Kimchi stew

Kimchi-jjigae 김치찌개

Kimchi stew is one of the most-loved of all the stews in Korean cuisine. It’s a warm, hearty, spicy, savory, delicious dish that pretty much everyone loves. As long as they can handle spicy food, I never met a person who didn’t like kimchi-jjigae.

I learned this recipe from a restaurant famous for kimchi-jjigae in Korea. The restaurant was always full of people eating and sweating over kimchi stew.  There was only one item on the menu, so everyone was there for the same thing: a steaming pot of spicy kimchi-jjigae, a few side dishes, and a bowl of warm rice. Customers would call out: “Please give me another bowl of rice!”


What really made an impression on me at the time was the fact that they brought the stew out to the table uncooked, and then fired up a burner and cooked it at the table. This way we could sit and talk and watch it cook. I could get a good look at the ingredients: kimchi, onion, green onion, thinly sliced pork on top, and seasonings. There was some white granules (salt, sugar, and probably MSG) and also they used water at the broth base.

From this I developed my own recipe to make at home, which was very delicious.

My kimchi-jjigae recipe served me well for years and years and I even made a video of it in 2007. But since then I developed this version, which is even more delicious. The secret is in the umami-rich anchovy stock.

I hope you make it and enjoy it for years and years to come!

The difference between kimchi soup and kimchi stew

Kimchi stew is thicker than kimchi soup. Kimchi soup is less salty than kimchi stew.

Also, soup is always served in individual bowls, with rice. Traditionally in Korean cuisine stews were served in a big pot on the table, and the family would eat communally from the pot. These days, some people (including me) get a little freaked out by double-dipping, so for stews I put individual bowls on the table, and a large spoon so that diners can take what they like from the pot and put it in their bowls.


(serves 2 with side dishes, serves 4 without)

  • 1 pound kimchi, cut into bite size pieces
  • ¼ cup kimchi brine
  • ½ pound pork shoulder (or pork belly)
  • ½ package of tofu (optional), sliced into ½ inch thick bite size pieces
  • 3 green onions
  • 1 medium onion, sliced (1 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons gochugaru (Korean hot pepper flakes)
  • 1 tablespoon gochujang (hot pepper paste)
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 cups of anchovy stock (or chicken or beef broth)


For stock (makes about 2½ cups’ worth):


Make anchovy stock:

  1. Put the anchovies, daikon, green onion roots, and dried kelp in a sauce pan.Kimchi stew (kimchijjigae: 김치찌개)
  2. Add the water and boil for 20 minutes over medium high heat.
  3. Lower the heat to low for another 5 minutes.
  4. Strain.멸치국물 (anchovy stock)

Make kimchi stew:

  1. Place the kimchi and kimchi brine in a shallow pot. Add pork and onionKimchi stew (kimchijjigae: 김치찌개)
  2. Slice 2 green onions diagonally and add them to the pot. Add the onion.
  3. Add salt, sugar, hot pepper flakes, and hot pepper paste. Drizzle sesame oil over top and add the anchovy stock
    Kimchi stew (kimchijjigae: 김치찌개)Kimchi stew (kimchijjigae: 김치찌개)
  4. Cover and cook for 10 minutes over medium high heat.Kimchi stew (kimchijjigae: 김치찌개)
  5. Open and mix in the seasonings with a spoon. Lay the tofu over top.Kimchi stew (kimchijjigae: 김치찌개)Kimchi stew (kimchijjigae: 김치찌개)
  6. Cover and cook another 10 to 15 minutes over medium heat.
  7. Chop 1 green onion and put it on the top of the stew. Remove from the heat and serve right away with rice.Kimchi stew (kimchijjigae: 김치찌개)



  1. chawisssse Manila joined 1/14
    Posted January 25th, 2014 at 12:19 pm | # |

    thats CHAYOTE!!! We have a lot of that here in the Philippines – we eat them stir fried with rice – mmm so good. We pronounce it as “sa-YO-teh”

  2. ddnorman Southern NH, USA joined 9/13
    Posted October 24th, 2013 at 7:19 am | # |

    Hi Maangchi! I made this kimchijjigae after work one night and it was so easy and delicious! My wife who is an awesome cook usually handles the dinner, so I am spoiled and not a good cook ^^. I think using your excellent hommade kimchi recipe as the base is what makes it so good! Between this and the kimchijeon, I will have to start making kimchi at least once a month!

