Kimchi Quesadillas

$1.90 recipe / $0.95 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
5 from 6 votes
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A couple of years ago I ate an appetizer at a restaurant that really wowed me — kimchi pimento cheese dip. I wouldn’t have ever thought about pairing kimchi and cheese together, but ever since I had it I’ve been obsessed with that combo. And since kimchi and eggs also go great together, it only made sense for me to start adding kimchi to my egg and cheese quesadillas (my favorite go-to quick meal). These kimchi quesadillas are the perfect mix of flavors and textures, they’re SO FAST to make, and all of the ingredients last a long time in the fridge, so they’ve quickly become my favorite low-effort, high-reward meal.

Cheese Quesadillas on a plate with a bowl of kimchi on the side.

Why I’m Obsessed with Kimchi Quesadillas

These kimchi quesadillas are incredibly simple to make and only require five simple ingredients: eggs, oil or butter (to cook the eggs), tortillas, cheese, and kimchi. You can make one at a time or more, but I promise, once you eat one you’re going to want seconds. ;) The way the cheese stays gooey on the inside, crisps up with the tortilla on the outside, and the kimchi makes everything a little tangy and spicy… it’s just perfection.

What is Kimchi?

Kimchi is a traditional Korean side dish made with fermented vegetables, like cabbage, radish, scallions, garlic, ginger, and sometimes other vegetables depending on the recipe. It’s flavored with gochugaru (a Korean chili powder) and salted seafood. The flavor is savory, tangy, spicy, salty, and full of umami. It’s served with almost every meal as a small side dish or condiment. The tangy, spicy, salty flavor of kimchi really adds a ton of flavor and dimension to whatever you eat it with, including an egg and cheese quesadilla!

Where to Find Kimchi

Although Kimchi is a staple in Korean cuisine, it is growing in popularity in the U.S. and most major grocery stores now carry at least one brand of kimchi. Because it’s a fermented food containing live cultures, you’ll usually find it in the refrigerated section of grocery stores, near other fermented products like yogurt, fresh sauerkraut, and pickles, or even sometimes near tofu and tempeh.

Even better yet, if you have an Asian grocery store near you, you’ll be able to find several types of authentic kimchi for really good prices compared to large chain U.S. grocery stores.

A hand holding a stack of kimchi quesadillas showing the cheese and filling.
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Kimchi Quesadillas

5 from 6 votes
Kimchi quesadillas are an easy to make quick meal or snack that use only a few simple ingredients to pack a huge flavor punch.
Overhead view of sliced kimchi quesadillas on a plate.
Servings 2 (1 quesadilla each)
Prep 5 minutes
Cook 15 minutes
Total 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup kimchi ($0.78)
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese ($0.58)
  • 2 flour tortillas (8" diameter) ($0.40)
  • 1 Tbsp butter or oil ($0.04)
  • 2 large eggs ($0.18)
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Instructions 

  • Roughly chop the kimchi into smaller pieces. Cover half of each tortilla with shredded cheddar cheese, then add the chopped kimchi on top.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium, then add the butter or oil. Fry or scramble the eggs in the butter or oil until they reach your desired doneness (I like over-medium).
  • Transfer the cooked eggs to the tortillas, placing them on top of the kimchi. Fold the empty side of the tortilla over the filled side to close.
  • Transfer the folded quesadillas back to the same skillet used to cook the eggs and continue to cook over medium heat until the cheese is melted and the tortilla is browned and crispy on each side.
  • Slice the cooked kimchi quesadillas in half and enjoy!

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Nutrition

Serving: 1quesadillaCalories: 331kcalCarbohydrates: 16gProtein: 16gFat: 23gSodium: 593mgFiber: 1g
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Side view of a stack of kimchi quesadillas on a plate.

How to Make Kimchi Quesadillas – Step by Step Photos

Chopped kimchi on a cutting board with shredded cheddar in a measuring cup on the side.

To make two kimchi quesadillas, roughly chop ¼ cup of kimchi into smaller pieces. Measure ½ cup of shredded cheddar cheese.

Cheese and kimchi covering half of two tortillas.

Divide the cheese and kimchi between two 8-inch flour tortillas, covering only one side of each tortilla (the empty side will be folded over top to close).

Two fried eggs in a skillet.

Next, fry two large eggs in a skillet with a tablespoon of oil or butter. I like to fry my eggs over medium for quesadillas, but you could also scramble them if that’s easier.

Eggs added on top of cheese and kimchi in the tortillas.

Place one fried egg on top of the cheese and kimchi in each quesadilla. Fold the empty half of the tortilla over the filled side to close.

Toasted quesadillas in the skillet.

