Take tangy, spicy pickled cabbage and put it into stuffing! My family has been making it for Thanksgiving since immigrating from Korea to the United States.
Kimchi Stuffing? What? Yup. I take that tangy, spicy pickled cabbage and put it into my stuffing. My family has been making it since we immigrated to the States. Because, like any good Korean family, we can’t imagine a meal without kimchi!
My family moved to America in the late 70s and adopted so many American traditions. Thanksgiving was one of our favorite holidays, because it revolved around food. We love to eat, and we love to cook. This was a holiday made for us! Any excuse to cook too much food and stuff our bellies sounded like a holiday made in heaven.
Each year, we used to make two stuffing recipes: one boxed stuffing mix purchased at the store and one Korean kimchi stuffing that my mom invented. After years of doing this, we realized that no one touched the boxed stuffing, but the kimchi stuffing plate was licked clean. So, now we only make our family’s recipe: Stuffing with loads of kimchi throughout.
I typically make the recipe with stale French or sourdough bread, torn or cut into chunks and mixed with chopped kimchi, onions, celery, walnuts, and garlic, baked until a little brown and crispy on top. It’s a beautiful combination of spicy and tangy, nutty, and aromatic all at once. It’s the perfect accompaniment to a Roasted Turkey.
We can’t imagine Thanksgiving without it.
Tips for Making Kimchi Stuffing
Kimchi stuffing is really just a version of your favorite stuffing with kimchi added. The trick is to add the kimchi juices and make sure that you reduce the liquid a bit to get it crispier on the edges. Here are a few tips and tricks to achieve the perfect Thanksgiving stuffing:
- The staler your bread, the better. You might even tear/chop your bread the night before and leave it out to get drier on the counter. This keeps your stuffing from getting soggy.
- If you don’t have stale bread, you can use a fresh loaf, but dry it out in the oven a bit first. Tear or cut it into about 1/2-inch pieces and lay the pieces out on a baking sheet. Bake in a 250°F oven for about 45 minutes, tossing a couple of times throughout the baking process.
- The riper the kimchi, the tastier the stuffing. Sure, you can use fresher kimchi to make stuffing if that’s all you happen to have in your fridge. But the more fermented your kimchi, the tangier it’ll be, adding an additional depth of flavor.
- If you don’t have time to make homemade kimchi, you can always get a jar from the store. Any brand will do, since you’re going to cook it with all the other good stuff, like nuts, vegetables, and seasoning.
- Feeding a crowd? You can easily double the recipe and make two pans of kimchi stuffing. That’s what I do every year at Thanksgiving. You can also half the recipe for a weeknight meal with your family.
Swaps and Substitutions
Years ago, when we bought our house, I tore out the front lawn and put in an edible garden. We’re lucky enough to have fresh herbs growing year-round, which means I love to fill our stuffing with a variety of fresh herbs—sage, rosemary, parsley, oregano, and thyme. But you can just stick to one, if you’d like, or even use your favorite dried herbs.
Swapping out herbs is just one idea, you can also change the broth, the bread or skip the nuts.
Here are a few other ideas:
- Instead of chicken broth, you can use vegetable broth, orange juice, or pineapple juice to moisten the bread a bit.
- You can substitute an old sourdough loaf or any other crusty bread. Just don’t used sliced sandwich bread.
- Feel free to leave out the nuts.
Make Ahead and Storage Instructions
If you have any leftover stuffing, let it cool to room temperature. Then, place in an airtight container or zip-top bag and refrigerate. It’ll keep in the fridge for about a week. Do not freeze, though, since the cabbage in the kimchi doesn’t take well to freezing.
If you’re making this a day in advance, put the stuffing in your 9x13-inch pan, cover with aluminum foil and refrigerate overnight. Don’t add the olive oil until you’re ready to bake it.
You can take it straight from the fridge to the oven if you’re using a metal pan. If your pan is glass though, be sure to bring the stuffing to room temperature before placing in the oven. Bake as instructed.
More Satisfying Stuffing Recipes
- Mom’s Stovetop Turkey Stuffing
- Sausage, Sage, and Cornbread Stuffing
- Sweet Potato & Pork Thanksgiving Stuffing
- Thanksgiving Stuffing with Sausage and Apples
Wild Rice Stuffing
- Cornbread Stuffing with Green Olives and Pecans
Preheat the oven:
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Add the bread into a large bowl. Pour the chicken broth and butter over the top. Then, add the kimchi (including the juices), onion, celery, walnuts, garlic, parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, and black pepper. Using gloved hands or a wooden spoon, combine all ingredients until loosely tossed.
Transfer stuffing to pan and drizzle with olive oil:
Transfer the stuffing from the bowl into the 9x13-inch pan. Do not press—let the stuffing pile high and have some air pockets for good crisping.
(If you want to make this a day ahead, this is the point where you’d put the pan in the fridge to bake the next day.)
Drizzle olive oil on top and cover with aluminum foil.
Bake the stuffing for 40 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 20 to 25 minutes, until the top is lightly browned (Bake a bit longer if you like your stuffing crisper and more toasted).
Serve fresh out of the oven or slightly cooled as a side dish to your turkey or roast.