Home Recipe IndexKorean Recipes Kimchi Rice Balls (Kimchi Jumeokbap) 

Kimchi Rice Balls (Kimchi Jumeokbap) 

by Emily
A side shot of kimchi rice balls on a grey plate.

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Do you enjoy picnicking during the warmer months of the year? If so, try adding kimchi jumeokbap, otherwise known as Korean kimchi rice balls, to your picnic repertoire! Or, instead, you can also make these for a simple meal at home. 

In South Korea, people often make these quick and easy rice balls as a rice-based filling ingredient in packed lunches. Previously, I wrote about Korean rice balls when I published my basic jumeokbap recipe. Now, I want to introduce you to these kimchi-based rice balls!  These are a favorite in our household, as my husband’s mother always made these for him when he went on school field trips!

A side shot of kimchi rice balls next to spam.
Try Making These Kimchi Rice Balls!

What Is Jumeokbap?

Like I stated in my basic Korean rice ball recipe, the term ‘jumeokbap’ (주먹밥) literally translates from Korean to English as ‘fist rice.’ The word ‘jumeok’ (주먹) means ‘fist,’ while ‘bap’ (밥) translates to ‘rice.’

To make this Korean rice-based dish, you form a handful of cooked rice into the shape of a ball inside your fist. Some common ingredients include canned tuna, ground meat, dried seaweed, spam, corn, carrots, and more! There is no rule–You can add anything that you think will taste good! 

Like kimbap (such as our cheese kimbap or tuna kimbap), triangle kimbap, or mayak eggs, jumeokbap is a common ingredient in ‘dosirak’ (도시락), otherwise known as a Korean packed meal or lunchbox. People often pack these dosirak to eat on school field trips, picnics, and more!

Kimchi Rice Balls Tips & Tricks:

Now that we learned about jumeokbap, we wanted to give some tips & tricks to help you make this kimchi rice balls recipe! Interestingly, you make this recipe much like you would making kimchi fried rice (kimchi bokkeumbap)! 

Let us know if these tips help you prepare this recipe at home! If you have any questions, leave a comment below or email us at [email protected].

An overhead shot of kimchi jumeokbap next to spam on a gray plate.
Often, People Serve Rice Balls in Dosirak! Spam Is Another Ingredient Added to Dosirak.

Kimchi Jumeokbap Tips & Tricks:

  • Use Souring Kimchi: In South Korea, people typically eat fresh kimchi raw. They often use souring kimchi to fry or cook with! Souring kimchi and its juice give this jumeokbap extra flavor!
  • Chop All Filling Ingredients Into Bite-Size Pieces: Chopping the ingredients into bite-size pieces allows the ingredients to hold together more easily. Not only that, it makes these kimchi rice balls easier to eat! 
  • Use Fresh or Leftover Rice: For this recipe, you can use old, leftover rice or freshly cooked rice. Either way, you will fry the rice with your caramelized kimchi and other ingredients. 
  • Use Biodegradable Disposable Gloves: The rice used to make this dish is incredibly sticky. In Korea, restaurants provide plastic gloves so the rice does not stick all over your hands. People also use them when preparing this dish at home. We recommend using biodegradable gloves if you do not want to handle the rice and clean your hands.
  • OR, Prepare a Warm Bowl of Water: If you do not wish to use disposable gloves, you can prepare these kimchi rice balls using your bare hands. If you do, I recommend keeping a glass of warm water next to you. Dip your hands before handling the rice. It helps to partially prevent the balls from sticking. 
  • Use a Measuring Cup to Help Press the Balls: If you are struggling to make the rice balls, I recommend filling a measuring cup and pressing the rice tight. Then, remove it from the cup and press with your hands into the proper round shape. Also, this helps you make the balls the same size! 
A closeup shot of multiple kimchi rice balls on a gray plate.
Delicious! Fried Kimchi Jumeokbap!

Kimchi Rice Balls Frequently Asked Questions: 

Now that we learned some tips & tricks for making this recipe, we want to answer some questions you may potentially have about kimchi rice balls as well! If we do not answer your question, feel free to leave a comment in the section below or email us at [email protected]

How Big Should I Make These Rice Balls?

You can make these rice balls any size. In our basic jumeokbap recipe, we made the rice balls smaller, the size of one or two bites. Here, we made the rice balls larger. I made the pictured kimchi rice balls by packing a ⅓ measuring cup full of the rice mixture before forming them. 

A side shot of 5 kimchi rice balls on a gray plate.
Do These Look Delicious to You?

How Should I Store the Leftovers?

