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 savory 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 kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons gochugaru (Korean hot pepper flakes)
  • 1 tablespoon gochujang (hot pepper paste)
  • 1 teaspoon toasted 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.
  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)

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  1. chichiwhichy Singapore joined 8/12 & has 1 comment

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

  2. docpark US joined 5/10 & has 17 comments

    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.

  3. Yuchan Chicago joined 6/12 & has 1 comment

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

  4. kaybay009 California joined 4/12 & has 1 comment

    can you use radish kimchi instead?

  5. nzolove san diego joined 3/12 & has 1 comment

    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!

  6. MattHolland85 Birmingham, UK joined 1/12 & has 1 comment

    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!

  7. jungywungy So Cal, USA joined 1/12 & has 1 comment

    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!

  8. She-Ryn Malaysia joined 12/11 & has 10 comments

    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 & has 12,045 comments

      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. : )

  9. LionaSara Manila joined 11/11 & has 3 comments

    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!

  10. DominiqueEchard North Carolina joined 5/09 & has 36 comments

    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.

  11. Jacq Tempe, AZ joined 11/11 & has 4 comments

    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!

  12. yukejang California joined 10/11 & has 3 comments

    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!!!

  13. louieboo London joined 10/11 & has 2 comments

    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!

  14. Ai loves food Sydney, Australia joined 9/11 & has 3 comments

    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.

  15. hungrycat Toronto, ON joined 10/11 & has 2 comments

    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!!

  16. Elena Australia joined 8/11 & has 3 comments

    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 ;)

  17. Stratone Dana Point, Calif joined 7/11 & has 2 comments

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

  18. lenabonsai United States joined 7/11 & has 6 comments

    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?

  19. Dayon 러시아 joined 7/11 & has 1 comment

    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!^^

  20. Sonnyyang Sacramento,Ca joined 5/11 & has 1 comment

    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 :)

  21. meimei50 Wisconsin joined 4/11 & has 5 comments

    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!

  22. chubbydwi United Arab Emirates joined 4/11 & has 1 comment

    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

  23. Cselestyna canada joined 2/10 & has 8 comments

    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!

  24. tehani joined 2/11 & has 5 comments

    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!

  25. jaylivg Houston joined 7/10 & has 107 comments

    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 !!

  26. shedorvin KY joined 10/09 & has 3 comments

    I like odang in my kimchi chigae. Mmmmm.

  27. hey maangchi!

    another question on my favorite korean dish of all time: i’ve had kimchi chigae countless of times at restaurants and i noticed that sometimes i taste tomato or tomato soup (or possibly even beets) in the kimchi chigae. have you ever heard of recipes that add tomato or beets? and if not, how do you think they will taste? thanks!

  28. amikurotsuchi jakarta joined 9/10 & has 5 comments

    Maangchi..Id like to ask your opinion on this.. some of my friends add doenjang when they’re making kimchi chigae.. but my japanese friend even add miso in it. So the most authentic kimchi chigae is the plain one or the one that is using doenjang?

  29. Hi Maangchi

    can I use beef brisket instead of pork belly?

  30. I made the stew and bean sprouts tonight, but used Bison stew meat rather than the pork (it was the only meat I had in the house). We are currently hosting an exchange student from Korea, and she said it was wonderful- she said it tasted just like her mom makes it! Our 4 year old son, who is still getting to like kimchi, also loved it. I made your pickled broccoli as well and love it, too. Thanks for the great recipes!

  31. hello, i’d like to try this stew — if im a vegetarian and do not eat meat, can i just skip the pork belly? or do you recommend substituting with more veggies?

  32. leahangel Seattle, WA USA joined 9/10 & has 24 comments

    Oooh yum yummy! That kimchi stew looks sooooo good :D

    Hey did you ever figure out what the pickle your friend made was from?
    I think it may be a vegetable called Chayote in Spanish. Looks like this

    Thanks as always for sharing your wonderful recipes!!

  33. Darla Greensboro, NC joined 8/10 & has 1 comment

    Hi Maangchi! Thank you so much for all of your wonderful recipes and videos.
    I have a question about the kimchi stew. How can I reduce the recipe for a single serving?

  34. soybox joined 8/10 & has 3 comments

    Hi, great site!

    If I don’t have access to pork belly and I want to use beef…what kind of beef would be good for kimchi jigae?

    • I use shoulder or any cut good for roasting–same goes for pork. You also can sub in bacon or back bacon for pork belly. My tips is to marinate the meat–any kind you chose–in oil, garlic, onions, touch of rice/white vinegar, & tsp of dried stock(da-shi-da a Korean beef stock) till meat is warm or at least 1/2 hour. Then brown first and go about the recipe.

      Remember this is a stew — so vary to what you like. My son love zucchini so in it goes. I like mu radish (Korean radish that’s stronger than daikon but less than say a rutabaga–for sweetness) so in it goes. A little mu radish is normally in the Kimchi but I like more.

      Good luck & enjoy.

      stock brand:

  35. happyj-girl Colorado Springs, CO joined 8/10 & has 2 comments

    Your soybean sprout side dish recipe is EXCELLENT! By far the best!! I did sauté the garlic before adding (which I also did for the spinach side dish), and also added red pepper flakes for some kick. WOW! It was awesome!! These will be new additions to our meals which we will use quite often. You’re the best!!

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