30 Korean Foods to Make at Home

How do you sum up Korean cuisine? You could start with fermentation, and the health benefits it bestows on foods like kimchi and gochujang. You could touch on the wide variety of banchan (small side dishes) that are placed in the center of the table and shared at meals. Or you can focus on bulgogi and Korean BBQ, which have spread beyond borders to restaurants all over the world. It's healthy food with a focus on vegetables and big flavors, and here are some recipes to help you get started.

Curated by Ethan Johns


This, salty, spicy, funky ferment is one of the bases of Korean cuisine. Typically made with napa cabbage, white radishes and other vegetables, there are many different types that vary from north to south, and from family to family. It's normally served as banchan (a small side dish), but can also be cooked into dishes like kimchi-jjigae (kimchi stew).

Kimchi-Jjigae (Kimchi Stew)

"This soup is flipping good! It is now my favorite soup. I have made it twice this week. I was a little scared of how hot it was going to be but was pleasantly surprised! Just the right amount of heat. I am vegan but my husband is not, so I prepared everything vegan and then cooked my husband some shrimp in the sake and added them to his bowl at the end."


Bulgogi (BBQ Beef)

Those who have enjoyed a meal of Korean barbecue are likely familiar with bulgogi (literally translated as "fire beef"). It's made by marinating thin strips of sirloin or other steak cuts in a combination of soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil and other aromatics like ginger and garlic. In restaurants, bulgogi is often grilled tableside over an open flame, but at home it's common to sear it in a pan.

Japchae (Glass Noodles with Beef & Vegetables)

These stir-fried glass noodles (often made with sweet potato starch) have quite the backstory. Per popular lore, it was prepared for a king who liked it so much that he turned its chef into a high-ranking government official. If that's not a seal of approval, we're not sure what is!

Yangnyeom-Galbi (Marinated Grilled Beef Short Ribs)

Another Korean BBQ option is galbi, or grilled ribs. When you marinate them before throwing them on the grill, they're called yangnyeom-galbi. This recipe will give you ribs that are "just as delish as what we get in the restaurants," according to one home cook.

Ssamjang Sauce for Samgyeopsal (Grilled Pork Belly)

If you're whipping up some grilled pork belly, odds are you'll need a tasty sauce to accompany it. With gochujang, soy bean paste, soy sauce and a pinch of sugar, ssamjang is the perfect blend of salty, spicy, sweet and funky. The two are traditionally paired with soju, the clear Korean liquor.

Yangnyeom Chikin (Spicy Korean Fried Chicken)

Fried chicken in Korea is considered anju, a term used to describe food that's consumed while drinking alcohol. Yangnyeom chikin is commonly paired with beer, while other dishes might be more perfect for cheongju (Korean rice wine) or soju (Korean clear liquor).

Grandma's Kimchi Noodle Soup

"I've made this several times now, and love it! This is perfect for chilly days or when you've got a cold."


Kong-namul-muchim (Bean Sprout Banchan)

Sometimes fermented and sometimes fresh, namul (prepared and seasoned vegetables) add nutrition and a variety of textures and flavors to any meal. They're often served as banchan (side dishes), which are an essential part of the Korean table. This one is made by quickly boiling bean sprouts, then seasoning them with salt, sesame, garlic, onion and chili pepper.


Gimbap is, for all intents and purposes, the Korean descendant of Japanese makizushi, a holdover from the era of Japanese occupation. While Japanese makizushi is seasoned with rice vinegar, the rice in Korean gimbap is seasoned with sesame oil, and the center of the roll often contains multiple ingredients—from tuna to kimchi, and even deli meats and cheeses.


From the words bibim ("mixed") and bap ("cooked rice") comes this dish of fluffy, sticky rice topped with gochujang and different namul, plus beef and egg that's either raw or cooked. Before eating it, you mix it all up, blending the various flavors.

Kimchi Fried Rice

"I thought that this was absolutely delicious! I'm already craving it again. I used homemade kimchi and it was still super easy to put together. I thought it was very flavorful and had just the right amount of spiciness. I really recommend using the nori sheet, as it adds depth of flavor to the finished dish."


Galbi-Jjim (Braised Pork Ribs)

While galbi (short ribs) are often enjoyed cooked over a flame, braising them is a common—and even more flavorful—method of preparation. The short ribs are submerged in a sweet, salty, spicy marinade, then are simmered until tender. Asian pear is a common addition, bringing a dose of fresh fruit flavor.

Gaji-Namul (Eggplant Banchan)

This seasoned eggplant namul is steamed before its mixed with soy and aromatics like green onion, garlic, toasted sesame seeds and pepper flakes. It can be served as banchan, or as a light main dish with a side of rice.

