Kimchi grilled cheese recipe takes over social media, how to make it at home

Kimchi, a staple Korean side dish traditionally made of salted, seasoned and fermented cabbage, has shot to star ingredient status in food TikTok's first viral recipe of 2023: kimchi grilled cheese.

Whether you're team butter or mayonnaise to achieve a perfectly golden crust, or shredded cheese or slices to create the ultimate cheese pull, nothing says American comfort food quite like a grilled cheese sandwich.

The addition of tangy, slightly spicy and salty kimchi takes the sandwich to the next level in both flavor and texture.

While kimchi is typically served as banchan -- small side dishes often served with rice and a protein or another main dish -- it can be used in a multitude of recipes from fried rice and ramen to the filling in dumplings, or mandu.

Korean-born American cookbook author and wildly popular food YouTuber Maangchi has become an online authority on all things Korean fare. She first shared her recipe for the now-viral Korean-American mashup on TikTok back in March 2021, but food creators across platforms have since hopped on the trendy kimchi grilled cheese train en masse.

The recipe search term has racked up over 1.5 billion views on TikTok alone.

For those looking to try their hand at kimchi rather than buying it from a store, Joanne Molinaro, "The Korean Vegan" cookbook author and YouTuber, recently shared a video for homemade kimchi while recalling memories of her maternal uncle's wife teaching her to make it properly, salting the napa cabbage leaves individually to ferment properly and tearing versus chopping the leaves to keep them intact.

Nicole Keshishian Modic, cookbook author, food creator and founder of KaleJunkie, regularly tests out trending recipes and shared her spin on the viral grilled cheese with "Good Morning America," which uses an air fryer instead of a skillet and store-bought kimchi. Check out her full recipe below to recreate it at home.

Air Fryer Kimchi Grilled Cheese

"All is can say is WOW," the food creator wrote alongside her video of the dish. "So simple and so incredibly delicious and who doesn’t need an excuse to get more fermented foods in, because #guthealth!"


2 slices sourdough bread ⁣

3 slices cheddar cheese

1/2 cup kimchi⁣

Butter or vegan butter, melted⁣


Add cheese and kimchi to one slice of the bread. Cover with the other side. Brush both sides with melted butter. Air fry at 400 for 10 minutes flipping at the 5 minute mark. Cut in half and enjoy!⁣

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