop dried seaweed.
To Make the Roll, Spread the Kimchi Fried Rice on the Dried Seaweed.

Kimbap is also considered a perfect picnic food in South Korea. Restaurants will typically wrap the kimbap in tinfoil if you do takeout for a light picnic snack or meal. People also make kimbap at home while prepping for a full picnic meal. Often, picnic foods include fruit sandwiches, dumplings, potato salad, and more!  

Kimchi fried rice spread over dried seaweed. Then, cheese poured overtop the kimchi fried rice.
After Melting the Cheese, Pour it Over the Kimchi Fried Rice.

Cheese Kimbap Tips and Tricks

  • Before using newly bought gochugaru (Korean pepper powder), always taste a bit to know the spice level. With the same brand, I have had some bags of gochugaru taste much spicier than others. Then, when making the fried rice portion of this dish, alter the amount of gochugaru based on your spice tolerance and the heat level of your gochugaru. For our recipe, the spice level isn’t too strong. 
  • When rolling the kimbap, place a layer of plastic wrap between the bamboo rolling mat and the dried seaweed. This way, the plastic wrap protects the bamboo roll from getting too dirty. I find cleaning the bamboo mat to be a huge hassle when rice gets stuck between pieces of bamboo.
  • When slicing the cheese kimbap, let the cheese cool slightly and set. Otherwise, the cheese will ooze out of the individual slices and stick to the knife. You may get annoyed trying to cut the slices if you don’t let it set! 
  • Make sure your knife is sharp to cut the kimbap into pieces! Kimbap tears easily. If your knife isn’t sharp, and you need to saw back-and-forth, you may rip open the roll and cause the rice and fillings to fall out. 
  • If you don’t like Mozzarella, you can switch it out for American or other mild cheeses! I personally also enjoy different pizza blends.
  • You can easily order different Korean pantry ingredients online if they are unavailable in your area! For this recipe, you will need gochugaru, soy sauce, and sesame oil.
  • To make this recipe gluten-free, use gluten free soy sauce! On the other hand, if you want to make this recipe soy free, use coconut aminos. FYI, coconut aminos will make the dish gluten-free as well.
A roll of cheese kimbap. The cheese is oozing out of the roll.
Rolled Cheese Kimbap. Do You Like Cheese?

Cheese Kimbap Frequently Asked Questions 

Below are some questions about Korean kimbap. If you have further questions, let us know in the comment section below or emails us at [email protected].

What Type of Rice Should I Use?

When making kimbap, Koreans typically use white, short-grained rice. In our household, we use the Calrose style of white rice. This style of rice is most similar to the rice used in South Korea. You can find Calrose rice in most grocery stores and online. 

Sliced kimbap sitting on a yellow tray.
The Spicy Cheese Tastes So Yummy With the Creamy Cheese!!!!

Can You Make Kimbap in Advance?

You can make kimbap a few hours in advance and store it in the refrigerator. Unfortunately, you cannot make kimbap the day before. As the dish sits in the fridge, the rice hardens and becomes drier. As a result, the dish will not be tasty. 

What Should I Do With Leftover Kimbap?

Question: Well, if refrigerated kimbap doesn’t taste good past a few hours, what should I do with leftover Korean kimbap? 

If you have leftovers, instead of throwing away the dried-out kimbap, dip the slices of kimbap in a beaten egg and pan-fry them. The pan-frying method softens the rice again. In many ways, this method reminds me of jeon–Korean pan-fried pancakes made from different ingredients. 

Kimbap lined up on a yellow and blue tray.
Two Plates of Kimbap Rolls!

Did You Enjoy Cheese Kimbap Recipe? 

In the end, did you enjoy eating our cheese kimbap? Do you have a favorite kimbap recipe? If so, we would love to hear about it in the comment section! 

If you would like to read more articles about kimbap, check out the ones listed below. Also, we listed some of our other Korean recipes you may enjoy!

Kimbap Recipes and Articles:

Korean Food and Drink Recipes: 

Cheese filled kimbap on a yellow tray.
Look How Much Cheese Is in the Center of the Kimbap!!! Heaven!!!

If you have any questions or comments, you can also email us at [email protected].

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Cheese Kimbap (Korean Kimbap Recipe)

Recipe by Emily
5.0 from 1 vote
Course: Recipes, Entree, Side DishCuisine: KoreanDifficulty: Easy


Kimbap Rolls
Prep time


Cooking time




  • 2 TBSP Cooking Oil

  • 1 Cup Kimchi, Finely Chopped

  • 2 TBSP Kimchi Juice

  • 2 TBSP Soy Sauce*

  • 2 TBSP Gochugaru (Korean Chili Powder)

  • 1 TBSP Sugar

  • 2 Cups Cooked White Rice (Short-Grain Like Calrose)

  • 2 Green Onions, Sliced into Small Slivers

  • 1 TBSP Sesame Seeds

  • 1 TBSP Sesame Oil

  • 4 Sheets of Dried Seaweed

  • 2 Cups Mozzarella Cheese


  • First, cook your white short-grain rice via your preferred method. Once done, set aside for the recipe. You can use leftover rice for this recipe as well!
  • Heat a large frying pan or a wok over high heat. Once hot, add in your cooking oil. Once your oil is heated, add in the 1 cup of finely chopped kimchi and 2 TBSP of kimchi juice. Let your kimchi and kimchi juice cook until the juice is cooked all the way down. Only stir the mixture once in awhile. Then, add in your soy sauce and mix it with your kimchi. Let the soy sauce caramelize the kimchi a bit.
  • Turn down the temperature to medium-low. Add in your 2 TBSP of gochugaru and 1 TBSP of sugar. Mix everything together. Then, add the two cups of cooked white rice to the pan. With a spatula, break up the rice and mix the rice with all the ingredients until it is all mixed in. The rice should be bright red.
  • Remove the pan from heat. Then, add the chopped green onions, sesame seeds, and sesame oil to the pan. Once again, mix everything together. At this point, set your pan aside to let the fried rice cool enough to handle.
  • Prepare your seaweed and rolling mat. Place a sheet of seaweed on the bamboo mat. The shiny, smooth side needs to face down. Then add a handful of kimchi fried rice to the center of the seaweed. Using the rice spoon or your hands, spread out the rice onto the seaweed. Leave a 1 inch gap uncovered at the top of the seaweed.
  • Then, prepare your cheese one serving at a time. You need to melt the cheese each time you make a roll. For one roll, melt 1/2 cup of the cheese. You can do this over the stove top in a small sauce pan or via the microwave.
    -Sauce Pan: Over medium-low heat, melt the cheese in a small sauce pan. Stir continuously so you do not burn the cheese.
    -Microwave: Place the cheese in a microwave-safe container. Cook for 15 seconds and then stir. Repeat until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
  • Once the cheese is melted, pour it over the fried rice spread out on the seaweed. You should pour it on a straight line approximately 1/3 from the bottom of the seaweed.
  • Roll the seaweed around the cheese and up the the top with the bamboo mat. Then, lightly brush the last 1 inch of seaweed with water to press it against the rest of the roll.
  • Let the roll cool slightly until the cheese sets. Then, slice into bite size pieces.
  • Repeat 5-9 for the rest of your rolls. Then enjoy!!!


  • *For a gluten-free option, use tamari or gluten-free soy sauce. For a gluten and soy-free option, use coconut aminos.

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