Kimchi and cheese is one of my favorite ingredient combinations of all time. The melty cheese mellows the spicy, savory flavors of kimchi in the most magical way. I often sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top of my kimchi fried rice or fold kimchi into a grilled cheese to enjoy those spicy, cheesy flavors. So I decided to mash it up in a baked cheesy dip, and the result is as incredible as it sounds!
The base of this cheesy baked kimchi dip combines three ingredients: mozzarella cheese, mayonnaise, and sour cream. They come together to form a creamy, cheesy base. Then, I simply stir in caramelized kimchi, scallions, garlic, and sprinkles of gochugaru and bake until bubbly.
I like to serve this with sliced baguette (or this cheesy garlic bread if you want to go all in on the cheese) or I slather it over toast for an easy version of kimchi grilled cheese! It’s truly the crowd-pleasing appetizer that you’ll want to make again and again.
Key Ingredients in Cheesy Baked Kimchi Dip
Scallions: Fresh scallions are crucial in this cheesy baked kimchi dip. They lighten things up while adding a wonderful savoriness.
Mozzarella cheese: Makes the dip magically cheesy. Plus, it’s a blank canvas flavorwise, which ensures that all the ingredients work together in harmony. Be sure to use low-moisture mozzarella cheese.
Cabbage kimchi: The main ingredient that makes this cheesy dip stand out. The key is to squeeze out the extra kimchi juice as much as possible, and then cook the chopped kimchi until it’s slightly caramelized to maximize the flavors.
Toasted sesame oil: Instead of cooking kimchi with regular oil, doing it in toasted sesame oil brings out more flavor while adding a fantastic nutty, toasted taste.
Sour cream: A little bit of tang from sour cream makes the dip balanced.
Gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes): Brings another level of heat. It’s not super spicy but rather floral, and the spiciness is tamed by all the creamy, cheesy elements in the recipe.
Granulated sugar: It balances all the salty, fermented, and umami-rich ingredients in the recipe while softening the sour flavors of kimchi.
If You’re Making Cheesy Baked Kimchi Dip, a Few Tips
Think of it as more than a dip. While this baked dip is delicious with chips and crudités, you can use it as a base for a cheesy baked pasta sauce or as a flavorful spread on your panini. You can even put this over rice to make cheesy rice. The possibilities are endless!
Caramelize your kimchi when sautéing. It’s important that the kimchi doesn’t add any excess moisture to the dip, so take your time cooking and caramelizing it before folding into the creamy mixture. There should be barely any moisture left in the pan when cooking the kimchi. And look for brown spots on your kimchi to see if it’s caramelized well.
Cheesy Baked Kimchi Dip Recipe
This spicy, cheesy baked kimchi dip is the perfect crowd-pleasing dip.
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 22 minutes to 25 minutes
Makes Makes about 3 cups
Serves 4 to 6
5 medium scallions
3 cloves garlic
1 pound low-moisture mozzarella cheese (about 4 cups shredded)
1 cup drained Napa cabbage kimchi
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon coarsely ground gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes)
2 teaspoons soy sauce or tamari
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
Chips, crackers, or crudités, for serving
Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 425ºF.
Prepare the following, adding each to the same large bowl as it is completed: Thinly slice 5 medium scallions (about 1 cup); reserve 2 tablespoons of the dark green parts for garnish. Mince 3 garlic cloves. Grate 1 pound low-moisture mozzarella cheese on the large holes of a box grater (about 4 cups).
Finely chop 1 cup drained Napa cabbage kimchi. Melt 1 tablespoon unsalted butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the kimchi and 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the kimchi is lightly browned and most of the moisture is evaporated, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to the bowl with the mozzarella.
Add 1/3 cup mayonnaise, 1/3 cup sour cream, 1 tablespoon gochugaru, 2 teaspoons soy sauce or tamari, and 1 teaspoon granulated sugar. Stir to combine. Transfer the mixture to an 8x8-inch broiler-safe baking dish or 10-inch cast iron skillet and spread into an even layer.
Bake until lightly browned on top and bubbling around the edges, 17 to 19 minutes. Switch the oven to broil and broil until the top is dark golden-brown in spots, 2 to 3 minutes. Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with the reserved scallions and serve with chips, crackers, or crudités.
Storage: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Reheat in a 425ºF oven until warmed through and the cheese is melted.