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Kimchi Grilled Cheese…the slightly grown-up version of everyone’s favorite childhood sandwich. Spicy kimchi, sharp cheddar cheese, and fresh basil, all sandwiched together between two slices of sesame (garlic) buttered sourdough bread. Pan cooked and finished off with a sprinkle of flaky sea salt and fresh chives. It might seem like an odd grilled cheese, but trust me, everything about this sandwich is SO GOOD. Think spicy veggies + melted cheese + buttery sourdough bread. Easy to make for lunch or dinner any day of the week.

overhead photo of Kimchi Grilled Cheese with knife on plate

Welcome back and hello to summertime, right?

Ahh, kind of, but not really…

After a long weekend with a mix of sun and clouds, but not a lot of warmth, I’m really hoping for sunnier skies. Looks like I will have to wait until at least the end of the week, as there is still snow in the forecast for today and tomorrow. Not going to lie, if the weather continues on the way it is, I may need to book an impromptu trip outta town. OMG, if it does not warm up around here I just may lose it. At least I will have some fun days back in the kitchen this week.

Fun question for you, if I high tail it out of Colorado this week, where is the BEST place to go this time year?

Kimchi in glass jar

Anyway, I’ve had this sandwich in the back of my head for months now. After hesitating for so long, I finally worked up the courage to share it. Lately I’ve been second guessing every single move I make, and over thinking absolutely everything. It’s been driving me slightly insane and making my brain hurt. So this weekend I gave up and decided to give myself a break. I’m kicking off the week with a new mindset, “go with your first thought and don’t think twice”.

We shall see how long this new mindset lasts for me. But the bottom line is that I really want to share this grilled cheese, and I felt like today is the perfect day. We’re coming off a long holiday weekend, probably feeling a little tired, and looking for an easy lunch or dinner. Am I right?

Grilled cheese is the ultimate easy meal. This kimchi grilled cheese is really just the grown-up version of the grilled cheese sandwich we ate as kids. And while I will not say it’s better, because a classic grilled cheese is also so GOOD. I will say that it’s incredibly delicious, and definitely what you need to be making today.

uncooked Kimchi Grilled Cheese before being cooking

As you can imagine, this is the easiest recipe to create. It takes maybe 15-20 minutes total, requires little to no chopping, and uses just one skillet. Hey, it’s a grilled cheese sandwich, we’re not getting too fancy here, just keeping things good.

Of course, I added some flavor, texture, and color. I mean, it’s me, I hope you would expect nothing less.

First up, let’s talk about this bread. You should use a nice crusty sourdough. No flimsy white bread here, use something good with a nice flavor. Then slather the bread with some garlicky sesame butter. Aka salty butter with a touch of garlic and raw sesame seeds. If you don’t like garlic, no worries, leave it out. But keep the sesame seeds, they toast up as the sandwich cooks in the skillet, and my gosh, they’re delicious.

Now, layer in some cheese. I like a mix of cheddar and fontina. Cheddar is sharp and has good flavor, while fontina is mellow and melts beautifully.

overhead close up photo of Kimchi Grilled Cheese

Onto the kimchi. I love Mother in Law’s Kimichi (which I get from Whole Foods). It’s the best I’ve come across, AND this is coming from someone who does not love kimichi. Wait, what? Yes, I don’t really enjoy kimichi…at least not on its own. I can find it to be a bit too intense to enjoy as is. But when sandwiched between cheese and bread…

Very much my preferred way to enjoy kimichi!

Finally, pan cook each sandwich and finish with flaky sea salt and chives. SO EASY. SO GOOD. It’s a touchy spicy, cheesy, loaded with vegetables, fresh basil, and has just the tiniest hints of garlic and salt.

overhead photo of Kimchi Grilled Cheese with sandwich broken in half to expose the cheese

I’m telling you, something about this time of year just makes me want to recreate all the foods of my childhood, but in a grown-up way. So far this year I’ve done chicken fingers, quesadillas, pizza, pasta salad, doughnuts, and peanut butter cup bars. All the foods I loved growing up, especially during the summertime.

And I realize that some of you may find this grilled cheese odd, but if you think about it, it’s just vegetables, cheese, and bread. So nothing that crazy or out of the norm, right? Yes, very normal, very good, and the best part? It’s incredibly easy. Meaning this grilled cheese should be lunch or dinner today.

It’s the obvious choice for the Tuesday following a long weekend. Grilled cheese makes life better!

overhead photo of Kimchi Grilled Cheese with half of the sandwich missing

If you make this kimchi grilled cheese, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!

