Easy Spam Kimchi Fried Rice

Difficulty Easy

The best fried rice: 15-minute Spam Kimchi Fried Rice! A classic Korean meal or side dish that’s incredibly delicious. Old rice is flavored with kimchi and little cubes of salty Spam. An easy meal that’s made with pantry staples. Add a fried egg on top for the ultimate easy meal!

Spam Kimchi Fried Rice (Kimchi BokkeumBap)

Kimchi Fried Rice, also called Kimchi Bokkeumbap, is a popular and comforting Korean dish made from kimchi and leftover rice. “Bokkeum” means stir fry and “Bap” means rice. An easy way to use up old rice!

The beauty of this dish comes from combining bright and acidic kimchi with rich and salty Spam. Like peanut butter and jelly, kimchi and Spam are an iconic culinary pairing. Together, they transform day-old rice into something truly special.

To make, dice Spam into tiny cubes and fry until crispy with browned edges. The rendered fat from the Spam and the caramelized kimchi coats every last grain of rice with deliciousness!

In Korean cuisine, Spam Kimchi Fried Rice is a perennial favorite. A simple dish with incredible depth of flavor, it’s also very easy to make.

Double the recipe and bring to holiday potlucks, BBQs, and extended family meals. Or, enjoy as a cozy meal for two at home — you only need a few ingredients to make this stellar dish.

FYI, there are many different versions of Kimchi Fried Rice. Spam Kimchi Fried Rice is more indulgent and full of luscious, rich flavor from the Spam. Tuna Kimchi Fried Rice is made with canned tuna and has a leaner flavor. Kimchi Jumeok Bap is actually Kimchi Fried Rice rolled into snack-friendly rice balls. All different but all still very good!

When I don’t know what to cook, I make Spam Kimchi Fried Rice. Simple to make with a few basic ingredients. The perfect late-night snack or quick meal. Easy and delicious!

easy kimchi fried rice with fried egg and green onion garnish in bowl with spoon

Ingredients:

  • Spam. A processed meat product that is popular in Korean cooking. Spam adds salty, porky richness. My preference is 1/2 a can but my meat-loving partner loves a full can. Add however much you like! Also, a small dice (1/4 inch) adds little bits of porky flavor studded throughout the kimchi fried rice. A large dice (1-inch) adds big, meaty chunks. Again, choose the dice you prefer best.
  • Kimchi + Kimchi juice. Kimchi is a fermented food item and tastes very different depending on age. For fried rice, old kimchi is preferred. It will cook down into mellow deliciousness.
  • Rice. For the best texture, day-old rice is preferred. Do not use hot rice! Freshly cooked rice will be too mushy when cooked. I recommend short grain rice (also called Sushi rice) or medium grain rice (Jasmine, Calrose, Japonica). I don’t recommend long grain rice (Basmati or Carolina rice) as it will break apart when cooked. White rice is preferred but brown rice also works.
  • Gochujang Paste + Fish Sauce. The flavor boosters. Adds lots of umami flavor.
  • Sesame Oil. Add a drizzle of nutty aromatic sesame oil, right before serving.
  • Green onions. Optional but adds freshness and color.
  • Fried Egg. The Korean way to top any rice dish. A sunny side up egg is classic. Break the runny yolk with your spoon and let it drip all over the rice for extra flavor.
can of Spam

How to make Kimchi Fried Rice with Spam

  1. Cube Spam. Choose what you like best: A large 1-inch dice will give you meaty big chunks. A small 1/4-inch dice will give you more evenly distributed bits of porky flavor.
  2. Fry Spam. Add diced spam to a skillet. Cook until crisp and slightly browned. There’s no need to add oil — the rendered fat will seep out as it cooks.
  3. Caramelize kimchi. Add kimchi and cook until caramelized, orange, and soft. Enhances all that kimchi flavor to a concentrated intensity.
  4. Add rice. Add cold, leftover rice and continue cooking, mixing well with the spatula.
  5. Add flavor boosters. Add a small spoonful of gochujang and a sprinkle of two of fish sauce. Mix well.
  6. Serve. Garnish with a fried egg, a drizzle of sesame oil, and green onions. You can also add sesame seeds, furikake, or sriracha. Enjoy!
spam kimchi fried rice in bowl with green onion garnish on brown cutting board

PRO Tips:

  • OLD Kimchi tastes best! For the best result, use sour kimchi that’s old and well-fermented. Fresh kimchi will not taste the same in this recipe. When cooked, old kimchi becomes deliciously mellow and deeply flavorful.
  • Make sure rice is well coated. When cooking the rice and kimchi together, make sure every rice grain is well coated with kimchi, kimchi juice, and gochujang. The rice should be uniformly red with no white bits of rice.
  • Taste and adjust flavor. As a fermented food item, kimchi continues to change in flavor as its ages. At the end of the cooking process, taste and adjust: if it tastes too salty or spicy, add a pinch of sugar. If it tastes bland, add a sprinkle of fish sauce.

