Kimchi Grilled Cheese (with Hot Borscht)

It is really astonishing how often I eat kimchi grilled cheese with hot borscht in the winter. It is comforting, filling and deeply nourishing. The kimchi grilled cheese is fatty and salty. The borscht is tangy and a bit sweet. It’s just a perfect combo.

It is NOT a photogenic meal. Also every time I try to photograph it, I end eating it before I get a good shot and struggling to handle my camera with my greasy kimchi grilled cheese hands.

I did not invent kimchi grilled cheese. I learned about it from this food blog post in 2013 and have been making them ever since. More recently my grill cheese making recieved a major boost thanks to this technique for using mayonnaise instead of butter. If you read this blog often you may recall me waxing poetic about this method in a post about Crispy Grilled Cheese with Broccoli and Wasabi. If mayonnaise upsets you…I’m not so sure this is the food blog for you. I use less mayonnaise in the kimchi grilled cheese than in the Broccoli, if that helps. Anyway, I’ve been making my kimchi grilled cheese’s this way for a while now and only had not posted about it because I posted that other recipe for grilled cheese with broccoli and wasabi and didn’t want people to think I ate nothing but grilled cheese sandwiches… but truthfully I eat a kind of ridiculous number of grilled cheese sandwiches in the winter. I just do. They go so well with soup and it’s so cold out!

Also, a while back I was poised to post about kimchi grilled cheese made with mayonnaise instead of butter, when I suddenly saw that New York Time Cooking was featuring a recipe that also did this exact thing! It’s so silly, but I got all deflated about it. It is not as though NYT cooking has spies in my kitchen stealing my ideas and clearly it is a good idea that a number of people have come to. That’s how I’m talking about it now… but when it happened I was totally like that guy you knew from the local coffee shop you hung out at afterschool when you were a teenager. He was a little bit older than you and a total stoner (but also actually brilliant) and he absolutely came up with the idea for an internet cafe in 1988… but instead of going out an making it happen and becoming a millionaire he finished his his rant about this idea as he drank the last of his coffee and returned to work at the Radioshack next door. I was like THAT guy when I ran into him in again in 1993. I feel that big part of being Gen X is having lots of good ideas and zero willingness to capitalize on them.

My recipe is still unique though. I like aged gouda with my kimchi. It’s not the meltiest cheese but the flavor perfect. Also, I warm my kimchi in butter before adding to the bread, to assist the cheese in melting before the bread burns.

Now let’s talk about hot borcht. I have a really good hot borscht recipe. You should make it. In the fall, my farmshare sends all the ingredients for hot borscht in huge quantities and by the time the new year rolls around my freezer is wall to wall frozen borsct. Borscht actually tastes better after it’s been frozen. It likes to have time to blend. Maybe it’s just that hot borscht tastes better in dead of winter? You should eat hot borscht with kimchi grilled cheese.

Kimchi Grilled Cheese

Ingredients (for 1 sandwich)

  • 1/3- 1/2 cup kimchi (include some of the juice!)
  • 1/2 Tablespoon butter
  • 2 slices of bread that you like (I use gluten free)
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1-2 oz of grated aged gouda


  1. Chop the the kimchi into smaller pieced (optional but I prefer it this way). Melt the butter in a small fying pan. Cook the kimchi and it’s juice in the butter until it is warmed through and the juice has thickened up a bit. You can leave it over low heat and just keep an eye on it while you move forward with the recipe.
  2. Start to heat a large frying pan. spread 1/2 Tablespoon of mayonnaise on one side of each piece of bread. Put the bread into the hot pan with the mayonnaise side down. While that side browns, spread 1/2 Tablesopoon of mayonnaise on the other side of each piece of bread. I find that this is usually just the right amount of time for the first side. Flip the bread over. The first side should be starting to turn a bit golden. If it isn’t yet give it more time before flipping.
  3. Once the bread is flipped, put put half of the grated cheese on one slice and half on the other. Add the warmed kimchi on top of that. The warm bread and the warm kimchi should melt the cheese pretty fast.
  4. Put the sandwhich together and transfer it to a plate. Cut into two triangles and serve with Hot Borscht.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Irena Tarvid says:

    It’s a salivating joy even to read. I am glad that I just had my dinner. Thank you for the idea and recipe!

    1. Ha! You are very welcome. Happy New Year!

  2. Glenda says:

    I love you. I will make this wonderful combo when I get home. ❤️

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