Sulppang is a special bread with the sweet, fluffy, and slightly tangy taste of makgeolli, a Korean rice liquor. Despite the dough being mixed with makgeolli, by the time this bread is ready to eat, all traces of alcohol have nicely evaporated during the steaming process. This way, everyone can enjoy it!

You can find this delicious bread at large Korean markets, open-air markets, or highway rest area shops in Korea. A single piece of sulppang is really filling, making it a satisfying choice for a snack or paired with a refreshing glass of milk for a simple lunch. What truly sets this bread apart is its unique aroma and spongelike fluffiness. It contains the scent of makgeolli, and when perfectly risen, there are a ton of tiny air pockets in the bread that make it irresistibly fluffy.

You can use homemade makgeolli with active enzymes or find makgeolli at a Korean grocery store. For store bought, be sure to buy makgeolli labeled with the Korean character “생” (saeng) which means raw or uncooked. The enzymes create carbon dioxide within the dough, which gives this bread its impressive rise. Some makgeolli brands in the store undergo heat treatment to extend their shelf life, rendering the enzymes inactive. So be sure to choose the right makgeolli!

Korean rice wine (makgeolli)

Over the years, many of you have requested this recipe, and I’ve tried to make the best sulppang possible. I did many experiments while developing the recipe and found that adding some apple really enhances the taste and texture. I also found that adding some active dry yeast makes the dough rise faster.

Here are a few more good tips for you:

  • Commercially sold makgeolli often contains added sugar or sweeteners, which can affect the overall sweetness of your bread. When using homemade makgeolli, add a bit more sugar.
  • If you can’t find fresh beans, soak dried beans in water overnight before using.
  • Be sure not to add too much apple as it can make the bread too wet during steaming. Just a little is plenty.

These tips will help you achieve the perfect sulppang with the right balance of flavors and textures. Happy steaming!


Serves 4

  • 2 cups makgeolli (homemade or store bought)
  • ⅓ cup sugar (or Swerve zero calorie sweetener)
  • 2 teaspoons dry yeast (7 grams)
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup worth of apple, cut into small cubes
  • ½ cup of fresh cranberry beans (or any other fresh beans)


Preparing the dough

  1. Begin by taking your makgeolli out of the fridge and allowing it to come to room temperature.
  2. To open the makgeolli, first shake the bottle to mix it well. Then take the bottle in both hands and press the middle with your thumbs. Do this for a few seconds, to calm it down. Crack the cap a little bit and if there is no sound, open it all the way. If you hear air rushing, close the lid and massage the bottle a few more times before trying again, until no more bubbles come up.
  3. Transfer the makgeolli to a heavy stainless steel pot and heat it over medium-high heat for about 30 seconds, stirring with a wooden spoon until it reaches a lukewarm temperature of about 100°F (40°C).
Pouring makgeolli
  1. Remove the pot from the heat, then stir in the sugar (or Swerve) and add yeast. Let it stand for 1 minute until the yeast becomes frothy.
Adding yeast
  1. Add flour and salt. Thoroughly mix with a wooden spoon (or rice scoop) until the dough is smooth without any lumps.
Mixing dough
  1. Cover and let it sit for 2 hours. Check if the dough has lots of small bubbles popping up to the surface. If there aren’t a lot of bubbles, let it sit a bit longer.
Bubbling dough

Steaming the bread

  1. Wet a large cotton cloth (or use a steamer liner) with cold water and place it in the bottom of a steamer basket, ensuring the edges extend over the sides of the basket.
  2. Carefully pour the dough into the steamer basket, on top of the cloth.
Pouring dough
  1. Sprinkle the beans and apple pieces evenly over top, and allow it to rise for 30 minutes.
Rising dough
  1. Bring 3 inches of water to a boil in your steamer. Add the steamer basket with your dough. Close the lid and pull the cloth’s edges that hang out of the basket over top of the lid.
Pulling edges of cloth
  1. Steam the bread for 35 minutes over medium high heat.
Sulppang, makgeolli bread (술빵)
  1. Once done, remove the steamer from the heat, and take off the lid. Using both hands, grab the edges of the cotton cloth and carefully lift it up with the bread. Take it out of the steamer and place it on a large cutting board or another work surface.
  2. Allow the bread to cool for a while, then remove the cotton cloth and cut the bread into several pieces.


  1. Serve right away. If you want to freeze some for later, wrap each piece in plastic wrap and put them in a plastic bag or an airtight container first.
Slice of sulppang

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  1. biancamona Pensacola, FL joined 1/18 & has 3 comments

    Maangchi nim!! I remember going to the shijang with my mom when I was little, and a halmoni carrying a basket on her head would sell the most delicious soolbbang! I still remember how warm and fluffy it was and how carefully the halmoni packed everything into the basket. I never knew what that yummy bread was called, but I just found your recipe for it and Im excited to try it!

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