Most people will tell you not to bother with leftover kimbap, but there’s no way I’m throwing it out if I don’t have to! So I decided to experiment with different ways of reheating it to see which methods softened the rice without ruining the fillings.
The best (and most traditional) way to reheat kimbap is to dip it in whisked eggs and pan fry it. The moisture from the egg holds the rice together and adds some moisture to soften it. If you’re in a hurry, you can also cover it with a damp paper towel and microwave it for a few seconds.
How I Tested Reheating Kimbap
I got a few of my favorite kimbap rolls from my local Korean takeaway and left them in the fridge overnight. The next day, I tested reheating them in the following ways:
- By pan frying with egg: Delicious.
- In the microwave: Quick and convenient.
- In a steamer: Okay for big portions.
- By deep frying: An indulgent treat.
I also look at how to transform your leftover kimbap into a delicious bimbap bowl.
Reheating Kimbap By Pan Frying
Time: 2-4 minutes
- Whisk some eggs in a bowl and dip the kimbap into the egg to coat it.
- Heat a pan with a bit of butter or oil over medium heat.
- Add the egg-dipped rolls.
- Fry for 1-2 minutes on each side.
If the egg coating doesn’t appeal to you, you can skip that and sprinkle some water into the pan when you add the rolls. Then cover the pan with a lid for the first 60 seconds to steam the rice and soften it.
Pro tip – use sesame oli if you have it!
Results: Pan frying the kimbap changed its essence, but I thought this was a good thing. You’ll never be able to recreate fresh kimbap, so mixing things up isn’t a bad idea! And this is the traditional way to reheat kimbap, it’s very common!
Reheating Kimbap In The Microwave
Time: 20-40 seconds
- Place the kimbap on a microwave-safe plate and cover it with a damp paper towel or place a glass of water inside the microwave.
- Heat on 50% power in 20-second intervals.
- Check the kimbap at every interval to avoid overheating and remove once slightly warm and the rice has softened.
You don’t need the kimbap to be piping hot, youre just looking for the rice to remoitsurize. One portion of rolls should be done after 20-40 seconds.
If you’re microwave doesn’t have the option for 50% power, then use 10 second timing intervals.
Results: The microwave method is quick and convenient and it did a good job of softening the rice without cooking the fillings too much. The rice wasn’t as sticky, and the nori was a bit soggy, but the kimbap still tasted nice!
Reheating Kimbap In A Steamer
Time: 1-2 minutes
- Prepare your steamer with simmering water.
- Place the kimbap in the steamer for 1-2 minutes.
- Remove the rolls once the rice is soft and let the kimbap rest for 30 seconds so excess water can evaporate.
You don’t need to the water to be aggressively boiling here, a very gentle simmer is enough.
And if you don’t have a steamer you can create a makeshift one by resting a plate on balls of foil in a pan, and covering the bottom of the pan with water.
Results: If you don’t have a microwave or you have lots of kimabp to reheat the steamer is an okay option. The veggies cooked slightly on the outside, but not all the way through and the nori was wet. The rice was nice and soft though!
Reheating Kimbap By Deep Frying
Time: 2-4 minutes
- Coat the kimbap rolls in egg wash and breadcrumbs, or you can go with a tempura batter.
- Heat a good amount of oil in a pan. Once hot, add the kimbap and fry for 1-2 minutes on each side.
- Remove and let the kimbap drain on a paper towel for 30 seconds before serving.
It’s important the oil is hot enough before you put the kimbao in, otherwise it will end up really greasy.
I test it by dropping a breadcrumb into it. If the oil sizles straight away, it’s hot enough. But if it takes a while to start bubbling, it’s too cold. If the breadcrumb burns straight away, the oil is too hot.
Results: Deep frying transforms the kimbap into a crunchy, indulgent treat. It’s a far cry from the original, but again I don’t see this as a bad thing!
Time: 3-4 minutes
- Deconstruct your kimbap rolls.
- Warm the rice in the microwave but sprinkling it with water and covering it with a damp paper towel. Microwave for 20-30 seconds.
- Top the warmed rice with the rest of the kimbap ingredients, adding and fresh toppings you like as well.
You need a fair bit of leftover kimbap to make this worth it – but if you feel like your bimbap is lacking you can always cook up some fresh rice or use random things from your fridge the bulk it out.
I always have carrots in my cupboard, so grated up some fresh carrots to go with mine. And a freshly fried egg is never a bad thing.
Results: Turning leftover kimbap into a bimbap bowl is a fantastic way to repurpose it. The rice regains some of its stickiness from microwaving, and the fresh toppings give it a new life.
How To Store Kimbap
Cover the leftover kimbap with a wet paper towel and wrap it as tightly as possible in plastic wrap. Keep the kimbap in the fridge for 1-2 days.
Can You Freeze Kimbap
If you want to freeze kimbap you can, just be aware that the texture of the rice and some fillings might change. The rice will be drier and less sticky, but if you use the egg-dip reheating trick, this doesn’t matter so much.
To freeze kimbap, wrap it as tightly as possible in plastic wrap followed by foil. Then place the wrapped rolls in a freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months. You can thaw the rolls (still wrapped) in the fridge overnight or on the counter in a few hours.
How To Reheat Kimbap [Tested Methods]
- 1 portion kimbap
- Whisk 1-3 eggs in a bowl and coat each kimbap roll in the egg wash.
- Heat a small amount of oil in a pan on medium heat.
- Fry the egg-coated kimbap rolls for 1-2 minutes on each side.