  3. ericlala usa joined 10/13
    Posted October 20th, 2013 at 8:03 am | # |

    Hello Maangchi,

    can i store unfinished portions in the fridge? if so how long can i keep it for?

    also, can i use sliced pork belly? will that reduce the cooking time?

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted October 21st, 2013 at 9:24 am | # |

      You can keep the leftover kimchi stew in the fridge up to 1 week.

  4. Ellielen Oslo, Norway joined 9/13
    Posted September 24th, 2013 at 5:17 pm | # |

    I was wondering how many people does this recipe feed?
    I am having a dinner with 7 people and want to make this so i am wondering if i can use this one or if i should double the amount?

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted September 26th, 2013 at 2:27 am | # |

      It will serve 2 -4 people. Yes, you can double the recipe if you make it for 7 people.

  5. KrynauwOtto2 Pretoria, South Africa joined 9/13
    Posted September 18th, 2013 at 8:07 am | # |

    Hi Maangchi!
    I dont have tofu right now, how can I replace it or should I skip iit?

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted September 18th, 2013 at 7:00 pm | # |

      yes, skip it. It will still be delicious.

  6. naomiedwards93 Biloxi, MS joined 8/13
    Posted August 6th, 2013 at 11:36 am | # |

    Maangchi, thank you so much for posting these recipes. My mother left when I was nine so I was unable to eat homemade Korean food for a long time. Now I can make it myself! I had a question though, what is the difference between kimchi jjigae and kimchi guk?

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted August 6th, 2013 at 4:07 pm | # |

      They are different. Kimchi soup contains more water. So you can put some rice into the soup and eat it. It’s very delicious in the winter time. Kimchi stew doesn’t contain as much water as kimchi soup and a little saltier. You can eat it with a spoon.

  7. luis Duluth Ga joined 6/13
    Posted June 23rd, 2013 at 7:35 pm | # |

    Thank you for recipies Im from Argentina, my wife from south korea ( busan)
    And we are expecting her first baby girl Haneul
    Her mom was here back in february and she left cause has to work
    So you Teach me how to make all kind of korean food thank you a lot
    if was not for you she can no get seeweed soup so i make it couple times till i got it rigth and know we are ready
    Thank you so so very much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted June 24th, 2013 at 1:52 pm | # |

      I can picture the scenes of your cooking miyeokguk (seaweed soup) and side dishes for your wife. Yes, I think you and your wife are ready for the baby! The baby has already the beautiful name “haneul” (sky in Korean) and your wife will be eating delicious miyeokguk that you make. What more would they need! Thank you for sharing your touching story with me and my other readers.

  8. cloud1990 mesquite texas joined 6/13
    Posted June 15th, 2013 at 2:20 pm | # |

    thank you for wonderful videos! you make everything so easy. its watching a normal person, cook, chop and talk in a normal way, in a normal kitchen! its truly “normal” communication!:-)!!!

  9. xedrac Utah joined 3/13
    Posted March 21st, 2013 at 11:04 pm | # |

    Wow, you are an amazing! I will certainly be making this in the near future! Thank you for the fantastic recipes and detailed videos!

  10. Miss Kim78 socali joined 3/13
    Posted March 15th, 2013 at 10:17 pm | # |

    What’s up, Maangchi? I wish your videos were around the first time I was trying to make Kimchi Jjigae. The first time I ever made this dish was over ten years ago (when I was in college). I did not even know how to make bap (rice) back then. I would call my mom and ask her how to make such and such. And I remember that Kimchi Jjjigae was one of the first Korean dishes I learned how to make. My first attempt was horrible. It turned out so bland and the Kimchi just looked like it was thrown into hot water, all watered down with no flavor.

