Kimchi Quesadillas are the perfect combination of spicy delicious sour kimchi and cheesy Quesadilla. It’s crunchy on the outside and soft and gooey cheese on the inside with specs of zesty kimchi. It is the perfect party appetizer, lunch or snack idea – so give this a try!
What’s a Kimchi Quesadilla?
It’s the Mexican cheese Quesadilla but with cooked kimchi added to it which is wonderful because kimchi adds a great break in flavor and texture in between the cheese.
Kimchi Quesadilla is one of the latest Korean fusion food that I’m loving. I first had this at a snack shop in Santa Cruz couple years ago and I was quite skeptical at first because I’m always suspicious of fusion food. Usually they are not that good. 😝
But every now and then I find amazing fusion dishes and this was definitely one of them so I had to share. This also got my attention because I loved the name they had on their menu – they called it Kim-Dilla (KIMchi QuesaDILLA – get it?). Somehow it reminded me of Godzilla… lol.
My daughter ordered it and once I tried it, I was hooked. To me, it had a bit too much cheese compared to the amount of kimchi (also I don’t think it was authentic Korean Kimchi) and I found myself immediately thinking that I could make it better and it got me excited!!!
TIPs FROM JINJOO!
- use fully ripened, sour GOOD kimchi – when using cooked kimchi in recipes, use sour kimchi for best results.
- the amount of cheese is important – you may think that you can wing it and eye ball the amount of cheese in the quesadilla. Chances are (unless you are already a quesadilla expert 😝) you will probably end up not having enough cheese and then the tortilla will overpower everything. So roughly follow the amount of cheese I use (1.5 cup shredded per 1 quesadilla) and you will have a yummy result!
- best kimchi to buy – my favorite kimchi to use for cooked kimchi dishes is Chongga (종가집) kimchi that’s sold at Costco. The price is lot cheaper than Korean grocery stores so this is what I use for kimchi fried rice, jjigae and more – esp. when I run out of my own homemade kimchi. BTW, if you need a good easy Kimchi recipe, here is my Mak Kimchi recipe.
- thing about mexican cheese – ok so even though I said mexican cheese blend, it turns out of course, this is americanized mexican cheese.. according to Epicurious article, there’s no such thing as Queso Quesadilla in Mexico.. haha. so just use mild cheeses and that should be fine
How to make Kimchi Quesadillas
Servings: 4 Cook Time: 20 min Difficulty: EASY
- sour cabbage kimchi, chopped
- 4 Blend Mexican shredded cheese (Mild Cheddar, Montery Jack, Asadero, Queso Quesadilla) – or your favorite mild cheeses
- 8 inch flour or gluten free tortillas
- Toppings (Optional)
- sour cream, cilantro, green onions, perilla leaves
- Choose sour cabbage kimchi, drain the juice and chop them. Use the more white fleshy part of the cabbage if you can because it gives a great crunch to your Kimchi Quesadillas. Chopped kimchi should measure 1/2 cup (per my basic recipe).
- Based on your taste, choose one or all of cilantro, green onion and perilla leaves and chop them. Make a small bowl of each of the condiments so people can sprinkle what they like on their quesadillas.
- In a frying pan, add some butter (1~2 tsp per 1/2 cup of kimchi), kimchi, gochujang and saute on medium heat for 2 min or so. Then lower heat to medium-low and saute for 3 min or until kimchi looks shriveled up and cooked. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Let’s Make Kim-Dilla!
- For an 8 inch tortilla, spread out about 1.5 cup of shredded cheese per one quesadilla. (yeah, the picture only shows 1 cup, I tried that and it wasn’t enough cheese 😝) It seems like a lot of cheese but believe me, it makes all the difference. Add even more if you love cheese. Have the cheese and kimchi ready next to your stove.
- Heat a 10 inch or bigger nonstick frying pan on medium heat.
- Put a piece of tortilla on the pan. Add 1.5 cup of shredded cheese and spread it out. Sprinkle about 2 Tbs of cooked kimchi evenly on the cheese. Cover the top with another piece of tortilla. Press it down with a spatula.
- Cook Quesadillas for a total of 6-7 minutes on medium-low heat, until it’s browned on both sides and cheese, is fully melted. Turn it over a couple times to make sure it’s browned evenly on both sides. OPTIONALLY, add some butter in the pan while browning for extra rich and crispy tortilla. When cheese is fully melted, you will notice the middle area bubble up a bit and cheese oozing out. This is when you are done.
ALL DONE!! ENJOY!!!
Eat it right away so you can enjoy the ooey gooey cheese while it’s hot!!
- Kimchi Quesadillas are perfectly yummy on its own but to make it even better, serve with some herbs and sour cream as topping.
- try different herb toppings – Cilantro, Perilla and Green Onions all work well but in my opinion, Cilantro tastes best. It adds a bit of a pop and fresh flavor. But definitely try Perilla leaves and Green Onions, that will add more Korean twist!
Kimchi Quesadillas for a spicy SUPER BOWL party!
The Super Bowl is next weekend and although we will not be able to invite people for a party, I think you can certainly cook some yummy party dishes with just your loved ones at home. In addition to my Kimchi Quesadilla above, here are some Super Bowl party favorites that I usually like to make when I get invited~! 🎉🏈🎉
If you liked this recipe, please leave me a comment and ☆☆☆☆☆ rating below!
- 1/2 cup cabbage kimchi chopped
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 1/2 tsp Gochujang
- 3 cups Mexican Shredded Cheese mild cheddar, montery jack, queso quesadilla, asadero
- 4 pieces 8 inch flour tortillas or Mission has Gluten Free tortillas
- sour cream
- cilantro chopped
- green onions chopped
- perilla (kkaenip) leaves cut into strips or roughly chopped
- Choose sour cabbage kimchi, drain juice and chop them. Chopped kimchi should measure 1/2 cup (per my basic recipe).
Prepare all condiments/toppings
- Based on your preference, choose one or all of cilantro, green onion and perilla leaves and chop them. Personally, I think Cilantro tastes best. Perilla gets a little lost but if you don't like cilantro or want to make it more Korean tasting then def try it. Make a small bowl of each of the condiments so people can sprinkle what they want on their quesadillas.
- In a frying pan, add some butter (2 tsp per 1/2 cup of kimchi), kimchi, gochujang and saute on medium heat for 2 min or so and then lower heat to medium low and saute for 3 min until kimchi looked shriveled up and cooked. Remove from heat and set aside.
Let's make Kim-Dilla!
- For an 8 inch tortilla, measure 1.5 cup of shredded cheese per one quesadilla. My basic recipe will make 2 quesadillas. Have the cheese and kimchi ready next to your stove.
- Heat a 10 inch or bigger nonstick frying pan on medium heat.
- Put a piece of tortilla on the pan. Add 1.5 cup of shredded cheese and spread it out. Then sprinkle about 2 Tbs of cooked kimchi evenly on the cheese.
- Cover the top with another piece of tortilla. Press it down with a spatula.
- Cook the Quesadilla for a total of 6-7 minutes on medium low heat. Turn it over a couple times to make sure it's browned evenly on both sides. When the cheese is fully melted, you will notice the middle area bubble up a bit and cheese oozing out. This is when you are done.
- Eat it right away so you can enjoy the ooey gooey cheese while it's hot!!
Tips & Notes:
- Basic recipe makes 2 round 8 inch quesadillas and I considered 1/2 of a full quesadilla as 1 serving. Does not include nutrition facts for toppings.
- There are Low-Carb tortillas these days in addition to gluten free so you can try that if you want to reduce carbs.
- Add cooked chicken for added protein