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Kimchi Grilled Cheese with Black Garlic

If you’re looking for something new and exciting, look no further than this sandwich of Kimchi Grilled Cheese with Black Garlic! This savory sandwich combines gooey, stringy cheese with the spicy tang of fermented kimchi. Sweet umami flavors in black garlic complement an earthy sourdough bread that gets perfectly griddled on both sides. The flavors are beyond delicious.

Four kimchi grilled cheese sandwiches stacked on top of each other.

Grilled cheese is a childhood classic and all-time favorite comfort food. Who can resist the lure of warm, oozing cheese dripping out of crispy grilled bread?

But, if that’s the only grilled cheese you’ve had, you need to step up your grilled cheese game.

Let me introduce you to the world of gourmet grilled cheese.
Have you ever put kimchi on a grilled cheese sandwich?

It may seem odd at first, but trust me, this kimchi grilled cheese with black garlic aioli will change the way you think about the classic sandwich.

The kimchi adds a spicy, salty, tangy flavor to the traditional grilled cheese. Especially in this recipe, we use mild cheese so that the kimchi won’t compete with sharp flavors like cheddar or parmesan.

Melted cheese oozing out of a kimchi grilled cheese sandwich.

The Ingredients:

Here is what you need for this epoch kimchi grilled cheese sandwich. 

  • Kimchi. Kimchi is a traditional Korean side dish consisting of fermented vegetables, including cabbage and radish. You can make your own at home or buy it at the grocery store.

    Kimchi, while being tasty, is full of health benefits. Since it is fermented, it goes through a lacto-fermentation process and creates probiotics in the vegetables.
  • Bread. To go with the tanginess of the kimchi, reach for a sourdough bread for this grilled cheese sandwich. Like the kimchi, the sourdough also goes through a fermentation process, resulting in the sour-ish taste. If you have your own sourdough starter, you can make homemade sourdough bread. There is nothing better than the smell of freshly baked bread wafting through the house. 
  • Cheese. Skip the processed American cheese. For this sandwich, we used provolone or gouda. Use both if you like. Has anyone ever complained about too much cheese?

    Provolone cheese is an aged cheese with a mild taste. It gets creamy and smooth when melted.  

    If you like an even meltier cheese with a slightly smokey undertone, then try out some gouda in your sandwich. Some other great ideas for your cheese are Havarti, Fontina, or Muenster. 
  • Black garlic aioli. This kimchi grilled cheese isn’t complete without its secret sauce: the black garlic aioli.

    Black garlic gives the aioli a complex, sweet, savory, umami flavor that amplifies the sandwich. You can purchase black garlic and make the aioli yourself, or you might be able to find black garlic mayonnaise in the grocery store. I have tried the store-bought version but our homemade aioli is much better. 
A black garlic kimchi grilled cheese sandwich on a plate with chips.

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Some Other Recipes We Are Sure You Will Love:

Our Cheese Stuffed Pasta Shells are delicious and quick to make, especially on a hectic weekday. This is comfort food at its best. 

If you like pork fried rice, this kimchi fried rice is a must-try. It’s spicy, tangy, and flavorful! Kimchi gives the rice mixture a wonderful spicy taste and a deep umami flavor.

These savory Kimchee-Pork Pancakes are delicious as an appetizer or main meal. They are loaded with ground pork, fresh chives, bean sprouts, and kimchee.

Four kimchi grilled cheese sandwiches stacked on top of each other.

Black Garlic Kimchi Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Yield: 2 sandwiches
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

Sweet black garlic aioli, spicy kimchi, and oozy melted cheese get sandwiched between crisp sourdough bread. It is a unique combination that creates sweet, salty, and umami flavors for an unforgettable sandwich.


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 slices of sourdough bread
  • 2 tablespoons black garlic aioli
  • 6-8 slices Provolone or Gouda cheese
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup kimchi, drained and coarsely chopped


  1. Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add a dollop of butter to the skillet and let it melt.
  2. Place the bread slices in the skillet and cook one side for about 2 minutes until warm and light golden brown. 
  3. Place the bread slices, toasted side up, on the counter and spread with black garlic aioli.
  4. Place half of the cheese on 2 slices of the bread then top with the kimchi. Cover the kimchi with the rest of the cheese. 
  5. Close the sandwich with the toasted side of the bread facing the cheese. 
  6. Add another dollop of butter to the skillet. Swirl it around until it melts and coats the skillet. 
  7. Lay the sandwiches in the melted butter and cook for 3 to 5 minutes on each side until the cheese is melted and the sandwich is toasted. 


  • Toasting the bread that is on the inside of the sandwich will prevent the bread from getting soggy. It will also warm the bread up a bit and help speed up the melting process for the cheese. 
  • Keeping the kimchi between two layers of cheese will hold the sandwich together and prevent the kimchi from making the bread soggy. 
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 800Total Fat: 44gSaturated Fat: 22gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 20gCholesterol: 103mgSodium: 1699mgCarbohydrates: 69gFiber: 3gSugar: 7gProtein: 32g

Nutrition information is a guideline only, is calculated automatically by third-party software, and absolute accuracy is not guaranteed.

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