    Years later, through trial-and-error, my Kimchi Jjigae has come a long way. I actually like it now lol. What I like about your Kimchi Jjjigae recipe is that it is so simple and does not take too much time, great for when you are on the go and don’t have too much time to spend on cooking. The method I use is a little different than yours though. I like to sauté the pork belly first. I love how the caramelized pork belly slices tastes, and I always find myself munching as I cook. I love samgyupsal and even when I am eating samgyupsal by itself to eat, I prefer it to be caramelized and bbassak (not sure the English translation lol). And they taste even better when onion slices are added and sautéed together. I think this adds a deep, rich flavor to the Kimchi Jjigae while it is being simmered. The caramelization from the onions gives a slightly sweet taste to the pork belly slices. I then add the rest of the ingredients (Kimchi, minced Jalapeno, and minced garlic) and seasonings (salt/pepper, soy sauce, red pepper flakes, Dashida, and sugar). And I let it cook a bit before adding the water. At this point, it is good enough to eat it as Kimchi Bokkeum (Kimchi Stir-fried). When I add the water, I also like to add a shitload of Kimchi juice (just my preference), as I find it more flavorful. I finish it off with tofu, spam, and scallions.

    Your videos always make me so “behgopa”. Everything you cook and eat always looks so yummy. What do you think of my Kimchi Jjigae? Sorry I need more practice with the camera though!

  11. ahkima P.R. caribean joined 3/13
    Posted March 7th, 2013 at 10:37 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi , I’m also really interested in Korean food,but were could I buy chilly paste and black bean paste on the internet?. I live in Puerto Rico (caribean) and there are no Korean markets here that i know of. thanks :)

  12. ang gelo Philippines joined 2/13
    Posted February 23rd, 2013 at 1:19 am | # |

    Hi Maangchi,

    Last night after work, I hurriedly went home to try out cooking kimchi jiggae using your recipe. I was in the bus thinking of this mouth-watering stew while my stomach was growling and couldn’t wait to have its fill of kimchi jiggae! Haha!
    Much to my taste buds’ delight, my cooking went well and my kimchi stew tasted so much authentic like the ones i’m eating in a Korean restaurant!
    Thank you so very much for your awesome recipe!

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted February 23rd, 2013 at 7:21 pm | # |

      Thank you for sharing the sweet story! Cheers!

  13. TrinityDevil Singapore joined 10/12
    Posted January 21st, 2013 at 10:19 am | # |

    Is there anything to replace kimchi juice ? I buy small packets of kimchi but it hardly contain any juice .

  14. AkiToMH Australia joined 11/12
    Posted November 2nd, 2012 at 3:33 am | # |

    Hello again, just to say that the kimchi stew was really nice !! thank you for sharing <3

  15. keerahloveskimchi Milwaukee, WI joined 5/12
    Posted October 31st, 2012 at 2:16 pm | # |

    Maangchi! Will the dish be just as tasty without the paste and flakes??

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted November 1st, 2012 at 9:17 am | # |

      I don’t think so. It will turn out too bland.

  16. chichiwhichy Singapore joined 8/12
    Posted August 13th, 2012 at 7:41 am | # |

    Hi Maangchi! I can’t wait to make this for my family, they always underestimate my cooking! Thanks for the lovely and easy recipe~

  17. docpark US joined 5/10
    Posted July 9th, 2012 at 12:29 pm | # |

    Recently made a batch from your recipe -picture here:

    Keep up the great work! I have come across many Korean Americans and Koreans who use your recipes and recommend them to their friends. What I really like is the authenticity of your recipes.

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted July 10th, 2012 at 6:46 pm | # |

      Your kimchi stew looks wonderful! Thank you very much for the nice words!