Essential Kitchen Tools:

  • Non-stick skillet or wok. A non-stick pan prevents everything from burning and sticking to the bottom of the pan. The kimchi juice and gochujang can become quite sticky and syrupy. A large skillet helps to toss and move around the kimchi fried rice. You’ll need more room than you think! A non-stick pan (affiliate) is easiest. But a non-stick skillet, seasoned carbon steel pan (affiliate), or wok (affiliate) will also work well.
  • Large spatula. A large Oxo fish spatula (affiliate) is my favorite multi-purpose tool for stirring and tossing fried rice.

FAQ

What if I don’t have old rice? Can I use fresh rice instead?

For fried rice recipes, the rice grains need to be hard, dry, and cold for best texture. Soft, freshly cooked rice is too soft and mushy.

If you don’t have leftover rice, simply cook rice as usual. Spread the hot, freshly cooked rice onto a sheet pan. Place in the fridge until cold and hard, about 30-45 minutes.

What is Spam? Why is it so popular in Korean food?

Spam is a popular canned pork product made by Hormel Foods, a US company based in Minnesota. It’s also very popular in Korean cuisine.

After the Korean War (1950-53), the US army widely distributed Spam during its occupation. Although Koreans first cooked with Spam out of necessity, they quickly incorporated it into Korean cuisine and made it their own. (For example, Budae Jjigae or Army Base Stew).

The fatty, salty flavor of porky Spam pairs especially well with Korean food! A little bit adds so much richness, flavor, and depth. It’s frequently cooked in jjigaes (stews), stir fries, and even pan-fried with egg wash.

Can I make this vegetarian?

Yes, Kimchi Fried Rice is easy to make vegetarian. Simply leave out the Spam and make kimchi fried rice without it. Also, make sure to use vegetarian kimchi as it contains small amounts of fish, shrimp, and other seafood.

More recipes with kimchi

spam kimchi fried rice with fried egg and green onion garnish in bowl with spoon

Spam Kimchi Fried Rice

The Subversive Table | Lis Lam
Fast and tasty, Kimchi Fried Rice with Spam is the easiest 15-minute meal or snack! A pantry meal that tastes like a feast! Nothing is tastier than a bowl of kimchi fried rice — incredibly delicious, full of BIG kimchi flavor, and so quick and easy to put on the table.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 17 minutes
Course Dinner, Lunch, Main Course, Snack
Cuisine Korean
Servings 2
Calories 409 kcal

Equipment

  • Large non-stick skillet

Ingredients
  

  • 1/2 package Spam, cubed (use the whole can for a meatier dish)
  • 1 1/2 cups kimchi + kimchi juice (old, mature kimchi preferred)
  • 1 Tbsp gochujang (Korean fermented chili paste)
  • 3 cups cooked rice (cold, at least 1 day old; short or medium grain preferred)
  • 1-2 Tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1-2 tsp fish sauce (to taste)

Garnish:

  • 1 fried egg
  • 1 tsp sesame seed oil
  • 1 green onion (chopped)

Instructions
 

  • Heat non-stick pan on medium heat.  Add oil to coat the bottom of the pan, about 1 Tbsp. Add cubed Spam and toss until crispy looking on the edges, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Add kimchi and the kimchi juice.  Mix thoroughly with pork and cook down until soft and caramelized, about 5 minutes. The color should change to an orange-y red color and the liquid should thicken. If the liquid evaporates too quickly, add more kimchi juice or lower the heat of the pan.
  • Add cold rice and sesame seeds.  Break up with a wooden spoon (or potato masher) until no clumps remain.  Mix thoroughly with kimchi and Spam until well combined, about 5 minutes.  Add sugar and fish sauce. Taste and add a sprinkle of salt, if needed.
  • Remove from heat.  Add sesame seed oil, and green onion.  Top with a fried egg and sriracha, if desired.  Enjoy!

Notes

This is a great way to use old, sour kimchi and leftover rice. If you do not have leftover rice that has been refrigerated, make rice and then spread it on a baking sheet to cool in the fridge for 30-45 minutes.
Tips:
  • OLD Kimchi tastes best! For the best flavor, use sour kimchi that’s old and well-fermented. Fresh kimchi will not taste the same in this recipe. When cooked, old kimchi becomes deliciously mellow and deeply flavorful.
  • Coat rice with seasoning. When cooking the rice and kimchi together, make sure every rice grain is well coated with kimchi, kimchi juice, and gochujang. The rice should be uniformly red with no white bits of rice.
  • Taste and adjust flavor. As a fermented food item, kimchi continues to change in flavor as its ages. At the end of the cooking process, taste and adjust: if it tastes too salty or spicy, add a pinch of sugar. If it tastes bland, add a sprinkle of fish sauce.

Nutrition

Serving: 0gCalories: 409kcalCarbohydrates: 74gProtein: 11gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0.01gCholesterol: 82mgSodium: 705mgPotassium: 318mgFiber: 3gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 275IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 111mgIron: 4mg
Keyword Kimchi Fried Rice
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
15 minutes, All Recipes, Breakfast + Brunch, Game Day Food, Gochujang, Kimchi, Korean, Pork, Potluck, Rice, Side, Snacks, Weeknight Meals

7 Comments

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  6. dimples.ling

    Yes! I’ve been waiting for this! Looking forward to more Korean dishes!

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