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. 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. Goody joined 6/10 & has 4 comments

    Even though it’ summer and not winter, I made dduk gook for my (Korean) Dad for lunch today and he loved it! He said he liked it because it wasn’t salty – older Korean people like their food a little bland.

  2. Sylvia joined 9/08 & has 78 comments

    I made this recently with beef bone stock, (cooked the bones overnight)
    absolutely DELICIOUS!!
    I was sick with a bad cold and this was so good.

  3. Lisbon88 Boston, MA joined 2/10 & has 4 comments

    Thank you for all of your wonderful recipes & enjoyable videos. My family has never been as fond of Korean food as I am, but they LOVE your food. This rice cake soup is now a weekly staple – with a few alterations because of allergies, but essentially the same. Happy New Year.

  4. Deepblu505 Fayetteville NC joined 2/10 & has 1 comment

    Love your recipes have tried many. Spent time in Korea and became very fond of the food there. I was wondering if I wanted to make duc mandu gook , would I just add mandu at the end of this recipe?

  5. borisito glendale, california joined 1/10 & has 3 comments

    i love 떡국 but i have never seen the yolk with egg whites and fish sauce put in there

  6. Hello Maangchi, and Happy new year to everyone, 새해 복 많이 받으세요!
    I just read that the traditional Korean New Year’s day 설날 (seollal) is similar to the Chinese one. I guess it’s 14th February this year. I was wondering if you could post a recipe of yakgwa because I also read that it is a traditional meal for New Year’s day. :)
    Thanks a lot :D

  7. Hi Maangchi,

    What a coincidence, I tried this soup for dinner at Wonju in Koreatown, NY. It was delicious, but I preferred the grilled meat over charcoal. I asked the waitress for extra sesame oil, but she looked back at me weird like I was crazy.

    Have you ever been to Wonju? It’s great, but VERY smoky. I had to wash my clothes immediately after.


  8. Flower Venezuela joined 3/09 & has 10 comments

    By the way, happy new year everybody.

  9. Flower Venezuela joined 3/09 & has 10 comments

    looks really delicious,
    a question can be used just chicken breasts instead of beef.?

  10. Hi maangchi, I tried to make this today.

    The rice cake I had was frozen, long and thick. At the store they said you could slice it for soup, so I tried, but it was very hard to cut (the rice cake kept splitting and eventually I ended up with some rounds and a lot of tiny rice cake splinters). When I put it in the soup they became very soft but still slightly chewy, which I suppose is good?

    The soup itself was very tasty, if not slightly too thick. The egg garnish was very easy and awesome, I will remember this!

  11. Thanks for this wonderful duk guk recipe, which I just made and ate. It was really good. The broth I used was made with beef bones, which I simmered overnight in the crockpot. I don’t know if it is typical in Korean cuisine to slow simmer beef bones for broth, but it does make a great stock. Thanks for your lovely website—it makes cooking Korean food so easy:).

  12. Maangchi, can you use the stock that you make for soondobu for dduk gook?

  13. This soup always reminds me of my childhood. Everytime if it was cold outside, my mom would cook this. When it rained, I knew for sure my mom would have this ready for me when I would come home from school.

  14. My mom isn’t around anymore so I am feverishly looking for recipies I loved as a child. Thank you for sharing this :) It was very very good!!!

  15. When I was younger, my mom made this for me all the time. I made some of this just recently and had my mom try it. She told me it was just like how she remembered it from when she was a child. I am sooo glad I found this website and your recipes! It brings back a lot of memories for me and my mom. Thank you soo much!
    I think this weekend I am going to try to make Jeonbokjuk for my mom and myself. I am very suprised, this is one korean dish I have not tried yet, but it looks delicious.

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

      Yes, When I eat certain food, it sometimes reminds me of my family, too. I’m sure your mom will love the Jeonbokjuk.Good luck with making delicious jeonbokjuk! I would like to meet your mom someday because she said her recipe for rice cake soup is very similar to mine.

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