  18. Yuchan Chicago joined 6/12
    Posted June 2nd, 2012 at 10:16 pm | # |

    Thanks for the recipe! I wish the kimchi I bought had more kimchi juice. Still absolutely delicious and filling.

  19. kaybay009 California joined 4/12
    Posted April 4th, 2012 at 12:35 pm | # |

    can you use radish kimchi instead?

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted April 5th, 2012 at 4:47 am | # |

      You could use it but kimchi stew made with cabbage is more delicious.

  20. nzolove san diego joined 3/12
    Posted March 1st, 2012 at 4:34 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi! I just made kimchi stew following your video & recipe. This is the 3rd Korean dish I’ve tried cooking with your help – 김치 지게 맛있어요!

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted March 2nd, 2012 at 9:15 am | # |

      yay, congratulations on your successful 3rd Korean cooking! : )

  21. MattHolland85 Birmingham, UK joined 1/12
    Posted February 26th, 2012 at 9:24 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi!
    I love all the recipes that i’ve found on here so far and i’m sure i’ll love the rest ^_^ this one is so good i think i’ll cook it again tomorrow!

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted February 27th, 2012 at 10:43 am | # |

      Wonderful! Let me know how your Korean cooking goes!

  22. jungywungy So Cal, USA joined 1/12
    Posted January 27th, 2012 at 6:57 pm | # |

    love your site, i have always had such a terrible time cooking korean food, but with your recipes/videos and instructions, it looks like i have finally been able to create some edible korean food!!!! Thank you! go ma wuh yo!

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted January 28th, 2012 at 4:05 pm | # |

      oot! Great news! Happy cooking!!

  23. She-Ryn Malaysia joined 12/11
    Posted December 15th, 2011 at 9:02 am | # |

    Hi Maangchi! I’ve have this for my dinner and it’s soooo delicious! I can see this kimchi jjigae is v addictive! once u’ve tasted it in your mouth,u can’t stop it.Thanks again for your guidance!

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted January 28th, 2012 at 4:06 pm | # |

      You are right! That’s why my readers make huge amount of kimchi these days. They want to make kimchi jjigae, kimchi pancake, mandu..with their homemade kimchi. Kimchi is gone so fast if you make these side dishes. : )

  24. LionaSara Manila joined 11/11
    Posted November 22nd, 2011 at 2:02 am | # |

    This dish is so awesome. I crave for it every now and then. I have already cooked it thrice. however I tried to experiment for the 3rd time. Kimchi jigae is more delicious (and creamier) when I added 1 cup of miso. The combination of ingredients produced a flavor that is so soothing,and surprisingly far from the original taste! Thank you Maangchi!

  25. DominiqueEchard North Carolina joined 5/09
    Posted November 20th, 2011 at 4:39 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi, I was just watching this kimchi jigae video again. You showed the pickles your friend made and you asked the guest if she knew the name of the food and she didn’t either. When you put your hands together it made me think of a chayote squash. Is that what it was?
    See this picture:

    They are very popular in caribbean cooking, too, and they call them a different name. They are good raw, too, I recently discovered. I think I would love them as pickles.

  26. Jacq Tempe, AZ joined 11/11
    Posted November 16th, 2011 at 9:20 pm | # |

    Hi Manngchi,

    I saw your video tutorial for kimchi jjigae and was inspired to try and make it for dinner tonight.

    This is the first time I try/eat kimchi jjigae, so I don’t really know how it is suppose to taste like. It was so easy to make and turned out delicious! Perfect for these cold evenings in the desert.

    Now I have enough kimchi jjigae to last me for 3-5 meals… How long does kimchi jjigae keep after cooking?

    Thanks again for all the wonderful videos and recipes. Keep up the great work!

  27. yukejang California joined 10/11
    Posted October 29th, 2011 at 12:17 am | # |

    Wow M! I made this soup for my husband and he loved it, now my in laws (my husband’s Korean and I’m Filipino) are visiting from NY, and I’m confident that they’ll gonna like this, too! Thanks a lot for empowering me!!!

