Rice cake soup

Tteokguk 떡국

Teeokguk (rice cake soup) is a delicious, filling soup made of disc-shaped rice cakes in a clear broth. Koreans always eat it on Seollal (Korean New Year’s Day), the first day of the Lunar calendar and one of the most important holidays in Korea. Traditionally, according to Korean age reckoning, everyone’s age went up one year on Seollal, and the process wasn’t totally complete until you had a bowl of tteokguk. I make a beef broth in this recipe, but you can use any meat you prefer, or use seafood, or just make an anchovy stock or kelp stock.

You’d ask someone on Seollal: “Did you eat a bowl of rice cake soup today?” Meaning: are you one year older?

These days Koreans also have tteokguk on Western New Year’s day, January 1st, too. The whiteness of the soup symbolizes a clean, fresh start to the new year, and the disc-shaped rice cakes look like coins, so they symbolize a wish for upcoming prosperity for anyone who eats them.

Despite the symbolism, this soup is not just for special occasions: personally, I eat it all the time, because it’s delicious and easy to make! It’s a one bowl meal.

I think the real key to this soup is i making a clear, delicious broth, which takes some care and attention to do. But overall this is a very easy recipe to make: you can buy the rice cakes in a Korean grocery store, or even make your own with my garaetteok recipe.

Why don’t you make a resolution to try tteokguk on new year’s day, and let me know how it turns out!

Ingredients (2-3 servings)

  • 1 pound sliced tteok rice cakes (or homemade) soaked in cold water for 30 minutes and drained
  • 7 cups water
  • ½ pound beef (flank steak or brisket), chopped into small pieces
  • 3 to 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 dae-pa large green onions (or 3 green onions), washed and sliced  thinly and diagonally.
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce (or soup soy sauce to your taste)
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 sheet of kim (black seaweed paper)
  • 1 red pepper (optional), chopped
  • salttteokguk_rice cake


  1. Put the water in a heavy pot, cover, and bring it to a vigorous boil over high heat for 12 to 15 minutes.
  2. Add the beef and garlic and lower the heat to medium. Cover and let it boil for 20 to 25 minutes more, until you get a delicious broth.tteokguk (rice cake soup) making
  3. Roast both sides of a sheet of gim until it’s bright green and very crispy. Put it in a plastic bag and crush it by hand. Set aside.kim (seaweed-paper)
  4. Separate the egg yolks from the whites of two eggs, putting yolks and whites into separate bowls. Add pinch of salt to each and mix with a fork. Remove the stringy chalaza from the yolks.
  5. Add the cooking oil to a heated non-stick pan. Swirl the oil around so it covers the pan, and then wipe off the excess with a kitchen towel, leaving a thin oily layer on the pan.
  6. Turn off the heat. Pour the egg yolk mixture into the pan and tilt it so it spreads evenly and thinly. Let it cook on the hot pan for about 1 minute. Flip it over and let it sit on the pan for another minute, then take it off, slice it into thin strips and set it aside.egg garnish (jidan)

    gyeran-jidan (egg garnish)

    yellow egg strips (gyeran jidan)

  7. Add the rice cake to the boiling soup along with fish sauce, salt, and sliced green onion. Stir it with a ladle. Cover and let it cook for 7 to 8 minutes until all the rice cakes are floating. Pour the salted egg whites into the boiling soup and let it cook for a minute.tteokguk (rice cake soup)
  8. Add sesame oil, ground black pepper, and chopped green onion. Stir it well. Remove it from the heat and ladle the rice cake soup into indivudual serving bowls. Garnish with chopped green onion, yellow egg strips, crushed seaweed, and red pepper if you want.
  9. Serve it right away, with kimchi and more side dishes if you want. If you wait too long the rice cakes will get soggy, so everybody dig in and enjoy!tteokguk (rice cake soup: 떡국)

tteokguk (떡국)



Other delicious stuff on maangchi.com:


  1. mrf45 My profile page joined 4/15
    Posted April 30th, 2015 at 12:39 am | # |

    Maangchi, do you think I could make this with vegetable broth boiled with some anchovy and dried kelp? We don’t usually eat a lot of beef or chicken. Thanks for all of your hard work and amazing recipes! :)

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted April 30th, 2015 at 12:14 pm | # |

      yes, some people make rice cake soup without beef. It will turn out delicious as long as the broth is delicious! Good luck!

