Rice cake soup

Tteokguk 떡국

Tteokguk (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. Bring the water to a boil in a heavy pot over high heat and add the beef and garlic and cook for 5 minutes.
  2. Turn the heat down to medium, cover, and cook for 20 to 25 minutes until the  beef  is  tender and  has  infused  the water  with  flavor.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 slices to the boiling soup along with fish sauce and kosher salt. Stir it with a ladle. Cover and let it cook for 7 to 8 minutes until all the rice cakes are floated and are softened throughout. Pour the egg whites by little by little into the soup and cook for 30  seconds. tteokguk (rice cake soup)
  8. Add sesame oil, ground black pepper, and chopped green onion. Stir the soup. Remove from the heat and ladle the rice cake soup into individual serving bowls. Garnish with 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)


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  1. Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,047 comments

    You can make ddukbokkie with the round rice cake.
    And also you can add it to “hot spicy fish stew (maewoontang) or kimchi stew. Delicious!

  2. Other than this soup, what else can i make with these round rice cakes??

  3. Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,047 comments

    Yes, the stock made with dried anchovies could be used for ddeokguk, too. I actually prefer anchovy stock : ) You are an awesome cook!

  4. Anyong Haseyo Maangchi!
    Wow Wow Another Gr8 Recipe I made it yesterday is was so good and also in winter instead of beef i made stock with Dasshima and Myulchi and used Korean soup soy sauce it ws great with seasoning of kim & Egg
    Thank You ^_^V

  5. Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,047 comments

    Thank you very much!
    Regarding fish sauce, someone else asked the same question, so I answered her. I am copying and pasting my answer here.

    “There are 2 kinds of soy sauce that Koreans use: dark soy sauce (“jinganjang”(진간장)and soy sauce for soup called “gukganjang” (“국간장” in Korean)

    Koreans use gukganjang (soy sauce for soup) instead of fish sauce. I’m living in New York , so it’s difficult to make homemade gukganjang (soy sauce for soup). I know they sell it at a Korean grocery store here, but the taste is a little different from the soy sauce that I used to use in Korea.

    I found fish sauce gives the similar taste of well fermented gukganjang. That’s why I use fish sauce (“aekjjeot”: 액젓 in Korean) in ddeokguk. ”

    Check the forum where I posted this answer.

  6. maangchi i love your recipes! you wouldn’t believe how much help it has been in learning how to cook korean food! :)

    i was wondering though, what does the fish sauce do? i don’t remember my mother ever putting it in (i think she might instead put dashida) but i was just wondering what purpose it serves in the ddukgook. thanks maangchi!

  7. Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,047 comments

    I’m glad to hear that your rice cake soup turned out great!

    Living in a dorm with a kitchen sounds fantastic! : ) I go to 32nd and 5th ave hanarum (한아름) market to get Korean groceries.

  8. Hello Maangchi!

    I love this website! I’m a Korean-American living in New York City. I’m a college student, but I live in a dorm with a kitchen. I’m trying to cook Korean food for myself, but I’m finding it rather difficult to find the proper ingredients. So I was wondering where you go for groceries.


  9. Hi Maagnchi,
    Your website is amazing and your recipes are so great! I made your 떡국 for the new year and it was delicious! Thank you so much :D

  10. Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,047 comments

    That’s a very good question! sure, some people use anchovy and sea kelp stock to make rice cake soup.

  11. gabieolie& has 14 comments

    Hi Maangchi,

    Can I use anchovy and sea kelp to make the soup instead of beef? I was just wondering… I don’t have any beef in the refrigerator, but I have other ingredients ready to make this soup – just in time for the new year : )

  12. w00master& has 1 comment

    @hankido duk mandu guk is very simple. Just follow the above recipe, and about 10 min b4 the end, just add in the mandu (use either Maangchi’s recipe: https://www.maangchi.com/recipe/mandu or use the frozen kind). Done!

  13. Mm! I had some soup at a local Korean restaurant with those sliced rice cakes in it. It was described as a dumpling soup, and also had mandu in it. The sliced rice cakes were the best part, even though I didn’t know what they were.

  14. I love ddeok mandu guk even more -.^

  15. oh!!!! i love dduk gook :)

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