  28. louieboo London joined 10/11
    Posted October 14th, 2011 at 2:06 pm | # |

    hey Maangchi.i live in London and i heard youre here at the moment…i hope to meet up with u soon ! btw, im cooking kimchi chigae right now for dinner and i already got my ribey beef strips marinated and ready for bulgogi tonight! sounds like a feast for me and my husband! hahah! thank you for your lovely recipes…im such a fan of korean food that even my friends think that im turning into a korean already! i really dont mind :) ill let u know if i finish the whole soup :) cheers!

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted October 15th, 2011 at 2:44 am | # |

      Great! I hope your kimchi chigae turned out delicious!

  29. Ai loves food Sydney, Australia joined 9/11
    Posted October 3rd, 2011 at 10:16 pm | # |

    Thanks so much for the recipe- I made it for lunch with some leftover Kim chi I made a few weeks ago( also your fabulous recipe) and it was sooo yummy!!

    All your recipes turn out perfectly- thanks for sharing. I love your work.

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted October 15th, 2011 at 2:45 am | # |

      awesome news! You must be good at cooking!

  30. hungrycat Toronto, ON joined 10/11
    Posted September 30th, 2011 at 11:30 pm | # |

    Hello Maangchi, I just wanted to thank you so much for this recipe: I made it tonight and it was EXCELLENT! I didn’t have any pork belly or tuna, so I used “imitation crab stick” instead and it was soooooo good. Also I put in some sliced zucchini for extra veggies. Spicy and delicious, perfect for a cold rainy night! I am excited to try more of your recipes, because I just moved to the “Korea Town” nieghbourhood in Toronto and now have access to excellent Korean groceries. Next I will try to make my own Kimchi!! :) Thanks again!!

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted October 15th, 2011 at 2:46 am | # |

      oh yeah? Crab meat works well? I used to live near Korea town in Toronto! ; ) Happy cooking!

  31. Elena Australia joined 8/11
    Posted August 12th, 2011 at 11:41 am | # |

    Hi Maanghi! can i use pork bone broth for this?:) and must I put in the chilli flakes and the red pepper paste?or both could be left out and just use the kimchi juice?thanks!!i’ll be making soups/stews alot ;)

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted August 12th, 2011 at 12:35 pm | # |

      Pork bone broth sounds good to me! It will be delicious! Yes, adding some red pepper paste to the stew will make it more flavorful and delicious.

  32. Stratone Dana Point, Calif joined 7/11
    Posted July 24th, 2011 at 1:09 am | # |

    The pickled vegi from a friend in the video is chayote squash & can be cooked or eaten raw( south America )

  33. lenabonsai United States joined 7/11
    Posted July 18th, 2011 at 9:39 pm | # |

    Hello Maangchi,

    I recently made Kimchi jjigae from this recipe (with older kimchi from your recipe ;) and it is Sooo delicious. Do you know (or does anyone else know) if it is possible to make a jjigae out of older radish kimchi? I recently purchased a jar from a Korean store to hold me over before I could make some of my own kimchi again. Sadly the stuff is really old and the smell is almost too strong to eat ;( Can I make soup from it or do something else with it?

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted July 19th, 2011 at 11:16 am | # |

      yes, you can make kimchi jjigae with sour radish kimchi, too. If the radish kimchi is too sour for you, I recommend adding doenjang (soybean paste) that will make it less sour.