Watch The How To Video:

Sesame Butter Kimchi Grilled Cheese

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories Per Serving: 519 kcal

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.



  • 1. In a small bowl, mix together the butter, sesame seeds, and garlic.
    2. Spread the outside of each slice of bread with sesame garlic butter. On the inside of half of the slices of bread, spread with Gochujang, then evenly layer the cheeses, kimchi, and basil. Add the top piece of bread, buttered side facing up.
    3. Place the sandwiches, one at a time, in the skillet and cook until golden on each side, about 3-5 minutes per side. Serve topped with chives, honey, and sea salt. 
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horizontal photo of Kimchi Grilled Cheese

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  1. 5 stars
    This is such a great recipe and so flavorful. I made it once and didn’t have basil – turned out delicious! Making it again tonight, this time with the basil, can’t wait to enjoy it again! Thanks for such a wonderful recipe!

  2. 5 stars
    I needed something simple, but not boring, and this was just the thing. I love anything with kimchi or gochujang! I was missing both sourdough and basil, but it was still awesome. I also forgot the honey and chives in the end. I guess that means I’ll have to make it again. 🙂

  3. I didn’t have all the ingredients but I wanted to make this anyway so I made do with just sourdough, butter, gochujang, kimchi, and sharp cheddar. It was so delicious. I’ll try it again with the full recipe but it’s good to know how tasty this is even with basic ingredients.

    1. Hey there,
      Wonderful! Thanks so much for making this dish, I am so glad to hear that it was enjoyed!! xTieghan

  4. Mind blown! This sandwich was amazing! I would have never thought of adding honey and it makes the sandwich taste a bit like an Asian inspired Croque Monsieur mixed with a Monte Cristo. I loved the complexity and richness of all the flavors.

    1. Hey Lisa,
      I am thrilled that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks so much for making it! Happy 4th of July!?? xTieghan

  5. 5 stars
    This grilled cheese turned out wonderful! One of my favourite recipes I’ve made from your website, Tieghan.

    I didn’t try the honey drizzle, but will give it a go next time. The sesame/garlic butter crust is the star of this dish, in my opinion. It turns out beautifully crispy in a cast iron skillet. I already have plans to try a version with sauerkraut or jalepenos instead of the kimchi.

    1. Hey Lou,
      Awesome!! I am thrilled that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks so much for giving it a go! xTieghan

    1. Hey there,
      Thanks so much for giving this recipe a try, I am so glad it was enjoyed. Have a great Wednesday! xTieghan

  6. 5 stars
    What a sandwich! Complex flavors with the ease of a grilled cheese sandwich. Top 5 on my sandwich list. Thank you!

  7. Tieghan, I’ll be making your kimchi grilled cheese next week. It looks great, and the comments are all positive. But I need your help. In the ingredient listings, you show a link for gochujang to thrivemarket. The only ingredient listed on that website is for gochugaru. Those are flakes. Gochujang is paste. Your video appears to use paste, which of course makes sense. So please confirm if you recommend paste or flakes. Assuming paste, which brand? Also Mother-in-Law, or another? Bonus question: what did you think of Harry’s comment on 5/28/19, vis-a-vis freshly purchased vs. aged kimchi? Thanks in advance for your advice!

    1. Hey there,
      Sorry for the confusion, yes you will want to use Gochujang paste, I like Mother in Law’s. I hope you love the recipe:) xTieghan

  8. 5 stars
    This tasted superb! My only complaint is that half a sandwich didn’t quite cut it for us…it was so good we needed a full sandwich each!

  9. Honestly, Tieghan, I made this as an experiment for me and my boyfriend a few months ago and it quickly became one of our staple sandwiches in our home!
    We made this one day when we had friends coming over and there was barely anything left for us to eat because our friends loved them too and devoured them! I had to make seconds!

    Thanks a lot for this, can’t get enough! ?

  10. I made this for my family last night and it was a hit! I never experienced Kimchi and now I don’t want it any other way!

  11. That thing screams deliciousness, I can’t wait to make it myself ;-). Though, I don’t currently have cheddar cheese at home and I usually cook with mostly white cheese. Is feta cheese or similar white cheese suitable for this recipe?

    I guess I may have to go get my self some cheddar now, I really want to try this.

    1. Hey Jenny,
      I wouldn’t recommend feta as it doesn’t melt like a cheddar, but any other cheese you enjoy will work. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  12. 5 stars
    Girl, this was exceptionally goooood!
    Such a good balance of flavours. I am going to be eating this all week!

  13. Making this tonight!! My only change is mixing the gochujang with mayo first to make into a creamier sauce inside 🙂 great recipe, and definitely lean into your new mindset!