To store leftovers, place the rice balls into an airtight container. Then, place the container in the refrigerator. To reheat, cook the rice balls into the microwave.

How Long Can I Store the Leftovers?

I recommend eating the leftovers within one or two days. Rice gets harder the longer it stays in the refrigerator. 

What Should I Serve With These Kimchi Rice Balls?

Often, people serve protein and banchan next to jumeokbap in packed lunch boxes. You can add items such as:

Kimchi rice balls sitting next to spam.
Learn How to Make Kimchi Rice Balls Below!

We Hope You Enjoyed Learning How to Make These Kimchi Rice Balls!

In the end, we hope you enjoyed learning how to make this kimchi rice balls recipe! If so, let us know in the comment section! 

If you would like to read more about cooking, you can find further recipes on our blog. We listed some of our favorite Carving A Journey Korean recipes below! For reference, many recipes are influenced by our blended Korean and Southern heritage.

How to Articles: 

Further Carving A Journey Korean Recipes:

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

And, finally, we would love to hear from you through our social media as well! You can follow us at @carvingajourney on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest. I also started a vlog Youtube channel! Or, if you would like more articles like these, you can subscribe to our blog by joining our mailing list. Let us know if you made this kimchi rice balls recipe! Thank you so much for stopping by!

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Kimchi Rice Balls (Kimchi Jumeokbap) 

Recipe by Emily
5.0 from 1 vote
Course: Recipes, Side Dish, Korean RecipeCuisine: KoreanDifficulty: Easy


Rice Balls
Prep time


Cooking time




  • 1/2 TBSP Neutral Oil

  • 1 Cup Kimchi (and Juice), Chopped Small

  • 1/4 Cup Yellow Onion, Minced

  • 1/2 TSP Sugar

  • 1 1/2 TSP Gochujang

  • 1 TSP Gochugaru

  • 2 Cups Rice, Fresh or Leftover

  • 2 TBSP Toasted Sesame Seeds

  • 2 TSP Toasted Sesame Oil

  • 2 Sheets Kim (Dried Seaweed Sheets), Torn Into Small Pieces

  • Furikake, To Taste


  • First, chop the kimchi into bite-sized pieces and mince the yellow onion. Set aside.
  • Heat a non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Once warm, add the neutral oil (such as olive or canola oil) to the pan and heat. When hot, add the kimchi, kimchi juice, minced onion, sugar, gochugaru, and gochujang to the pan. Cook until the kimchi and onions are caramelized.
  • Next, turn down the heat to low. Add the rice and sesame seeds to the pan. Using a wooden spoon, mix the rice into the kimchi mixture. Use the spoon to break down any rice chunks. Mix until the rice is separated and well coated with the kimchi mixture.
  • Transfer the mixture to a large bowl to cool slightly. Add the toasted sesame oil and dried torn seaweed sheets to the rice and kimchi mixture. Using a rice spoon or your hands (wearing disposable gloves), mix in the toasted sesame oil and seaweed sheets.
  • Using the disposable biodegradable gloves* and a 1/3 measuring cup, make the rice balls. Press the balls tightly to keep the shape.
  • Finally, sprinkle furikake over the top. Enjoy!


  • *If you do not want to use the gloves, read how to keep the rice from sticking to your hands in the tips & tricks section of this post.

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Erika January 14, 2024 - 10:47 am

When I saw this recipe my thoughts were what a cool idea and was super excited to try this recipe…I made them last night, followed the directions using fresh sticky rice. They didn’t have much flavor, something was missing (I added some additional onion powder, little bit garlic powder and salt). I had a hard time getting the rice to stick together to form balls. I used an ice cream scoop and pressed hard to form the balls and that did help.

Emily January 16, 2024 - 11:13 am

Hi Erika! Thank you for the comment! Let me help you out a little so that they are easier to make next time! I’m sorry this was a bit difficult of a difficult recipe!

First, did you use sour, older kimchi? In my tips and tricks section I made sure to mention this as it has a stronger more pungent flavor than fresh kimchi. Further, when making this recipe I also recommended furikake as it adds the extra saltiness and umami flavor at the end. Forming rice balls can definitely be difficult. For that reason, I alway recommend pressing hard to form the balls using a measuring cup and gloves (or wetting your hands with water). That was a good idea to use the ice cream scoop! I’ve never done it that way so I will try it as well! My family in Korea form their jumeokbap using gloves and balling them in their hand. While they typically make smaller balls, I like serving these kimchi fried rice ones on the larger side in my household…you can try making these smaller as that may help you form them better.

I hope this helps! Let me know if you still have further difficulty!


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