  34. Dayon 러시아 joined 7/11
    Posted July 2nd, 2011 at 2:59 am | # |

    Dear Maangchi,
    I got some kimchi as a present today so now I can cook kimchijjigae myself following your video lesson! I feel so very happy – for it is the dish I wanted to cook the most after I had tasted it in the restaurant!! And the Kimchijjigae in the Korean restaurant contained some glass noodles as well, and the whole dish was very nourishing and sooo delicious! Thank you so much!!! You are my star in Korean cooking!^^

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted July 2nd, 2011 at 7:37 am | # |

      Thank you! I feel you are going to make your own kimchi soon. : )

  35. Sonnyyang Sacramento,Ca joined 5/11
    Posted May 24th, 2011 at 1:34 am | # |

    Annyong Maangchi
    I’m to new here,learning how to speak and read Korean, and cook Korean foods.Love all your recipes especially this one.This is my first Korean stew I tried at a Korean restaurant and loved it so I decided to make it at home.It was a success :)

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted July 2nd, 2011 at 7:38 am | # |

      Congratulations! 축하합니다! : )

  36. meimei50 Wisconsin joined 4/11
    Posted April 23rd, 2011 at 10:29 pm | # |

    Thanks for this recipe Maangchi! I made it on Thursday, omitting the pork since I am a vegetarian. I used some miso to replace the flavor of the pork, and it was great. This afternoon I took the leftover soup from the refrigerator for a late lunch, and set it next to a bag of red pears I had brought home. I looked at the soup and the pears and thought, why not? So i cut up a firm pear and mixed it into the soup, and added some well fermented kim chi from the fridge. A delicious cold soup for a warm spring afternoon. The pear and the spiciness of the kimchi really complimented each other. Thanks for the yummy soup recipe!

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted July 2nd, 2011 at 7:39 am | # |

      lol, you are a creative cook!

  37. chubbydwi United Arab Emirates joined 4/11
    Posted April 5th, 2011 at 5:18 pm | # |

    Annyeonghaseyo Onni….
    I normally spend at least once a month to go to Korean Restaurant to eat my favorite sundubu chigae and osam bulgogi. I also love kimchi chigae so much.

    Yesterday i was so tired from work and I was craving for Korean food. I wanted to cook Kimchi chigae. So I went to your website to see if I have the whole ingredients to cook it and thank God I did have all! so I cooked it and it turned out great! I even invited my friend who also loves Korean Food to enjoy it with me and she said it even taste better than the one we had in the restaurant! I was so happy… Thank you so much.

    Now I have a problem…. The kimchi that i bought dont have enough juice so it only allows me to cook kimchi chigae once. So I was just wondering how can i get more kimchi juice since the one that I bought dont have much juice as it came in a packaging.

    Also do you have the recipe to make spicy crab soup / kkotgea chigae and kkotgea bokkum (pardon me if the writing is wrong) cause i love this one too….!!

    Many thanks

  38. Cselestyna canada joined 2/10
    Posted April 1st, 2011 at 6:53 pm | # |

    i made this kimchi chigae yesterday. i was worried about how it would taste, because i really am not a fan of sour kimchi, however i was very pleasantly suprised by how YUMMY it was!

    i even used the pork belly ( no skin) and aside from all the fat, the meaty parts were delicious, i had some pork belly left over to slice into bacon for breakfast this morning…a little salt and peeper and it’s the best bacon you ever had!!!!

    so yummy, i have made so many of these delicious recipes, but i always forget to take a picture!

  39. tehani joined 2/11
    Posted March 19th, 2011 at 6:44 am | # |

    Made this last weekend and it was a hit. This is now my most favorite korean food to make! I don’t even think i had 4-5 cups of kimchi..probably only about two (because i was running out,and it was all i had) but it still came out GREAT!!! the sesame oil on the top gives it such great flavor!! made more kimchi (your recipe) tonight and cant wait till its done fermenting so i can make another pot of stew!

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted March 20th, 2011 at 6:39 am | # |

      It sounds like you are going to make kimchi jjigae very often! : )

  40. jaylivg Houston joined 7/10
    Posted February 10th, 2011 at 2:45 pm | # |

    Finally got to try kimchi stew .. and it was delicous . I didn’t add hot pepper flakes because my kimchi was already spicy , and i added a little bit of bacon instead of pork belly ( it’s almost the same anyway ) .
    My husband loves it .. thanks maangchi for a great recipe . I can’t believe how easy this dish is and how yummy it is !!

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