  2. nanasse Amsterdam - Paris My profile page joined 10/11
    Posted March 1st, 2015 at 3:58 am | # |

    Hi Maangchi,
    I did not know you had to remake your videos! So much work.. anyway they are always great.
    Happy new year ! ☆★

  3. aTrueRedHead Germany My profile page joined 8/14
    Posted February 22nd, 2015 at 11:33 am | # |

    Hi Maangchi

    Thank you very much for sharing all of these delicious recipe.
    I just made this rice cake soup and ate two bowls. Right afterwards I called up my friend and told her about this fantastic and very easy to make soup.

    I really enjoy your website and the videos. Keep up the great work.
    If you every need a recipe from Germany let me know.

  4. sanne Munich My profile page joined 8/14
    Posted February 18th, 2015 at 10:55 am | # |

    새해 복 많이 받으세요!

  5. EstelleJin France My profile page joined 1/15
    Posted January 2nd, 2015 at 3:26 pm | # |

    I made Tteokguk from your recipe today. My husband had never tasted this Korean dish before. It was delicious!!! Thank you!

  6. ddnorman Southern NH, USA My profile page I'm a fan! joined 9/13
    Posted January 1st, 2015 at 10:23 am | # |


    새해 복 많이 받으세요! 🙏😊 Happy New Year!
    I made rice cake soup!


    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted January 1st, 2015 at 10:13 pm | # |

      Thank you so much, Dave!
      I made rice cake soup today, too! Friends came over and tasted my tteokguk! : )
      Happy New Year to you and your family!

  7. jeeyoon melbourne My profile page joined 12/14
    Posted December 29th, 2014 at 10:44 pm | # |

    떡국을 맛나게 끄려봐야지~^^

  8. ashleyramk florida My profile page joined 12/14
    Posted December 4th, 2014 at 7:59 pm | # |

    can i replace beef with some other meat, like chicken? i want to cook this for my family, but we cant eat beef. it seems like a lot of korean soups and such have beef in it.

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted December 5th, 2014 at 2:01 pm | # |

      yes, you can use chicken or even seafood such as oysters. Whatever you use, if the broth is delicious, the rice cake soup is supposed to be tasty. Good luck with making delicious rice cake soup!

  9. shadeharbour Illinois My profile page joined 2/14
    Posted February 15th, 2014 at 5:26 pm | # |

    Dear Maangchi,
    Thank you for having this great site. My family enjoys your videos I learned Kimchi and made some. I am making a large batch Monday. One question, I went to my Asian market. They had no dried anchovy but dried Scud. I don’t know what that is. It was a bigger fish. I am on a sodium restricted diet, so I settle on boiled dried Korean shrimp. If I use those instead of the anchovy, how much would I need? I have everything else. I also found a lower sodium fish sauce! It is from the Philippines but at 280 mg for 2 oz, I couldn’t pass it up. I know not the same but in order for me to enjoy,, I need to try to cut the sodium. Please help………

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted February 16th, 2014 at 1:57 pm | # |

      My rice cake soup recipe calls for beef to make delicious broth. Do you like to use dried Korean shrimp instead of beef? If so, use about 1/2 cup dried shrimp. Hope it turns out delicious.

  10. Miss Kim78 socali My profile page joined 3/13
    Posted February 4th, 2014 at 7:09 am | # |

    Yummy! I love ddukguk. With my dduk, I usually never have the time or patience to soak the dduk, so I tend to skip the step, but it works out fine anyways. I get chewy, cooked just right dduk!