Dak-bokkeum-tang (Spicy Braised Chicken)

"This was one of my favorite dishes growing up. Mom would make it at least once a week. Sometimes she would add potato cubes and fresh ginger, but this is the way we preferred it. If you're using boneless chicken, you can skip the first step; that is only done to remove extra fat from the skin."

-J e l i s a

Haemul Pajeon (Seafood & Scallion Pancake)

"This dense, savory pancake makes a fantastic starter or sharing dish with everyone diving in with their chopsticks, mopping up some of the soy dipping sauce along the way. Extremely popular as a snack in Korea, you can make this dish your own with whatever selection of seafood you like. A plain green-onion version of this pancake, without any seafood, is also a very popular Korean dish, so feel free to leave out the fish if you prefer—just double the quantity of green onions."

-Jordan Bourke & Rejina Pyo, authors of Our Korean Kitchen

Kirum Tteokbokki (Crispy Chili Rice Cakes)

"Crispy on the outside and gloriously chewy on the inside, these lip-smacking, subtly spiced rice cakes are seriously addictive!"

-Jordan Bourke & Rejina Pyo, authors of Our Korean Kitchen

Heugimja (Black Sesame) Ice Cream

"On a tiny street near Insadong-gil (the tourist mecca of Seoul) and up a flight of winding wooden stairs, we found ourselves, to our delight, in a paper-screened little oasis of calm away from the masses. We had come for iced tea, but were unable to resist their black sesame seed ice cream. It was subtle and naturally flavored, with an almost chewy creaminess, yet made without any dairy at all. It took ages to develop this recipe, but we got there in the end."

-Jordan Bourke & Rejina Pyo, authors of Our Korean Kitchen

Salmon & Scallion Pajeon

These scallion pancakes are highly customizable. Swap the salmon for squid, clams, shrimp... whatever you'd like. Don't forget the spicy soy dipping sauce!

Bangja Gui (BBQ Beef Lettuce Wraps)

"Wonderfully fresh and crisp tasting dish and I loved the flavour that came through from the sesame oil and seeds. The slight bite of the chili combined with the lettuce was great as well. Rather than slice the steak especially thinly I left it somewhat thick because I was serving as a main course."

-Peter J

Sweet & Sour Mu-Saengchae with Radish & Carrot (Banchan)

This banchan of shredded carrot and radish adds a bit of sweet vinegar acidity to your favorite Korean main dishes, like bulgogi or bibimbap.

Quick-Pickled Kimchi

This is a sort of mak kimchi ("careless" kimchi), which is not fermented, and can be made in about a half-hour. For more crunch, you can skip the step of cooking the cabbage. Use gochugaru (Korean chili flakes) and add a few tablespoons of fish sauce for a more classic flavor.

Pajeon (Scallion Pancake)

"Thin and oh-so-flavorful. I rolled it like an omelette and garnished it with green onion and coarse sea salt. It was really terrific. I made a third of the recipe and got two big, beautiful pancakes."

-Baby Kato

Vegetable Japchae

"This is so easy to make, and even easier to eat. I followed as directed but halved the recipe, which was very easy to do."


Japchae (Sweet Potato Glass Noodles with Egg & Vegetables)

This japchae makes the most of the mushroom harvest (or grocery aisle) by combining shiitakes, king oysters and wood ear mushrooms together with sliced fried egg and veggies. It's a perfect weeknight dinner.


"This is very similar to the beef my Korean father used to make! I recommend cutting the beef in even thinner strips and cooking over charcoal for that authentic flavor. To make the meat extra tender, it is best to marinade overnight."


Sweet & Spicy Mu-Saengchae with Radish & Apple (Banchan)

"I love this salad! The taste of the marinade was right on. In Korea they use pear apple for many recipes but I liked the apple here. It blended beautifully with daikon."


Sundubu-Jjigae (Soft Tofu Stew)

"I love Korean sundubu-jjigae soup. I love it so much that I can eat it practically everyday with different combination of ingredients I have on hand, as long as there is some silken or regular tofu. Normally jjigae and Japanese nabe soups are cooked in earthen pots on top of the burner. But you can certainly use a small pot large enough to hold the ingredients with a lid."


Cheese Tteokbokki (Rice Cake)

"Tteokbokki is a popular Korean fast food. The rice cake is very filling, and goes well with veggies and boiled egg (these are optional, you can add any veggies or meat you'd like to the sauce). Melted cheese adds a gooey yumminess to this already delicious dish."


Yukgaejang Ramyeon (Spicy Beef Noodle Soup)

This recipe starts with ramen noodles and adds extra vegetables, seasonings and some thin-sliced flank steak for good measure.