Beet jelly candy

Beet-jeonggwa 비트정과

Today I’m introducing you to a traditional way of making Korean confection called jeonggwa.

Jeonggwa is a candied jelly usually made with fruits, roots, or stems of vegetables. When they are cooked for a long time in sugar, honey, or syrup over low heat, they eventually turn sweet and into a slightly translucent jellylike candy. The most well-known jeonggwa in Korean cuisine are made with fresh ginseng, lotus root, bellflower root, ginger, or orange, apple, carrot, or yuja.

Jeonggwa are named from their candied ingredient, so jeonggwa made with fresh ginseng is called ginseng jeonggwa or susam-jeonggwa in Korean (수삼정과). If you use sliced lotus root, it’s lotus root jeonggwa (yeon-geun-jeonggwa: 연근정과). I developed this beet-jeonggwa recipe over months and months. The reason I chose beets was for the simple reason that it’s a very healthful and colorful root. When I added lemon juice to enhance the flavor, which is not exactly the traditional Korean way, I was totally satisfied with the taste and texture.

So if you want something sweet once in a while, and if a small beet happens to be at home, make this candy. It will be a good gift if you wrap each piece in a candy wrapper.


Yield: makes about 16-18 pieces

  • 8 ounces peeled and grated beet
  • 8 ounces sugar (1 cup plus 2 tablespoons)
  • 1 lemon, squeezed (about 2 tablespoons)
  • a pinch of kosher salt
  • ¼ cup toasted sesame seeds



  1. Combine beet, sugar, lemon juice, and salt in a heavy sauce pan. Mix well with a wooden spoon. Cover and cook for 40 minutes over low heat, stirring a few times.beet mixture
  2. Open the pan and keep stirring for about 20 minutes until the mixture sticks together in one lump. Check the consistency by lifting a scoop of the candy mixture into the air and letting it drop back into the pan. It should drop as 1 or 2 lumps, not drip or flow.drop 1 lump
  3. Meanwhile place 12 inch x 13 inch parchment paper on a large cutting board. Put 2 tablespoons sesame seeds in the center and spread them out to a 6-inch square.
  4. When the candy mixture is ready, put it into the sesame seeds and spread it out into a 5 inch square.spread candy
  5. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds over top of the hot candy. Let it cool for 20 to 30 minutes until the candy is hard enough to cut but soft enough to roll.before rolling
  6. Roll it up with both hands. If it’s too sticky, add more sesame seeds.roll
  7. Shape the candy with both hands to a 8 inch x 1½ inch rectangular bar. You can use the parchment paper if it’s easier.beet candy bar
  8. Cut the bar crosswise into ½ inch pieces. You’ll make about 16 to 18 pieces of beet jelly candy.cutbeet-jeonggwa
  9. Serve as it is, or wrap each piece in cellophane candy paper to eat later.beet-jeonggwa wrapped

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  1. pavelk2000 Petrovice u Karviné - czechia joined 5/20 & has 1 comment

    Hi Maangchi, thank you always for your amazing recipes and your wonderful presence. You are a sunshine, a mother to us all!

    I have a question – If when I make those candies like apples or oranges I have to evaporate the water like I think the juices of those oranges or apples and How do I proceed. Thank you You are awesome! :)

  2. These look great and I can support my local farmers. Do you think I could do a carrot-beet candy like this and do you know their shelf life?

  3. manatee74 Ithaca, NY joined 7/12 & has 4 comments

    Hi Maangchi, thank you always for your amazing recipes and your wonderful presence. You are a sunshine, a mother to us all!

    I have a question – I don’t have lemons handy during this quarantine period. Do you think I can substitute it with vinegar? I do have some shaved lemon zest frozen in my fridge, so I am going to try sprinkling them, too.

    Well, I may just go ahead and see how it turns out before you get to see this … trying not to go to stores unless I really need to … I will let you know how it turns out!

    Thank you and PLEASE stay safe & healthy for all of us!

  4. stusa4ever Brea, CA joined 3/18 & has 1 comment

    Is it possible to make this with maple syrup? Substituting for either all or a portion of the sugar?
    Dying to try this, looks amazing! Thanks so much for your hard work!!

  5. guamababie Central Valley, CA joined 1/18 & has 7 comments

    Hi Maangchi, thank you for sharing this recipe. I tried making it but no matter how long I cooked it, the consistency remained too watery and, after it cooled, it remained gooey and didn’t solidify. Maybe it’s because I used peeled, vacuum packed beets from Costco instead of a fresh beet, or maybe it’s because I used 2 cups and 2 Tbsp of sugar (as listed in your recipe above) instead of the 1 cup and 2 Tbsp of sugar you used in your video (I made the mistake of watching your video only AFTER my failed attempt). In any case it was fun learning how to make jelly and my gooey beet jelly, despite its non-solid consistency, tasted yummy. Thanks again, and please keep posting!

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,045 comments

      I’m sorry about that!
      I found a typo in this recipe. As I showed in the video, the amount of sugar is 8 ounces (1 cup plus 2 tablespoons). I fixed it now. Thank you for letting me know about this.

      “In any case it was fun learning how to make jelly and my gooey beet jelly, despite its non-solid consistency, tasted yummy.” You are awesome! : )

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