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 store-bought sliced tteok rice cakes or homemade rice cakes (store-bought or homemade, if they are frozen, soak them in cold water for 30 minutes and drain before using)
  • 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)




  1. Mandarinede Germany joined 5/19 & has 3 comments

    I got this recipe Link from a friend and I finally made this delicious soup today! I absolutely love this soup and I want to thank you for this wonderful instruction video. I will most definitely make this soup again and again and again and I will try to make the rice cake according to your recipe myself the next time. Thank you so much!

  2. eklektik Metro Detroit joined 1/19 & has 1 comment

    I am very satisfied with the way this turned out. Restaurants are not always good for this dish. I used my own ddeok from your recipes as well. 맛있어요

    See full size image

  3. Beautyhula Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada joined 1/19 & has 1 comment

    Hi Maangchi, wishing you a very happy new year 2019! I cooked rice cake soup! Here’s the picture.

    See full size image

  4. Arthemisefairy The Netherlands joined 12/18 & has 2 comments

    So I made this dish last night, for celebrating the coming of the New Year. The taste of it was delicious, thank you for uploading it! Instead of 2-3, it is sure to make for 4 servings.

    I do have a question however: what is the reason you initially boil the clear water for 12-15 minutes? Is it because of the water quality where you live, or is it supposed to alter the taste of the soup in some way? I myself am under the impression that the boiling of the water for that long beforehand is the reason for this dish becoming a 2-3 person dish, and therefore skipped that step and added the garlic and beef shortly after the water started to boil… What do you think?

    • lefthanded11 Queens, NY joined 2/19 & has 1 comment

      I think her time estimate for the boiling water is because she is using an enameled cast iron pot to make her soup. Those take a lot more time to heat initially. For Step 1 to Step 2, you just need to make sure the water is at a rolling boil. No need for extra boil time

  5. evelynrose Montana, USA joined 2/18 & has 3 comments

    Hi Maangchi,

    I made your garaetteok for tteokbokki and tteokguk from scratch. I even made my own rice flour using your recipe. I was wondering if I still need to soak my freshly made round rice cakes before I add them into the soup, like this recipe said. You mentioned that the frozen rice cakes must be soaked to soften them before cooking. Does this rule apply to freshly made rice cakes (which, of course, are already soft and chewy) also?

    Happy New Year!

  6. Cutemom Indonesia joined 3/13 & has 79 comments

    Dear Maangchi,

    I really like the soup in seollongtang for this dish. Is that okay?

  7. jinwoo630 Hempstead, NY joined 1/17 & has 1 comment

    I prefer to add a couple of dried anchovies instead of fish sauce. And a few drops of sesame oil will suffice bc it tends to overpower dishes.

  8. zipimigdania israel gan-yavne joined 3/13 & has 2 comments

    hello dear maangchi this recepie is very tasty and easy we love it.

    in april i will be in korea please can you recommend me what to buy for my citchen as my coocking is korean. thanks a lot you are a miracle for me.

  9. bluntbeckz New York joined 3/11 & has 3 comments

    Thank you so much for this recipe. It is so easy to make. The Korean grocery store usually sells in 2lb bag. So I double this recipe! More to eat for seconds or for later :)

    See full size image

  10. SerenaWoo87 Malaysia joined 8/16 & has 1 comment

    Hi. It is okay for me to cook the rice cake 1st & put overnight inside the fridge before eat on next day?

  11. mrf45 joined 4/15 & has 1 comment

    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! :)

  12. nanasse Amsterdam - Paris joined 10/11 & has 17 comments

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

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