  11. amorekf U.S.A. My profile page joined 1/14
    Posted January 28th, 2014 at 10:57 pm | # |

    I am going to try and make this soup for New Year (Jan 31). I want to know if I make a lot of the soup, is it okay to eat later and what can I do to keep the rice cake from getting soggy? Should I not put the rice cake in the soup until I get ready to eat it? That way I can save soup until later and just add rice cake before eating.

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted January 30th, 2014 at 1:24 am | # |

      “Should I not put the rice cake in the soup until I get ready to eat it?” that’s right!:)
      Rice cake soup should be eaten right after it’s made because the cooked rice cake will get soggy and the soup will get thicker. If you want to make it advance, make delicious broth first with beef. Then keep it in the fridge. When you are ready to serve, reheat the it and add the sliced rice cake.
      Happy cooking!

  12. Kgirlmd De My profile page joined 1/14
    Posted January 5th, 2014 at 7:11 pm | # |

    I just made this with my husband and we love this recipe!!! I’ve used your recipes for several years but finally watched your videos after my sister kept telling me to watch them. Boy, was it easier to make this and the Mandu (which I added to the duk kuk recipe) and it was soooo good. The Mandu was just bursting with wonderful sesame, mushrooms, meat, and oniony flavors, much better using your recipes than just winging it! I think I will order your cook book to make it easier for me. I love you Maangchi!!! Happy New Year!!!!

  13. Shinkis Mom Virginia My profile page joined 12/13
    Posted December 31st, 2013 at 1:30 pm | # |

    I made this last night. Since I went vegetarian I had no beef at home, I just did everything the same without the beef. I drove two and a half hours to get the ddeok. Your recipe did justice to my effort. It was so good I had two big bowls and another for breakfast and another for lunch. I made the full recipe even though it’s just me and I have enough for dinner tonight. Rice cakes are holding up pretty well, not getting to soggy. Thank you. I think my New Year good luck started when I found your site!

    • Cactus_Pear Leesville, LA My profile page joined 1/14
      Posted January 3rd, 2014 at 11:04 pm | # |

      wow 2 and 1/2 hours! I hope you bought in bulk. I feel your pain I am 3 hours from the nearest good Korean grocer

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted January 4th, 2014 at 11:20 am | # |

      Wow all I can say is that you are such a passionate cook! Actually I’m like you. If I want to make something, I gotta make it as soon as possible. “Your recipe did justice to my effort.” Great compliment!

  14. jaylivg Houston My profile page I'm a fan! joined 7/10
    Posted December 31st, 2013 at 12:39 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi !

    If i make fresh rice cake myself , do i still need to soak it in the water like you did ? I wouldn’t think so .. but i thought i should ask :D

    Thanks !!

  15. Zulumom Concord, CA My profile page joined 9/13
    Posted December 29th, 2013 at 4:05 am | # |

    Wonderful and beautiful presentation too, Maangchi! I’m trying hard not to discuss my dog, Zulu, in every comment I make here, but I must say…when he didn’t have any appetite after he almost died and the doctor told me to feed him rice in every meal, he perked up and ate Tteokuk every time I made it for him. I used your original recipe minus the salt/fish sauce to make it low sodium for him, then my husband and I enjoyed with added fish sauce. I’m going to make it again for the whole family on Wednesday (new year’s day) of course! Happy new year!!! xoxo

  16. nlily1037 USA My profile page joined 8/13
    Posted August 18th, 2013 at 1:56 am | # |

    Hi Maangchi! I love you’re recipes, and I want to try this one, but is there any way I can make this by substituting the beef? With seafood or vegetables? Thanks :D

  17. bsmi7133 korea My profile page joined 12/12
    Posted December 30th, 2012 at 5:01 am | # |

    do koreans usually eat this soup on new years day ( Jan 1) or on the lunar new year?

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted December 31st, 2012 at 12:31 pm | # |

      I make rice cake soup on both Seol-nal (lunar new year’s day) and on Jan 1st (solar new year’s day). I’m making tomorrow.

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