Return the folded quesadillas to the skillet used to cook the eggs and continue to cook over medium heat until the cheese is melted and the tortillas are golden brown and crispy on each side. Don’t worry if some of the cheese spills out, that will just create extra crispy goodness!

Sliced quesadillas on a cutting board.

Transfer the cooked quesadillas to a cutting board, slice in half, and enjoy! To keep the filling from spilling out when you cut them, use a pizza cutter or large knife and cut from the outside edge in toward the folded side.

Close up side view of a stack of kimchi quesadillas.

Soooo cheesy, sooo tangy!

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Comments

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  1. Oh my goodness!!! The flavors were so amazing together. Definitely will make again. Thanks!

  2. Thanks to everyone who gave me ideas about finding an acceptable brand of kimchi. Although none of the suggested brands seemed to be available in my local stores, I did find a vegan product, Cleveland brand, that was absolutely delicious–sour, tangy and with none of the funk that turned me off of previous experiences. I bought the mild–thinking of funk, not spice–but it still had a nice zing. But I will get a spicier version next time. It was way more fun for my tastebuds than saurkraut!!!

    1. Awesome!! I hope you have fun experimenting with it. I add it to all my random bowl meals. :)

  3. Made these tonight for a solo dinner. Spicy! Savory! Delicious! I used Kroger Simple Truth Korean style kimchi, which is vegan. I would love to try these with kraut next time.

  4. I’ve been staring at a jar of kimchi in my fridge, and this was the perfect recipe for it! Easy and delicious. I would also love to see a kimchi pimento cheese recipe 🤤

  5. I love kimchi, and just made a batch of pimento cheese this weekend!! Now I’m thinking about stirring in some kimchi………………and then wouldn’t THAT make a delicious quesadilla…………

  6. Made this for lunch! It was delicious, a perfect mashup of cheese, spicy, tangy. Now I want kimchi pimento cheese

  7. What kimchi do you use? Are there milder brands for a beginner? Do you make it yourself. I love cabbage; I love hot and spicy foods; I love pickles;–why have I hated kimchi every time I’ve tasted it?

      1. Absolutely! And you can’t even imagine some of the fermented foods I ate as a child–silage, etc–on the farm. My dad said he wouldn’t feed his milk cows anything he wouldn’t eat himself, so my sister and I munched on all kinds of weird stuff, most of it tasting like not salty pickles. My favorite thing was fermented pea vines–absolutely nothing but pea vines in a covered bunker, so no seasonings for the cows.

        I’ve tried kimchi, with no joy–but as thinking that there might be different levels and maybe one for beginners.

        1. JANMAUS Wow what a childhood :) So I tried a version from my local walmart a couple of years ago, and it was so smelly and off-putting that I wrote off kimchi altogether (not bad, but really different than I was expecting and smelled up the whole kitchen). I am like you in that I enjoy fermented/hot/spicy/pickle flavors, so I was disappointed and surprised I didn’t like that particular version. But a couple weeks ago I decided to try again, and I got a different brand Ocean’s Halo (I think from walmart again). It was mild-ish, and the cabbage flavor came through. Not too spicy, but really flavorful. If you see it at the grocery store you might want to give it another go.

    1. If you’re looking for a mild, beginner friendly store-bought kimchi, Sunja’s might be a good place to start! It’s vegetarian, crunchy, and I think might feel familiar if you’re used to eating sauerkraut/other fermented veg. If you can’t find that, perhaps try vegetarian versions first. But, honestly, kimchi just might not be for you! I bet this quesadilla would be great with sauerkraut.

      1. Seconding the suggestion to try veg/vegan brands. The fermented shrimp that is in traditional kimchi is too much for my US-raised nose, even if my mouth and my microbiome love it!

    2. I recommend Firefly Kitchen’s kimchi, it’s more like a kimchi/sauerkraut hybrid. I’m not always the biggest fan of kimchi but I love their version

    3. If you live near a Trader Joe’s, I think their kimchi is the best I’ve ever tasted. Trying this recipe today!!

    4. I didn’t like kimchi at first because the pungent fishiness was a bit too much for me. But then I tried some vegan brands and I liked those quite a bit, even if it’s not exactly authentic. Wildbrine is a good one, although a bit on the expensive side.

      1. Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to give me tips. TJ’s is about 80 miles away, but I’m sure I can find at least one of the recommended brands in a local store or mail order–I’ll definitely look, because I can’t believe there is something a billion or so folks like that I don’t. That sort of number encouraged me way back in the 1970s to keep trying fresh cilantro to the point that it’s never not in my fridge, and I’ve completely subsumed the soap taste–adore it’s fresh taste now despite a lingering hint of soap. I’ll let you know!